October 20, 2017


This week, Gov. Walker extended the self-imposed deadline for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Foxconn contract. This is a troubling revelation given the years of corruption and mismanagement at WEDC and Democrats have serious concerns that the jobs agency isn’t acting in the best interest for Wisconsin taxpayers.

The proposal is the largest state taxpayer giveaway to a foreign corporation in U.S. history and taxpayers could be liable for more than $3 billion. Despite this massive corporate giveaway, WEDC continues to lack transparency and has been plagued with delays while negotiating this contract with Foxconn.

Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee sent a letter requesting WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan submit the pending Foxconn contract to the budget committee for approval. Democrats hope to ensure that Wisconsin's interests be put first when negotiating with foreign corporations. 

Democratic Proposals


LRB122 Taxpayer Assistance on Outsourcing (Sen. Hansen, Rep. Kolste) would prohibit any person who operates a business in this state and who outsources work to another state or country from receiving any grant, loan, or tax benefit from this state for five years.

LRB4521 Sparsity Aid (Rep. Pope, Sen. Bewley) would change the appropriation for sparsity aid from a sum certain appropriation to a sum sufficient appropriation and makes additional school districts eligible for sparsity aid.

LRB3994 Safe Roads Save Lives Act (Rep. Crowley) would allow law enforcement agencies in the city of Milwaukee to use an automated speed enforcement system (ASES) to identify speed limit violations.

LRB4533 Dates for annual vehicle admissions receipt (Rep. Hebl) would require that an annual state trail pass must state the date on which it is issued and is valid for one year after that date.

LRB4567 Eliminating the State Trail Pass (Rep. Hebl) would eliminate the requirement that the Department of Natural Resources issue a state trail pass and prohibits DNR from charging a person an admission fee for entering any state trail.

LRB4445 Recognizing Jesus Salas (Rep. Kessler, Rep. Bowen) is a Joint Resolution recognizing Jesus Salas, one of the recipients of the 2017 Frank P. Zeidler Service Award.

LRB4434 General Vang Pao Day (Reps. Brostoff, Stuck) is a resolution honoring the birthday of General Van Pao who was recruited by the C.I.A. to aid the United States during the Vietnam War.

LRB4519 Dane County Farmers’ Market (Rep. Taylor, Sen. Risser) is a resolution congratulating Dane County for the 45th anniversary of the Farmers’ Market.

This Week in the Senate


Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week and there currently are no floor sessions scheduled. The floor session calendar can be found here.

Senate Committees

Senate Judiciary and Public Safety The committee held an Informational Hearing to hear testimony from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Senate Health and Human Services The committee held a Public Hearing on five Senate Bills and two Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 149 / Assembly Bill 151 would establish the framework for an ambulance service provider to become approved as a community emergency medical service provider. The bill would also establish a process for paramedics and emergency medical technician (EMT) to become licensed as community EMT and paramedics.
  • Senate Bill 237 / Assembly Bill 306 would require the seller of Pseudophederine to submit the sale information to the National Precursor Log Exchange before completing the transaction.
  • Senate Bill 361 would authorize hospice staff, with the written consent of a personal representative, to take any controlled substances from the home of a hospice patient to a drug disposal program.
  • Senate Bill 417 would allow a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, who is licensed in another state to practice in Wisconsin without needing to separately obtain another license.
  • Senate Bill 452 would allow certain services to be covered by the Medical Assistance program if prescribed or ordered by a provider acting within their scope of practice.
  • Senate Bill 154 would prohibit an employee of the University of Wisconsin System or the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority from performing or assisting in the performance of an abortion.


The committee also held an Executive Session to vote on three Senate Bills and one Assembly companion bill:

  • Senate Bill 209 / Assembly Bill 96 would expand the statutes so that authorized individuals may acquire and maintain a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors. A health care practitioner may prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector in the name of an authorized individual. Passed, 4-0.
  • Senate Bill 258 would require dental practices to preserve patient records for the amount of time determined by the board by rule. It would also require dental practices to transfer patient records if requested by a patient or person authorized by the patient. Passed, 4-0.
  • Senate Bill 381 would require the Department of Health Services to establish rules and policies for access to complex rehabilitation technology for patients who qualify for Medical Assistance. Passed, 3-1.


Senate Universities and Technical Colleges

The committee held an  Executive Session on several executive appointments, including John Schwantes and Stephen Willet to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board; Sen. Alberta Darling, Rep. Rob Kreibich and Kimberly Shaul to the College Savings Program Board; Ryan Ring to the UW system Board of Regents and Ted Kellner to the Medical College of Wisconsin Board of Trustees. All confirmations recommended, 5-0.

The committee also voted on three Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 407 would require the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to establish policies for the transfer of college credits earned by a high school pupil. Passed, 5-0.
  • Senate Bill 410 would clarify the tuition grant amount awarded to eligible National Guard members who complete higher education courses. Passed, 5-0.
  • Assembly Bill 266 would make changes to the eligibility requirements for the Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarship Program. Passed, 5-0.


Senate Insurance, Housing and Trade

The committee held a Public Hearing on six Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 430 would clarify that code enforcement officials should cite owners of homes that are located in manufactured home communities.
  • Senate Bill 432 would place a cap on the rate a condo association can charge for sale or transfer documents, establish a timeframe on the production of documents and require standards for information included in condominium disclosure materials.
  • Senate Bill 453 would allow the state to regulate certain appraisal management companies (AMCs) bringing state law in line with federal acts in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
  • Senate Bill 455 would make various changes to real estate practice law. Would also make a number of changes and clarifications to the provisions regarding cooperative agreements with out-of-state brokers.
  • Senate Bill 387 would grandfather all substandard lots by allowing them to be sold or built upon according to the existing building code. Would require local government to grant the conditional use permit if the property owner satisfies permit conditions and requirements. Would prohibit local government from requiring a variance to repair or maintain a nonconforming structure. Would define a private pond and exempt them from shoreland zoning regulations. Would state that regulatory takings can occur if a regulation eliminates most, but not all reasonable use of a property. Would prohibit any homeowner association, from enforcing a policy that would restrict a member of that organization from flying the American and Wisconsin flags.
  • Senate Bill 388 would move to six year review for the state electrical. Would enumerate the legal description required for construction, operation, or maintenance of sewer lines or facilities. Would expand the use of tax incremental financing for workforce housing development. Would change some requirements for development-related permits or authorizations on applicants of the permits. Would exempt certain vehicles delivering propane weight limitations; would eliminate the forestation state property tax. Would require the review of and reports on bills and proposed administrative rules that affect housing.


Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism

The committee held an Executive Session on five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 119 would require the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to issue licenses that authorize the growing and processing of industrial hemp. Passed, 9-0.
  • Senate Bill 177  would allow the owners of a majority of the land proposed to be transferred in a drainage district to petition to transfer jurisdiction of the district to the municipality. Passed, 7-0.
  • Senate Bill 284 would create a grant program administered by the Arts Board in the Department of Tourism to promote job creation, arts education, workforce training, creative or aesthetic content and economic development. Passed, 7-0.
  • Senate Bill 307 would require a retailer to place cigarettes, nicotine products, or tobacco products only in locations that are inaccessible to customers without the assistance of the retailer. Passed, 7-0.
  • Senate Bill 409 would allow a Wisconsin winery to provide taste samples of cider produced by another Wisconsin winery. Passed, 7-0.


Senate Natural Resources and Energy

The committee held an Executive Session to vote on several executive appointments including Terry Hilgenberg, William Bruins and Gregory Kazmierski to serve on the Natural Resources Board; Ralph Brzezinski to the Wisconsin Waterways Commissions; William Quackenbush to the Kickapoo Reserve Management Board; and Dale Shaver to the Waste Facilities Siting Board. Confirmation recommended, 4-0.

The committee also held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 320 would exempt a discharge of dredged or fill material into an artificial wetland from wetland permitting requirements.
  • Senate Bill 421 would require the Department of Natural Resources to obligate no more than $4,500,000 of moneys under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship to fund critical health and safety-related water infrastructure projects in state parks.


Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held an Executive Session to vote on four Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 65 would require that when entering into or renewing a lease of real property the Department of Administration must perform a cost-benefit analysis for that agency and notify the Joint Committee on Finance of any savings if the agency were relocated. No Action Taken.
  • Senate Bill 173 would allow a property to be subdivided or transferred without affecting the liability exemption or requiring a new application. Passed, 5-0.
  • Senate Bill 278 would prohibit a commission or board that has not promulgated a rule in ten years or more from taking any actions in regards to rule-making. Passed, 3-2.
  • Senate Bill 337 would require every state agency, including the legislature and the courts, submit a base budget review report once every third biennium. Passed, 3-2.


The committee also held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 228 would require the Department of Administration to solicit public bids to sell the Green Bay Correctional Institution and other specified parcels of land in the village of Allouez.

Senate Judiciary and Public Safety

The committee held an Executive Session to vote on the appointment of Daniel Gabler to the Parole Commission, as well as three Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 72 would impose mandatory minimum period of 18 months confinement in prison for fifth and sixth offenses of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Passed, 3-2.
  • Senate Bill 73 would mandate a person who is convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle must be sentenced to a period of confinement in prison of at least five years. Passed, 3-2.
  • Assembly Bill 98 would provide requirements for court orders related to persons whose operating privilege is restricted to operating vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device. Passed, 4-1.
  • Senate Bill 135 would require DOT to permanently revoke the operating privilege of a person if they commit certain offenses related to drunken driving or driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Passed, 4-1.


The committee also held a Public Hearing on the appointment of John Hogan to serve on the Public Defender Board and eight Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 303 would make participating in a riot a Class I felony. Would vaguely define a “riot” as a public disturbance that involves an act of violence, as part of an assembly of at least three persons, which constitutes a clear and present danger of property damage or personal injury or a threat of an act of violence.
  • Senate Bill 304 would prohibit blocking or obstructing the lawful use of a thoroughfare while participating in a riot.
  • Senate Bill 305 would prohibit participating in a riot while going armed with a dangerous weapon, which includes a firearm.
  • Senate Bill 369 would require the courts of Wisconsin to recognize and enforce civil domestic violence protection orders issued by Canadian courts.
  • Senate Bill 390 would create a grant program to establish a family treatment and juvenile treatment court to be administered by the Department of Children and Families. The family treatment court and juvenile treatment court grants would establish and operate programs to develop procedures for parents and juveniles who are in the Wisconsin court system as a result of juvenile or parental problems related to mental illness or substance abuse.
  • Senate Bill 393 would limit the use of physical restraints on pregnant and postpartum people who are in the custody of a correctional facility.
  • Senate Bill 396 would increase the penalty to a Class I felony for patronizing a prostitute who is under the age of 18.
  • Senate Bill 408 would create a crime for purchasing a firearm with the intent to transfer it to a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, which is also known as “straw purchasing.”


Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held an Informational Hearing to hear testimony from the Department of Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher on a study relating to the departments infrastructure.

The State Capitol Update is provided by the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses.