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  • Rotunda Report
    July 25, 2022

    Joint Legislative Council Study Committees Begin Review Process

    As summer heats up, the work of the legislature's study committees goes on. This article gives readers tips on how to keep up with their work.

    Cale Battles

    Madison in Summer

    July 25, 2022 – In late April, the Joint Legislative Council Committee approved the creation of seven study committees. The study committees meet after the adjournment of the legislative session. Committees include a bipartisan mix of legislators and members of the public that apply and have expertise in a study topic.

    The study committees are staffed by Joint Legislative Council staff and provide a plethora of information and expert testimony/presentations during committee meetings. Recently the study committee on Uniform Death Reporting Standards, Commercial Building Permit Process and Shared School District Services all had meetings to discuss issues, finalize the committee’s mission and set future meeting dates/times. Committee materials, often including research memoranda from the committee staff, are available to the public at the committee webpages.

    Legislative proposals often come as a result the committee review process. The State Bar and State Bar sections often have interest in and follow the committee’s review process and final product.

    The study committee topics and scopes for 2022 are:

    Cale Battles Cale Battles, is a government relations coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He can be reached by email, or by phone at (608) 250-6077.

    Increasing Offender Employment Opportunities – this committee is directed to review existing impediments to employment and job training for individuals who are incarcerated or recently released and to recommend legislation following its review. The committee shall explore ways to expand connections between private employers and potential employees who are incarcerated in state institutions or on extended supervision, explore vocational earned release programs for possible implementation, consider release location flexibility based on employment opportunities, and evaluate other methods for improving job prospects for the offender population.

    Occupational Licenses – this committee is directed to review the current occupational licensing system administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The committee shall review prior recommendations made by the department regarding any current laws requiring occupational credentials that may be eliminated without clearly harming or endangering the health, safety, or welfare of the public. The committee shall also review whether it is necessary to implement systems of review both to determine the necessity of legislative proposals for new occupational credentials, and to periodically review the appropriateness of maintaining current occupational credential requirements. Lastly, the committee shall review options to expand access to individuals from other states to receive a reciprocal credential to practice in Wisconsin. Following these reviews, the committee shall recommend legislation on current credentials that may be eliminated, on systems for review of new and existing occupational credentials, and on the issuance of reciprocal credentials.

    Shared School District Services – this committee is directed to review current barriers to shared administrative or other services between school districts, and explore statutory changes or creation of incentives to encourage efficiencies. The committee shall consider methods for sharing or consolidating services such as district-level administration and personnel, purchasing, technology and data processing, transportation, food service, and building maintenance and make recommendations for legislation. As part of its work, the committee shall study school district structures employed in other states, particularly county-wide school district models.

    Commercial Building Permitting Process – this committee is directed to review the current commercial building permitting process. This review shall focus on the commercial plan review process within the Department of Safety and Professional Services and municipalities, timelines for environmental permitting, and the role of the Commercial Building Code Council. As part of its review, the study committee shall also evaluate approaches in other states and identify innovative and exemplary policies that could serve as a model for Wisconsin. Following this review, the committee shall recommend legislation to improve the commercial building permitting process.

    Uniform Death Reporting Standards – this committee is directed to review the current protocols for investigating causes of death and reporting death, and the uniformity of those protocols. The review shall focus on options to implement more comprehensive uniform death reporting standards across Wisconsin, including the advantages and barriers to implementation of such standards. Following review, the committee shall develop legislation to provide minimum requirements for death investigations and reporting, particularly deaths involving homicide, suicide, child or infant death, domestic violence, maternal mortality, and substance use.

    Wisconsin National Guard Sexual Misconduct Procedures – this committee is directed to study the Wisconsin National Guard’s procedures for investigating and addressing sexual misconduct. The committee shall review the findings and recommendations contained in previously completed investigations into the Wisconsin National Guard’s procedures, with a particular focus on the National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigation’s assessment of the Wisconsin National Guard’s sexual assault and harassment reporting procedures, investigation protocols, and accountability measures. The committee is directed to recommend legislation that enhances oversight of the Wisconsin National Guard as it relates to sexual misconduct, ensures state law complies with relevant federal requirements, and amends the Wisconsin Code of Military Justice where necessary.

    Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations – is directed to study issues relating to American Indians and the American Indian tribes and bands in this state and develop specific recommendations and legislative proposals relating to these issues. [s. 13.83 (3), Stats.]

    Future editions of the Rotunda Report will publish the committee hearing notices and Wisconsin Eye often covers the committee’s discussion live. If you have questions about the study committees, contact the State Bar’s Government Relations team – Cale Battles, or Lynne Davis,

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