Governor Walker Signs 29 Bills into Law

With the Assembly and Senate finishing off their two year session and March drawing to a close, Governor Walker signed a slew of bills into law, with one partial veto and one full veto.

The following is a partial list of those bills signed:

Assembly Bill 770 – creates an emergency heating assistance loan guarantee program. It will allow families to obtain financing of up to $2,500 through a participating lender with a guarantee of 50 to 80 percent on original amount borrowed. The bill provides for a one-time payment of 3.5 percent to reduce the interest rate on the loan. The bill passed the Assembly 94-1 and unanimously passed the Senate; it is Act 175.

Senate Bill 20 – expands the residency requirement for election observers to allow individuals from the county to serve, as opposed to only the municipality or ward. The bill passed the Senate 17-16 and the Assembly 56-38; it is Act 147.

Senate Bill 640 – makes the Legislative Reference Bureau’s suggested changes to the form for certain residential or construction contracts. The bill passed the Senate and the Assembly on a voice vote; it is Act 150.

Senate Bill 655 – changes campaign finance laws by allowing electronic filing of finance reports, as opposed to the need for hard copies, updates contribution limits which have not been adjusted since 1973, and clarifies that news stories do not count as contributions or disbursements. The bill passed the Senate 17-16 and the Assembly 54-37; it is Act 153.

Assembly Bill 19 – requires plaintiffs to disclose claims they have filed or anticipate filing against asbestos trusts to prevent double dipping. This legislation does not prevent victims from filing claims and will ensure the solvency of the asbestos trust. The bill passed the Assembly 55-38 and the Senate 17-16; it is Act 154.

Assembly Bill 89 – relates to the method of reporting election returns. Allows municipalities with a population of more than 35,000 to combine election returns for any ward with 20 or fewer returns for any adjacent ward, subject to limitations. The bill passed the Assembly and the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 155.

Assembly Bill 161 – relates to injunctions of state statute. Currently, if an injunction is issued, appeals are discretionary. This bill states that injunctions can be immediately appealed as a matter of right. The bill passed the Assembly 60-36 and the Senate 18-14; it is Act 156.

Assembly Bill 396 – requires that special voting deputies be present at adult family homes, community-based residential facilities, and residential care apartment complexes when there is absentee voting. The bill passed the Assembly 56-38 and the Senate 17-16; it is Act 159.

Assembly Bill 559 – removes statutory language relating to the Department of Transportation including the requirement that the Department submit documentation about the security interest in a vehicle to the register of deeds. Also replaces a special group license plate for female veterans with special group license plates for female veterans in each of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The bill passed the Assembly and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 163.

Assembly Bill 560 – requires a 12-person jury in all criminal cases and removes the requirement that the clerk of court keep the names of notaries public in the register of officials. The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 164.

Assembly Bill 606 – changes the number of required signatures of electors to not less than 100 and not more than 200 for candidates for alderperson in smaller cities. The bill passed the Assembly and the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 174.

Senate Bill 324 – Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 324 pertaining to early voting, with a partial veto of Sections 1 and 2. With the changes from the partial veto, early voting is not limited to 45 total hours per week for statewide elections, but maintains the requirement for more uniform voting hours across the state: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., similar to uniform voting hours on the actual election day. Governor Walker also vetoed the provision requiring municipalities to provide compensation to individuals who assist with in-person absentee voting, and eliminated the appropriation as it would create a new state expenditure for a function historically handled by local governments. The bill passed the Senate 17-16 and the Assembly 56-38; it is Act 146.

Senate Bill 628 – Governor Walker issued a veto of Senate Bill 628 in its entirety. Due to the way raffles are conducted and regulated, the changes proposed in the bill threatened the exclusive rights of the Indian tribes to conduct Class III gaming.