Hamilton Political Tidbits – March 26, 2021

Political Tidbits - March 26, 2021
March 26, 2021
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
Since the last edition of Tidbits, the Legislature has sent several bills to Governor Evers' desk, including one bill to license and regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and another to modernize how Wisconsin regulates physician assistants (PAs). Also this month, the governor approved two DNR scope statements with new PFAS standards, and DWD has taken the first steps to update its computer systems. Read on for our coverage of the most important stories in Wisconsin politics.

In this edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits:

If you have any additional questions, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting team.
PBM and PA Bills Head to the Governor; Senate Considers Dental Therapy Bill
On Friday, March 19, Governor Tony Evers was presented with Senate Bill 3, a bill authorizing the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) to license and regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The governor can now choose to sign the bill into law or veto it. A bill to reform how Wisconsin regulates physician assistants (Assembly Bill 125) is also ready for review by Gov. Evers.

PFAS Update: Governor Approves Two DNR Scope Statements Including New PFAS Standards
Earlier this month, Governor Tony Evers approved two scope statements from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that propose new regulations related to groundwater and drinking water. These statements are the first step in the rulemaking process that state agencies must use to create new regulations.

Legislature Advances COVID-19 Policies
On Tuesday, March 23, the Legislature advanced a series of bills related to COVID-19, including many policies that were originally part of Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1). In February, Gov. Evers vetoed AB 1, an omnibus COVID-19 response package, after he and the Legislature failed to reach a compromise.

Vaccine Update: Almost 2.5 Million Doses Administered; 15 Percent Fully Vaccinated
As of Tuesday, March 23, Wisconsin had been allocated nearly 2.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government. Earlier this month, the state began administering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States. In total, as of March 24, about 2.44 million vaccine doses had been administered in the state, and more than 890,000 Wisconsin residents or 15.3 percent of the state’s population were fully vaccinated.

Governor Evers Signs Two Laws on Vaccine Administration
Governor Tony Evers recently signed into law two bills intended to improve vaccine distribution in Wisconsin. The governor signed Assembly Bill 4 into law as 2021 Act 3 on February 19. The bill allows pharmacy technicians, who provide services under the direction of pharmacists, to administer vaccines under the supervision and with proper training. On March 22, the governor signed Senate Bill 13 into law as 2021 Act 8, allowing dentists to administer COVID-19 and flu vaccines after completing eight hours of training.

DWD Gets Federal Grant to Begin Updating UI Computer System
On Thursday, March 18, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that it had secured a $2.4 million federal grant to begin updating the computer system used to administer the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. DWD will spend half of its grant ($1.2 million) to contract with 18F, an office of the federal General Services Administration that helps government entities acquire technology and build digital services.
ICYMI: DWD Worker Training Grant Applications Due April 8
Last month, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced a new phase of worker training grants under the Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) program. The grants are intended to fund training programs that will allow workers to obtain full-time or higher-level employment, increased wages, and/or industry recognized credentials. Grant applications are due by 3 PM on Thursday, April 8.

News Clips
Utilities and Energy
Employer Issues
Economic Development
U.S. News, March 25, 2021
Milwaukee Business Journal, March 23, 2021
The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please forward it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.

To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.