On January 27, 2011, Gov. Walker signed into law 2011 Wisconsin Act 2, which contained numerous civil liability reforms supported by the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council. One of the most important pieces of this legislation was the adoption of the Daubert standards for the admission of expert opinion evidence, bringing Wisconsin in line with the entire federal system and a majority of states.
Thanks to Act 2, Wis. Stat. § 907.02 now requires experts to be qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. Testimony must be based upon sufficient facts or data, it must be the product of reliable principles and methods, and the witness must apply the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
While it is clear that Daubert is now the absolute standard for expert testimony going forward, a recent court of appeals decision highlights the fact that there are still a limited number of cases in which it may not be applied.
In addition to delaying changes to BadgerCare eligibility in response to the troubled roll-out of the federal healthcare.gov insurance exchange, Wisconsin officials are also seeking federal permission to allow state residents receiving a federal subsidy to purchase insurance plans directly from the insurance companies rather than being forced to buy through the exchange.
Although reports indicate that the federal healthcare.gov insurance exchange website is working better than when it was launched in October, Wisconsin is taking action to make sure residents that are losing their state coverage, and thus must shop for coverage on the exchange, have plenty of time to do so.
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck and Sen. Rick Gudex are circulating legislation, LRB 2997, that allows for the limited transfer of Economic Development Tax Credits. As Loudenbeck and Gudex state in their co-sponsorship memo, “Under current Wisconsin law, non-refundable tax credits can only be used if there is a corresponding state income tax liability. If there is no income tax liability, the tax credits have no value to the qualified applicant.”
In an effort to improve transparency and provide more opportunities for the public to give input on key natural resources decisions, the DNR has begun accepting public comments on proposed guidance. Programs in the agency develop guidance documents that direct staff on how to approach making decisions when there are not specific details in a law or code.