Senator Kapenga's E-Update
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Five Bills Introduced Last Week

Last week, I introduced five bills in the Senate.

Senate Bill 401 relates to criminal penalties for fraud in obtaining unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The penalties for someone who intentionally defrauds the UI system are substantially lower than the theft statutes and this bill seeks to remedy this situation by ensuring similar penalties for similar behavior. As with other changes to the UI system, increased criminal penalties for UI fraud will strengthen program integrity and ensure the system functions for its intended purpose.

Senate Bill 405 allows both the list price and the actual amount paid for medical services to be entered as evidence for a jury to consider. Based on this evidence, a jury can then decide how much the plaintiff should be reimbursed for medical expenses. It is important to note that this has no impact on other damages that can be awarded, such as damages for pain and suffering or property damage.

Senate Bill 407 
requires each state agency to submit to the Legislature, in addition to their current biennial budget request, a proposal to show how they would hold spending at the same level as last period and how they would reduce agency spending by five percent if needed. Agencies have been growing at unacceptable rates here in Wisconsin. This legislation will help us to better understand where spending can be reduced so that we can continue to improve our stewardship of taxpayer dollars. It will force the government bureaucracy to evaluate and prioritize spending so we can begin to eliminate bad programs and strengthen good ones.

Senate Bill 408 changes the liability of an adult driving sponsor to the higher amount of the following: 1) $300,000 from any particular accident or 2) The limits of any insurance coverage provided to the minor under the adult sponsor's applicable insurance policies. This bill would not change a driver's overall liability for damages. The sponsored driver would still be liable to the full extent of damages caused by negligent driving. This bill simply caps liability of an adult sponsor to protect them from possible financial ruin.

Senate Bill 422 clarifies that a franchisor is not an employer of a franchise or of an employee of a franchise. The franchise business model, which is responsible for over 177,000 Wisconsin jobs and $13.5 billion in economic output, is being interpreted broadly, and I feel incorrectly, by the National Labor Relations Board, which issued a decision in August that could have a far-reaching impact on franchisors, franchisees, and the employees of franchisees. This legislation makes it clear that a franchisor is not the employer of a franchisee's employees for regulatory purposes, unless that arrangement is requested by all the involved parties.

Town Hall Meeting Next Week

Please join me for one of my town hall meetings in December, January, March, or April. During these meetings, I will be available to answer questions and hear from you about important issues at the state and local levels.

As always, if you are unable to attend these office hours, and you have any comments or questions, please email me at or give me a call at (608) 266-9174.

Apply Now for the Senate Scholar Program

The Senate Scholar Program is open to Wisconsin high school juniors and seniors aged 16-18. The program is also open to qualified individuals who are home-schooled. Each Senate Scholar must have outstanding academic qualifications and experiences that demonstrate an ability to perform tasks with a high degree of responsibility. Applicants may also be subject to additional requirements imposed by their high school.

A digital copy of the application, more information, and additional application materials may be downloaded from here. All application materials must be received by January 3, 2016. Applicants will be notified of their admission status by January 15, 2016, or shortly thereafter. Please mail all application materials to:

Dr. Tammy Wehrle
Legislative Education and Outreach Officer
Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

If you have any questions concerning the program or the application process, please contact Dr. Tammy Wehrle, Legislative Education and Outreach Officer, or Ted Blazel, Senate Sergeant at Arms, at (608) 266-1801 or email

Today in History

1816 - Indiana becomes the nineteenth state.
1882 - The Bijou Theater in Boston is the first theater lit by electricity.
1941 - During World War II, Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S., which responds in kind. 
1972 - Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt land on the moon during the last Apollo lunar landing mission.
Connect with Chris

(608) 266-9174
(800) 863-8883

33rd Senate District
15 South
State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53708
Local Events
Holiday Crafts for Kids
Saturday, December 12
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Delafield Public Library

Waukesha Town Hall
Wednesday, December 16
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Waukesha Public Library

Pewaukee Town Hall
Monday, January 11, 2016
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pewaukee Public Library

Sussex Town Hall
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pauline Haass Public Library
Copyright © 2015 Senator Chris Kapenga, All rights reserved.

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