Hamilton Political Tidbits – November 13, 2019

Political Tidbits - November 13, 2019
Hamilton Consulting Group
 November 13, 2019
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

This edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits covers the latest Senate and Assembly floor sessions, plus other notable bills moving through the Legislature, including legislation to address the opioid crisis and legislation requiring hands-free driving on Wisconsin roads. Also in this edition: DNR seeks to regulate PFAS chemicals, new CMS rules on physician assistants, and updates on Gov. Evers's cabinet appointees and Wisconsin congressional candidates.

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Floor Report: November Senate & Assembly Floor Periods

The Wisconsin Senate and Assembly met this month for what is expected to be the last floor sessions of 2019. The Senate met on Nov. 5, and the Assembly met on Nov. 7 and 12. Both chambers also met very briefly in accordance with Gov. Tony Evers's call for a special session on gun reform on Nov. 7.
After November, indications are each house will only meet three to four times in 2020 before adjourning in March (if not earlier).
UPDATED: Status of Gov. Evers Appointments

The Wisconsin Senate has now taken up several of Gov. Tony Evers's cabinet appointments, including votes on three appointees this month.

UPDATED: Wis. Congressional Candidates: Who's In and Who's Out

New this week - state Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) has decided against a run in the 5th Congressional District. 

Continue reading about the candidates for the 5th & 7th Congressional Districts.

DNR Holds Public Hearing on PFAS Scope Statements

On Nov. 12, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held a preliminary public hearing on three scope statements seeking to regulate PFAS chemicals in Wisconsin.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemicals that are found in many everyday products, including nonstick pans, cleaning products, paints, and firefighting foam. The most extensively studied PFAS compounds are PFOA and PFOS, which have been phased out of domestic manufacturing over the past decade. Competing studies debate whether or not these chemicals have negative health effects and, if they do, at what level they are harmful.
Hands-Free Driving Bill Introduced

Wisconsin legislators have introduced a bill (SB 522/AB 582) that would ban use of wireless communication devices while driving, except for hands-free use. The bill would put Wisconsin in line with nearly 20 states that ban handheld cell phone use while driving, including neighboring state Minnesota, which recently passed a similar law.
New Opioid Legislation Circulating

Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and various co-authors have circulated a new package of bills to address substance use disorder. Nygren has led the legislative effort to combat Wisconsin's opioid epidemic with his Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) agenda starting in the 2013-14 session and continuing through 2018.
New CMS Rule Changes How PAs May Work with Physicians

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized its 2020 Physician Fee Schedule Rule, which changed Medicare supervision requirements for physician assistants (PAs) by largely deferring to state law on how PAs practice with physicians.
Recently, 11 states have replaced the outdated term "supervision" with other terms, such as collaboration, to better reflect current PA practice. Wisconsin PAs are seeking a similar update to the laws regulating their practice in the CARES Act (SB 515/AB 575).

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News Clips

Utilities and Energy
Tracking progress on 100% clean energy targets: Green Tech Media, November 12, 2019.
Racine wants to lease Olsen Park for solar farm: Racine Journal Times, November 12, 2019.

DNR and PFAS regulation: Eagle Herald Extra, November 13, 2019.
As DNR contemplates PFAS regulation, industry seeks to narrow scope: Wisconsin State Journal, November 12, 2019.


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