December 22, 2017

In the days leading up to the holiday season, the Trump administration rolled back Net Neutrality protections and Republicans in Congress passed a tax plan that will raise taxes on the middle class and working families, while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest.

At the state level, Republicans held a public hearing on a bill that would eliminate wetland protections, lead to increased flooding and compromise water quality. Additionally, Senate Republican Leaders formally asked Attorney General Schimel to investigate the Government Accountability Board, the now defunct agency Republicans disbanded in 2015. Democrats raised concerns that the Attorney General, a Republican political ally, would have free reign to cherry-pick information in whatever way is most helpful to their preferred Republican candidates. This egregious abuse of power clears the way for an open-ended investigation with no clear direction that could leave Wisconsin taxpayers footing the bill.

For more information on these Democratic solutions and upcoming legislative committee activity, see below.

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

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB4980 School Conference and Activities Leave (Rep. Pope, Sen. Ringhand) would allow certain employees to take leave from employment to attend school conferences and classroom activities for the employees' children.

LRB4926 School Revenue Limit Adjustment (Sen. Miller) would permit a school board to raise the school district revenue limit by the amount spent on energy efficiency measures.

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 Natural Resources and Energy
The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 600, which would eliminate protections for over one million acres of wetlands in Wisconsin and could lead to increased flooding and compromise water quality.

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee held an Executive Session on legislation to introduce the Worker's Compensation Law as submitted by the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). The council released a summary of provisions that it will include in its 2017 “agreed upon bill.” The proposal was recommended to be introduced to the legislature on a vote of, 5-0.

Senate Committee on Education
The committee held a Public Hearing to discuss three Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 222 / Assembly Bill 300 would require each school board, independent charter school, and opportunity school to annually provide parents or guardians with a copy of instructions on how to access a summary of the pupil examinations administered under state and federal law.

  • Senate Bill 556 would require a school attendance officer to direct a pupil services professional to evaluate whether to refer a child who has an extended period of excused absences as a child with disabilities. 

  • Senate Bill 427 would require the school board to notify certain interested parties, including members of the community, prior to commencing a construction project. 

The committee also held an Executive Session to vote on the following Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 159 would require a school board to include the nutrition value of foods and the role of a nutritious diet into the health curriculum. Passed, 7-0.

  • Senate Bill 234 / Assembly Bill 304 would require schools, upon request of a parent or guardian, to excuse a pupil enrolled in grades 3 to 12 from taking any examination required under state or federal law, except the civics test that is a requirement for high school graduation. Passed, 7-0.

  • Senate Bill 483 would expand the grades of eligibility to 6, 7, and 8 to receive a grant to participate in a robotics competition. Passed, 7-0.

  • Senate Bill 491 would authorize the Division of Libraries and Technology to collect and maintain public library related data, to report to the public about library use, and develop and implement technology systems that allow for data exchange and automation of work processes. Passed, 7-0.

  • Senate Bill 494 would require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to publish its annual school and school district accountability report by November 30, rather than in September. Passed, 7-0.

  • Senate Bill 536 / Assembly Bill 488 would require DPI to make available, upon request, practice examinations or sample items related to knowledge and concept examinations required to be administered under state law. Passed, 7-0.

Joint Committees

Joint Legislative Audit Committee
The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 511, which would eliminate the requirement that the Legislative Audit Bureau perform a financial audit of the local government property insurance fund every three years. The committee also held an Executive Session on the proposed an audit of the Group Insurance Board, Department of Employee Trust Funds. Approved, 10-0.

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 Small Business Development
The committee held a public hearing on AB498 regarding filing fees for student entrepreneurs and AB640 regarding the creation of an “Innovation Fund.”

Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee held an executive session on AB544 regarding removing DATCP regulation on the rental and sale of soda water beverage equipment.

The committee held a public hearing on AB565, regarding removing fees for credit reports AB577, regarding grants for organizations that distribute to foodbanks and AB684 regarding leases for printers and copiers.

Assembly Committee on Transportation
The committee held a public hearing on AB443 regarding exemptions for special registration plate fees, AB360 regarding limited sales of home bakes and canned foods without a license and AB716 regarding highway signage for right of way.

The committee held an executive session on AB197/SB135 regarding eliminating a licenses for OWI offenses, AB594 which revises outdoor advertising signs and AB595 which declares certain outdoor advertising signs along highways to be nonconforming.

The Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight
The committee held an executive session on AB527 regarding competitive bidding thresholds.

The committee held a public hearing on AB231 which creates an independent prosecutor board that oversees and sets policies for the state prosecutor’s office.

The committee will have a meeting discussing 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 Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee held an executive session on AB626 which would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to establish a fall open season for hunting deer within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. AB665 which allows people to make a voluntary contribution to the DNR to cover any portion of the costs of a hunting or fishing license for a disabled veteran and AB711 which eliminates the requirement that a person hunting bear or wolf with a dog carry certain tags for the dog.

Assembly Committee on Health
The committee will hold an executive session on AB582, which allows for non-licensed podiatrists to practice under the supervision of a podiatrist. AB608 would allow persons without a pharmacy license to engage in the practice of pharmacy under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. AB627 would make changes to the dental reimbursement pilot project in the Medical Assistance program. AB638 which would establish a council in the Department of Health Services to advise the department on research, diagnosis, treatment, and education relating to pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, commonly referred to as PANDAS. AB653 regarding breast density notification requirements and AB681 would prohibit the sale of dextromethorphan (a common ingredient in cold medicine) without a prescription to persons under the age of 18.

Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities
The committee held an executive session on AB559 which would require Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to establish policies for the transfer of credits earned by high school students and AB598 which would make physicians and dentists who agree to practice in free or charitable clinics eligible to participate in an educational loan assistance program.

Assembly Committee on State Affairs
The committee held a public hearing on AB675 which relates to the use of building trust funds. AB225/SB307 regulates the placement of cigarettes and nicotine products and AB548 makes changes to the requirement for claims for state compensation for wrongfully imprisoned persons.

Assembly Committee on Regulatory and Licensing Reform 
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB547 which exempts nonfederal and artificial wetlands from certain Department of Natural Resources wetland permitting requirements.

Assembly Committee on Judiciary
The committee held an executive session on AB570 which creates a procedure by which a defendant in a criminal case may seek access to the mental health treatment records of a crime victim.

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

There are no committees scheduled for next week at this time. 


Assembly Committees

There are no committees scheduled for next week at this time. 

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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.