Monday, April 12, 2010

Busy Legislative Floor Period Ahead

Over the next two weeks the Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate may rapidly be acting on hundreds of proposed bills and proposals.  Here are several we bring to your attention:

AB = Assembly Bill
AR = Assembly Resolution
AJR = Assembly Joint Resolution
SB = Senate Bill
SJR = Senate Joint Resolution

AR-21 – Introduced 4/8/10 - authorize the attorney general to file or join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare, the Govt takeover of healthcare

AJR-123 – Introduced 4/8/10 by Reps. Kessler and Pasch requesting that the Attorney General join in defending Obamacare.

SJR-62 – Healthcare Freedom Amendment – A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit requiring a person to obtain or maintain health insurance coverage or participate in any health care system or plan

AJR-109 & SJR 61 – A constitutional amendment that places major restrictions on the use of partial vetoes by the Governor in appropriations bills, saying if he strikes any part of a section of the bill, he must strike the whole section.  (SJR-61 is on the Senate Calendar for April 13th)

AB-480, AB-481, SB-337 & SB-344 – Expanding hate crimes in Wisconsin to include gender and giving extra penalty enhancers

SB-460 & AB-653 – Expedited Partner Therapy (passed Senate on a 17-15 party line voice now awaiting final action in the Assembly (see below for further explanation on Expedited Partner Threapy)

AB-649 & SB-450 – Global Warming Bill
            Compromise Legislation being worked on behind closed doors.  On April 8th Representatives Huebsch, Montgomery & Gunderson wrote a letter to Michael Sheridan, the Speaker of the State Assembly and to Thomas Nelson, Majority Leader requesting that any modified version of the bill have at least a 72-hour public review and internet posting and that there be a public hearing and an independent cost benefit analysis. Their last bill would have added $700 million in taxes to monthly utility customer bills.

AB/751 / SB-549 – Electing President by National Popular Vote
            Surrendering our Electoral Votes to whoever wins the national popular vote

AB-440 & SB-115 – Licensing of Dieticians – opponents have said this is a dangerously restrictive bill and will jeopardize your access to a wide variety of nutritional healthcare practitioners.  They state this will destroy the practices of nutritionists who are not dieticians licensed by the state.  Health food stores would only be allowed to give general nutritional information, but for others, one must be a dietician or medical practitioner to be able to recommend any nutritional care therapy.  Greatly opposed by the Wisconsin Health Freedom Coalition.  It essence it limits who can discuss and teach about nutrition and limits what can be said

SB-279 & AB 408 – A new ethanol mandate for Wisconsin

SB-295 – Allow kids to perform in taverns and nightclubs

SB-368 & AB-554 – The legalization for marijuana use for medical purposes

SB-585 & AB-831 – Prohibits discrimination against an employee who declines to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or to participate in any communication with the employer or his representative in which the primary purpose is to communicate opinions about religious or political matters.  We are told that a Christian bookstore that is not a part of a church would not be exempt from this law.

SB-640 & AB-895 – Change Election laws in Wisconsin – allowing on-line registration, changes to how electors are challenged, allowing municipalities to set up satellite absentee ballot stations for early voting.  Senator Grothman said these stations apparently could be done in college dorms, outside of bars or other inappropriate locals.  Automatic motor-voter registration of everyone who gets a driver’s license, yet to require someone have to show the photo from a driver’s license to vote is against the law  Further Senator Grothman indicated this bill will force local municipalities to hire speakers of a foreign language if at least 5% of the adults in their district are not English proficient.  Some have also dubbed this the ACORN Assistance Act due to a last minute amendment given by Senator Lena Taylor that would give a nationally focused non profit community organizing group access to the entire Dept. of Transportation database to help people register to vote. This database used to belong only to the State of Wisconsin, but now would be open to groups in the entire country.  Rep. Roth asked the attorney present if this meant such an organization could include the Democratic Party, or ACORN and its subsidiaries and the attorney admitted those types of groups would apply the way the amendment is worded.

High speed rail – the Joint Finance Committee approved spending $810 million of federal stimulus money for high speed rail between Milwaukee and the Madison airport.  The state will need an additional 7.6 million in operating expenses each year to cover the cost of the project

To contact your legislators on any of these issues you may use the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.  and click on 2009-2010 Bills of interest

To read any of these bills, follow this link and type the bill number into the designated area: