March 2, 2018

This week, Democratic leaders released a memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) detailing Foxconn’s effect on the State Highway Rehabilitation Program budget. The memo highlights $70-90 million designated for state highway projects that is being diverted toward Foxconn-related roads. Democrats expressed their concerns that Republicans continue to put one corporation’s interests above all the other communities across the state that continue to be impacted by potholes, crumbling roads and bridges.

Meanwhile, the Republican dysfunction that paralyzed leaders last summer during the budget is flaring up once again. Republican leaders continue to bicker over campaign gimmicks, rather than passing Democrats’ Child Care Tax Credit, addressing transportation funding, or closing the dark store loophole that results in higher property tax increases for homeowners.

The Senate is expected to have their final floor day in March and Assembly Republicans have indicated that they have adjourned for the year.

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB5128 Generic Drug Price Gouging (Sen. Hansen, Rep. Anderson) would prohibit a manufacturer or wholesale distributor from selling or offering to sell an essential off-patent or generic drug at a price that results in price gouging.

LRB2543 Lethal Violence Protective Orders (Rep. Sargent, Crowley, Sen. Taylor, Johnson) would create a lethal violence protective order process in Wisconsin where if person is likely to injure themselves or another person, a family member or law enforcement officer may petition to temporarily prevent the person from possessing a firearm.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The entire floor session calendar can be found here.

Senate Committees

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 798 would create a one-time sales and use tax rebate equal to $100 for each qualifying child of an individual. This proposal to give $100 dollars to parents is set to be paid shortly before Election Day in November. After years of giving billions of dollars to corporations, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans are attempting to boost their reelection chances with this campaign gimmick.

  • Senate Bill 809 would increase the maximum life, the expenditure period, and the tax increment allocation period for Tax Incremental Districts Number One and Four in the village of Caledonia.

Senate Natural Resources and Energy
The committee held an Executive Session on five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 747 would exempt from permitting requirements for certain shoreline maintenance activities in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay, Sawyer's Harbor, and the Fox River. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 789 would allow a person who owns waterfront property to remove certain material from the bed of an inland navigable water without obtaining a permit from the Dept. of Natural Resources. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 792 would provide that the definition of “solid waste” does not include certain iron and steel slags. Contaminant levels in slags are highly variable and depend on the how the base metal is processed to make the steel or iron. Changing of this classification would remove the testing and oversight that currently exists before discarding the slags, including how and where they could be safely discarded. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 733 would reflect a number of recommendations by the E-Cycle Wisconsin program staff to improve the program. (Passed, 5-0) 
    This bill would:

    • Expand the program to all schools, including charter schools, private schools and tribal schools. Currently, only electronics from public schools can get counted toward a manufacturer’s recycling target;

    • Narrow the types of consumer printers that are covered;

    • Change the thresholds for manufacturer registration fees, including eliminating fees for smaller manufacturers;

    • Make changes to the reporting requirements of manufacturers and recyclers to improve efficiencies for program participants; and

    • Change the program year from the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), to the calendar year (January 1 through December 31). 

  • Senate Bill 796 would increase the amount of the appropriation for the Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's soil and water resource management program. (Passed, 5-0)


The committee held a Public Hearing on two bills:

  • Senate Bill 817 / Assembly Bill 911 would provide funding of $100,000 in each fiscal year from the conservation fund for the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission.
  • Senate Bill 816 would make changes to wetland mitigation requirements and requirements for mitigation banks. While environmental groups that testified at the public hearing indicated they do not oppose SB816 outright, the Assembly added an amendment that would exempt one company's frac sand project. Meteor Timber wants to build a frac sand processing and rail loading facility in Monroe County. The company's permit allows for 16.25 acres of rare white pine-red maple wetlands to be filled. Currently, there is a legal challenge of the permit and this amendment would bypass the legal process and allow the permit to go forward. 


Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held an Information Hearing on Assembly Bill 953, which would require the state to close the Lincoln Hills School and Copper Lake School by July 1, 2020, require the Department of Corrections to establish new Type 1 juvenile correctional facilities, and authorize counties to establish secured residential care centers for children and youth. The bill would also transfer the supervision of a juvenile under a correctional placement to the county department of human services or social services of the county in which the juvenile was adjudicated delinquent.


Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues
The committee held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 795, which would require the Dept. of Military Affairs (DMA) to continue paying a member of the National Guard or state defense force who is injured while on state active duty. This bill would also require the DMA to pay a death gratuity in the amount of $100,000 to the designated beneficiary of a member of the National Guard and extend eligibility for reemployment rights of individuals returning from active state service to non-state residents. (Passed, 5-0)


Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations
The committee held an Executive Session on several bills:

  • Senate Bill 533 would allow a person acting under a pharmacist, as well as a pharmacy student who has completed at least two years of pharmacy school, to engage in remote dispensing of prescribed drugs.

  • Assembly Bill 752 would provide that alcohol beverage license and permit application forms may not require more than one signature on behalf of the applicant and are not required to be sworn to or notarized.

  • Senate Bill 731 would require an applicant to score at least 375 on Part III of the examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and to score at least 375 on Part IV of that examination in order to be granted a chiropractor license.

  • Senate Bill 748 would make changes regarding the administration of the commercial building code; the county authority regarding certain buildings and safety requirements; the carbon monoxide detection in commercial residential buildings; the examination requirements for marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work credentials; and the term of a social worker training certificate.

  • Senate Bill 749 would make numerous changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety that are administered by the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The various technical changes will, according to DSPS, provide for greater consistency and clarification for the regulations administered. DSPS supports this bill. 

  • Senate Bill 750 would make changes to the current professional discipline procedures of credential holders. This would allow DSPS to issue an administrative warning regardless of whether the a minor violation is a first occurrence for the credential holder. This bill also brings Wisconsin in line with federal law and removes third party logistics providers from the current statutory definition of prescription drug wholesale distributors.

  • Senate Bill 751 would make various changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety. It would make technical changes in the nursing practice law; eliminate requirements that certain Cemetery Board filings be notarized; change the renewal date for physician assistants from odd to even numbered years; require that a mining inspector employed by DSPS must have experience in underground mining or be a graduate of a recognized college with a degree of mining engineering.

  • Assembly Bill 602 would reduce the waiting period of obtaining a marriage license. This bill also requires the clerk to accept a U.S. driver’s license as a satisfactory documentary proof in leiu of birth certificate.

The committee also held a Public Hearing on two bills: 

  • Senate Bill 759 would eliminate the authority of local governments to regulate and license operators of taxicabs and taxicab businesses and instead requires that taxicab companies and taxicab dispatch services be licensed by the state.

  • Assembly Bill 589 would replace the licensure program for sign language interpreters licensed by the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services with a licensure program administered by the Sign Language Interpreters Examining Board.

This Week in the Assembly

Assembly Session

The assembly concluded its regular floor period for the legislative session. There are no other scheduled floor sessions at this time. 

Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics
The committee will hold an Informational hearing.

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 859, which would authorize the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to certify certain paper products manufacturer to claim tax credits. Despite having virtually no state tax liability under the Manufacturing and Agriculture tax credit and receiving a huge federal tax cut, Kimberly-Clark has announced its intention to move the company out of Wisconsin. A number of employers have closed their doors recently and the state has done nothing to address the issues driving them away. Instead, the Walker administration and Republicans continue choosing winners and losers at a great expense to Wisconsin tax payers. 

Senate Insurance, Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:
  • Senate Bill 97 would establish a health insurance benefit and loan program for the surviving spouses and dependent children of law enforcement officers and fire fighters employed by the state who die in the line of duty.

  • Senate Bill 806 would allow the establishment of employer groups to jointly provide health care benefits on a self-funded basis to the employers' eligible employees and their dependents under a health care benefit arrangement.

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 783, which would eliminate the fee for a certificate of authority to transact business in this state that is based on the amount of the foreign corporation's capital in this state for Wisconsin-headquartered foreign corporations.

Assembly Committees

 There are no committee meetings scheduled 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.