Senate Floor Session: February 20, 2024 (Health, Education, Transportation, Executive Appointments)

The Wisconsin Senate met February 20, 2024. See the floor calendar here. Also this month, both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature met February 13 and the Assembly met February 15, 20, and 22.

The Senate confirmed eight appointments to various state boards and commissions, mostly related to oversight of higher education. Senate Republicans, with a handful of dissenters, voted to reject four appointments, one to the Natural Resources Board (Todd Ambs) and three to the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority Board (Barbara Lawton, Candice Owley, and Sondy Pope).

Gov. Evers (D) issued a press release criticizing Republicans for “once again baselessly firing qualified appointees.” Since Gov. Evers took office in January 2019, the Senate has rejected 14 of his appointees (including the four discussed here) and confirmed more than 500 others. In the 30 years prior to Evers’ tenure as governor, the Wisconsin Senate rejected four gubernatorial appointments.

The Senate passed 64 bills. Following is a full list of the bills that the Senate approved, which were passed by unanimous roll call or voice vote unless otherwise noted:

  • SB 11 TAD Expansion Expanding the treatment alternatives and diversion programs Passed, 29-3.
  • SB 161 Tuition Reciprocity The Minnesota-Wisconsin tuition reciprocity agreement and making an appropriation.
  • SB 187 Commercial building plans Local government review of commercial building plans. Assembly Amendment 1 adopted by voice vote.
  • SB 275 Treatment Court Statutory recognition of specialized treatment court and commercial court dockets.
  • SB 316 Aquatic Plant Management Aquatic plant management plans and permit exemptions.
  • SB 323 Telco Property Tax Exempting personal property from the tax imposed on telephone companies. Passed, 30-2.
  • SB 335 School District Administrators Allowing school boards to employ a school district administrator who is not licensed by the department of public instruction. Passed, 21-11.
  • SB 408 50 Piece Rule Public funds for substantially identical materials distributed by state senators and representatives to the assembly prior to a general election and providing a penalty.
  • SB 413 Highway Setbacks Highway setback areas and the Department of Transportation’s authority to approve subdivision plats.
  • SB 439 Property Restrictions Declaring discriminatory restrictions in instruments that affect real property void and unenforceable and allowing an owner of real property to discharge and release such a discriminatory restriction.
  • SB 447 Glucagon Therapies Ready-to-use glucagon rescue therapies in schools.
  • SB 462 Crisis Urgent Care Crisis urgent care and observation facilities and granting rule-making authority. Assembly Amendment 1 adopted by voice vote.
  • SB 525 Tinted Windows Tinting windows on government-owned vehicles.
  • SB 539 NonProfit Assistance County assistance to certain nonprofit organizations.
  • SB 592 MA Reimbursement Reimbursement under the Medical Assistance program for complex rehabilitation technology wheelchair repairs and accessories.
  • SB 608 Teaching License A license to teach based on working as a paraprofessional in a school district. Passed, 21-11.
  • SB 612 Seasonal Highways Seasonally maintained highways.
  • SB 613 Commercial Vehicle Damages Recovery Limiting the recovery of noneconomic damages from a commercial motor vehicle carrier. Passed, 21-11.
  • SB 617 Electric Vehicles Indicia of registration for electric vehicles.
  • SB 624 Solid Waste Facilities Method for establishing proof of financial responsibility for municipal solid waste facilities; payments for closure, long-term care, and corrective action costs for certain solid or hazardous waste facilities; extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures; providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures; granting rule-making authority; and making an appropriation.
  • SB 628 Financial Exploitation Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
  • SB 653 Open Enrollment Aid State aid adjustments under the full-time open enrollment program.
  • SB 654 DOT Rules Modifying administrative rules of the Department of Transportation relating to applications for vehicle titles by nonresident insurance carriers.
  • SB 667 Trusts Domestic asset protection trusts.
  • SB 687 Crossroads College Specifying Crossroads College as the entity in which the Church of Christ’s property vests if the Church of Christ becomes defunct or is dissolved. Passed, 23-9.
  • SB 688 Bidding Thresholds Local government competitive bidding thresholds and requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding. Passed, 20-12.
  • SB 722 Mental Health Active psychosis and mental health treatment for prisoners.
  • SB 740 Personalized Plates Personalized registration plate fees for gold star family special registration plates. Passed, 31-1.
  • SB 741 Ethics Commission Recommendations from the Ethics Commission regarding campaign finance, lobbying, open records, and closed sessions.
  • SB 753 Bridge Projects Supervision of local bridge projects funded under certain local bridge maintenance programs.
  • SB 767 Absentee Ballots The provision of absentee ballots to nonresident students at the University of Wisconsin System. Passed, 21-11.
  • SB 789 Redacting Fees Fees for redacting certain records of law enforcement agencies. Assembly Amendment 1 adopted by voice vote.
  • SB 809 Battery Entering certain places with intent to commit battery and providing a penalty. Passed, 23-9.
  • SB 822 Campaign Finance Reports Local candidates filing campaign finance reports and making an appropriation. Passed, 28-4. 
  • SB 826 Zoning Town withdrawals from county zoning and the effect of a jurisdiction change on zoning provisions.
  • SB 852 Federal Act Compliance Compliance with the federal Electoral Count Reform Act. Passed, 31-1.
  • SB 868 Anatomical Donor Electing to be a donor of an anatomical gift when filing income tax returns.
  • SB 895 Capital Budget Amendments Amendments to the 2023-25 capital budget for University of Wisconsin System projects, granting bonding authority, and making an appropriation. Passed, 31-1.
  • SB 896 Reciprocity Funding Funding related to a Minnesota-Wisconsin student reciprocity agreement and making an appropriation. Passed, 31-1.
  • SB 906 Rechargeable Batteries Education about rechargeable batteries and providing grants for collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries.
  • SB 916 Refugee Resettlement Requiring local governments to designate an individual for consultation required under a federal program regarding refugee resettlement and assistance. Passed, 22-10.
  • SB 933 Organ Transplants Prohibiting discrimination in organ transplantation and donation on the basis of an individual’s vaccination status. Passed, 21-11.
  • SB 944 CCAP The availability of information on crimes through the consolidated court automation programs. Passed, 22-10.
  • SB 962 Newborn Screening The procedure for adding federal newborn screening recommendations to the state-required newborn screenings, granting rule-making authority, and providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures.
  • SB 964 Physical Therapists Authorizing physical therapists to make certifications for acquiring disabled parking plates and cards.
  • SB 981 Missing Child Alerts Expanding alerts for missing adults to include certain missing children.
  • SB 989 School Choice Programs Combining the choice programs and granting rule-making authority. Passed, 22-10.
  • SB 990 Literacy Training Mandatory early literacy professional development.
  • SB 1006 Wildlife Damages The wildlife damage abatement program and the wildlife damage claim program. Passed, 31-0.
  • SB 1014 Hospital Services Funding Funding for hospital emergency department services. Passed, 20-12.
  • SB 1015 Grant Funding Transfer from the state building trust fund to the general fund, funding for grants to support hospital emergency department services, and making an appropriation. Passed, 30-2.
  • AB 223 Opioid Antagonists in Schools Maintaining a supply of usable opioid antagonist at a school.
  • AB 230 RV Manufacturers Recreational vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, the definition of recreational vehicles, and providing a penalty.
  • AB 237 Prisoner Release Requirements for releasing a prisoner to parole or extended supervision.
  • AB 476 Elected Office Vacancies (Magnafici, Gae) Filling vacancies in elective state offices in the executive branch. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 556 Elder Victim Crime Proceedings Expediting criminal proceedings when a victim or witness is an elder person and preserving the testimony of a crime victim or witness who is an elder person. Passed, 29-3.
  • AB 574 Earned Wage Services Regulating earned wage access services, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Passed, 30-1.
  • AB 742 Obsolete References Eliminating obsolete statutory references regarding property, sales, and income taxes; the uniform unclaimed property act; and lottery games.
  • AB 869 Traffic Control Lights Traffic control signal priority devices for snow removal vehicles.
  • AB 914 Bronchodilators The supply and use of short-acting bronchodilators on school premises or at a school-sponsored event.
  • AB 1020 Tax Bracket Expansion Expansion of the second individual income tax bracket. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 1021 Retirement Income Subtraction Increasing and expanding the retirement income subtraction. Passed, 23-9.
  • AB 1022 Married Persons Credit The married persons credit. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 1023 Child Care Credit Expanding the child and dependent care credit. Passed, 29-3.

The Assembly Bills (AB) listed above, as well as SBs 187, 462, and 789, have passed both houses of the Legislature and can be presented to the governor for his signature or veto.

The Senate also referred two bills on the calendar (SB 709, AB 51) back to the Committee on Senate Organization (meaning they were not voted on) and rejected a motion from legislative Democrats to take up SB 719, omnibus healthcare cost control legislation.

Finally, the Senate adopted six resolutions, all by voice vote except for SJR 117:

For more information about the 2023-24 legislative session in Wisconsin, see the following articles: