Bills of Note: 30 Bills Signed Into Law

Governor Scott Walker signed 30 bills into law at the Capitol on July 1. This included bills relating to motorcycle lighting, air pollution, controlled substances for optometrists, microbeads, GPS tracking, camping units and election law changes.

Motorcycle Lighting

Introduced in March by Representative Jagler (R–Watertown) as Assembly Bill 100, this bill permits a motorcycle to be equipped with lighting that illuminates the ground directly beneath the motorcycle provided the light does not flash, is not visible to approaching vehicles and does not resemble police-colored lighting.

The bill passed the Assembly and Senate on voice votes and was signed by Governor Walker as 2015 Wisconsin Act 27.

Air Pollution Repeal

Senate Bill 144, introduced in May by Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), eliminates a rule promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), relating to construction permit requirements for stationary sources that emit greenhouses gases, which is no longer valid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the 2014 decision, the Supreme Court largely upheld the right of the EPA to regulate emission, but limited its authority in regulating smaller stationary sources. In writing the court’s opinion, Justice Scalia stated the EPA overstepped its authority when regulating smaller stationary sources like shopping centers, apartment buildings and schools. SB 144 would eliminate the DNR construction permit requirements for those qualifying stationary sources.

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously and has been signed by Governor Walker as 2015 Wisconsin Act 33.


Sen. Vukmir (R–Wauwatosa) introduced Senate Bill 74 in March, which allows optometrists to prescribe or administer regulated quantities of hydrocodone combination drugs, in addition to schedule III, IV and V controlled substances.

2015 Wisconsin Act 34 was signed into law by Governor Walker after passing the Senate and Assembly on voice votes.


Introduced by Sen. Cowles (R–Green Bay) as SB 15, the act prohibits the sale and manufacturing of products containing microbeads. These microbeads are commonly found in over-the-counter products that advertise “deep-cleaning” or “exfoliating” of the skin. This bill staggers the effective dates for the ban of all products and over-the-counter products containing microbeads. Under the bill, by December 31 2019, the manufacturing and sale of microbeads (including over-the-counter) will be prohibited in the state. The prohibitions included in the bill do not apply to prescription drugs.  With bipartisan support, the bill passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously and has been signed by Governor Walker as 2015 Wisconsin Act 43.

GPS Tracking

Assembly Bill 19, introduced by Rep. Neylon (R–Pewaukee) in late January, prohibits a person to place a GPS device in a vehicle owned by another person to gather information on the person’s movement or location without the person’s knowledge. The bill establishes that such a violation would result in a Class A misdemeanor. The bill includes several exemptions for motor vehicle manufacturers or persons who place a communication or telematics systems in the vehicle; parental or guardian using GPS to track dependents; business owner and lienholders tracking business vehicles; law enforcement actions; and auto insurance companies that place a device with the owner’s permission for rating, underwriting, or claims purposes.

2015 Wisconsin Act 45 was signed by Governor Walker after passing the Assembly and Senate on voice votes.

Camping Units

Introduced by Sen. Olsen (R–Ripon) in late March, Senate Bill 94 creates separate standards for camping units that have a permanent location in a campground and have a seasonal camping permit from the current standards for one and two-family housing units. The rules include separate standards that apply to the construction and inspection of camping units and for installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring in camping units that are set in a fixed location in a campground, that contain a sleeping place and that are used for seasonal overnight camping. Additionally the statute establishes that the Department of Safety and Professional Services shall promulgate rules that establish separate plumbing standards applicable only to the same type of camping units.

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly on voice votes and was signed by Governor Walker as 2015 Wisconsin Act 49.

Election Law Changes

2015 Wisconsin Act 36 makes election law changes such that the cost of conducting a recount is transferred to the petitioner. The petitioner is not required to pay a fee if the difference of votes is not more than 0.25 percent of the total votes if more than 4,000 votes are cast. The petitioner will be required to pay the fee under any other circumstances.

2015 Wisconsin Act 37 makes numerous changes relating to write-in candidates, primary election ballots, stickers on ballots, municipal board of canvassers, local caucuses and school board referendums.

2015 Wisconsin Act 39 establishes that registration duties of inspectors may be carried out in the municipality by the municipal clerk or by special registration deputies at any polling place or other registration location.

Acts 36, 37, and 39 passed both chambers unanimously and were signed by Governor Walker on July 1, 2015.