Floor Report: Assembly and Senate Send Step Therapy, Electric Scooters, DOT Bills to Governor

The Assembly met on June 18 and 20 to approve short calendars before taking up the 2019-21 state budget this week. In their floorperiod to take up the budget on Wednesday, the Senate approved several additional bills from the Assembly, sending them to the governor’s desk.

On June 18, the Assembly voted to pass  SB 26, related to drug step therapy protocols. Under the bill, insurers must establish protocols for making exceptions to step therapy and base their protocols on certain criteria specified in the bill. The Alliance of Health Insurers and other health insurance groups worked with the authors on a compromise substitute amendment, which the Senate and Assembly both approved. The Senate passed the bill earlier in June, and now it heads to Gov. Tony Evers’s desk for signature.

On the Assembly calendar for June 20 were several notable items, including:

  • Two bills tightening Wisconsin’s OWI laws (AB 15 and AB 17)
  • A bill defining electric foot scooters and authorizing electric foot scooters on most roadways, sidewalks, and bike lanes. The Assembly passed the bill via voice vote. The Senate passed the bill in its June 5 session, so the bill now heads to the governor.
  • A bill defining electric bicycles, treating them similarly to traditional bicycles. Under current law, e-bikes are considered “motor bicycles” or “motor vehicles” subject to more stringent regulations. The bipartisan bill now awaits a Senate vote.
  • A bill making clarifications related to the collection of online sales taxes from out-of-state retailers. The bill clarifies provisions on the related income tax rate reductions and defines “marketplace providers” who collect and remit the online sales tax on behalf of third-party sellers. The Senate pass the bill unanimously on June 26, sending the bill to Gov. Evers for signature.

The Assembly also passed several bills that are part of a larger bill package to implement efficiency reforms at the Department of Transportation (DOT). AB 273 would require DOT to keep a list of approved highway subbase materials that will provide equivalent structural properties for highway construction. Contractors would be allowed to review the list and propose whichever approach is lowest cost to bid and construct. AB 275 would require DOT to maintain an inventory of 50 or more highway project designs in which at least 30 percent of the design work has been finished that could be potential design-build projects, in addition to its current inventory of designs. AB 284 would provide bonuses for DOT employees who identify cost savings. AB 285 would require DOT to rebid projects where only a single bid is received, if the bid is over 10 percent of DOT’s estimated costs. JFC would be able to approve certain exceptions to this rule.

The Senate passed AB 273, AB 275, and AB 284 in their June 26 session, sending them to Gov. Evers’s desk. The Senate did not take action on AB 285.