This Week in the Legislature

Senate passes tax credit transfer, mental health, and renewable energy bills

A tax credit transfer bill, authored by Sen. Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) passed the Senate unanimously this week which allows the transfer of certain tax credits between businesses. The bill requires the businesses applying for the tax credit transfers to meet one of four requirements relating to the businesses relationship to Wisconsin.

The Senate also passed nearly a dozen bills regarding mental health services in Wisconsin, which the Assembly passed last month. The bills, listed below, were created from recommendations from the Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health, will be signed into law by Governor Scott Walker shortly.

Assembly Bill 435Admission of minors for inpatient treatment. 
Assembly Bill 450: Grants for crisis intervention team training.
Assembly Bill 452: Child psychiatry consultation program.
Assembly Bill 453: Uses and disclosures of protected health information.
Assembly Bill 454: Creation of a primary care and psychiatry shortage grant program.
Assembly Bill 455: Grants to counties to contract for peer-run respite centers.
Assembly Bill 456: Reporting on county performance on providing core mental health services and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority.
Assembly Bill 458: Mental health benefits and reimbursement for mental health services under the Medical Assistance Program. 
Assembly Bill 459: Individual placement and support program for employment of individuals experiencing mental illness.
Assembly Bill 460: Grants to mental health mobile crisis units.
Assembly Bill 488: Involuntary commitment proceedings and limited appearance by corporation counsel.

A renewable energy bill passed the Senate and Assembly this week with bi-partisan support which will help small utilities meet the state’s renewable energy requirements. According to bill co-sponsor Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), “This measure will avoid penalizing these small utilities for being ahead of the curve in producing renewable energy and help them continue to contribute to economic development in our state.” The bill will also ensure utility rates stay low for customers.

Assembly passes bills on drug use and state employee contracts

Legislation in the State Assembly was unanimously passed last week to protect heroin users who call 911 when they report an overdose. Supporters say the bill will help first responders administer the correct treatment and reduce heroin-related deaths in Wisconsin.

Earlier this week, the Assembly passed a bill that would allow municipalities to fine possession of marijuana offenders who district attorneys declined to prosecute. The bill, which was passed by the Senate in September, will now head to Governor Walker’s desk to be signed into law after evaluation.

The Assembly and Senate also approved five state employee contracts that granted a one percent pay raise to nearly 2,400 workers.

This post was authored by Rebecca Ballweg, an intern at the Hamilton Consulting Group.