January 12, 2018

This week, Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans continued issuing hollow campaign promises that directly contradict their actions over the past seven years. Majority leaders in Madison have spent years ignoring struggling school districts, abuses at juvenile correctional facilities, crumbling roads, and mounting student loan debt, while prioritizing the largest state taxpayer giveaway to a foreign corporation in U.S history.

A proposal pushed by Governor Walker to spend an additional $6.8 million on an advertising campaign received a public hearing in the Assembly. The advertising campaign aims to lure millennials to move back to the state by promoting outdoor activities and shorter commutes, despite GOP policies causing Wisconsin to lose its status as a leader in conservation and have the 4th worst roads in the nation.

Despite Gov. Walker’s attempts to publicize Wisconsin’s environment, the future of the state’s clean air is now being threatened as a Republican bill to roll back state air quality protections passed out of committee in the senate.

Health Care in Wisconsin

Health Care Survey

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped tens of millions of Americans gain access to affordable health care and has saved countless lives. Recent Republican efforts to repeal the ACA would increase the number of uninsured Americans, eliminate patient protections and significantly raise out-of-pocket costs on working families and seniors. Wisconsin Democrats are fighting to maintain and expand healthcare. Please share you health care story and thoughts on the Affordable Care Act. 

Click on the link below to share your thoughts on our health care system:

Wisconsin Democrats Health Care Survey

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB5166  Internet Service Providers (Rep. Brostoff, Sen. Larson) would prohibit a provider of broadband Internet access service (BIAS) from doing any of the following:

  1. Blocking lawful content, applications, or services or devices that do not harm the network.
  2. Throttling lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, application, or service or use of a device that does not harm the network.
  3. Engaging in paid prioritization, which is the favoring of some Internet traffic over other traffic in exchange for some form of consideration.
  4. Unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging an end user's ability to select, access, and use BIAS or an edge provider's ability to make lawful content, applications, services, and devices available to end users.  An edge provider is someone who provides any content, application, or service over the Internet, or a device used for accessing any Internet content, application, or service.
  5. Engaging in any unjust or unreasonable charge, practice, classification, or regulation.
  6. Making any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services or subjecting any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage or prejudice or disadvantage.
  7. Using, disclosing, or permitting access to any individually identifiable customer proprietary network information except in the provision of the BIAS or related service.

LRB4100 Termination of Parental Rights (Sen. Bewley, Rep. Meyers) would add attempted homicide of a child's parent as a ground for involuntarily terminating a person's parental rights to the child.

LRB5055 Farm Start-Up Grants (Rep. Vruwink) would require the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to create a Small Farm Start-Up grant program, under which DATCP may award grants of up to $50,000 to new agricultural production operations that will be conducted on 50 acres or less of land.

LRB5080 Managed Forest Land (Rep. Vruwink) would provide that land is eligible for designation as managed forest land (MFL) only if the land is owned by a resident of this state.

LRB4216 Income Tax Credit (Rep. Vruwink) would create a refundable individual income tax credit for claimants who are at least 70 and one-half years old and whose federal adjusted gross income is $30,000 or less in the year.

LRB5023 Income Tax Modification (Rep. Vruwink) would create a $500 individual income tax subtract modification for certain low income individuals who live in rural areas, and who own a motor vehicle that is registered in this state that the individual uses for personal transportation.

LRB5049 Lifetime Fishing License (Rep. Vruwink) would create a lifetime fishing license so that dedicated anglers can pursue their passion for decades without having to purchase a fishing license each year.

LRB5122 Drivers License Renewals (Rep. Vruwink) would require persons age 67 or older to get an eye exam from the Division of Motor Vehicles every two years rather than every three years.

LRB4152 Rollover Payment Reporting (Rep. Vruwink) would adopt provisions of federal law that extend the time in which a qualified airline employee may file an amended return to exclude from gross income any payments authorized by a federal bankruptcy court that are rolled into an individual retirement account.

LRB4086 Small Business Tax Credit (Rep. Vruwink) would create a nonrefundable individual income tax credit and a corporate income and franchise tax credit for a small business that is equal to the amount the small business paid in a taxable year for personal property taxes assessed to the small business.

LRB5030 State Park Plates (Rep. Vruwink) would create a Wisconsin State Parks specialty license plate. The cost to purchase and re-new the license plates is the same that people would pay regular license plates plus the cost of an annual state parks pass. 

LRB5021 DNA Sample Submission (Rep. Genrich) would require in specific cases of deaths where a medical examiner or coroner are required to be notified, a coroner or medical examiner must, unless a family member objects, submit a biological specimen to the state crime laboratories at the Department of Justice for analysis and inclusion in its data bank.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The Senate is expected to reconvene in late January.

Senate Committees

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held an Executive Session on twelve Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 191 would require school districts to use only regular meetings of the school board to call for a referendum to exceed revenue limits for operational expenses. It also would require school districts to use the annual meeting to call for a referendum for capital expenditure projects. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 195 would eliminate recurring referenda and place a five year limit on the duration of non-recurring referenda. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 324 would change proceed distribution amount from special registration plates associated with professional baseball park districts. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 438 would require state agencies to purchase signs through competitive bidding if the estimated cost exceeds $3,500. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 451 would prohibit the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection from regulating the terms of sale or rental of soda water beverage equipment that is not a coin-operated vending machine. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 457 would exempt vehicles that are 10 years or older from motor vehicle emissions limitations. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 459 would require the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to eliminate all administrative rules that relate to the regulation of air pollutants that are not regulated under federal law. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 463 would prohibit the DNR from requiring that a person sell reformulated gasoline if certain conditions are met. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 466 would prohibit the DNR from including the air monitoring site located at Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County in the annual monitoring network plan. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 488 would allow an individual to use an identification card issued by a federally recognized Native American tribe in this state as proof of residence for voter registration purposes. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 502 would authorize the governor, during a state of emergency, to waive any fee required by the state for the replacement of a permit, license, approval, or other authorization for a person who resides in the area under the state of emergency. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 579 would allow a municipality to increase their levy limit to recover half of the tax incremental base of a Tax Incremental District (TID) territory that has been subtracted. (Passed, 5-0)

The committee also held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 450 which would require companies that do business with the state to verify they are not participating in any boycotts of Israel as a condition of their contracts. Additionally, this bill would prohibit state agencies and local governments from establishing policies that would boycott Israel.

On Tuesday the committee held a Public Hearing and on Friday held an Executive Session to vote on the following three Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 462 would prohibit a credit reporting agency from charging a fee to freeze or remove a freeze from a credit report. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 570 would make changes relating to the Wisconsin Commission on Uniform State Laws. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 650 would allow the Mississippi River Parkway Commission to establish a technical committee to advise the commission. (Passed, 5-0)

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee held a Public Hearing on the appointment of John Wenum and Kristine O’Mearato the Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board, as well as two Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Assembly Bill 120 would allow a municipality the option to publish a summary of a legal notice, instead of publishing any full-text content that is required under current law.

  • Senate Bill 578 would eliminate the requirement to submit a certified copy of the decedent's death certificate to the register of deeds.

  • Senate Bill 582 would allow an appointing authority to remove county officers from office at pleasure. Currently, certain county officers may be removed from office by their appointing authority only for cause. 

The committee also held an held an Executive Session on three Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 505 would allow the Town of Cable in Bayfield County to create a tax incremental district (TID) in the same manner as a city or village. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 525 would create a non-lapsable fund to be known as the “innovation fund" and an Innovation Council to advise Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on how to use funds available to support innovation through competition or improving local problems. (Passed, 5-1)

  • Senate Bill 534 would allow the Department of Safety and Professional Services to appoint certain cities, villages, towns, and counties (local governments) to approve construction, alteration, and plumbing plans for public buildings and places of employment. (Passed, 6-0)

Senate Elections and Utilities

The committee held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 260 would permit a school board to adopt a resolution to reduce the number of signatures required on nomination papers submitted by candidates for school district officer. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 475 / Assembly Bill 532 would create procedures for handling complaints about excavations, commonly known as “digger’s hotline” requirements. (Passed, 3-2)

Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on three Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 572 would add counties, based on their need for dental services, to be included in the to the dental reimbursement pilot project in the Medical Assistance program.

  • Senate Bill 667 would provide additional funding for administration of the livestock premises registration program.

  • Senate Bill 599 would make several changes to the Agricultural Producer Security Program (APSP), a state fund that protects agriculture producers from losing money when their buyers default on their financial obligations:

    • Provide an exemption on filing financial statements for processors that spend less than $15,000/year on vegetables.
    • Allow milk buyers and producers to agree on deferred payment schedules (up to 5 months).
    • Consolidate two grain-related funds within the program.
    • Exempt grain dealers’ deferred payment contracts from the financial reporting requirements in the program.
    • Require producers to file a claim against defaulters with all available federal and state proceedings before filing a claim with DATCP.
    • Eliminate requirement for a notarized statement with a license application.

The committee also had an Executive Session on the appointment of Dr. Robert Forbes to the Veterinary Examining Board, Jeffery Schwaller to the Snowmobile Recreation Council and former Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. (Confirmation recommended, 8-0)

Senate Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism

The committee held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 586 would allow that guaranteed asset protection (gap) waivers may be offered and sold in connection with the credit sale or lease of a vehicle and that gap waivers are not insurance.

  • Senate Bill 583 would modify requirements for certain securities transactions to be exempt from registration with the Division of Securities in the Department of Financial Institutions.

Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues

The committee will hold a Public Hearing on seven Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 514 would establish a number of requirements for certain state agencies to promote competitive integrated employment.

  • Senate Bill 461 would expand the definition of members eligible to join Red Arrow Clubs.

  • Senate Bill 528 would create an individual income tax credit for qualified expenses incurred by a family caregiver to assist a qualified family member.

The Task Force on Alzheimers and Dementia was formed in 2015 to examine how Wisconsin could improve care for citizens with Alzeimers and Dementia. The task force came up with a number of proposals, four of which were heard at the public hearing including:

  • Senate Bill 552 would allow an adult with a functional impairment to create a supported decision making agreement to allow another person, referred to as a "supporter," to assist the adult with certain decision-making.

  • Senate Bill 527 would require the Dept. of Health Services (DHS) to award up to $500k in grants to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in rural and underserved urban areas.

  • Senate Bill 548 would establish a 20 member palliative care council within DHS comprised of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, health care administrators, and others.

  • Senate Bill 518 would addresses court jurisdiction for guardianship of adults and allows Wisconsin courts to communicate with other courts when a jurisdictional issue arises.

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues

The committee held an Executive Session on the appointments of Jason Rothenberg and Arthur Zimmerman to the Deferred Compensation Board (Confirmation recommended, 4-0), as well as four Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 167 would modify the sales and use tax exemption for commercial radio and television stations to include broadcasting property. (Passed, 4-0)

  • Senate Bill 398 / Assembly Bill 489  would expand eligibility for certain business investments that qualify for tax credits under the Angel and Early Stage Seed Investment tax credit programs. (Passed, 4-0)

  • Senate Bill 404 would exempt the initial limited liabilities company filing fee for student entrepreneurs. (Passed, 4-0)

  • Senate Bill 481 would establish that a business may not deduct expenses paid to move outside the state or outside the United States. For years Democrats have been pushing for Republicans to act on Senate Bill 481 which would eliminate tax breaks for companies that move Wisconsin jobs out of the state or country. (Passed, 4-0)

The committee will also hold a Public Hearing on four Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 668 would increase the limit on the amount of tax credits that may be certified under the historic rehabilitation tax credit from $500,000 to $3,500,000.

  • Senate Bill 603 would allow certain foreign corporations acting in a fiduciary capacity to establish or maintain places of business or branch offices in this state.

  • Senate Bill 617 would allow for optional electronic tax notifications, permit the state to recover all costs from a debtor related to garnishment action, impose the existing sales tax penalty if a company is over collecting after notice from DOR, allow truncated social security numbers on information returns provided to payees, and  increase the tax assessor exam cost.

  • Senate Bill 659 / Assembly Bill 356 would require that first responders, emergency medical technicians, and ambulance service providers renew their certifications or licenses every three years instead of every two years.

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 634 which would limit discrimination claims made under local city ordinances. This bill would target victims of workplace discrimination so they would have fewer ways to win money from their employers.

The committee will also hold an Executive Session on the executive appointments of Laurie McCallum and Georgia Maxwell to the Labor and Industry Review Commission and Senate Bill 604. (Passed, 4-0)

Senate Health and Human Services
The committee held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 575, which would make a number of changes to the pharmacy practice laws regarding the prescribing and dispensing of biological products. (Passed, 5-0)

Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations
The committee held a Public Hearing on five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 616 would waive the fees for initial occupational credentials.

  • Senate Bill 542 would expand the violations of unemployment insurance law and increase penalties.

  • Senate Bill 624 would require the Depart. of Health Services to prepare and submit implementation plan to issue electronic benefit transfer identification cards containing a photo to recipients of assistance under the federal food stamp program.

  • Senate Bill 635 would establish a certification program for expanded function dental auxiliaries administered by the Dentistry Examining Board.

Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held and Executive Session on eight Senate Bills and two Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 280 would expand the definition of neglect to include any person who is responsible for a child's welfare who negligently fails, for reasons other than poverty, to provide the child with necessary care or contributes to the failure to be guilty of neglect. (Passed, 3-2)

  • 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. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 304 would prohibit blocking or obstructing the lawful use of a thoroughfare while participating in a riot. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 305 would prohibit participating in a riot while going armed with a dangerous weapon, which includes a firearm. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 435 would allow first responders to administer basic first aid to domestic animals before being transferred to a veterinarian. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 442 would create a $5,000 surcharge to be imposed on persons who are convicted of patronizing or soliciting prostitutes. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 513 would find a person guilty of a Class B misdemeanor if a person impersonates another's identity online with the intent to frighten, intimidate, harm, threaten, abuse, harass, or defraud that person. Impersonation online is commonly known as “catfishing”. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 541 would expand the administrative subpoena process to include hotels as possible recipients of administrative subpoenas, and to include human trafficking crimes as violations for which an administrative subpoena may be issued. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Assembly Bill 519 would change the requirements for service of a notice of claim against state officer, employee, or agent. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Assembly Bill 601 would extend the DOC contract limit for the tracking of sexual offender via GPS to 7 years. (Passed, 3-2)

The committee also held a Public Hearing on four Assembly Bills:

  • Assembly Bill 650 would change the information that the Department of Justice must include in its report regarding restitution received by crime victims.

  • Assembly Bill 660 would raise age from 17 to 18 at which a person who is alleged to have violated a criminal law is subject to the procedures specified in the Criminal Procedure Code.

  • Assembly Bill 678 would replace the reference to “marked police vehicle” with “an authorized emergency vehicle that the operator knows or reasonably should know is being operated by a law enforcement officer.”

  • Assembly Bill 737 would allow Wisconsin courts to add a domestic abuse surcharge if the domestic violence crime had been committed in Wisconsin.

This Week in the Assembly

Assembly Session

The Assembly was not scheduled for a floor period this week. The scheduled floor periods for the session are available here.

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Mental Health
The Committee held an Executive Session on AB628, which relates to referrals for subjects for missing adults and operator’s license review; AB 629, which addresses uniform adult guardianship jurisdiction; AB 630, relating to dementia specialist certification; AB 631,which creates a nonrefundable individual income tax credit to family caregivers; and AB 632, relating to grants for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia awareness.

Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 774, relating to the changes, rules, and practices of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District; and AB 583 relating to sales and use tax exemption for services performed during a disaster period by electric cooperatives or telecommunications utilities.

Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The Committee held an Executive Session on AB 565, which addresses security freezes on consumer credit reports; and AB 577, which relates to support donations of farm and food products to food banks.

The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 635, regarding reasonable compensation of a motor vehicle dealer by a motor vehicle manufacturer, importer, or distributor for certain motor vehicle service work.

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee held a Public Hearing on AB 649, regarding hunting with a high-powered air rifle or an airbow; AB 720, which addresses the responsibility of a property owner for discharge of a hazardous substance by another; and AB 789 , which exempts certain facilities from solid waste facility regulations.

The Committee held an Executive Session on AB 558, which relates to the sale of reformulated gasoline; and AB 599, regarding the determinations for the navigability of a stream.

Assembly Committee on Corrections
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 676, which classifies county jailers as protective occupation participants under the Wisconsin Retirement System and the treatment of county jailers under the Municipal Employment Relations Act; AB 708, which limits overtime at the Department of Corrections; and AB 736, which creates a procedure for granting certificates of qualification for employment for persons convicted of a crime.

The Committee held an Executive Session on AB 539, regarding plans for supervised release of sexually violent persons and representation of sexually violent persons by the State Public Defender.

Assembly Committee on Family Law
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 775, relating to showing a substantial likelihood that a parent will not meet the conditions established for the safe return of the child to the home in a termination of parental rights proceeding; and AB 602 regarding marriage license application requirements, issuance, and validity.

Assembly Committee on Agriculture
The Committee held an Executive Session on AB 698, which makes various changes to the Agricultural Producer Security Program.

Assembly Committee on Workforce Development
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 625, which relates to the competitive integrated employment of persons with a disability; AB 745, regarding participation in an  apprenticeship program by a high school senior; AB 734, which relates to creating individual and corporate income and franchise tax deductions for tuition paid for apprenticeship programs; AB 124 relating to the marketing of employment and training opportunities to former University of Wisconsin System students; and AB 617 relating to the Supervised Business Initiatives Program.

Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 811 regarding talent attraction and retention initiatives.

Assembly Committee on Local Government
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 618, regarding audits performed by the Legislative Audit Bureau; AB 664, which regards obtaining evidence of the termination of certain property interests of a decedent; AB 752, relating to applications for alcohol beverage licenses and permits and for cigarette and tobacco products retailer licenses as well as appointment of corporate agents of alcohol beverage licensees and permittees; AB 690, relating to authorizing counties to conduct foreclosure sales using an Internet-based auction; AB 691 regarding eligible bidders at foreclosure sales and eligible purchasers of foreclosed property; and AB 729, relating to revenue limit adjustment for certain school district workforce development improvements.

Assembly Committee on Insurance
The Committee held a Public Hearing and Executive Session on AB 744, which relates to insurance policy renewal in an affiliate and the use and contents of certificates of insurance.

The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 712, relating to the enforcement of federal and state laws relating to the management of the wolf population and to the killing of wolves and expenditure of funds for wolf management purposes; and AB 820, which regards the standard of proof required to effect a temporary or permanent closure of a sport shooting range based on an unsafe condition.

The Assembly Committee on Tourism
The Committee held a Public Hearing on AB 668 regarding the lighting requirements for bicycles and motor bicycles operating on certain trails designated by the Department of Natural Resources; and AB 795 relating to the membership of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission technical committee. 

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 566, Senate Bill 633, Senate Bill 691 and Senate Bill 602.

Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 614, Senate Bill 689, Senate Bill 628, Senate Bill 517 and Senate Bill 644.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 687 and the appointment of Daniel Meyer as the Secretary of the Dept. of Natural Resources. The committee will also hold an Executive Session on Senate Bill 646, Senate Bill 648, and Assembly Bill 118.

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
 The Committee will hold an Executive Session on AB 649 and AB 789.

Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight
The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB 804 and AB 553.

Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The Committee will hold an Executive Session on AB 712 and AB 820.

Assembly Committee on Children and Families
The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB 776, AB 779, AB 783, AB 785, and AB 787.

Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight
The Committee will hold a Public Meeting to discuss draft legislation requiring DOA to create an RFP for an outside evaluation of government functions and implementation of measures for cost savings and efficiencies.

Assembly Committee on Science and Technology
The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB 563, AB 564, and AB 661.

Assembly Committee on Mental Health
The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB 782 and AB 815. The Committee will also hold an Executive Session on AB 782.

Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions
The Committee will hold an Executive Session on AB 552. The Committee will also hold a Public Hearing on AB 663.

Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
The Committee will hold an Executive Session on AB 583 and AB 774.

Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities
The Committee will hold an Executive Session on SB 407, AB 567, and AB 701. The Committee will also hold a Public Hearing on AB 777, AB 805, and AB 808.

Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform
The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB 670, AB 773, AB 483, and AB 584.

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