Here’s a wrap-up of major bills legislature just passed

CAPITOL CONNECTION
Joe Leibham  9th Senatorial District

Below are descriptions of several of the major bills that have passed the legislature in the past few weeks since the publication of my newsletter.

Senate Bill (SB) 73 – Workplace Wellness

This bill creates a program, administered by the Department of Health Services (DHS), to provide grants to small businesses to assist them in establishing workplace wellness programs. Wellness programs seek to promote good health habits and can help reduce health care costs. Under the bill, the state would support up to 30% of the cost of program that confirm to strict standards established in the bill. The program at this time is just a pilot and would need to be reauthorized to continue beyond 2018. This bill was signed into law as Act 137.

Assembly Bill (AB) 226 – Workforce Advancement Training Grants

This bill, which I was happy to serve as the Senate author of, creates additional flexibility within the successful and popular Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) program. The WAT grant program is a matching grant program in which the state partners with local businesses by investing in training an existing workforce to increase productivity, safety and profitability. Growing skills, finding efficiencies and developing new proficiencies are essential ways that companies can use state funding to help strengthen their workforce and grow our local economy. AB 226 will make the WAT program even more helpful to businesses around the state by expanding the number of businesses eligible to participate and allowing market expansion and business diversification assistance to be provided through WAT. This bill has passed the legislature and is currently being considered by Governor Walker.

SB 300 – Oral Chemotherapy

The goal of this bill is to ensure that insurers in Wisconsin provide patients affordable access to both oral and intravenous chemotherapy drugs. While many cancer patients still need to take chemotherapy medication intravenously, for some, the less invasive oral form of the medication is a viable alternative. This bill requires insurance plans that are regulated by the state that already cover intravenous chemotherapy to cover oral chemotherapy treatment as well, while limiting out-of-pocket copayments by patients to $100 per month. This bill has been signed into law as Act 186.

Heroin Prevention Legislative Package

This package includes 7 different bills designed to address the escalating use of heroin in Wisconsin. While adequately slowing the growth of heroin use requires efforts beyond government legislation, the initiatives in these bills can help. Included in the package are measures that create more effective regulations for both obtaining and disposing of narcotics, allow for more effective treatment of narcotic overdoes, and efforts to reduce drug offender recidivism. These bills, all now signed into law, are ABs 445, 446, 447, 448, 668, 701, and 702.

SB 286 – Private/Charter School Accountability

The overall goal of this legislation is to create greater parity on accountability measures for any school that enrolls students tied to public tax funds. While more work certainly needs to be done, I believe this bill is a good first step. Specifically, this bill requires private and charter schools to report data to the state through the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) beginning in 2015, five years earlier than under current law. This data will be used to more quickly issue evaluations of these schools, as public schools currently are. This bill has been signed into law as Act 256.

AB 733 – Investing in Our Veterans Homes

This bill amends the currently authorized list of state-sponsored building projects to allow for construction to take place at the skilled nursing facility at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King. The current facility is outdated and in need of replacement and expansion. This bill has been signed into law as Act 187.


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Lakeshore Technical College