March 9, 2018

This week, the national 'Gold Standard' jobs report showed wages dropping over 12 months and marked the 25th consecutive quarter Wisconsin has trailed the nation in job creation; one of the longest periods of economic stagnation in our state's history.

Governor Walker's policies favoring corporations and the wealthy have slowed Wisconsin's economy and resulted in 118,000 fewer jobs than what would have been created had the state kept pace with the national average. 

Meanwhile, the Republican dysfunction that paralyzed leaders last summer during the budget is flaring up once again. Republican leaders continue to bicker over  their campaign gimmicks and funding for school safety. Republican leaders expressed they didn't want to vote for school safety plans that could raise property taxes while refusing to close the dark store loophole that is already resulting in large 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

LRB5516 Public Assistance Advisory Committee (Sen. Vinehout) would create an advisory committee to provide critical input on waiver development and program changes.

LRB5512 Sexual Contact By a Law Enforcement Officer with a Person in Custody (Sen. Taylor) would close the legal loophole that allows for the possibility of law enforcement personnel to circumvent serious sex crimes.

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 Senate Bill 859, which would authorize the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to certify certain paper product manufacturers 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 Wisconsin 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 to choose winners and losers at a great expense to Wisconsin taxpayers. (Passed 4-3)

  • 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. (Passed 5-2)
  • 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. (Passed 7-0)

Senate Insurance, Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism

The committee held 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 held 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. 


Senate Universities and Technical Colleges                                                                  

The committee held a public hearing for following appointments:

  • Jon Hammes - Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Gerald Whitburn - Congressional District 7 Representative on the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
  • Chris Peterson - Congressional District 7 Representative on the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
  • Jason Plante - Congressional District 3 Representative on the Board of Regents 


Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry

The committee held an Executive Hearing on the following Bills:

  • Senate Bill 400 / Assembly Bill 491 would provide that a resident who is 16 or 17 years old or a resident who is 65 years old or older are eligible for a reduced fishing license of $4.25. (Passed 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 551 / Assembly Bill 649 would allow a person to hunt an animal with a high-powered air rifle or an airbow in a season open to hunting that animal with a firearm. (Passed 5-0)
  • Senate Bill 766 would prohibit the Dept. of Natural Resources from not allowing the taking of rough fish or catfish by hand or with a bow and arrow or a crossbow. (Passed 5-0)


Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held aExecutive Hearing on the following Bills:

  • Senate Bill 808 would create an exemption to state law to clarify that a uniformly distributed prize is not required to disclose the odds of receiving it. Current law requires a prize mailer to list the odds for receiving a prize in the "immediate proximity" of each prize listing. This bill would also make other changes to notices of eligibility to receive a prize, such as removing the "immediate proximity" requirement. (Passed 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 791 would remove stipulations on the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board's appointment of trustees to manage county mental health treatment institutions. The bill would also create a deadline for suggesting individuals to fill the Mental Health Board vacancies, and changes who may remove the administrator of the behavioral health division of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services. (Passed 5-0)
  • Senate Bill 701 would prohibit the operation of a drone in certain manners and prohibits a political subdivision from regulating the ownership of operation of a drone. (Passed 5-0)
  • Assembly Bill 675 would allow the Building Commission to authorize money from the state building trust fund to be available for any project costing $1,000,000 or less. The Building Commission may also authorize the design and construction of any building, the acquisition of land, or the repair or improvement of any building, structure, or facility that costs more than $1,000,000 only if the project is enumerated in the state building program. (Passed 4-1)


Senate Natural Resources and Energy

The committee held an Executive hearing on the following Bills:

  • Senate Bill 817 /Assembly Bill 911  which provides funding of $100,000 in each fiscal year from the conservation fund for the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission. (Passed 5-0)


Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations

The committee held aExecutive hearing on the following Bills:

  • 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. (Passed)

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 Workforce Development

  • The committee held a public hearing on Youth Apprentices and employers from across Wisconsin regarding their experiences for the 4th Annual Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Day at the Capitol.
Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Education 

The committee will hold a Public Hearing for a tour at the Data Recognition Corporation's Madison Scoring Center. 

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.