Legislative Update: Assembly passes constitutional amendment

Assembly passes Governor’s tax cut plan, constitutional amendment

The state Assembly passed Special Session Assembly Bills 1 and 2, which Governor Walker announced in his State of the State Address in January. The bill uses a $1 billion state surplus to cut income and property taxes, gives $35 million to job training programs, and adds $43 million to infrastructure projects. In a press release, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said, “These surplus dollars should not stay in the state’s checkbook. These dollars should go to families and businesses to help grow our economy and keep Wisconsin moving in the right direction.” The bills will move on to the Senate next.

The state Assembly also passed AJR 79, which would prohibit the legislature from increasing state sales, income, or franchise tax without a two-thirds majority vote in the legislature. To become a formal amendment in the state constitution, the bill must pass the state Legislature for two consecutive sessions and be approved by voters in a referendum.

Recent Senate Action

The state Senate passed a bill this week limiting the power of circuit court judges to block laws they find unconstitutional. Also on the Senate’s agenda, SB 259 was passed, which would give a Fox Cities Regional Transit Authority a dedicated funding source for transit services and remove the cost of transit from the property tax. These bills will head to the state Assembly for passage.

The Senate passed SB 523, which broadens the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ ability to administer tests on newborns for congenital heart defects. In a press release, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) stated, “This legislation ensure that Wisconsin hospitals continue to uphold best practices that prevent needless infant deaths and long term health conditions and makes these procedures standard for all healthcare providers.” Wisconsin joins more than 25 other states who already have similar statutes.