December 2019 Legislative Update

Greetings all,

A quick legislative update for the month.

I haven’t updated like I usually do and the reason is; while the legislature is in full session after their summer recess and passing the budget, it is going very slow. With a Republican controlled legislature and a Democratic administration, you can imagine how that is taking place. However, we did see one of our top priorities (Survivor’s Benefits) signed into law as Wisconsin Act 19. Act 19 requires any government entity and Marquette University to provide health insurance benefits to the widowed spouse and/or children after a law enforcement officer (including jailers) is killed in the line of duty. This bill unanimously passed both the Senate and the Assembly.

Senator Van Wanggaard, who was elected in 2010, has introduced a variation of this legislation in every legislative session since he was elected. It finally became reality this session and was passed after much hard work by WS&DSA, Badger State Sheriff’s Association, WI Chiefs of Police, and other public safety organizations. Finally we won’t have to worry about health insurance for our families if something should happen to us.

Thanks to Senator Wanggaard and Assembly author, Representative John Spiros, who are both retired law enforcement officers, and the rest of the state legislature for supporting Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers.

Protective Status
Protective status, there is no update since my last May communication. We are trying to think of options that would be acceptable to the IRS regulations and to all parties involved. At this point, it is getting close to the end of the session and we may have to figure out a different way to approach this important issue as it relates to our corrections officers.

Other issues
We have been working on various emergency detention bills which include private transports, crisis facilities and hospital grants. We will continue to work on these issues and are hopeful we will be able to get some of these issues in front of committees and to the full floor.

There are a host of other bills we are watching between WS&DSA and BSSA’s Joint Legislative Committee. I will continue to offer updates as things slowly march forward in the state capital. As for now, enjoy the start of the winter season and hopefully I will see a bunch of you at the Winter Training Conference in Green Bay.

Jeff Klatt
Chair, WS&DSA Legislative Committee