Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

March 15, 2024


Final Day of Floor Session

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 marked the final day of official Senate Floor Session for the 2023-2024 session. Five of my bills passed the State Senate that day and we passed dozens of bills. I am very proud of my work on behalf of the 17th Senate District this session. I am hopeful that Governor Evers will sign this legislation into law.

In a great show of bi-partisan agreement, nearly all of my colleagues in the State Senate voted to concur on my bill to enable the private sector to participate in the future of electric vehicle charging. This bill allows the private sector to address consumer demands and allow the market to determine the future of the industry. I appreciate the collaboration behind this bill.

In addition to the electric vehicle charging bill, I authored a constitutional amendment question that will be placed on the August ballot for all voters to consider related to federal spending. I also led three tax reform bills that update the Wisconsin tax code, provides relief for nonprofit audits and updates the over/underpayment interest rate that the Department of Revenue (DOR) charges for various late, nondelinquent taxes and fees.
Among the dozens of other bills we passed, there were several other interesting bills:
Mt Horeb Veterans Memorial on State Highways – this bill will add the new memorial in Mt Horeb to the state highway map. 
Window Tinting – this bill will allow law enforcement vehicles to exceed the standard window tint limitations in state law to protect K-9 officers, passengers and equipment in law enforcement vehicles. Under current law, police vehicles, and all other government owned vehicles, must abide by the standard limits for window tinting, allowing up to 50% tint darkness for the front windows of a car and up to 35% tint darkness for the rear. SB 525 would exempt any government owned vehicle from these limits, allowing the tint darkness to be darker, if it is deemed necessary for the protection of personnel, passengers, and equipment. Although the original intent of the bill stemmed from helping our law enforcement agencies, we recognized the potential benefit for other government vehicles for the purposes of safety and security.
Funding for survivor and victim service providers – the Federal government cut funding for these programs by 40%. The bill increases funding for DOJ-awarded grants for organizations that provide services to victims of sexual assault by $7 million in 2023-24, and $18 million in 2024-25; and it also increases funding for DCF-awarded grants to organizations that provide domestic violence services by $7 million in fiscal year 2023-24 and $18 million in 2024-25. This bill also advances the important work of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) combating child abuse by increasing funding for DOJ contracts to specified child advocacy centers from $17,000 each year to $150,000 each year while creating a new CAC in Ozaukee County and funds the statewide organizing body. Providers at the Green County Child Advocacy Center played a major role in moving this bill forward.
International Physicians – this bill eliminates barriers to employment for already fully-licensed physicians. Right now, Wisconsin has a redundant residency requirement. In order to practice in Wisconsin, fully-licensed physicians who have been trained in a foreign country must complete a residency in the United States. This, paired with a cap on the number of available residencies they must compete for with U.S. and international medical students limits fully-licensed, foreign-trained doctors from even attempting to get past this barrier. AB 954 is crucial to our health care workforce because it will eliminate this redundant residency. These doctors have already gone through the training in their home country, sometimes having practiced for many years. Importantly, these doctors must have an offer of employment in Wisconsin to by-pass the requirement.
Finally, we provided a funding mechanism for the Office of School Safety (OSS). This bill allows the OSS to access funds from the Concealed Carry Permit fee fund to fund 14.2 positions through the 2023-25 state budget.
Again, I am very proud of my work on behalf of the citizens I represent. Even though session is ending, we will continue committee work, constituent casework, research, communications and planning for the future. I hope you will continue to communicate with me. Your input and ideas are essential to my role as your State Senator.

As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance. Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703. I want to hear from you.