The Wisconsin Assembly met on January 20 for a floor session to vote on bills and resolutions. Both the Assembly and Senate also met on January 25, which we covered in this article.
The Assembly passed 39 bills and three resolutions, mostly via voice votes. Notably, the Assembly voted 95-0 to pass Senate Bill 309, which would incorporate the definitions of “telehealth” and other related terms from the Medical Assistance program into the statutory chapters that pertain to occupational licensing. The bill requires the Department of Safety and Professional Services and any attached examining or affiliated credentialing board to define and use “telehealth” and related terms consistent with this bill in all promulgated rules.
SB 309 would also create a definition of “free and charitable clinics” as health care organizations that use a volunteer and staff model to provide health services to certain specified populations. The 2021-23 state budget directed the Department of Health Services to award $500,000 in grants annually to free and charitable clinics.
SB 309 passed the Senate 32-0 on November 8. The bill is supported by various groups including health care providers, insurers, and local governments. Once Senate leadership presents the bill to the governor, he will have one week to sign or veto the bill or, if he takes no action, SB 309 would become law without his signature.
Many of the bills on the Assembly calendar that day were related to health care and insurance, including bills on allowable and prohibited alternative health care practices, the creation of licenses for naturopathic doctors, the composition of local health boards, prefilled epinephrine syringes, home hospital services, licensure requirements for military medical personnel, and the practice of psychology, social work, occupational therapy, and chiropractic care.
The Assembly also passed several bills related to addiction treatment, including creating a substance abuse treatment platform and providing grants for treating methamphetamine addiction and supporting medication-assisted treatment.
Assembly members have been asked to hold February 15 and 17 as floor days and to keep February 22, 23, and 24 open as additional floor days if needed. Senators have been asked to keep February 15 and 22 open as possible floor days. After February, the Legislature’s calendar has set aside March 8-10 as the final regular floor period for the remainder of 2022. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has confirmed that the Senate plans to finish its work by March 10.