WAND Legislative Update - October 2019
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Diabetes Action Plan Bill Passes State Senate
On October 8, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 217. The bill requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to create a Diabetes Action Plan. Specifically, the bill directs DHS to develop a plan to improve diabetes care, reduce the incidence of diabetes, and control complications associated with diabetes.
WAND has strongly supported Senate Bill 217 since its introduction in May and provided crucial testimony in public hearings on the bill.
The bill’s unanimous passage on voice vote is a testament to WAND’s effectiveness in actively supporting the bill. As stated before, when WAND members testify on legislation, they not only provide insight on a given issue but also increase WAND’s exposure to the state legislature. This exposure is essential in raising awareness not only of WAND but of the medical expertise of RDN’s throughout the state. Please consider participating in public hearings when opportunities are available.
The bill can now be scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor. WAND’s lobbying team will be working with Assembly leadership to try to schedule the bill.
Stay tuned for more updates.
State Senate Confirms Five Evers Cabinet Appointments
On Tuesday, October 8, the State Senate voted to confirm five of Governor Tony Evers’ cabinet secretary appointments. The confirmations mark the first cabinet confirmations since the appointments were made by Evers in December 2018.
Up until Tuesday, all cabinet appointees have led their respective agencies as Secretary-designees.
The newly confirmed appointees are:
· Kathy Blumenfeld – Secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions
· Joel Brennan – Secretary of the Department of Administration
· Peter Barca – Secretary of the Department of Revenue
· Kevin Carr – Secretary of the Department of Corrections
· Mary Kolar – Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Every Evers cabinet appointee has at least received recommendation for confirmation from Senate standing committees except for Dawn Crim, who was selected to lead the Department of Safety and Professional Services. It was identified earlier this year that Crim was charged for alleged child abuse in 2005. There has been no information from Senate leadership on the future of Crim’s appointment. She is currently the head of the department as a designee.
Special Election Scheduling Problems
With the resignation of former Congressman Sean Duffy in September, the residents of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District are currently without representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As mentioned in a previous HC Report, Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany announced his candidacy for the seat in September. Two other Republicans, Jason Church and Michael Opela Sr., will face off against Tiffany in a primary. No Democrats have yet announced their candidacies.
It is up to Governor Tony Evers to call special elections to fill the 7th Congressional District. In September, Evers announced primaries would occur on December 30 with the general election to take place on January 27, 2020.
However, a week after announcing the special election, Evers was notified by the U.S. Department of Justice that the selected dates violated federal law. Specifically, federal law requires there must be at least 45 days between primaries and general elections in order for overseas ballots to be returned and counted.
Evers’ office was notified on October 1 of the violation. As of this writing, Evers has not announced new dates for the special election. Complicating the matter, Wisconsin has a “blackout period” in which special elections cannot take place between February 1 and April 7. It is unclear at this point when a special election may take place.