May 2019 Legislative Update

Greetings all,

A quick legislative update: The legislature has been working on the budget and that will remain their top priority, at least for now, until they have something that can get passed. There is not much to update on except for the protective status legislation.

Protective Status
The bill was introduced in the Senate as Senate Bill 5 by Representative Born and Senator Marklein on January 23, 2019. It was also introduced in the Assembly as Assembly Bill 5 on February 4, 2019. As you may recall, this bill will permit counties to classify county jailers, detention officers, and correctional officers to be eligible as protective occupation participants under the Wisconsin Retirement System.

A public hearing was held on March 19, 2019 in both the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety and the Assembly Committee on Corrections. The Legislative Committee chairs of both the WS&DSA and Badger State Sheriff’s Association (BSSA), along with other sheriffs and deputies from around the state, testified in support of this bill. We had a positive response from both committees. Unfortunately, we have now hit a snag as we try to move forward.

IRS rules have thrown the proverbial “monkey wrench” into this bill. The bill as written, if passed, would violate IRS regulations. WS&DSA, BSSA, our lobbyists the Hamilton Consulting Group, and the authors of this legislation will be looking at possible amendments to ensure the legislation is in line with IRS compliance.

While this is not what we wanted to hear, we will continue to work on trying to get protective status for our county jailers and corrections officers.

Our committee, along with the Hamilton Consulting Group, will continue to track legislation of interest as it relates to law enforcement.

Stay safe everybody and remain hopeful that we can move the protective status bill forward in a form that will be acceptable to all concerned parties, including the IRS.

Jeff Klatt
Chair, WS&DSA Legislative Committee