The Wisconsin Senate met on the morning of January 25 for a floor session to vote on bills and resolutions, while the Assembly met that afternoon to take a series of votes. The Assembly also met on January 20, which we covered in this article.
The Senate passed 55 bills and 11 resolutions, including the following healthcare-related bills:
- Senate Bill (SB) 394, which creates an additional level of nursing licensure called an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with four recognized roles. The bill is supported by nursing trade groups, health insurers, and associations representing the interests of the elderly. SB 394 was amended before passage to address concerns from associations representing medical doctors and specialties.
- On January 12, the Assembly Committee on Health voted 9-6 to recommend the bill for passage as amended. Whether SB 394 will make it to Gov. Tony Evers’ desk is unclear, as there are ongoing negotiations regarding the extent to which certain APRNs early in their practice will need to maintain a collaborative relationship with a physician.
- SB 357, which allows retailers and wholesalers to sell drugs, vaccines, and other items that qualify as medical expenses below cost. Currently, this practice is prohibited under Wisconsin’s Unfair Sales Act or “minimum markup” law. In October, the Assembly Committee on Health voted 8-5 to recommend the bill for passage. Similar legislation has failed to reach the governor’s desk in past sessions.
- Several bills regulating the practice of naturopathic doctors, psychologists, and social workers, all of which passed the Assembly a week earlier.
The Assembly passed 52 bills and four resolutions. Many of the items on the Assembly’s floor calendar dealt with law enforcement and criminal justice issues, including a package of bills aimed at promoting law enforcement as a profession, expanding and funding programs to train and recruit new officers, and retain existing ones. The Assembly also passed several bills related to the Department of Corrections and several others relating to the creation of new crimes or penalties, adjusting existing criminal penalties, and regulating the conduct of criminal proceedings.
Assembly members have been asked to hold February 15 and 17 as floor days and to keep February 22, 23, and 24 open as additional floor days if needed. Senators have been asked to keep February 15 and 22 open as possible floor days. After February, the Legislature’s calendar has set aside March 8-10 as the final regular floor period for the remainder of 2022. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has confirmed that the Senate plans to finish its work by March 10.