By Hoven Consulting – WiAHC’s Government Affairs Firm
The Wisconsin State Legislature will be back in session in September. After passing the biennial state budget bill in late June, lawmakers did not hold floor sessions in July and August. Typically, legislators utilize the summer months to engage with constituents in their districts and prepare bills for the fall and winter sessions.
However, legislative committees have been quite active in the past eight weeks as they held public hearings on bills likely to come to the floor during the fall session days.
The Assembly Committee on Health held a marathon public hearing in late July lasting nearly 6 hours on eleven separate pieces of legislation. These bills touched on a number of topics from newborn screenings to Medicaid reimbursement for pharmacist services to scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses. The Senate Health Committee also heard a public hearing in July on similar bills.
While there will surely be a fair share of health care legislation that makes its way to the floors of both the Assembly and Senate, the big story of the fall will be legislative redistricting.
Wisconsin received its final census data numbers in August, triggering the beginning of the redistricting process. The Republican legislature will look to pass a bill this fall defining legislative district boundaries for the next ten years. However, the bill will almost surely be vetoed by Democratic Governor Tony Evers, which will then put the bill in the in hands of the Courts.
Census data showed significant population growth in Democratic-stronghold Dane County with some analysts predicting the county could pick up an entirely new Assembly seat. Conversely, Milwaukee County, another solid stronghold for Democrats, lost population. This means longtime Democratic districts will need to grow in geographic size out into more conservative Milwaukee suburbs.
Stay tuned for more updates on relevant health care legislation and the redistricting fight throughout the fall.
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