The Assembly and Senate both met this month, taking up legislation on a wide range of issues – from law enforcement to health care to environmental protection.
After January, Assembly leadership has indicated that the Assembly will meet two more times before adjourning at the end of February. The Senate will likely meet once in February and once in March before adjourning.
Assembly Jan. 15
The first floor session of 2020 occurred in the Assembly on Jan. 15.
The Assembly attempted to override a bill vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers in November. AB 76 would have prohibited the Department of Health Services from requiring training for nurse aids that exceeds the minimum number of training hours required by federal law. The governor objected to loosening training standards for these health care workers. Though the bill originally passed with the support of a few Democrats, the Assembly veto override attempt failed on a party-line vote.
Also of note on the Assembly agenda on Jan. 15 was a package of bills from the Speaker’s Task Force on Adoption and a bill clarifying procedures for law enforcement transporting individuals for emergency detention (AB 633).
Senate Jan. 21
The Senate met on Jan. 21 and began by unanimously confirming two Gov. Evers appointees: Caleb Frostman as the Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development and Joaquin Altoro as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority. (Status of all Gov. Evers appointees.)
Following approval of the appointments, the Senate took up legislation including SB 310, regulating firefighting foams containing PFAS. The bill passed via voice vote in the Senate, and the Assembly passed and sent the legislation to the governor on the same day. Read more about recent PFAS legislative and regulatory developments.
The Senate also took up SB 511, which would make it easier for law enforcement officers to bring claims for worker’s compensation for PTSD. The bill would eliminate current requirements that law enforcement demonstrate that their PTSD is based on greater than the everyday emotional strain of their jobs. SB 511 represents a compromise among stakeholders after similar legislation failed to pass last session. The provisions of the bill are also in this session’s worker’s compensation reform legislation.
Assembly Jan. 21
The Assembly also met on Jan. 21, passing and sending a variety of bills to the Senate. The Assembly passed 61-36 along party lines AB 26, establishing parameters for practicing direct primary care in Wisconsin. The Assembly also passed, on bipartisan voice votes, six opioid bills from Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).
The Assembly passed and sent to the governor’s desk a bipartisan bill increasing penalties for harming health care professionals (SB 163).