Legislative activity in the state capitol has slowed considerably as is usually the case in late July and the month of August. Only a few committees have hearings scheduled this week. Most legislators are staying in their districts for the next month.

While the session calendar calls for a floor period in September, Speaker Vos has indicated that the Assembly will not meet again on the floor until October. A floor period is scheduled for October 8-10.

So far this session, only 17 bills have been enacted into law. As of this date last session, 37 bills had been enacted into law. The number of Acts passed by this date for earlier sessions are as follows:

2015-2016 -- 58 Acts
2013-2014 -- 43 Acts
2011-2012 -- 39 Acts
2009-2010 -- 37 Acts
As reported in the July 15 Legislative Bulletin, the state budget, Act 9, mandates an overall 1 percent reduction in municipal cable franchise fee percentages and requires the state to compensate municipalities for the lost revenue. In order to qualify for the 2020 reimbursement payment from the state, a municipality must report to the Department of Revenue no later than August 15, 2019: (1) the gross receipt amounts that Video Service Providers reported to them in 2018 and (2) how much they received in Video Service Provider fee revenue in 2018.

DOR staff has not yet indicated how they want communities to file the information the department needs to calculate each community's cable franchise fee reimbursement payment. DOR staff said today that they are in the process of creating an electronic filing mechanism, and are working to send filing instructions to municipalities "by early next week." We will report any more information we receive from DOR as soon as we hear it.
The next Legislative Bulletin will be published after Labor Day when legislative activity resumes in the State Capitol. Between now and early September we will utilize the Capitol Buzz to report any legislative or agency news affecting municipalities.
In the News

Wisconsin DNR asks sewage treatment plants to test for PFAS
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking local wastewater treatment plants to begin testing for hazardous industrial chemicals.

The agency sent a letter Monday to 125 municipal utilities encouraging them to begin sampling of water flowing into and out of the plants for highly fluorinated compounds known as PFAS, in an effort to understand how and where the chemicals find their way into drinking water. Read the story...

PFAS Found In Rhinelander Well, Drinking Water Safe, Crescent Spring To Be Tested
The City of Rhinelander and the Oneida County Health Departments have released press releases saying a city water well has levels of polyfluoroalkyl(PFAS) and has been shut down. The affected well is near the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport. Health officials are also saying the nearby Crescent spring might be affected, and they've posted a "Use at your own risk" warning about water there. Read the story...

‘That's a lot of unpaid bills': Uncollected bills top $1.2 million for Baraboo Ambulance Service
Instead of patients, Sechler said most unpaid bills are owed by insurance companies, some which offer to pay less than the billed claim, but more quickly.

“We typically say no, we won't accept the discount, we want the full amount. That can delay it 60, 90, 120 days plus,” he said. "Once you get into it, you're like, I can't believe this is the way the insurance industry is."

He also pointed to Medicare and Medicaid, which often don't come close to covering services, and the fact that the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates haven't been increased in more than 10 years. Read the story...

ICYMI - News Conference: DOT Announce Supplemental Transportation Grants
On July 18, 2019, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson joined representatives from the Wisconsin County Highway Association, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and the Wisconsin Towns Association to announce a new grant program totaling $75 million in supplemental grants for local governments. The news conference took place in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Watch the news conference thanks to WisconsinEye here...

#LocalGovMatters Podcast - Economic Revolution and USDA Reconnect Broadband - Interviews with Forward Analytics Dale Knapp on statewide economic trends and USDA's Frank Frasetto on their Broadband program. Listen here...

No new bills affecting municipalities were introduced last week.

No public hearings on municipal bills are scheduled for this week.
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