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HomeWisconsin State GovernmentSortwell Scoop: 2nd Assembly District E-Update, March 22, 2023

Sortwell Scoop: 2nd Assembly District E-Update, March 22, 2023

Welcome back! Let’s dive into another busy week at the Capitol.

Regulatory Licensing Reform Committee

Last Wednesday, my committee held a public hearing on two bills:

Assembly Bill 90 would allow a third-party, which is interested in ensuring that qualified applicants are licensed quickly, to process applications for the licensure of occupational therapists (OT’s) and assistants (OTA’s). If an individual is denied licensure, they may appeal the decision to DSPS. Additionally, the Occupational Therapy Affiliated Credentialing Board maintains disciplinary oversight over the profession. This bill was requested by the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association as a way to quicken the licensing process for OT’s and OTA’s as they continue to face long processing times at the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

Assembly Bill 61 would create a voluntary de-icing certification process and training program with the Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of this bill is to address growing concerns about the impact of contaminants like road salt accumulating in our freshwater systems.

Police and Fire Protection Fund Constitutional Amendment

Assemblyman Shae Sortwell testified on SJR 13, which would constitutionally establish a police and fire protection fund. (Testimony is linked in the picture)
Assemblyman Shae Sortwell testified on SJR 13, which would constitutionally establish a police and fire protection fund. (Testimony is linked in the picture)

Yesterday I testified on SJR 13 (first consideration), which would constitutionally establish a police and fire protection fund. (Testimony is linked in the picture)

Most of us want to support our police and firefighters and are accepting of a small fee. But there is a major issue if those funds are not going to police and fire protection, which is what has been occurring. Police and fire chiefs cannot even say how that money is spent because it goes into the state’s general fund, first plucked by the Department of Military Affairs, and then funneled to shared revenue, which does not exclusively pay for emergency services. Since 2018, roughly $55 million a year goes into shared revenue from the fund. These dollars can be spent on a variety of services and projects at the municipal level, and a municipality can easily allocate those dollars elsewhere if they choose not to fund their community’s emergency response teams. That is not how the fee’s revenue should be administered.

Dillon’s Law 3.0 Passes in the Senate

Today the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 7, which I authored. This is the third piece of legislation, referred to as Dillon’s Law, that Senator Jacque and I have introduced in the last few sessions, seeking to expand access to sources of epinephrine to address allergic reactions. This bill broadens the statutes to encompass every “epinephrine delivery system” for the purposes of possession, administration, and dispensing. We crafted this version due to the advancement of technologies in the epinephrine industry, which have improved the options available to the public as an alternative to the pricier, traditional choices of pens and syringes. By broadening the epinephrine statutes, this bill will create better access to epinephrine technologies. In turn, that will save more lives in cases of allergic reactions.

DSPS Listening Session

Monday I attended a DSPS listening session at Lakeshore Community Health Care in Sheboygan. I joined Secretary Dan Hereth in a discussion surrounding licensing reform measures to improve the process for new and renewal licenses. I mentioned the ideas of new graduate provisional licenses and universal license recognition as a couple ways to get people into the workplace quicker to provide health services to patients. I plan on tackling legislation on these matters in my committee this session.

Reminder: Early Voting Has Now Started

Early voting for the 2023 general spring election began on Tuesday, March 21st, and runs until April 1st! Election Day is April 4th. You can watch the Tuesday debate between the two Supreme Court candidates here.

Explanation of the three referendum questions:

Bail Reform Q1 would give judges more flexibility to place restrictions on a defendant pre-trial. Under the current constitution, judges can only place restrictions on defendants to prevent “serious bodily harm.” If adopted, a judge would be able to place restrictions on defendants to prevent “serious harm.”

Bail Reform Q2 would give judges more flexibility when determining the amount of cash bail required for violent crimes. Under the current constitution, a judge may only consider the likelihood of a defendant returning to trial and seek to prevent the intimidation of witnesses when setting a cash bail amount. If adopted, a judge would be able to consider the “totality of the circumstances” including previous convictions for violent crimes, the need to protect the community from serious harm, the probability that a defendant will return to court, and potential affirmative defenses of the defendant.

Welfare Reform Q3 is a non-binding, advisory question that simply asks whether an able-bodied adult should be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded benefits, i.e. Medicaid and FoodShare programs.

What's Happening: Events in Wisconsin's 2nd Assembly District.
What’s Happening: Events in Wisconsin’s 2nd Assembly District.

Saturday, March 25th, will be the Tisch Mills Chicken Booyah at the Tisch Mills Fire Station. This event will take place from noon until gone and is drive-through only.

Friday, March 31st, will be the Annual Fish Boil Fundraiser at the Mishicot Fire Station (214 S. Main St., Mishicot) between 3 and 9 p.m. If you pay in advance, it’ll be $14 and it’ll be $15 if you pay at the door.

Saturday, April 1st, will be the Easter Eggstravaganza at O.H. Schultz Elementary School (510 Woodlawn Drive, Mishicot). This event will take place between 9 and 11:30 a.m. and is free, but donations are appreciated!

Friday, April 7th, is the Two Rivers Fire Department Fish Boil at the Two Rivers Fire Station (2122 Monroe Street, Two Rivers), from 3 to 7 p.m. It will cost $15 for adults and $6 for children.

Saturday, April 8th, the Way-Morr Lions Club (3832 Park Rd, Greenleaf) will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

Saturday, April 8th, have breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Two Rivers Community House from 9-11 a.m. $6/person.

Saturday, April 8th, will be the Annual Brat Fry at the Mishicot Sportsman’s Club (13804 Jambo Creek Road, Mishicot) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 8th, will be the Larrabee Sportsman’s Club Egg Hunt from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at 16306 Harpt Lake Road in Mishicot. At noon, it will be for children 5 and under, and at 1 p.m., it will be for children ages 6 to 12.

Head on down to the library for some friendly competition! Every Tuesday from 6-7:30pm, the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers (1001 Adam St.) hosts a Family Game Night. Games and popcorn are provided.

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