December 8, 2017

Another disappointing Wisconsin jobs report released this week exposed the state’s ongoing economic problems under Gov. Walker. According to the federal “Gold Standard” numbers, Wisconsin trailed the national average in job creation for the sixth consecutive year - one of the longest periods of economic stagnation in state history.

By failing to keep pace with the national job growth rate, Wisconsin has seen its jobs deficit balloon to over 110,000 under Gov. Walker. Rather than focusing on economic solutions, Legislative Republicans plan to advance several bills in the coming week that weaken Wisconsin’s clean air standards, limit emissions testing and allow more harmful pollution.

Democrats have remained focused on economic solutions and continued their push for good jobs and fair wages this week. Several lawmakers announced new legislation to expand access to health care and ensure fair pay for CNAs and personal care workers. Renewable energy development was also highlighted along with a new legislative proposal to make technical college more affordable and expand workforce training for Wisconsin families. With a limited floor period anticipated for 2018, Democratic lawmakers are committed to finding solutions that grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.

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

LRB4840 Renewable Energy Authority (Rep. Shankland, Barca, Sen. Miller) would create the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority (WREDA) and authorizes WREDA to implement programs for developing renewable resources, reducing energy consumption, and improving energy efficiency.

LRB3758 Tuition Grant Program (Sen. Vinehout) would create a grant program to cover resident tuition and fees at technical colleges and two-year University of Wisconsin System schools. The bill also eliminates the manufacturing tax credit.

LRB2495 Lock on Gas Pumps (Sen. Hansen, Rep. Subeck) would require sellers of motor vehicle fuel to place locks on each pump capable of reading a credit or debit card.

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 Transportation and Veterans Affairs
The committee held a Public Hearing to discuss five Senate Bills and two Assembly companion bills:

  • Senate Bill 480 / Assembly Bill 381 provides a $10 dollar donation to the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and National Law Enforcement Fund from the proceeds of the law enforcement memorial fund specialty plate program. 

  • Senate Bill 437 / Assembly Bill 442 would make changes to the requirements for signs placed to mark all-terrain vehicle (ATV) routes.

  • Senate Bill 495 would declare certain outdoor advertising signs along highways to be nonconforming, but does not require the signs to be removed unless certain criteria are met.

  • Senate Bill 496 would revise the standards governing the treatment of outdoor advertising signs that do not conform to local ordinances and that are affected by transportation public projects.

  • Senate Bill 537 would make several changes related to motor vehicle manufacturers and the compensation of motor vehicle dealers for certain service work.

The committee also held an Executive Session on the appointment of Steven Best, Paul Chamberlain and Vern Larson to serve on the Board of Veterans Affairs, as well as Senate Bill 386, which would require that an animal-drawn vehicle have a white headlight and red rear lights and rear flashing yellow or amber strobe lights. (Passed, 3-2)

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee held a Public Hearing on five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 438 requires state agencies to purchase signs through competitive bidding if the estimated cost exceeds $3,500.

  • 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. 

  • Senate Bill 488 would allow an individual to use an identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in this state as proof of residence for voter registration purposes.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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 Labor
The committee held an executive session on AB516/SB399 regarding changes in unemployment insurance law.

Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee held an executive session on AB507 regarding the ability of minors to operate temporary stands without a license.

Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations
The committee held an executive session on AB588 regarding the monitoring of air quality at Kohler-Andrae State Park.

Assembly Committee on Insurance
The committee held an executive session on AB334/SB274 which implements the Model Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. SB319 the bill clarifies that a statute that imposes conditions on cost sharing under a policy, plan, or contract is also a health insurance mandate for which a social and financial impact report must be submitted.

Assembly Committee on Transportation
The committee held a public hearing on AB197/SB135 regarding the revocation of a driver’s license for certain OWI offenses. AB699 would make USH 41 across the Oconto River in the city of Oconto as the “PFC Valentine T. Warrichaiet Memorial Bridge. AB594 regulates outdoor advertisements which don’t conform to local ordinances. AB595 regulates the removal requirements for non-conforming sites along highways.

Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection
The committee held a public hearing on AB554 which would allow vehicles to display only one license plate.

Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee held an executive session on AB573 which allows the transfer of a license to obtain a wild turkey to another eligible person. AB575 requires that passengers under 10 wear a flotation device.  AB605 would allow persons under the age of 16 to trap without a license if under supervision.

The committee held a public hearing on AB626 regarding allowing deer hunting within the Apostle Islands. AB665 would allow people to make voluntary contributions to cover license for disabled veterans. AB711 eliminates the requirement that a person hunting bear or wolf with a 
dog carry certain tags for the dog.

Assembly Committee on Children and Families
The committee held an executive session on AB541 which would require DHS to distribute grants for child literacy programs. AB551 would change the procedure for moving a child’s residence in joint custody situations. AB586 regulates custody or physical placement of children in custody situations. AB504/SB420 would allow children to be employed without a permit in a family business. 

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 167, Senate Bill 203, Senate Bill 398, Assembly Bill 489Senate Bill 404, Senate Bill 467, Senate bill 481, as well as the appointments of Jason Rothenberg and Arthur Zimmerman to the Deferred Compensation Board. 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. 

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 405, Senate Bill 505, Senate Bill 525 and Senate Bill 534.

Senate Health and Human Services
The committee will hold an Executive Session to vote on the executive appointments of Alaa Abd-Elsayed, Michael Carton, Padmaja Doniparthi, Dr. Rodney Erickson, David Roelke, Dr. Timothy Westlake, and Dr. Robert Zoeller to the Medical Examining Board; Barbara Bechte, Tanya Meyer, Valerie Palarski to the Board on Aging and Long Term Care; Dr. Matthew Bistan, Dr. Leonardo Huck, Dennis Myers, Dr. Wendy Pietz to the Dentistry Examining Board; Luann Skarlupka, Dr. Beth Smith Houskamp and Pamela White to the Board of Nursing.

The committee will also hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 575.

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 457, Senate Bill 459, Senate Bill 463 and Senate Bill 466, which all aim to reduce air pollution protections.

Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on CR 16-085, regarding compounding pharmaceuticals and CR 17-038, relating to requests for written advice issued on behalf of the Ethics Commission. 

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Mental Health
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB628, AB629, AB630, AB631 and AB632.

Assembly Committee on Health
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB638, AB556, AB653, AB679 and AB681.

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee will hold a public hearing on Clearinghouse Rule 17-002.

Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB559, AB567, AB598 and AB701.

Assembly Subcommittee on Personal and Corporate Income Taxes
This will be an introductory meeting of the Subcommittee to discuss goals and future activity. No official actions will be taken.

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

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