Bills of Note: Heroin Prevention, TIF, and a Constitutional Amendment

Nygren Announces HOPE Agenda Legislation

Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) announced a bill package that if passed would provide additional heroin, opiate prevention and education to combat the heroin and opiate epidemic in Wisconsin. The bills are a continuation of Rep. Nygren’s plan to combat the heroin epidemic.

The four new bills, which have yet to be introduced, would do the following:

  • Law Enforcement PDMP Report: This bill requires additional reporting by law enforcement when prescription drugs or opiates are suspected in a drug overdose or death, or in a case of stolen prescription drugs. Law enforcement would be required to report the following information to the Prescription Drug Monitor Program (PDMP): the name and birth date of the individuals involved; person who the prescription was stolen from; the prescribing practitioner; the prescription number; and the name of the drug. The information the PDMP collects would be allowed to disclose the information to relevant practitioners and pharmacists.
  • Physician PDMP Reporting: This bill strengthens reporting and reviewing requirements, by requiring a pharmacy or practitioner to report when monitored prescription drugs are dispensed within 24 hours of the time when the drug was dispensed, and requires practitioners to review a patient’s record when dispensing a monitored prescription drug. It also law enforcement and DAs access to these records when working on an investigation.
  • Methadone Reporting: This bill requires treatment programs that use methadone to treat substance abuse must report data to the Department of Health Services annually.
  • Pain Clinic Certification: This bill requires pain clinics to be certified through a DHS application process, in order to operate. The clinic will be required to have a medical director who is a physician who practices in Wisconsin. The clinic would also be required to have someone authorized to prescribe pain medication to review for treatment purposes an individual’s records on the prescription drug monitoring database for use of other pain medications.

This bill package is part of a legislative initiative by Rep. Nygren to tackle the heroin epidemic in Wisconsin. Rep. Nygren started this initiative last year.

More TIF Bills Pass Senate

The State Senate met this week for the first time since the budget bill was passed in July. During the day’s floor period, the Senate passed three bills that are part of TIF Bill package. The TIF Bill Package was introduced by the Joint Legislative Council as a result of the 2014 summer study committee on TIF. Bills passed by the senate were:

Senate Bill 53 – Allows a local entity, after the review and approval of the Joint Review Board, to make project plan amendments as well as extend the life of a TID by five years. Under the bill, the amendments and/or time extension is allowed if the annual or total amount of the tax increments over the life of the TID are negatively impacted by one or more of the following: (1) amendments to TIF law (§66.1105); (2) changes made by DOR to calculate the equalized valuation method; and (3) 2013 Wisconsin Act 145, which reduced technical college levies and replaced the funding with state aid. The bill was passed unanimously with an amendment, which changes the time extension for TIDs negatively impacted by unforeseen consequences of the state legislature from five years to three years.

Senate Bill 56 – The original bill replaces the October 1, 2015 deadline for declaring a TID distressed or severely distressed to October 1, 2020. However this bill passed unanimously with an amendment which changes the sunset date from 2020 to 2018.

Senate Bill 57 – Creates an alternative process for redetermining the base value of a TID. A substitute amendment was offered, which would totally repeal the redetermination changes made 2013 Wisconsin Act 183, and authorizes a local legislative body to request a redetermination any time that a TID is in a decrement situation. Under the substitute amendment, a local legislative body’s ability to request redeterminations under the process created in the substitute amendment must be authorized in the TID’s project plan, and the Joint Review Board (JRB) must approve the project plan but not each specific request for redetermination. The ability of a local legislative body to request multiple redeterminations also must be specifically authorized in the project plan.  Under the substitute amendment, a $1,000 fee paid to DOR would apply to each redetermination. The new provisions created in the substitute amendment for redetermining the base value of a TID in a decrement situation do not apply after December 31, 2018. 

This bill was passed unanimously, as amended.

These bills now move on to the Assembly for committee review and consideration.

Other TIF related bills are also be considered in the Senate and Assembly:

Senate Bill 50 – Makes several technical changes including:

– Modifies the industrial zoning requirements to only apply to industrial use tax increment districts

-Changes the maximum review period the JRB has to approve a resolution on a TID from 30 days to 45 days;

-Amends the notice requirement of the planning commission from a class 2 notice to a class 1 notice when it comes to announcing a notice of amendment

-Deletes obsolete references in the current statute.

Status: Passed Senate unanimously and now awaits the Assembly’s consideration.

Senate Bill 51 – Requires a standing Joint Review Board to be established in order for a TID to be created, and remain in existence during the lifespan of the TID. In addition, this bill modifies annual reporting requirements, incorporates penalties for not reporting annually and repeals the DOR process to review industry-specific town TIDs.

Status: Passed Senate unanimously and now awaits the Assembly’s consideration.

Senate Bill 52 – Allows any type of TID to be a recipient TID and use tax increments. In addition, this bill excludes small taxing jurisdictions (such as lake, sanitary, or public inland lake districts) from donating to tax increments and removes these entities from the tax increment calculation.

Status: Passed Senate unanimously and now awaits the Assembly’s consideration.

Senate Bill 54 – Removes the restriction that property standing vacant may not comprise more than 25 percent of the area in a TID. In addition, this bill removes the requirement that all municipal owned land within a TID be assessed for property tax purposes and put in the base value calculations.

Status: Passed Senate unanimously and now awaits the Assembly’s consideration.

Senate Bill 55 – Increases TID value increments to total equalized value of taxable property in a city or village from 12 percent to 15 percent.

Status: Passed Senate committee (5-0) and is available for scheduling in the Senate.

Wisconsin Treasurer Adamczyk supports eliminating position

A constitutional amendment to remove Wisconsin’s State Treasurer is gaining steam amongst lawmakers. Senate Joint Resolution 4, authored by Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh), was introduced to the Senate Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations in January and a public hearing was held Tuesday.

At the hearing, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk fully backed the resolution that would completely eliminate his office from state government. Adamczyk testified that he believes the position is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and that former duties of the treasurer are now handled more efficiently by state agencies.

The State Treasurer’s Office in recent years has had many of its functions transferred into the control of state agencies. The only duty the Treasurer has today is to serve on the three member Board of Public Lands, along with the Secretary of State and Attorney General. SJR 4 would give this vacant position to the Lieutenant Governor.

Supporters in favor of the measure say the state can save up to $350,000.

The proposed resolution first must pass two houses of the legislature in two consecutive sessions, and then be approved by one third of the electorate.