Legislative Update – April 21

Governor signs bill on local governments’ labor agreements. While the Joint Finance Committee pulled the union-busting portion of the governor’s budget that would prohibit project labor agreements, the bill came forward as separate legislation. It moved quickly through the Legislature and was signed into the law as Act 3. Read more.

Voucher Transparency Bill

The Wisconsin Voucher Taxpayer Transparency bill (SB 183) requires property tax bills include information on the amount of any net reduction in state aid to the home district as a result of pupils enrolled in any of the state’s school voucher programs. Read about the proposal (proposed by Democrats) and see a couple quick points to consider when explaining why transparency makes sense:

  • The voucher program gives parents a choice on sending their child to a private school using public taxes. Taxpayers have never been given a choice on whether they want their tax money funding private education with no representation.
  • Public schools were legislated long ago to pay for non-public schools’ transportation, special education, Title I and 4K. State funding for private schools comes on top of those millions in tax dollars already being diverted from public schools.
  • Taxpayers pay for privately run charter schools that aren’t in their districts. How can taxpayers continue to fund these separate systems that don’t provide opportunity to all children?

Budget Hearings
After testimony wraps up this week, the Joint Finance Committee will begin executive sessions to deliberate on a final budget. See the budget bill it will be working off of, AB 064 and SB 030. The Joint Finance Committee is tentatively looking at May 1 for its first executive session on the guv’s budget, according to the offices of the co-chairs.

A Wisconsin Permitless Carry Bill has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. It has not received a public hearing yet. The spotlight this week was on Senate Bill 169, which would repeal the requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed gun in public.

The proposed bill also dangerously lowers the bar for carrying hidden handguns in public, allowing criminals, teenagers, and the dangerously mentally ill to carry concealed firearms with no required safety training. Further, the bill significantly reduces the effectiveness of school gun free zones. Read this news article and see more details here. Among other things, the bill would:

  • Arm Wisconsin Teens — While federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun from a registered firearm dealer, 18-21 year olds can legally own handguns in Wisconsin. This law allows 18-21 year olds or anyone else who can legally own a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit or training.
  • Eliminate the State Gun Free School Zones Law — This bill would mandate schools “post” if they want firearms kept off school grounds or out of their buildings, and reduces the penalty for illegally carrying a firearm in that school to a misdemeanor or no more than $1000 fine. Creates a no-training concealed carry permit that gets around federal firearm restrictions protecting school zone. (Non-partisan Legislative council memo 3-6-17).

The Week in Review

April 20

  • The Senate Committee on Education held public hearings on two special session Assembly Bills.
    • AB 11 authorizes the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity in the University of Wisconsin System to contract for the operation of a recovery charter school, insurance coverage of mental health treatment provided by a recovery charter school, and making appropriations.
    • AB 6 authorizes the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity in the University of Wisconsin System to contract for the operation of a recovery charter school, insurance coverage of mental health treatment provided by a recovery charter school, and making appropriations.
  • The Assembly Committee on Education held public hearings on several bills:
    • AB 95: Allowing school board members to refuse salary.
    • AB 250: Alternative education grants.
    • AB 251: Modify rules for DPI grant programs.
    • AB 233: Submitting a state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • The Assembly Committee on Education also accepted comment on the following:
    • Disposition of funds (PI 20)
    • Driver Education (PI 21)
    • Precollege Scholarships (PI 22)
    • Commencement of School (PI 27)
  • The Assembly Committee on Education met in executive session after the public hearings to take up alternative education grants (AB 250) and DPI grant program rules (AB 251).

April 19

  • Broadband Expansion. The Assembly Energy and Utilities Commission passed AB-123, the information technology block grant program, the broadband expansion grant program, waiving fees and appraisals, and making appropriations.

April 18

April 17

  • Every Student Succeeds Act state plan. The Assembly Education Committee scheduled a public hearing on AB 233, relating the state’s requirement to submit a plan under the new federal education law. View the bill history.
  • Career and technical education incentive grants. The Department of Workforce Development scheduled a public hearing for AB 192, concerning grants and appropriations for career and technical education incentive grants. See the fiscal estimate and companion bill (SB127), along with the bill history.
  • Alternative education grants. A public hearing and executive session were scheduled on AB 250, regarding alternative education grants.

Emergency rules now in effect

  • EmR1623. Emergency licensure changes to PI 34. (August 22, 2016 – May 19, 2017).
  • EmR1624. Robotics competition grants. (September 2, 2016 – May 29, 2017)
  • EmR1630. Revisions to the special needs scholarship program. (November 1, 2016 – May 29, 2017).

April 13


  • SJR-035 Workers’ Memorial Day. Proclaiming Workers’ Memorial Day was referred to Senate Organization.


  • LRB-0932Memo Primary Voting. Authorization for electors to vote in the primary of more than one political party.
  • LRB-1836Memo Worker’s Comp. Council Composition. The composition of the Council on Worker’s Compensation.
  • LRB-3035Memo Retaliation Against Public Employee. Retaliation against a public employee by a public officer and providing a criminal penalty.
  • LRB-1924Memo State Mandate Funding. Creation of a Joint Committee on State Mandates and required funding of state mandates.

Don’t see something in the wrap-up? Looking for more information? Contact Christina Brey.