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Gov. Evers takes action on nearly 60 bills


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (AP File Photo)

Gov. Evers takes action on nearly 60 bills


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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers took action on nearly 60 bills last week.

On Friday, Evers signed Senate Bill 462, now Wisconsin Act 249, which will help expand the state’s crisis care infrastructure for Wisconsinites experiencing a mental health crisis, allowing them to be treated closer to home and reducing the amount of time law enforcement and first responders spend transporting individuals for emergency detentions.

Based on similar frameworks Evers proposed as part of all three of his executive budget proposals, Act 249 will introduce additional points of contact and service for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, allowing them to be treated in the community and closer to their support systems and home. Additionally, adding new centers will help reduce the amount of time law enforcement and first responders currently must dedicate to emergency detention cases by offering a dedicated first responder drop-off location that accepts custody of emergency detention cases and does not require that medical clearances be completed before drop-off.

The 2023-25 budget signed by Gov. Evers provided $10 million over the biennium in the Joint Committee on Finance’s (JFC) supplemental appropriation fund to establish two crisis urgent care and observation centers. Act 249 builds upon this work in the 2023-25 budget by establishing a certification process for crisis urgent care and observation facilities and a grant program to develop and support these new facilities utilizing the $10 million allocated in the 2023-25 budget.

During his 2023 State of the State address, Gov. Evers declared 2023 the Year of Mental Health, calling mental and behavioral health a “burgeoning crisis” affecting the state and Wisconsin’s kids, families, and workforce. Since then, Gov. Evers has doubled his efforts to make meaningful investments to address the state’s mental health crisis.

“Since 2019, my administration has been working to find solutions to the burgeoning crisis of mental health in our state, and specifically, to address the burdens law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, counties, and others have faced with our current crisis response infrastructure,” said Evers.

“Every budget I’ve introduced has proposed solutions to these challenges, so I’m glad we were finally able to reach bipartisan consensus to get this done,” Evers added.

“Our state’s crisis intervention and emergency detention practices must be improved to make sure we’re best serving individuals in crisis across our state,” continued Evers. “This critical step will help Wisconsinites experiencing a crisis get the urgent care and treatment they need closer to home and their support systems while helping to alleviate the burdens on law enforcement and local counties. That’s a win-win for folks, families, and communities across our state,” he added.

Senate Bill 462, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 249:
• Expands the state’s crisis urgent care and observation facility infrastructure by requiring the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish a certification process for crisis urgent care and observation facilities, which are identified as treatment facilities that admit an individual to prevent, de-escalate, or treat the individual’s mental health or substance use disorder and that include the structure and staff necessary to support an individual’s needs;
• Requires DHS to create a grant program to support and develop these facilities utilizing the $10 million set aside in the 2023-25 biennial budget for this purpose;
• Requires these facilities to accept all referrals for adults, optionally accept youths, and have the authority to take custody of emergency detention cases without prior medical clearance at an emergency room;
• Requires facilities to coordinate, to the fullest extent possible, with any facility supported by funding received from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation;
• Specifies that the provisions of the bill cannot be construed to prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with services provided by a county, hospital, or other facility that are provided consistent with the facility’s current licensure or certification;
• Requires DHS to obtain approval from JFC under a 14-day passive review process before certifying a location as a crisis urgent care and observation facility; and
• Allows any facility that currently is providing crisis intervention services to continue to provide these services without obtaining certification from DHS.
In addition to signing Senate Bills 833 and 462, Gov. Evers also signed:

Senate Bill 518, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 250, with partial vetoes:
• Creates a program administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to award up to $2 million to political subdivisions to assist in the costs of redevelopment of University of Wisconsin branch campus buildings that will no longer be used for an academic purpose; and
• Appropriates $20 million to the JFC supplemental appropriation for the program.
• The governor’s partial veto to the bill removes restrictive statutory requirements to allow greater flexibility for WEDC to award grants to counties efficiently.

Senate Bill 525, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 251:
• Specifies that any rule established by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that limits the tinting of motor vehicle windows does not apply to police vehicles owned by the state or a county, city, village, or town when the tinting is necessary for the protection of personnel, passengers, or equipment.

Senate Bill 687, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 252:
• Replaces the Wisconsin Christian Missionary Association with Crossroads College, or its successor, as the entity to which property vests if a local religious society of the denomination known as the Church of Christ or the Christian Church becomes defunct or is dissolved.

Senate Bill 789, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 253:
• Allows law enforcement agencies to charge a fee under the open records law for the cost of redacting recorded video and audio content to the extent such redaction is necessary to comply with applicable constitutional, statutory, or common law; and
• Prohibits a fee from being imposed if:
o The requester is an individual who provides written certification that they will not use the content for financial gain, and the same requester has not made more than 10 requests during the calendar year;
o The requester is an individual directly involved in the event to which the requested records relate or is the attorney or other authorized representative;
o The event to which the requested records relate is a shooting involving an officer of a law enforcement agency; and
o The agency does not give the requester a written estimate of the amount of the fee that would be charged prior to fulfilling the request.

Senate Bill 874, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 254:
• Modifies the meaning of “two or more separate occasions” for the purposes of lifetime sex offender registry and notification requirements and codifies an Attorney General’s Opinion, establishing that when counting convictions, each conviction or finding is counted separately even if they were part of the same proceeding, occurred on the same date, or were included in the same complaint;
• Requires the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to identify and notify individuals who were released from the sex offender registry or global positioning system tracking requirement after Sept. 1, 2017, but who would have been subject to the pertinent requirement had the bill been in effect; and
• Requires that persons who are notified that they must register would have 30 days to register after receiving notice or they would be guilty of a Class H felony.

Assembly Bill 1096, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 255:
• Updates the name of the organization from which the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary is statutorily required to appoint a person from to the Agricultural Producer Security Council from Midwest Food Processors Association Inc. to Midwest Food Products Association Inc.

Assembly Bill 1097, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 256:
• Renames the “Lincoln County Correctional Institution” to the “Lincoln Correctional Institution.”

Assembly Bill 1098, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 257:
• Corrects a date in 2023 Wisconsin Act 4 from July 1, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2024, for the purposes of contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System by county jailers that become protective occupation participants on or after Jan. 1, 2024, in a county that did not classify county jailers as protective occupation employees before that date; and
• Sets the effective date for retirement benefits received by certain members to align with the date of the separation of service.

Assembly Bill 1099, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 258:
• Removes obsolete or incorrect language from state law and clarifies certain terms that pertain to notaries, financial institutions, and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI);
• Clarifies certain terms, creates consistency, and eliminates statutory duplication related to notaries public by:
o Redefining “official stamp” and replacing references to a notary public’s seal or rubber stamp with a reference to their “official stamp,” which would include both a seal and rubber stamp;
o Making optional, instead of requiring, the inclusion of a notary public’s commission expiration date in their “official stamp” and instead requiring the words “Notary Public” and “State of Wisconsin” be included on an official stamp, along with other information required by DFI; and
o Requiring inclusion on a certificate a statement of the day, month, and year that a notary public’s commission expires or that the commission is permanent. This information may be part of the official stamp, written on a tangible document, or attached to or logistically associated with a digital or other document;
• Replaces an obsolete reference to the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. with a reference to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.;
• Eliminates an obsolete provision in the Wisconsin Consumer Act that restricted a merchant’s ability to require balloon payments on certain credit transactions entered into on or before Oct. 31, 1984; and
• Updates a reference to a federal statute that was renumbered and amended in 2010 that defines “high-cost mortgage,” which is part of the definition of “covered loan,” for the purposes of regulating high-cost mortgage lending in Wisconsin.

Assembly Bill 1100, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 259:
• Makes minor changes to several provisions of state law administered by DHS as remedial legislation;
• Modifies requirements to be a local health officer of a Level III local health department to make eligible an individual that has a master’s degree or higher in public health, public administration, health administration, or a similar field, plus three years of experience or a license to practice medicine and surgery;
• Clarifies that, for individuals committed to DHS via a transfer from a juvenile correctional facility or a secured residential care center for children and youth to a state treatment facility, or from a jail or prison, the remaining provisions under s. 51.05 apply; and
• Eliminates obsolete references to regional long-term care advisory committees.

Assembly Bill 1101, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 260:
• Removes a statutory exclusion that division administrators are not employees for the purposes of the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories.

Assembly Bill 1102, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 261:
• Clarifies that the examination to issue a license to an applicant for a well drilling, heat exchange drilling, or pump installing license may be administered by either the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or a DNR representative.

Assembly Bill 1103, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 262:
• Repeals two obsolete statutory references related to regulations that ended over 50 years ago regarding school breakfast reimbursement statutes and obsolete teacher licensing provisions tied to years prior to 1971-1972 and 1937-1938.

Assembly Bill 1105, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 263:
• Eliminates the obsolete requirement that the Division of Banking at DFI transfer the funds received from a bank for the cost of liquidation proceedings to the Wisconsin State Treasurer.
Senate Bill 826, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 264:
• Creates an alternative procedure for withdrawing from county zoning, beginning five years after the effective date of the bill;
• Allows a town board to withdraw the town from a county zoning ordinance and development plan if the town adopts a resolution that it intends to begin the process, then after time frames specified in the bill, adopts a second resolution informing the county;
• Specifies that the alternative procedure does not authorize a town to withdraw from county shoreland zoning, county floodplain zoning, and the portions of a county zoning ordinance or development plan that regulate quarry operations;
• Revises the provisions related to the continuity of zoning regulation; and
• Repeals the Dane County-specific provision that towns in Dane County may not prohibit structures and uses that were lawful under county zoning from continuing when withdrawing from Dane County zoning.

In addition to signing the above bills, Gov. Evers vetoed 40 bills.


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