Legislative Update

The Wisconsin Legislature wrapped up its special and fall sessions last week, working late into the night and tackling a range of controversial subjects. While the governor called a special session to deal with jobs and the economy, many on the floor were off-topic:

  • Allowing concealed carry in the state capitol building, including the Assembly floor and gallery but not the Senate gallery.
  • Approval of a SB 117, a bill that allows those who sue the state the opportunity to choose their court venue. Currently those cases must be heard in Dane County.
  • Passage of SB 237, which changes standards passed in 2010 (“Healthy Youth Act”) that require teaching medically accurate sex education in the public schools. Schools may now choose to teach an abstinence-only curriculum.
  • Passage of AB 99, which repeals the DNR’s Earn-a-Buck program. The governor signed the bill into law Friday.
  • An amendment to a bill relating to the TIG higher education grant program. A proposal to eliminate minority status as a criteria for receiving the grant was hotly debated for several hours until it passed the Assembly. It was later learned that racial criteria had already been removed from this grant.
  • Passage of AB 69, the so-called¬†castle doctrine, a bill that gives legal protection to homeowners who shoot intruders.
  • Passage of September Special Session Bill 12, which caps attorneys fees in civil cases.
  • Passage of SB 95, a bill that allows student test scores to be used as a reason to fire a teacher.

The legislature is not scheduled to be back in session until January, 2012, but Governor Scott Walker has said that he may call a special session to consider venture capital and mining legislation. In the meantime, an effort to recall Walker is set to begin November 15.