This week the Committee on Public Benefits met to hear a number of bills before the end of this legislative session. Most of the bills have passed through the Assembly, and are now moving through the Senate towards the floor for a vote.
The following bills received executive action by the committee and all passed on bi-partisan, unanimous votes.
Senate Bill 533
fixes a headache in the pharmacy profession where only a licensed pharmacist can distribute a prescription to customers. The practice of pharmacy includes basic tasks such as counting pills and labeling bottles, and most of these tasks are already performed by pharmacy technicians. The bill allows pharmacy students and technicians under direct supervision of a pharmacist, to do basic tasks such as dispense prescribed drugs. This technicality change makes it easier and more efficient to deliver people’s prescriptions by bringing the law in line with common practices.
Assembly Bill 752
simplifies the licensing procedure for retailers seeking an alcohol beverage license, which can prove a hassle for companies opening multiple locations. Current law requires two signatures that are notarized in order to get a new alcohol beverage license. This bill allows companies to apply for a license with only one un-notarized signature, as it can often be difficult to get two corporate officers in the same location with a notary to fill out the license application. The bill safeguards against falsified information with a fine, and makes it easier for expanding companies to operate.
Senate Bill 731
fixed an exam requirement for chiropractors. Under current law graduating chiropractic students struggled to pass the chiropractic exam. The current testing standards do not reflect a person’s ability to be a qualified chiropractor, as Wisconsin’s requirements are the highest in the nation. In fact, one constituent stated they could practice in 48 States, but not Wisconsin. This individual, despite wanting to live and work in Wisconsin, was forced to work in Texas for a number of years due to the licensing laws that were in place. This legislation brings our licensure back in line with almost all other states, and in line with standards recognized by national chiropractic organizations.
Assembly Bill 602
removes unnecessary barriers to obtaining a marriage license. The bill allows you to use your passport, driver’s license, permanent resident card, or naturalization papers instead of a birth certificate when getting a marriage license. The bill also changes the waiting period from five days to one day, allows the license to be expedited for a small fee, and extends the period the license is valid from thirty days to sixty days. All in all, this bill makes marriage licenses easier and more accessible.
, SB 749
, SB 750
, and SB 751
include a number of common-sense changes to stimulate economic development and help the Department of Safety and Professional Services run more efficiently. These mostly technical and remedial changes were specifically requested by the department, and I would encourage anyone interested in the specifics to follow the provided links.
The following bills received a public hearing in the committee and will need a vote by the committee to advance.
Assembly Bill 589
revamps licensure for sign-language interpreters through the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Under current law, licensed sign language interpreters must move from a restricted to a full license within six-years of their receiving their initial licensure. As a result of this requirement, about 10% of licensed sign language interpreters lost their license during the last renewal period, and that number was only expected to grow in the next renewal period.
The bill creates a restricted license that can be continuously renewed as opposed to one that permanently expires. I had constituents inform me that some interpreters were going to lose their jobs without this change, and that inaction could have ultimately limited communication access to many deaf and hard of hearing consumers in the state of Wisconsin. This bill keeps those interpreters in the workforce, while keeping the license requirements up to an already recognized standard.
Senate Bill 759
- Currently, common councils of cities and villages license and regulate taxicab services. This bill moves the regulation up to the state level through the Department of Safety and Professional Services. It is clear that the transportation sector has changed drastically in the last few years with new innovations in how ride services are provided. This bill brings taxicab regulations into the present, and levels the playing field between taxicabs and other similar transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft.