Governor, Speaker Create Separate AI Task Forces

Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced an executive order creating the Governor’s Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence on August 23. The following day, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) announced the formation of four policy task forces, including the Speaker’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence.

“Artificial intelligence” or “AI” refers to a range of technologies including tools for data analysis, online search and product recommendation algorithms, and generative tools for writing or creating images and other media.

The governor’s task force is attached to the Department of Workforce Development, chaired by the department secretary (or a designee), and includes the following members:

  • The Department of Administration secretary or a designee
  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or a designee
  • One representative each from the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Technical College System
  • “Other individuals appointed by the Governor to serve at the pleasure of the Governor, who may include members from state and local government and individuals representing the business community, the education community, organized labor, the technology industry, and other leaders from impacted workforce sectors and industries”

The committee is tasked with gathering and analyzing information to produce an advisory action plan for the governor. Per the Associated Press: “The goal is to have an action plan done in time for the governor to consider when introducing the next state budget in early 2025, his spokesperson Britt Cudaback said.” Gov. Evers’ order suggests that “Wisconsin must identify potential impacts of artificial intelligence… with an eye toward greater equity and economic opportunity.”

To lead the legislative AI task force, Speaker Vos appointed Assembly Rep. Gustafson (R-Neenah) as chair and Rep. Doyle (D-Onalaska) as vice-chair. According to the announcement, the committee “aims to study the transformative potential of artificial intelligence while ensuring its responsible and ethical deployment … including automated decision tools, facial recognition, and generative AI.”

Speaker Vos has appointed the following members to the AI task force:

  • Chair: Rep. Nate Gustafson (R-Neenah)
  • Vice Chair: Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska)
  • Rep. David Armstrong (R-Rice Lake)
  • Rep. Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk)
  • Rep. Dave Maxey (R-New Berlin)
  • Rep. Tom Michalski (R-Elm Grove)
  • Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee)
  • Rep. Angie Sapik (R-Lake Nebagamon)
  • Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield)
  • Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls)
  • Rep. Clinton Anderson (D-Beloit)
  • Rep. Samba Baldeh (D-Madison)
  • Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha)
  • Rep. Lori Palmeri (D-Oshkosh)

Other states, including Texas, North Dakota, and West Virginia, have created similar study committees. The National Conference of State Legislators has reported that AI legislation has been introduced in at least 25 states. Legislators in Minnesota are developing legislation on product liability and impact assessments for AI systems.

The other task force committees created by Speaker Vos are:

Speaker’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity

  • Chair: Rep. Hurd (R-Fall Creek)
  • Vice-Chair: Rep. Vining (D-Wauwatosa)

Speaker’s Task Force on Truancy

  • Chair: Rep. Binsfeld (R-Sheboygan)
  • Vice-Chair: Rep. Drake (D-Milwaukee)

Speaker’s Task Force on Human Trafficking

  • Chair: Rep. O’Connor (R-Fond du Lac)
  • Vice-Chair: Rep. Emerson (D-Eau Claire)

According to Speaker Vos’ announcement, the committees “will travel around Wisconsin obtaining input and innovative ideas in order to compile recommendations. … The committees will begin this September with the hope of completing work before the end of the year.”