Floor Report: Assembly Votes on First Bills of 2018 and Unveils 2018 Agenda

The Assembly met on Jan. 16 for the legislature’s first floor session of 2018. In the relatively short calendar, most of the bills passed on a bipartisan basis with little discussion.

First on the agenda, the Assembly voted to pass a resolution requiring anti-harassment and ethics training for Assembly members, officers, and employees. The Assembly then passed and messaged to the Senate several bills, including

  • AB 506 that would make changes to the Law Enforcement Standards Board.
  • AB 527 that would require competitive bidding for the procurement of signs with a cost estimated above $3,500.
  • AB 539 that would place sexually violent persons under supervised release in their county of residence.
  • AB 653 that would require facilities performing mammograms to provide patients with dense breast tissue a notice stating that such tissue makes cancer detection more difficult and is associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

Bills passed and sent to the governor for signing included:

  • SB 319 that clarifies the requirements regarding social and financial impact reports by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance that are required for bills related to health insurance mandates.
  • SB 399 that would make various changes to unemployment insurance law in Wisconsin.

Before the session began, Assembly Republican leadership met for a press conference to discuss what’s to come in the rest of 2018 session. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), along with Reps. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah), Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield), Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), and John Nygren (R-Marinette), said the Assembly would work in the next several weeks to pass legislation in four areas:

  1. Encouraging economic development, including talent attraction and apprenticeship bills.
  2. Supporting schools, including Nygren’s recently introduced sparsity aid plan and the school funding task force chaired by Kitchens and Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).
  3. Reforming the welfare system.
  4. Promoting healthy families, including the foster care bill package and opioid abuse prevention and treatment proposals.

Steineke said the Assembly plans a shorter, but more aggressive session in 2018. The Assembly plans to meet again on Jan. 23 and three to four more times in February. The Senate will also meet next week, and has consistently said they expect to meet into March.

 

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