Wisconsin Special Election Results Draw National Headlines

While only 15 percent of voters turned out to elect a new senator in Wisconsin’s open 10th state Senate District last Tuesday, the results have caused a stir nationwide. Democrat Patty Schachtner won the western Wisconsin seat with 55 percent of the vote over Republican Assembly Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake).  Schachtner’s margin of victory […]

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Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse Meets, Reviews Pew Recommendations

Gov. Scott Walker’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse met at North Central Technical College in Wausau on Jan. 5. The meeting began with a recognition of the Department of Health Services’ (DHS) recent announcement of nearly $500,000 in grants to 63 community groups for opioid abuse prevention. The committee then heard from Drug Free Communities […]

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LFB Projects Surplus at the End of the 2017-19 Biennium

On Jan. 17, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released their latest projections for the 2017-19 biennium. LFB increased their ending general fund balance projection assumed in the state budget by $137.5 million, leaving the state with a net balance of $385.2 million. The 2017-19 biennium ends on June 30, 2019. LFB reports that the $137.5 […]

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Rep. Spiros Named Interim Transportation Committee Chair

Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) was appointed Thursday as interim chairman of the Assembly Committee on Transportation. Spiros replaces former Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi), whom Gov. Scott Walker recently appointed to be the assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Spiros served in the U.S. Air Force for six years and […]

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Gov. Walker Calls Special Session on Welfare Reform

Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order on Thursday calling for a special session of the legislature on welfare reform. As part of the special session, the legislature will take up a package of 10 bills authored by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield). LRB 5218/5282 would authorize the Department of […]

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Floor Report: Assembly Votes on First Bills of 2018 and Unveils 2018 Agenda

The Assembly met on Jan. 16 for the legislature’s first floor session of 2018. In the relatively short calendar, most of the bills passed on a bipartisan basis with little discussion. First on the agenda, the Assembly voted to pass a resolution requiring anti-harassment and ethics training for Assembly members, officers, and employees. The Assembly […]

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Bills of Note: Protective Status for County Jailers

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Assembly Committee on Corrections held a public hearing on AB 676 to provide protective status for county jailers. Under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), protective occupation status allows employees to retire at an earlier age (50 years old) and receive duty disability benefits if they are injured in the line […]

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Bills of Note: Occupation Credential Fee Waivers

Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) have authored legislation (AB 733/SB 616) that would waive fees for initial occupation credentials for people whose incomes are beneath 180 percent of the federal poverty line. The bill also eliminates the provision in the veterans fee waiver program that says veterans may only […]

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Bills of Note: Apprenticeships

On Jan. 10, the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development held a public hearing on three bills that promote apprenticeships in Wisconsin. AB 745, authored by Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Barron) and Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), would allow high school seniors to participate in apprenticeship programs. AB 734, authored by Rep. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) and […]

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Bills of Note: Talent Attraction

The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy held a hearing on Jan. 10 on AB 811, authored by Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), that directs the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in coordination with other agencies, to develop and implement talent attraction initiatives in Wisconsin. The bill adds […]

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