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Contents

March 1, 2019

 

 

In his first biennial budget address Thursday night, Governor Evers delivered a budget to the state legislature that reflects the will of the people. After touring the state and listening to people all over Wisconsin, Gov. Evers set aside politics on Thursday night and focused his remarks on pressing issues facing our state. Legislative Democrats overwhelmingly supported Gov. Evers budget priorities, which include: expanding Medicaid, cutting taxes for middle class families, adopting nonpartisan redistricting, and legalizing medical marijuana.

 

Along with expanding Medicaid to ensure more Wisconsinites have access to quality, affordable healthcare, Gov. Evers laid out several priorities that work to create a healthier and safer Wisconsin. Gov. Evers’ “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies” initiatives will invest $28 million in expanded health services for women and infants that would open up access to reproductive health. In addition, Gov. Evers put words into action by authorizing nearly $70 million in bonding to address water quality across Wisconsin.  

 

After Republicans spent eight years failing to fully fund our public schools, Gov. Evers' budget provides historic investment in education by proposing a $600 million funding increase, returning to two-thirds funding at the state level, and a more than $150 million additional investment in our UW system. Legislative Democrats and Governor Evers believe that investing in our kids is the smartest investment we can make – because what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our entire state.

 

The Governor’s budget also cuts taxes for Wisconsin families and provides real relief sooner, for more people than the Republican plan in Wisconsin. Gov. Evers proposed creating the Family and Individual Reinvestment (FAIR) credit to provide a 10 percent cut in individual income taxes for middle-class families. The FAIR credit provides over $400 million in total income tax relief annually to the middle class.

 

Governor Evers followed up on his announcement Tuesday by stating his commitment to better governing through non-partisan redistricting. In 2011, the people had their voices stolen from the Legislature, when Assembly and Senate Republicans drew maps in secret and undermined the democratic process. Legislative Democrats overwhelming applauded the Governor's announcement, stating Wisconsinites are ready for transparent, accessible, and responsive democracy in Wisconsin. It is time for voters to choose their elected officials rather than the other way around.

 

Legislative Democrats are optimistic about the opportunity to support and promote Gov. Evers’ budget that will make healthcare more affordable, fix our infrastructure, and fund our schools.

What Democrats Are Saying 

 
​ Democratic Proposals

LRB 1718- Statute of limitations for sexual contact with a child (Sen. Taylor and Rep. Taylor): This bill would remove the time limits on when a person has to bring an action (the statute of limitations) for an injury resulting from being sexually assaulted or subject to incest as a child, or from being subject to sexual contact by a member of the clergy as a child.

 

LRB 2190- Registration and regulation of pharmacy benefit managers, drug pricing transparency, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty (Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Kolste):  This bill generally allows the commissioner of insurance to regulate pharmacy benefit managers by requiring them to register. The bill also establishes certain price transparency requirements and requirements on contracts the pharmacy benefit manager enters into with pharmacies, pharmacists, or health benefit plan sponsors among other requirements.

 

LRB 2236- Proclaiming March 2019 as Women’s History Month (Rep. Zamarripa, Rep. Taylor, Rep. Subeck, Rep. Sinicki, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Schachtner): This resolution declares March 2019 as Women’s History Month and celebrates the numerous contributions women of all backgrounds have made to Wisconsin history.  The resolution commemorates the role of women in all spheres of public life; most notably in government and politics.

 

LRB 0942- Prohibiting Conversion Therapy (Rep. Stuck, Rep. Spreitzer, Rep. Zamarripa, Sen. Risser, Sen. Carpenter). This bill prohibits certain mental health providers from engaging in conversion therapy with a minor.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

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

 

Senate Committees

 

Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection

The committee held an executive session on Tuesday, February 26th on the following:

  • Joel Brennan: Secretary Designee of the Department of Administration (Approved 5-0)
  • Senate Bill 4: Motor vehicle immobilization devices (Approved 3-2)
  • Senate Bill 19: terminology changes for those with an intellectual disability in administrative rules (Approved 5-0)

Committee on Health and Human Services

The committee held a public hearing on Wednesday, February 27th on the following:

  • Andrea Palm- Secretary Designee of the Department of Health Services

 Joint Committees

 

Joint Legislative Audit Committee

The committee held an executive session and public session on Thursday, February 28th on the following:

  • Proposed Audits on Wisconsin Fast Forward and School Safety Grants and Plans 
  • Audit Reports on Administration and Oversight of Group Insurance Programs and Forestry Account.

Joint Committee on Finance

The committee held an Executive Session on Thursday, February 28 to introduce the Governor's budget state finances and appropriations, constituting the executive budget act for the 2019 Legislature.

This Week in the Assembly

 

Assembly Session

The Assembly did not conduct a floor session this week. The entire floor session calendar can be found here.

 

Assembly Committees

Committee on Children and Families

The committee held an Informational Hearing on Wednesday, February 27 where the Department of Children and Families and private organizations testified on services provided to kids and families in Wisconsin relating to foster care; child care; education; human and sex trafficking; domestic abuse; and health.

 

Committee on Ways and Means

The committee held an Informational Hearing on Thursday, February 28 where members of the Tax Foundation and the Badger Institute testified on their recent report, Wisconsin Tax Options, a Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Reform.

 

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform

The committee will hold a Public Hearing on March 6th on the following:

  • Clearinghouse Rule 18-033: Minor and technical changes to the unemployment insurance program.
  • Clearing Rule 18-059: Rules of Procedure for adjudication of worker’s compensation and related claims.

Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families

The committee will hold a Public Hearing on March 6th on the following:

  • Emilie Amundson: Secretary Designee of the Department of Children and Families

Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on March 6th on the following:

  • Dawn Crim: Secretary Designee of the Department of Safety and Professional Services

Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following: 

  • Preston Cole: Secretary Designee of the Department of Natural Resources 

Assembly Committees

 

Committee on Local Government

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, March 6 where it will discuss Assembly Bill 2-  relating to motor vehicle immobilization devices and Assembly Bill 8- notification of changed property tax assessment for agricultural land, respectively.

 

Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, March 6 where it will discuss Assembly Bill 10, which will eliminate deductions for moving expenses for businesses that move out of the state or out of the United States

 

Joint Committees

Joint Legislative Council

The council will hold an Executive Session on Wednesday, March 6 where it will receive the following study committee reports: Property Tax Assessment Practices, Alcohol Beverages Enforcement, Child Placement and Support, State-Tribal Relations, and Bail and Conditions of Pretrial Release.

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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.