December 1, 2017

While the state legislature was fairly quiet this week, conducting several committee meetings and no floor sessions, Washington D.C. was anything but quiet. Congressional Republicans, at the urging of President Trump, continue to press ahead with a controversial tax bill. The latest version of this GOP proposal, would cut taxes for the wealthiest one percent while increasing taxes on students, teachers, farmers, seniors and homeowners. Non-partisan reports reveal Wisconsin is one of 19 states that will see higher taxes under the plan. 

Wisconsin’s working families will be squeezed while corporations and individuals earning over $2.5 million a year would seethe largest benefit in tax cuts. The proposal, backed by Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan, would add more than $1 trillion to the national deficit.

Democrats continue to argue for a better deal that prioritizes the middle class rather than additional tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. With growing income inequality and record-setting corporate profits, Democrats want to improve tax fairness and target tax relief to seniors and working families.

Health Care in Wisconsin

Health Care Survey

The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of millions of Americans gain access to affordable health care and has saved countless lives. Recent Republican efforts 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

Action Alert: Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Walker’s decision to reject the federal Medicaid expansion has cost Wisconsin taxpayers over $1 billion while preventing thousands of families from accessing affordable care. The plan has been derided nationally as cruel, immoral, nonsensical, fiscally irresponsible and stupid. Now, five years into the costly Republican experiment, the Walker administration is seeking an extension to further limit coverage and shift additional costs onto Wisconsin taxpayers.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend one of two public information sessions to comment on the Walker Administration’s rejection of the federal Medicaid expansion.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Pontiac Convention Center, Regal Room
2809 N. Pontiac Dr.
Janesville, WI 53545

Thursday, December 7, 2017
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Brown County Central Library
515 Pine St.
Green Bay, WI 54301

Individuals who are unable to attend one of these two sessions in person may submit written comments to:

Division of Medicaid Services
P.O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53707-0309
Fax: 608-266-1096
Email: wisconsin1115clawaiver@dhs.wisconsin.gov

Public comments will be accepted from November 24 - December 24, 2017.  

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB1530 Health Care for Veterans (Sen. Erpenbach, Rep. Hintz) would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide needy veterans and their eligible family members with health care aid related to mental illness or treatment for substance abuse.

LRB4179 Faith Health (Rep. Berceau) would eliminate certain protections for the election of spiritual prayer or faith-based healing on behalf of a child.

LRB4783 Repurposing Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake (Rep. Goyke) would require the Department of Corrections to close the Lincoln Hills School for boys and Copper Lake School for girls. It also would require a report on the feasibility of converting these facilities to a correctional treatment facility for adults in the earned release program.

LRB0522 Crimeless Revocation Reform (Rep. Goyke) would require the period of imprisonment following revocation to not exceed 30 days unless the person has committed three or more violations during his or her release, unless the violation is a crime or a violation of a condition that the person not contact a specified individual, unless the person has absconded, or unless the person is registered with the Department of Corrections as a sex offender.

LRB4858 Expanding Earned Release (Rep. Goyke) would allow certain prisoners who participate in educational or other programs to earn time off the confinement portion of their sentences.

LRB4643 & LRB4846 Expungement of DNA from Crime Labs (Rep. Hebl, Sen. Taylor) would require the Dept. of Justice to destroy DNA samples of a person if a court finds the person not guilty or delinquent on any such charge or allegation. 

LRB0964 Local Licensure of Transportation Network Drivers (Rep. Subeck) would authorize a city, village, or town to require that a driver for a transportation network company be licensed by the city, village, or town.

LRB4897 Runaway Prevention Month (Rep. Sargent) is a Joint Resolution proclaiming November as Runaway Prevention Month in Wisconsin.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The fall legislative session has ended and the Senate is next scheduled to reconvene in 2018.

Senate Committees

Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry
The committee held a Public Hearing on six Senate Bills and three Assembly companion bills:
  • Senate Bill 506 would establish conditions under which the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may change a determination from non-navigable to a navigable waterway. It also exempts certain impoundments from regulations relating to navigable waters.

  • Senate Bill 372/Assembly Bill 461 would require the Department of Natural Resources to treat a terminally ill individual who is participating in a hunting-related event sponsored by a charitable organization as a resident for purposes of determining his or her eligibility for, and cost of, obtaining hunting approvals.

  • Senate Bill 376/Assembly Bill 464 would increase the maximum height at which a person may set or operate a trap or device built or used to capture birds from three feet to ten feet.

  • Senate Bill 401/Assembly Bill 490 would reduce the fee imposed for a resident deer hunting license, archer hunting license, or crossbow hunting license issued to a veteran who is 70 years of age or older.

  • Senate Bill 508 would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to establish a fall open season for hunting deer within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

  • Senate Bill 509 would authorize a person under the age of 16 to engage in trapping without obtaining a trapping license or a trapping education certificate of accomplishment if the person is trapping under the supervision of a licensed trapper.

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 Corrections
The committee held a public hearing on AB539 which would change the rules regarding supervised release for sexually violent offenders.

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee held a public hearing on AB558 and AB599. AB558 would prohibit the DNR from requiring that reformulated gas be sold. Under the Clean Air Act and current law, reformulated gasoline is the only type of gasoline that may be sold in areas designated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency as not meeting certain federal air quality. AB599 which effects determinations of navigability of a stream.

As part of the Red Tape Review the committee discussed
NR 100 - Environmental Protection
NR 215 - List of Toxic, Conventional, and Nonconventional Pollutants

Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections
The committee held a public hearing on AB637 which would allow municipalities to use electronic voting machines for in person absentee ballots. The committee held an executive session on AB332 which would allow school districts and school boards to reduce the number of nomination signatures required in a second class city.

Assembly Committee on Health
The committee held a public hearing on AB522, AB582, AB608 and AB628. AB522 would allow first responders to give care to domestic animals. AB582 would allow a physician assistant or advanced practice nurse prescriber to provide non-surgical podiatry services. AB608 would allow persons without a pharmacy license to engage in the practice of pharmacy under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. AB522 would require a law enforcement agency that has issued an alert for a missing adult at risk to refer the person making the report to a local aging and disability resource center.

Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
The committee held an executive session on AB495 which would change the rules regarding what can be used evidence in defense of a claim for excessive assessment.

The committee held a public hearing on AB600 and AB659. AB600 would allow the Town of Cable in Bayfield County to create a tax incremental district in the same manner as a city or village.  AB659 would allow the increased of political subdivision's levy limit upon the subtraction of territory from a tax incremental financing district.

Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety
The committee held a public hearing on AB642, AB650, AB654 and AB634 AB642 expands the definition of violent crime in relation to what persons can be denied a pre-trial release. AB650 changes the information that the Department of Justice must include in its report to the Department of Administration and the Joint Committee on Finance regarding restitution received by crime victims. AB654 would require public safety answering points to provide assistance over the phone to people performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. AB634 expands the scope of administrative subpoenas for investigation of human trafficking crimes and Internet crimes against children.

The committee held an executive session on AB506, AB524, and AB603. AB 506 expands the LawEnforcement Standards Board to also regulate jail and juvenile detention officer training standards. AB524 expands the penalties for straw purchase, and creates exceptions for victims of domestic violence. AB603 would make catfishing, or impersonating another person online, a class B misdemeanor.

Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy
The committee held a public hearing on AB589 and AB40. AB589 changes the regulation of sign language interpretation services through the creation of a Sign Language Interpreters Examining Board AB40 allows WEDC to award an entrepreneurial assistance grant of up to $3,000 to a new business for expenses related to hiring paid interns.

Assembly Subcommittee on Local Government Taxes and Funding

The committee will hold and Informational hearing to receive testimony only from the invited speakers regarding their work and knowledge relating to local taxation and funding. 

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 438, Senate Bill 451, Senate Bill 488, Senate Bill 502 and Senate Bill 579.

Committee on Transportation and Veterans Affairs
The committee will hold an Executive Session on the executive appointments of Steven Best, Paul Chamberlain and Vern Larson to serve on the Board of Veterans Affairs. The committee will also vote on Senate Bill 386.

The committee is also holding a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 480/Assembly Bill 381, Senate Bill 437/Assembly Bill 442, Senate Bill 495, Senate Bill 496 and Senate Bill 537.

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Labor
The committee will hold an Executive Session on AB516 and AB399.

Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee will hold an Executive Session on AB507.

Assembly Committee on Insurance
The committee will hold an Executive Session on AB334, SB319, and AB274.

Assembly Committee on Transportation
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on AB197, SB135, AB699, AB594, and

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 To view updated committee notices, visit the legislative website and click on Committee Schedule: Wisconsin State Legislature.

 The State Capitol Update is provided by the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses. For additional information, please send an email to WisconsinDemocrats@legis.wi.gov or call toll free: 1.800.385.3385.