Bills range from adoptions to raffles, drugs and aviation

CAPITOL CONNECTION
Joe Leibham • 9th Senatorial District

As I have shared over the past couple of weeks, it is a busy time at the State Capitol. Hundreds of legislative proposals are making their way through the legislative process, with numerous public hearings and committee votes taking place each day. Today I want to provide you with an update on some of the proposals that I have been working on at the request of citizens who reside in the 9th senate district.

Senate Bill (SB) 566 - Phone Taxes and Emergency Response

Currently there is a $.75 per month per device Police and Fire Protection tax on each phone device in our state, and counties are able to place a further tax of up to $.40 on landline phones. This bill would consolidate these two taxes into a single $.40 tax per month on telecommunications devices and the revenue from the tax would be required to fund statewide 911 services. Under SB 566, state telephone taxes will be reduced by $.35 to $.75 per device per month. At the same time, we will enhance emergency response capabilities across the state. For more information on SB 566 visit: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb566.

SB 628 Regulation of Raffles

Recently many local organizations have been contacting me about issues they are experiencing with raffles. Unfortunately, our current raffle rules and regulations are confusing and overly burdensome to many organizations. The goal of this legislation is to streamline, update and improve the charitable raffle process in our state, while maintaining transpar- ency and fairness to make it easier for charitable organizations to conduct raffles. This bill is currently receiving public hearings in each house of the legislature. For more information on SB 628 visit: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb628.

SB 601 – Operation of ATVs and UTVs on Highway Bridges

Currently, roadways are officially “closed” to ATV and UTV traffic in certain circumstances. SB 601 would allow ATVs and UTVs to cross bridges on otherwise closed highways if the bridge has been approved to cross by a local municipal ordinance. If passed, SB 601 would allow ATVs and UTVs to be able to travel more effectively from one trail to another. You can find more information on SB 601 here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb601.

SB 447 – Keeping Contraband Out of Our Local Jails

This bill is a result of conversations I had with Sheboygan County Sheriff Todd Priebe and others about the growing problem of narcotics and other contraband being smuggled into county jails. Under current law, detainees are subject to a strip search for felonies and certain misdemeanors, but a large population of detainees enter into our jails un-checked. Unfortunately, some individuals are aware of this situation and utilize the loopholes of current law to smuggle contraband into jails, impacting safety for both jail personnel and inmates. SB 477 closes this loophole to ensure that all adult detainees held at local jails could be strip searched, while keeping the privacy safeguards of current law. You can find a detailed summary of SB 447 here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/lcamendmemo/ab556.pdf.

SB 461 – Rehoming of Adopted Children

Due to loopholes in current law, parents are currently able to give away their children without any oversight or vetting of the new home. SB 461 is an important first step to stop this problem. SB 461 prohibits advertising of children online, sets limits to the delegation of parental powers, and creates penalties for sending children illegally over state lines. The Assembly version, AB 581, recently passed that house on a unanimous 97-0 vote. I am hopeful that AB 581 to be voted on by the Senate and passed into law later this month. For more information on SB 461 visit: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb461.

SB 374 – Mental Health Grants for Treatment and Alternatives Diversion (TAD) Programs

This bill, which I was pleased to author with Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) will expand services provided under Treatment and Alternatives Diversion (TAD) programs. Currently, the TAD program provides state funding to counties who establish suspended and deferred prosecution programs which provide treatment alternatives to prosecution for individuals who abuse alcohol or other drugs. This bill would expand the TAD program to offer these same opportunities for individuals with a mental illness. More information on SB 374 is available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb374.

SB 321 – Recreational Aviation

Currently, many private landing strip owners are unwilling to make their property available to pilots due to liability concerns under current law. This proposal allows a landowner to make his or her property available for recreational aircraft to use these private landing strips, while exempting the landowner from being held liable in case of an injury. Currently, other outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, bicycling, horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, to name a few, are included in this type of exemption. This issue was brought to my attention by an experienced pilot in Manitowoc and I coauthored this bill with Representative Paul Tittl of Manitowoc. SB 321 passed the Senate and Assembly and is ready to be signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. A copy of this bill is available here: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/proposals/sb321.

Again, these are just a few of the bills being considered that have a direct connection to our area. Next week, I hope to highlight a number of other important and pending proposals.


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