The Wisconsin Assembly met on February 17 for a floor session to vote on bills and resolutions.
The Assembly passed 23 bills and 12 resolutions, including several bills affecting government benefit programs:
- The “Stronger Workforce” package, a group of seven bills authored by Republican legislators intended to get more Wisconsinites into the labor force. The package includes a bill that would index the maximum weeks of eligibility for unemployment benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. Another bill would prohibit most adults without disabilities or dependents from remaining on the Medical Assistance program if they turn down a job offer. The bills passed the Assembly mostly along party lines. We covered the package in more detail here.
- Two “agreed bills” making various changes to the unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation programs, as negotiated by representatives of management and organized labor.
Two bills affecting apprenticeship programs:
- Assembly Bill (AB) 932, which would require the governor to allocate at least $20 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to promote and expand the availability of youth and adult apprenticeship programs.
- Tony Evers (D) has vetoed many bills this session seeking to direct funds allocated to Wisconsin under ARPA; the governor has sole authority to direct any discretionary funds.
- AB 973, which includes several provisions related to apprenticeship completion awards, career and technical education programs, and allowing individuals to deduct eligible apprenticeship expenses from their state income tax liability.
And a bill affecting nursing licensure:
- Senate Bill (SB) 394, which creates an additional level of nursing licensure called an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with four recognized roles. The bill is supported by nursing trade groups, health insurers, and associations representing the interests of the elderly. There are ongoing negotiations regarding the extent to which certain APRNs early in their practice will need to maintain a collaborative relationship with a physician.
The Assembly also concurred in Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 90, which acknowledges “the importance of oil and natural gas pipelines for Wisconsin and its economy.” The Senate adopted SJR 90 on January 25. The resolution reads in part:
[T]he members of the Wisconsin State Legislature support continued and increased development and delivery of oil derived from North American oil reserves to American refineries… it is the sense of the legislature that everything should be done to support continued and increased development and delivery of oil from Canada to the United States and support the development, maintenance and operation of pipelines in the United States to ensure America’s energy independence, improve our national security and enhance global stability, reduce consumer energy costs, create new jobs, and strengthen ties between the United States and Canada[.]
On February 17, the Assembly also passed two resolutions honoring former Governor Tommy Thompson, who most recently has served as interim president of the University of Wisconsin System, and several resolutions honoring former state legislators.
See the articles below for more coverage of recent legislative issues in Wisconsin: