Capitol Update
by Senator Howard Marklein
November 8, 2019

Marklein Bills Pass the Senate, Assembly

Seven of my bills were approved by the State Senate on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 and two bills passed the Assembly on Thursday, November 7, 2019. Five of my bills are now on Governor Tony Evers’ desk awaiting signature.

All of the bills passed are important to different people, industries and groups in the 17th Senate District. I am proud of the bi-partisan work we have done to advance good policy and helpful updates to state statute for the citizens I serve.

The bills passed by the Senate are: 

1.     Senate Bill (SB) 208 – Early Stage Seed Investment Credit – aligns the tax code for investments made into a Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) by an insurance company with other types of eligible investors.  Encourages investment in venture capital funds that help start-up companies begin or expand operations. 

2.     SB 369 – Disaster Assistance Streamlining bill – Streamlines the reimbursement process for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to local units of government and modernizes communications and payment processes. 

3.     SB 390 – Physical Therapy Licensure Compact – Allows certified physical therapists in good standing to practice in multiple states by streamlining the licensing process. 

4.     SB 438 – Farm Credit – Priority Lien Status – Adds Farm Credit Administration to the list of priority lenders for certain classes of mortgage lenders.  This aligns Farm Credit Associations with banks, credit unions and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). 

5.     SB 457 – Banker Omnibus – Makes a variety of technical changes to statutes related to banks and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). This was a collaborative effort among banks statewide and the department to modernize state statutes. 

6.     Assembly Bill (AB) 194 – Special Education Foundation of Reading Test (FORT) waiver – Allows a teacher who successfully completes a course of study in the teaching or reading and reading comprehension in lieu of the requirement for passing the FORT. Creates an additional pathway for Special Education teachers to become “fully licensed.” This bill was written at the request of the CESA officials and local school districts in the 17th District who said that teachers would rather receive meaningful instruction, coaching and feedback rather than memorizing terms and study guides to pass a standardized test.  

7.     AB 471 – Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) program – Allows the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to develop the rules for a grant program to PSAPs which they will use to purchase updated equipment and provide training as Wisconsin upgrades to Next Generation 911 (NG-911). This bill is to move along the process of modernizing 911 statewide. 

On Thursday, November 7, 2019, the State Assembly passed SB 208, which is detailed above and SB 219, which is my Access to Capital bill that the Senate passed earlier this year.  SB 219 increases access to capital for agricultural businesses seeking financing for building and expansion projects. The bill received unanimous, bi-partisan support. This bill was recommended by the Dairy Task Force 2.0 and provides state support to close the financing gap for rural agricultural producers.  It evens the playing field for businesses seeking financing for facilities in rural Wisconsin. A property and project in rural Wisconsin is usually appraised at a lower value than an urban property.
SB 208, SB 219, AB 194 and AB 471 join AB 195 on Governor Evers’ desk. AB 195 is related to waivers for teachers who were certified out-of-state.  This bill was passed by both houses as of October 8, 2019.  It has not been signed yet.
All bills passed by the legislature are automatically sent to the Governor on December 5, 2019, unless he calls for them sooner.  I have invited Gov. Evers to sign the education-related bills in the 17th Senate District because they were initiated by local school districts and educational leaders in our communities.  I am hopeful that the Governor will take this opportunity to visit the 17th Senate District and recognize the hard work of the individuals who offered these ideas and helped effect positive change through legislation.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

Marklein represents the 17th Senate District, which includes all or parts Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Monroe, Richland, Sauk and Vernon counties. Marklein serves on the legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee and is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue & Financial Institutions.