Legislative Update

December 1, 2017

Signed Into Law!

This week was an exciting one as two of the bills I authored this session were signed into law. The process of molding an idea into a bill and moving it through the legislative process in order be signed into law is an arduous yet rewarding one. This session I've had the opportunity to have a number of proposals signed into law, and I've certainly come to know and appreciate all the work that goes into getting a bill to the Governor's desk.

This week, Assembly Bill 497 and Senate Bill 258 were both signed by Governor Walker. Assembly Bill 497 ensures that Wisconsin utilities are treated fairly when completing utility projects that involve wetland mitigation and permitting. Prior to this legislation, utilities were held to an unfair and more importantly, unpredictable standard relating to wetland mitigation permitting. Ultimately, ratepayers are left covering the bill for these unexpected mitigation costs. AB 497 creates a uniform, predictable wetland mitigation standard for utilities, thereby leveling the playing field between utilities and other industries impacted by wetland mitigation and most importantly, protecting ratepayers from paying unforeseen project costs.

Senate Bill 258 ensures that dental patients throughout Wisconsin have complete access to their dental records, regardless of where they receive their care. Wisconsin is fairly unique in that dental practices can either be dentist or non-dentist owned. Under current law, non-dentist owned practices were not held to the same standards regarding access to patient records, meaning that if a non-dentist owned practice unexpectedly closed or a patient switched to a new office, their patients may be faced with challenges in receiving their records. SB 258 clarifies that regardless of how a dental practice is structured, patients must have access to their records. SB 258 also makes it illegal for dental practices to establish quotas, which is the practice of requiring a specific number of procedures to be completed.

I am proud of each of these bills because both focus on protecting consumers and the taxpayers of Wisconsin. I am also proud of the fact that both bills passed with bipartisan support, which is something I strive for in every bill I author.

Subcommittee Kicks Off

The Local Taxation and Funding Subcommittee that I am chairing had its first informational hearing this week at the capitol. Our mission in this subcommittee is to review the local taxation options available to communities and determine their efficacy and compliance costs. Additionally, we'll be taking a closer look at state aids, reviewing their effectiveness and looking for ways to make local taxation simpler and fairer. This first informational hearing was a great opportunity to hear from fellow committee members and subject matter experts on specific ideas and proposals that will help us fulfill our mission. I look forward to updating you on the progress of this subcommittee as we continue our work. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the Ways and Means website which includes additional information relating to the committee's work. You can also fill out a General Tax Survey to let us know what you think about Wisconsin's taxing system.

In Other News...

Congratulations to all those who participated in this year's nine-day gun deer hunt, and especially those who found success! This year's hunt led to a slight increase in buck harvests statewide. Just a reminder that although the gun deer hunt has wrapped up, muzzleloader season, archery and crossbow seasons, and two antlerless-only gun hunts continue on through the months of December and January. I'm wishing all hunters safety and success through the remainder of the season!

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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/