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Contents

September 6th, 2019

 

This week, JFC Republicans cancelled a meeting at the last minute to approve settlement agreements proposed by Attorney General Josh Kaul. This cancellation was due to Republican confusion regarding the unworkable process created by the corrupt lame duck legislation passed after the 2018 election. While Republicans continue to play political games and interfere with the responsibilities of the democratically elected Attorney General, the state of Wisconsin remains at risk of potentially losing millions of settlement dollars. 

In response to this chaos caused by the GOP, Democrats introduced legislation that would reverse the undemocratic lame duck law that limits Attorney General Kaul's ability to resolve lawsuits. This would resolve the dysfunction by reinstating the process under prior law that worked for decades.

In the Joint Finance Committee this week, GOP members voted down a Democratic motion to release $200k for farmer mental health services, approved in the budget as recommended by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Burdened by the request, Republicans eventually approved the $200,000, but only after adding future hurdles.

On Wednesday, Gov. Evers announced the first round of broadband grants in the open application period appropriated in the state budget. This historic investment works to assist companies in ensuring Wisconsinites are connected to broadband in under-served areas of the state.

 

What Democrats Are Saying  

   
​ Democratic Proposals

LRB 1123 Creating University of Wisconsin System positions for farm succession planning and making an appropriation (Rep. Considine, Rep. Kulp, Rep. Spreitzer, Rep. Kolste, Rep. Vruwink, Rep. Myers, Sen. Testin): This bill funds two staff positions in the University of Wisconsin System to provide farm succession planning services.

LRB 0149 Creating a Small Farm Diversity Grant, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation (Rep. Vruwink, Rep. Tranel. Rep. Considine, Rep. Spreitzer, Rep. Myers, Rep. Kolste, Sen. Smith, Sen. Ringhand):  
This bill creates a Small Farm Diversity Grant to help farmers on less than 50 acres diversify either through starting a new operation or adding a new agricultural product. Grants will be a maximum of $50,000 each, with a dollar-for-dollar match from the grantee. 

LRB 1388 Creating the Beginning Farmer Student Loan Assistance (Rep. Spreitzer, Rep. Kurtz, Rep. Kolste, Rep. Considine, Rep. Vruwink, Sen. Ringhand):
This bill addresses the need for more beginning farmers by creating a program to provide student debt reimbursement to beginning farmers that commit to managing a farm or a component of a farm in Wisconsin for at least five years. The bill would establish a council consisting of representatives from DATCP, UW-Madison Division of Extension, USDA’s Farm Service Agency, agricultural lenders, and student debt lenders/servicers.

LRB 2254 and LRB 4184 Licensure of Alkaline Hydrolysis, also referred to as an alternative to cremation as a method of preparing a dead human body for its final disposition (Sen. Schachtner): Alkaline Hydrolysis, or green cremation, is a method of preparing a dead human body for its final disposition. It is an environmentally friendly option for people looking for an alternative to traditional burial or cremation. 

LRB 1022 Prohibiting a fugitive from justice from possessing a firearm and providing a criminal penalty (Rep. Subeck and Sen. Risser): 
LRB-1022 would add to our state statutes a provision that would bar a person who is a fugitive from purchasing or possessing a firearm. This change would enable the names of fugitives in Wisconsin to be returned to the NICS under the “state prohibitor” category so that fugitives from the law would not be allowed to purchase or possess a firearm. 

LRB 4038 Designating September 2019 and September 2020 as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (Rep. Subeck and Sen. Schachtner)

LRB 4110 Powers of the attorney general (Sen. Erpenbach, Sen. Johnson, Rep. Taylor, Rep. Goyke): This bill repeals changes made to the powers of the attorney general in 2017 Wisconsin Act 369 relating to the power to compromise or discontinue civil actions prosecuted by the Department of Justice and the power to compromise and settle actions in cases where DOJ is defending the state.  

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 Local Government, Small Business, Tourism, and Workforce Development
The committee held a public hearing on the following: Paul Ziehler- Tech Business Representative on the State Fair Park Board, Mayor Dan Devine- West Allis Resident on the State Fair Park Board; Senate Bill 146 and Assembly Bill 141- Due Dates for paying property taxes; Senate Bill 344- family navigator program in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Workforce Development and making an appropriation.

Committee on Natural Resources and Energy
The committee held a executive session on the following: Senate Bill 169- wetland mitigation banks, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from rule-making procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority; Senate Bill 212- fee waivers for state park vehicle admission receipts to pupils enrolled in grade 4 and making an appropriation; Senate Bill 264- changes to the electronic waste recycling program and granting rulemaking authority.

The committee held a public hearing on the following: Eric Birschbach-Member on the Land and Water Conservation Board; Andrew Buttles-  Farmer Representative on the Land and Water Conservation Board; Ronald Grasshoff- Charitable Organization Representative on the Land and Water Conservation Board; Randall Poelma- Recreational User Group Representative on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board; Dr. Timothy Rose- Outagamie County Representative on the Fox River Navigational System Authority; Bobbie Webster-Large City Representative on the Land and Water Conservation Board; Senate Bill 296- Signs informing about Lyme disease in state parks, state trails, state recreational areas, and state forests and making an appropriation; Senate Bill 297- making insect repellant available for sale in state parks and state forests; Senate Bill 298-  Department of Natural Resources' efforts to raise awareness about Lyme disease; Senate Bill 300-  establishing a tick-borne disease study committee; Senate Bill 310- regulating fire fighting foam that contains certain contaminants and granting rule-making authority.

Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held a public hearing on the following: Senate Bill 6- committing a fifth or sixth offense related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and providing a penalty; Senate Bill 7- requiring persons accused of violating traffic laws and ordinances related to driving while intoxicated to appear in person in court; Assembly Bill 15- requiring persons accused of violating traffic laws and ordinances related to driving while intoxicated to appear in person in court; Senate Bill 8-  mandatory period of confinement for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and providing a penalty; Assembly Bill 17-  mandatory period of confinement for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and providing a penalty; Senate Bill 9- penalties for offenses related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and providing a penalty; Senate Bill 10- the intoxicated operation of snowmobiles and providing a penalty; Senate Bill 161-  release of person after arrest for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; Senate Bill 189- revocation of operating privilege for certain offenses related to operating while intoxicated; Senate Bill 198- records of certain offenses related to operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration; Senate Bill 331- intoxicated operation of all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, snowmobiles, and motorboats and providing a penalty; Senate Bill 345- time limits for certain offenses related to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; Senate Bill 384- operating privilege of persons who have committed certain offenses related to drunken driving, occupational licenses, ignition interlock devices, and providing a penalty.


Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Trade
The committee held a public hearing on the following: Karl Linck- Professional Engineer of the Examining Board on Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors, Troy Denhof- Racine County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; Deb Dassow- an Ozaukee County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; Frank Busalacchi- Milwaukee County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; Donald Smiley- At-Large Member and Chairman of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; John Zapfel- Waukesha County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; Anthony Berndt- Washington County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board; Senate Bill 349- Requirements for devices that dispense gasoline-ethanol fuel blends; Senate Bill 268- Lengthening the time during which tax increments may be allocated and expenditures for project costs may be made and extending the maximum life for Tax Incremental District Number Two in the village of Kronenwetter.

Committee on Utilities and Housing
The committee held an executive session on the following: Senate Bill 153-  submission of building permit applications for one-family and two family dwellings; Assembly Bill 117- submission of building permit applications for one-family and two family dwellings; Senate Bill 247-  the use of a surveillance device by an owner of real estate in connection with the sale of the real estate and providing a penalty; Victoria Parmentier- Member on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Ivan Gamboa- Member on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Raynetta Hill- Member on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Jeffrey Skrenes- Member on the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Joaquin Altoro- Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority

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 the Environment

 The Committee held an Executive Session on Tuesday, September 3 where members discussed Assembly Bill 190, relating to: wetland mitigation banks, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures. Providing an exemption from rule-making procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority; Assembly Bill 297, relating to: changes to the electronic waste recycling program and granting rulemaking authority; Assembly Bill 315, relating to: signs informing about Lyme disease in state parks, state trails, state recreational areas, and state forests and making an appropriation; and Assembly Bill 316, relating to: making insect repellant available for sale in state parks and state forests. The Committee also held a Public Hearing where members discussed Assembly Bill 323, relating to: regulating fire-fighting foam that contains certain contaminants and granting rule-making authority; Assembly Bill 210, relating to: time limits for correcting violations found by the environmental compliance audit program; and Assembly Bill 148, relating to: nitrate testing pilot program, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.

Committee on Small Business Development  

The Committee held a Public Hearing on Wednesday, September 4 where members discussed Assembly Bill 26, relating to: direct primary care agreements.

Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality

The Task Force held a Public Hearing on Wednesday, September 4 where members heard testimony from the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, the Dairy Business Association, Dunn County, the Wisconsin Lake Partnership, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and Scott P. McGovern. The Task Force also held an Informational Hearing where members toured the Alfalawn Farm in Menomonie, WI. The Task Force held a Public Hearing on Thursday, September 5 where members heard testimony from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services, Wisconsin’s Green Fire, Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network, and the Water Quality Coalition.

Speaker’s Task Force on Adoption

The Task Force held an Informational Hearing on Wednesday, September 4 where members heard testimony from the Department of Children and Families.

Committee on Rural Development

The Committee held a Public Hearing on Thursday, September 5 where members heard testimony on Assembly Bill 344, relating to: telephone company tax exemption for property used to provide broadband service.

 

Joint Committees

Joint Committee on Finance

The Committee held a 13.10 meeting on Wednesday, September 4 where members discussed fiscal items from the Department of Administration, Department of Tourism, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations
The committee will hold an executive session on Senate Bill 106- micro market licensing fees.

The committee will also hold a public hearing on the following: Senate Bill 170- allowing minors to operate temporary stands without a permit or license; Senate Bill 203- issuance by municipalities of alcohol beverage operator's licenses; Senate Bill 303-  registration and the scope of practice of interior designers and granting rule-making authority; Senate Bill 145-  homelessness case management services and making an appropriation; Assembly Bill 120- homelessness case management services and making an appropriation.

Assembly Committees

Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention

The Task Force will hold an Informational Hearing on Monday, September 9 where members will receive a “Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) Training”. The Task Force will also hold a Public Hearing where members will hear testimony from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee, and Comprehensive Injury Center. 

Committee on Housing and Real Estate

The Committee will hold an Informational Hearing on Monday, September 9 where members will hear testimony from Professor Kurt Paulsen of the UW-Madison Department of Urban & Regional Planning.

Committee on Campaigns and Elections

The Committee will hold an Executive Session on Tuesday, September 10 where members will discuss Assembly Bill 245, relating to: elections administration, recall petitions, and recount procedures; Assembly Bill 246, relating to: voter registration; and Assembly Bill 247, relating to: absentee voting, voting procedures, and providing a penalty. The Committee will also hold a Public Hearing where members will hear testimony on Assembly Bill 89, relating to: vacancies in elective offices in cities and villages; Assembly Bill 244, relating to: an elector using a W-2 form to establish residence; and Assembly Bill 342, relating to: time for issuing a certificate of election.

Committee on Family Law

The Committee will hold an Executive Session on Tuesday, September 10 where members will discuss Assembly Bill 47, relating to: guardianships of children; Assembly Bill 93, relating to: a Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act; Assembly Bill 94, relating to: reduction of child support payments during incarceration; Assembly Bill 95, relating to: modifications to legal custody or physical placement contingent upon a future event; Assembly Bill 96, relating to: calculating the child support obligation; Assembly Bill 97, relating to: the involvement and cooperation of both parents in a physical placement schedule; Assembly Bill 98, relating to: factors relating to the physical placement of a child; Assembly Bill 99, relating to: proposed parenting plans in certain actions affecting the family; and Assembly Bill 102, relating to: exclusion of certain military allowances in determining gross income for purposes of child support.

Committee on Consumer Protection

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, September 12 where members will hear testimony on Assembly Bill 169, relating to: continuing education program sponsors for chiropractors, chiropractic technicians, and chiropractic radiological technicians; and Assembly Bill 202, relating to: the display and sale of novelty lighters and providing a penalty. The Committee will also hold an Executive Session where members will discuss Assembly Bill 186, relating to: allowing minors to operate temporary stands without a permit or license.

Committee on Ways and Means

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, September 12 where members will hear testimony on Assembly Bill 225, relating to: allocation of early stage seed investment credit to offset taxes imposed on insurers; and Assembly Bill 221, relating to: exempting from taxation the pension benefits of certain retired federal employees.

Joint Committees

Joint Legislative Audit Committee

The Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, September 10 where members will hear testimony on Audit Report 19-5: University of Wisconsin System, and Proposed Audit: Information Technology Needs Assessment and Procurement.

The Committee will also hold an Executive Session where members will discuss Proposed Audit: Information Technology Needs Assessment and Procurement.

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