Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight

The Week of December 21, 2015

The Wisconsin Legislature's 2015-2016 legislative session began on January 5, 2015. The schedule of floorperiods is established by Senate Joint Resolution 1. The most recent regular floorperiod ended on Thursday, November 5, and the Senate and Assembly called themselves into extraordinary session to finish their fall agenda. The next general floorperiod is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 12.

For daily updates on Wisconsin politics in the news, please see our Capitol Headlines page.

Signed into Law

Campaign Finance

On December 16, the governor signed 2015 Assembly Bill 387 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 117, which rewrites the current laws on campaign finance. The law changes who must register with the new ethics and elections commissions and the monetary thresholds for reporting contributions, clarifies definitions in the law such as "coordination," and specifies criminal and civil penalties. 

GAB Reorganization

On December 16, the governor signed 2015 Assembly Bill 388 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 118, which replaces the Government Accountability Board (GAB) with an ethics commission and an elections commission. Each commission will be composed of at least six members, four of whom are appointed by legislative leadership and two nominated by the governor.

Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations

On December 16, the governor signed 2015 Senate Bill 170 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 121, which changes the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree sexual assault from six years to 10 years from the commission of the violation.

Lead Inspections

On December 16, the governor signed 2015 Senate Bill 178 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 122, which changes the law related to lead inspection requirements and how much lead testing is required in certain homes.

Exemptions for Building Materials

On December 16, the governor signed 2015 Senate Bill 227 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 126, which provides a sales and use tax exemption for building materials that become part of a facility owned by a local government or a nonprofit organization. The bill will take effect on January 1.

Ratification of Medical Licensure Compact

On December 14, the governor signed 2015 Assembly Bill 253 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 116, which ratifies the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. It creates a compact commission made up of members of the medical examining board who are appointed by the chair of that board and confirmed by the Senate. Members of the compact will develop a streamlined process to allow physicians to be licensed in multiple states.

As of Thursday, December 17, the governor has signed 126 bills into law from the current session.

A list of enrolled bills that are ready to be sent to the governor is updated regularly

Recently Introduced Proposals

2015 Assembly Bill 603, introduced on December 16, relates to changes to and codification of the Department of Natural Resources shoreland zoning standards.

2015 Assembly Bill 602, introduced on December 14, adds Christian Schools International to the list of accrediting agencies for the Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide parental choice programs.

2015 Senate Bill 455, introduced on December 14, increases the penalties for a fourth or subsequent OWI offense.

A list of recently introduced proposals is available at the legislature's 2015 documents site.

Committee Activity

There are no scheduled hearings for this week.

Judiciary and Public Safety 

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety met on December 16 in executive session, followed by a public hearing, to consider several bills, including 2015 Senate Bill 303 and 2015 Senate Bill 322. SB-303 creates an enhanced penalty for crimes that are found to be gang-related. The bill was recommended for passage by a vote of 3-1 in executive session. The committee held a public hearing on SB-322, which would change the way that Wisconsin compensates those who are wrongfully imprisoned. SB-322's companion bill, Assembly Bill 460, also received a public hearing the same day in the Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations.

Tax Deductions For Legislators

On December 15, the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues considered 2015 Senate Bill 255 in executive session. SB-255 would discontinue the individual income tax deductions for expenses on food and lodging for legislators that reside within 50 miles of the State Capitol. The bill was recommended for passage by a vote of 3-2.

Spotlight Home

Prior Spotlight issues

Send comments to LRB.Reference@legis.wisconsin.gov

Last revised: December 21, 2015