The Senate and Assembly have adjourned their last regular sessions for 2013. Both houses had busy agendas as they moved to get bills passed before the end of the calendar year.
Excise taxes on beer vary greatly from state to state. With a $0.06 per gallon tax for off-premise sales, Wisconsin is tied for the second lowest beer tax rate in the nation. Missouri’s tax rate is also $0.06 per gallon, while Wyoming residents pay just $0.02 per gallon. States with the highest beer taxes include Alaska ($1.07 per gallon), Alabama ($1.05) and Georgia ($1.01).
The non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau has released its review of the State Life Insurance Fund for the years 2009-2012. LAB found that the fund was in good shape, but needs to decrease its surplus to asset ratio from 11 percent to be within the statutorily prescribed 7-10 percent range.
The state and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have signed a settlement agreement ending the lawsuit ACLU filed against the state regarding state capitol building access. The agreement recognizes that DOA has the responsibility and authority under Wisconsin law to manage state buildings; acknowledges the permitting process that has been in place since 1979 is constitutional; and provides for a method to reserve space in the Capitol building in addition to permitting.
After spending summer away from the state house, legislators are back in Madison for the fall floor period. The Senate was back in session on September 17th, and the Assembly will be back in October. Both houses have ambitious plans for passing legislation now that the state budget is no longer dominating the legislature’s attention.