Senate Floor Session: March 12, 2024

The Wisconsin Senate met March 12, 2024. See the floor calendar here. We anticipate that this was the Senate’s final day of floor votes for the 2023-24 legislative session. The Assembly voted to adjourn the session at the conclusion of its last scheduled floor day on February 22. The Legislature is not expected to reconvene until January 2025. See the list at the bottom of this article for links to our comprehensive coverage of the 2023-24 legislative session. See this article for information about bills that were recently signed or vetoed by the governor.

The Senate approved 44 appointments to various state boards and commissions, including the Medical Examining Board, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, the Snowmobile Recreational Council, and the boards overseeing banks, credit unions, and accountants. The Senate also confirmed Cheryll Olson-Collins as secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions.

The Senate rejected eight gubernatorial appointments, mostly along party lines, except that Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay) voted with Democrats several times. Specifically, the Senate rejected two appointments to the UW System Board of Regents (John Miller, Dana Wachs), five appointments to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission (Yulonda Anderson, Terrance Craney, Jane Foley, Janet Jenkins, and Judy Ziewacz), and an appointee to the Council on Domestic Abuse (Mildred Gonzales).

As he has done before, Gov. Evers (D) issued two press releases (here and here) criticizing Republican legislators for “continuing unprecedented efforts to baselessly fire” his appointees. Since Gov. Evers took office in January 2019, the Senate has rejected 22 of his appointees (including the ones discussed here) and confirmed roughly 600 others. In the 30 years prior to Evers’ tenure as governor, the Wisconsin Senate rejected four gubernatorial appointments.

In all, the Senate passed 61 bills. The Senate concurred in Assembly amendments to several Senate Bills (SB), mostly by voice vote:

  • SB 172 Community Reentry Centers Establishing and operating community reentry centers and making an appropriation.
  • SB 374 Tax Reciprocity Wisconsin and Minnesota income tax reciprocity.
  • SB 525 Tinted Windows Tinting windows on government-owned vehicles.
  • SB 616 DOR Law Changes A sales tax exemption for road-building equipment; increasing the income tax withholding threshold for nonresidents; modifying the certification requirement for a qualified opportunity fund; prohibiting certain lottery games; and extending the capital gains exclusion to family members who inherit certain farms organized as a partnership or limited liability company. 1 adopted, 27-5.
  • SB 667 Trusts Domestic asset protection trusts.
  • SB 791 EV Charging Exemptions from public utility regulation regarding electric vehicle charging stations, installation and operation of electric vehicle charging stations by state agencies or local governmental units, and imposing an excise tax on electric vehicle charging.
  • SB 822 Campaign Finance Reports Local candidates filing campaign finance reports and making an appropriation. 1 adopted, 30-1.
  • SB 990 Literacy Training Mandatory early literacy professional development.

The Senate concurred in the following Assembly Bills (AB), by unanimous roll call or voice vote except where noted:

  • AB 29 Bullion Tax Exemption A sales and use tax exemption for precious metal bullion. Passed, 23-9.
  • AB 34 Baiting Restrictions Restrictions on baiting deer in counties based on chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 232 Hmong American Instruction Directing school boards to provide instruction on Hmong Americans and Asian Americans.
  • AB 377 School Sports Participants Designating athletic sports and teams operated or sponsored by public schools or private schools participating in a parental choice program based on the sex of the participants. Passed, 20-11.
  • AB 385 Hmong Veteran Status Indication of Hmong veteran status on an operator’s license or identification card.
  • AB 395 Vehicle Sharing Requirements for and insurance related to peer-to-peer motor vehicle sharing programs. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 398 Clinical Trials Participants in clinical research trials.
  • AB 548 Wisconsin-Ireland Trade Commission Requiring the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to create the Wisconsin-Ireland Trade Commission.
  • AB 558 Mount Horeb Veterans Memorial Identification of the Mount Horeb Veterans Memorial on state highway maps.
  • AB 569 Driver Schools The location and operation of driver schools.
  • AB 603 Highway Signs Erecting highway signs for The Prairie School in Racine County.
  • AB 610 Immunization Waivers Waivers from immunization requirements at institutions of higher education. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 627 Business Development Tax Credit Various changes to the business development tax credit. Passed, 27-5.
  • AB 664 AI Disclosures Disclosures regarding content generated by artificial intelligence in political advertisements, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
  • AB 669 Liability Exemption A liability exemption for motor vehicle sellers after sale. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 793 College Savings Accounts Modifying the tax treatment of college savings accounts and the employee college savings account contribution credit.
  • AB 910 Tobacco Sellers Remote sellers of cigars and pipe tobacco. Passed, 30-2.
  • AB 912 Charitable Organizations Financial statements of registered charitable organizations.
  • AB 917 Counterfeit Lighters The sale of counterfeit lighters and unsafe lighters.
  • AB 918 Real Estate Various changes regarding the laws governing real estate practice, disclosures regarding real property wholesalers, and providing a penalty.
  • AB 932 New Business Venture Modifying the certification criteria to be a qualified new business venture.
  • AB 933 Angel Investment Credit Transferring the angel investment tax credit.
  • AB 940 Victim Services Funding Funding for victim services and domestic abuse services, training for grant recipients, grants to child advocacy centers, and making an appropriation.
  • AB 954 Medical Licenses Provisional licenses to practice medicine and surgery for internationally trained physicians and physician assistants and granting rule-making authority.
  • AB 957 Animal Ordinances Preemption of certain local animal ordinances.
  • AB 960 Device Location Emergency communications device location information. Passed, 26-5.
  • AB 964 Business Regulation Local regulation of certain businesses operated by minors.
  • AB 965 Picketing Judge’s Residence Picketing or parading at the residence of a judge with the intent to interfere with, obstruct, or impede the administration of justice or influence any judge and providing a penalty.
  • AB 966 Judicial Officer Privacy Privacy protections for judicial officers, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
  • AB 967 Judicial Security Profiles Withholding judicial security profiles from public access.
  • AB 969 Tax-Deeded Lands The county sale of tax-deeded lands.
  • AB 973 Human Trafficking Training Mandatory training regarding human trafficking for employees of community-based residential facilities and owners of certain entities and certain other employees and granting rule-making authority.
  • AB 976 Human Trafficking The testimony of a child in a criminal proceeding for a human trafficking crime.
  • AB 978 Human Trafficking Council Creation of a Human Trafficking Council and requiring the establishment of county sex trafficking task forces.
  • AB 1013 Food Incentive Program Healthy food incentive program.
  • AB 1030 Deer Hunting The regulation of deer hunting in the northern forest zone.
  • AB 1050 Office of School Safety Position authorizations in the Office of School Safety and making an appropriation. Passed, 30-2.
  • AB 1065 UW Prohibitions Prohibiting University of Wisconsin System institutions and technical colleges from using loyalty pledges and requiring them to make certain information publicly available. Passed, 22-10.
  • AB 1073 Workers Comp Changes Various changes to the worker’s compensation law. Passed, 31-1.
  • AB 1075 Loan Allocation Regional allocation of residential housing infrastructure revolving loan.
  • AB 1079 Veterans Employment of direct-care employees by veterans homes, eligibility for burial in veterans cemeteries, and elements of sexual assault under the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice.
  • AB 1089 Interest Rates Interest rates on late, nondelinquent taxes and on overpayments. Passed, 25-7.
  • AB 1096 DATCP Remedial Legislation Agricultural producer security council membership (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection).
  • AB 1097 Renaming Lincoln Correctional Renaming Lincoln County Correctional Institution Lincoln Correctional Institution.
  • AB 1098 ETF Remedial Legislation Contributions by protective occupation participants and separation from service for retirement benefits under the Wisconsin Retirement System (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Employee Trust Funds).
  • AB 1099 DFI Remedial Legislation Updating an obsolete reference to the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc.; eliminating an obsolete provision in the Wisconsin Consumer Act; updating a cross-reference to a federal law definition of high-cost mortgage; information included on a notary public’s stamp and clarifying terminology and removing statutory duplication relating to notaries public (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Financial Institutions).
  • AB 1100 DHS Remedial Legislation Degree requirements for certain local health officers; admissions authorized by counties to mental health institutes; and eliminating references to defunct regional long-term care advisory committees (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Health Services).
  • AB 1101 DOJ Remedial Legislation The Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories division administrator (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Justice).
  • AB 1102 DNR Remedial Legislation Administration of well drilling, heat exchange drilling, and pump installing examinations (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Natural Resources).
  • AB 1103 DPI Remedial Legislation Requirements for school breakfast reimbursement and repealing a teaching license requirement (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Public Instruction).
  • AB 1105 OST Remedial Legislation Eliminating an obsolete provision relating to the state treasurer (suggested as remedial legislation by the Office of the State Treasurer).

All the bills listed above have passed both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature in the same form and are ready to be presented to Gov. Evers. Once a bill has been formally presented to the governor by legislative leadership, he has six days (excluding Sunday) to sign or veto the bill before it becomes law automatically. Per the session calendar, any bills that are not presented to Gov. Evers by legislative leaders by April 4 will be automatically forwarded to the governor on that date.

The Senate passed two other bills that will not reach Gov. Evers’ desk this session. SB 589, on temporary limited easements for construction cranes, passed the Senate 21-11 (Sen. Nass, R-Whitewater, joined all Democrats in voting against the bill). The Assembly passed the companion version of this bill (AB 621) by voice vote on February 22. However, because the same bill did not pass both houses, this legislation cannot be presented to the governor. SB 823, on the registration of out-of-state health care providers offering telehealth services, passed the Senate by voice vote but did not receive any committee action in the Assembly.

Finally, the Senate adopted three resolutions consisting of proposed constitutional amendments:

  • AJR 6 Appropriation Authority The appropriation authority of the legislature and the allocation of moneys Wisconsin receives from the federal government (second consideration) Assembly Amendment 1 to Senate Amendment 1 adopted, 22-10.
  • AJR 109 Prohibiting Discrimination Prohibiting governmental entity discrimination (first consideration). Adopted, 22-10.
  • AJR 112 Partial Veto Prohibiting the governor from using the partial veto to create or increase any tax or fee (first consideration). Adopted, 22-10.

AJR 6, on state legislative oversight of federal funding, passed the Legislature for the second consecutive session and will appear the ballot statewide in November along with two other proposed amendments. Two additional proposed state constitutional amendments will appear on the nonpartisan spring election ballot next month. More information about constitutional amendments on the ballot in Wisconsin this year can be found here.

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