Editor's Note: The following is a portion of Rep. Romaine Quinn's weekly newsletter. Click HERE to read the newsletter in its entirety.

Extraordinary Session

Many of you have called and emailed voicing your opinion about the Extraordinary Session that happened last week. I want to thank you all for letting me know your thoughts on the bills that were voted on.

One comment that I seem to keep hearing is that these items came out of nowhere and are just a way to take power away from our newly elected Governor and Attorney General. As I mentioned on Facebook, many of these items were brought forward in previous sessions or are otherwise already current practice. In fact, of the 35 provisions that our nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau summarized, 24 of them have been either already approved by the Legislature, codify administrative rule, respond to litigation or federal law, or simply provide Legislative oversight of the Executive branch but do not remove Executive authority.

Below is a list of the Extraordinary Session bill numbers in parenthesis, and previously introduced bills/budget motions are included where applicable.

Items already approved by the Legislature prior to extraordinary session:

  • Limitation on the use of Federal funds on State Highway Project Types (SB 883) This was Item #10 of the Local Transportation Assistance provisions in DOT 17-19 budget.
  • Repeal of 2017 Act 59 Authority to Transfer Funds Among Highway Program Appropriations. This was Item #10 of the Local Transportation Assistance provision in DOT 17-19 budget.
  • Annual report for self-funded portal (SB 884) This was Item #5 of the Information Technology provisions in DOA 17-19 budget.
  • Oversight of DOJ settlement funds (SB 884) This was Item #16 in DOJ 17-19 budget.
  • Municipal flood control grant eligibility extension (SB 884) This was Item #9 of the Environmental Quality provisions in DNR 17-19 budget.
  • Passive Review Requirement for Enterprise Zones (SB 884) This was Item #15 of the Income and Franchise Taxes Provisions in General Fund Taxes 17-19 budget.
  • Drug Screening, Testing, and Treatment for Able-Bodied Adults Participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training (FEST) Program (SB 886) This was Item #3 of the Foodshare provisions in DHS 17-19 budget.
  • Implementation of Childless Adult Demonstration Waiver (SB 886) This was Item #7 of Medicaid Services in DHS 17-19 budget.

Provisions codifying administrative rule:

  • Administrative rule processes (SB 884) This was executive Order #50.
  • Requirements related to identification for voting purposes (SB 884)
  • Implementation of the Wisconsin Health Stability Plan (SB 886)
  • Waivers of Unemployment insurance work search (SB 886)

Provisions responding to litigation or federal law:

  • Individual income tax rate reduction based on sales taxes from out of state retailers (SB 883) This responds to the US Supreme Court's decision in Wayfair.
  • Election of pass-through entities to be taxed at the entity level (SB 883) This responds to federal tax reform law.
  • Voting procedures for military and overseas electors (SB 884) This was 2017 AB 947
  • In-person application dates, times, and location for absentee ballots (SB 884) The Federal court struck down current state law creating inequity between municipalities.
  • Deference by Courts to agency interpretation of law, notice requirements, and guidance documents (SB 884)

Provisions that provide Legislative oversight of the Executive branch but do not remove Executive Authority:

  • Approval process for Capitol Security Changes (SB 884)
  • Administrative rule provisions (SB 884) The Constitution provides the Legislature with authority to make law. Rules are an extension of laws.
  • Pardon and Release Report (SB 884)
  • Passive review requirement for Enterprise Zones (SB 884)
  • DHS Waivers of Federal Law, Pilot Programs, and Demonstration Projects (SB 886)
  • Joint Finance Committee review and approval of medical assistance state plan amendments and provider payment changes (SB 886)
  • Retencion of legal representation for legislators, legislative staff and the legislatures (SB 884) This codifies the Senate and Assembly practices and procedures.

My colleague Senator Marklein also had some good insights on the Extraordinary Session and the positive changes we made. You can read his press release here.

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