4 On 4 Update

May 29, 2015

Click on the picture above for a  4 on 4 Update from Rep. Steffen. If you cannot download the video, please follow this link to view on youtube.

Committee Action

Ways and Means

Executive Session 4/21/15

AB 31-setoffs against tax refunds for debts related to providing ambulance services. Passed committee 10 to 2.

AB 123: limited authorization for the town of Rome in Adams Co. to make cash grants or loan subsidies to owners, lessees, or developers of land located in a TID created by the town. Passed committee 12 to 0.

Public Hearing 5/26/15

AB 236: Tax-exempt accounts for qualified expenses incurred by individuals with disabilities and granting rule-making authority.

AB 219: Income and sales and use tax audits and statistical sampling.

AB 226: audits and interest rates on past due amounts.

Urban and Local Affairs

Executive Session 5/5/15

AB 93: bonding, spending, taxation authority and auditing of local professional baseball park districts. Passed committee 7 to 1.

AB 156: coverage for new participating employers under the Wisconsin Retirement System. Passed committee 8 to 0.

AB 161: limitations on town expenditures for certain highway purposes. Passed committee 8 to 0.

Capitol Highlights

Assembly Floor Session

This month the Assembly took up and passed a number of bills of interest, including three public benefit reform bills. Assembly Bill 177 will require FoodShare (food stamp) recipients to make healthier choices with their taxpayer-funded benefits. This bill states that two-thirds of FoodShare benefits must be spent on foods that are a part of the federal supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC). Other qualifying items include beef, pork, poultry, fish, potatoes, fresh produce, dairy and cranberry products. This legislation restores the intent of the FoodShare program by ensuring that individuals are getting the nutritious foods they need. Assembly Bills 191 and 192 allow for drug screening of recipients of government job training programs within FoodShare and Transitional Jobs or those who are receiving unemployment benefits. If reasonable suspicion of drug use is found, individuals are drug tested. If a positive test result is returned, individuals will be provided with substance abuse treatment. This measure will help those battling addiction to receive the treatment they need so that they may become a successful part of our growing workforce. All three public benefit reform bills now move to the Senate for consideration.

2015-2017 Budget

The Joint Finance Committee is continuing its work with reviewing and shaping our state's budget bill, which the Legislature is set to vote on next month. Here are a few highlights of the work that has already been done on some of the top issue areas of concern:

  • K-12 Education: $200 million increase in funding for schools over the biennium, and a $100 increase in per pupil funding in the second year.

  • Long Term Care Services: Removed Governor Walker's proposal. JFC's motion requires DHS to review programs, seek public and stakeholder input, maintain self-directed care, include a regional model and independent study, and maintain ADRC services.

  • SeniorCare: Maintained funding, eliminated the Governor's proposal to require participants to purchase Medicare Part D, and froze enrollment fees/co-pays at current level.

  • Public TV and Radio: Restored over $1.6 million to the Educational Communications Board to fund infrastructure, WI Media Lab, and 8.6 FTE positions.

  • DATCP: Funded County Conservation staff grants at $675,000 each year of the biennium. Staff handles land and water conservation activities and implements conservation practices to prevent soil erosion and limit water pollution.

Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired Roundtable

I recently had the opportunity to speak to the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired about my work in preventing blindness and some of the issues that are important to the organization, such as pedestrian safety and public transportation. I was honored to be recognized as the Freshman of the Year and am encouraged by the work this organization does to advocate for the blind and visually impaired.

Here's What I've Been Working On:


Throughout the budget drafting process, I have advocated for and worked to craft several motions that have successfully passed through the Joint Finance Committee. Here are some highlights:

  • Increased funding to the Fraud Prevention and Investigation Program (FPIP), this program investigates cases of fraud in the FoodShare and Medicaid programs.

  • Additional funding to the Boys and Girls Club's Be Great, Graduate program.

  • A revenue limit exemption for the Ashwaubenon School District so that it may levy the necessary funds to clean up the contaminated football field.

  • Restored funding for Justice Assistance grants which focus on youth gang diversion and tackling child abuse.

  • Modified the method for determining fire protection fees to reduce the burden this fee places on multi-parcel landowners, such as farmers.

Law and Order


AB 5: Protecting witnesses from intimidation. 

AB 8: Creates a felony charge for taking pictures or videos of another's private areas without consent, "upskirting."

AB 10: Empower victims of domestic abuse to file restraining orders against perpetrators who live in another state.

AB 147: Creates a felony charge for a intentionally causing bodily harm to a judge, prosecutor or law enforcement officer.

AB 220: Establishing a mandatory minimum period of confinement in prison for a person who possesses a firearm or who uses a firearm to commit certain crimes after being convicted of committing certain violent felonies.

Protecting the Environment


AB 15: Protect our Great Lakes through the phasing out of harmful microbeads used in manufacturing personal care and cosmetic items.

Supporting Our Businesses and Consumers


AB 11: Eliminates an outdated mandate for recycled content of newsprint in newspapers.

AB 18: Allowing liquor taste testing at certain retailers, levels the playing field with beer/wine tasting.

AB 143: Regulating transportation network companies, allowing expansion of ride-share options.

Fighting Fraud


AB 212: Makes repeat unemployment insurance benefit fraudsters ineligible for UI benefits for seven years if they commit two acts of UI fraud.

AB 200: A waiver to limit the number of FoodShare replacement cards.

AB 188: Removing FoodShare benefits from an inactive account and expunging unused benefits after one year.

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Office of Rep. David Steffen-State Capitol-21 North-Post Office Box 8953-Madison, WI 53708-8953

(608)-266-5840-Toll Free (888) 534-0004-Fax (608) 282-3604-Rep.Steffen@legis.wi.gov

Website: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/04/steffen/