Gov. Evers Signs 21 Bills, Including Telehealth Definitions; Vetoes Four More

On February 4, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced his actions on 18 bills recently presented to him by the Legislature. The governor signed 14 bills into law and vetoed four others. Notably, Gov. Evers signed Senate Bill (SB) 309 and SB 488.

SB 309, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 121, incorporates the definitions of “telehealth” and other related terms from the Medical Assistance program into the statutory chapters that pertain to occupational licensing. It requires the Department of Safety and Professional Services and any attached examining or affiliated credentialing board to define and use “telehealth” and related terms consistent with this bill in all promulgated rules. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously and was supported by health care providers, insurers, and local governments.

Act 121 also implements a provision of the 2021-23 state budget directing the Department of Health Services to award $500,000 in grants annually to free and charitable clinics.

SB 488, now Act 126, makes a series of changes to requirements for water supply service area plans for public water supply systems. The bill passed the Senate and Assembly via voice votes. It was supported by groups representing municipalities and local water utilities.

Gov. Evers vetoed the following bills on February 4:

  • SB 332: Expands the hours during which a minor under age 16 is allowed to work for an employer not covered by the Federal Labor Standards Act. Veto message
  • Assembly Bill (AB) 86: Establishes requirements and prohibitions for complementary and alternative health care practitioners and authorizes the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to investigate practitioners suspected of violating the law. Veto message
  • AB 411: Prohibits race or sex stereotyping in pupil instruction and employee training at school districts and independent charter schools. Requires school boards and independent charter schools to post curricula on their website. Veto message
  • AB 440: Creates a separate penalty for manufacturing marijuana or separating resin from marijuana by butane extraction or a similar method. Veto message

One week later, Gov. Evers announced that he had signed seven more bills into law as Acts 133 through 139. Six of the bills ratify collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin System, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the Wisconsin State Building Trades Negotiating Committee for the 2021-22 and 2020-21 fiscal years. The final bill ratifies the agreement negotiated between the state and the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association for the 2019-21 fiscal biennium.

For more coverage of legislative issues in Wisconsin, see these recent articles: