Extraordinary Session Details

Posted By: Andrew Heidtke COVID 19 Updates ,

The following is a summary of what is expected to be in the proposal. These provisions are exclusive to the public health emergency declared under Executive Order #72 and pertain to the public health emergency and any extensions which may be granted. ACEC WI will continue to update you on any additions and actions taken by the legislature.
 

DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION

  • Employee Transfer Authority
    • Authorizes the Secretary of DOA the ability to transfer employees between agencies.
  • Limited-Term Employee Hours
    • Allows DOA to increase or suspend the number of hours for a limited-term appointment.
  • Use of Annual Leave
    • Specifies that an employee who has taken annual leaver terminated if an employee who has taken annual leave terminates his or her employment before earning annual leave equivalent to the amount of annual leave the employee has taken, the appointing authority would be required to deduct the cost of the unearned annual leave from the employee's final pay.
  • State Employment Filings and In-Person Meetings
    • Specify that a state employee does not waive his or her right to appeal an adverse employment decision if the employee does not timely file a complaint or appeal during the public health emergency. Further, specify that the tolling period for an employee to file such a complaint with the appointing authority would begin 14 days after the termination of the declared public health emergency or extension. In addition, specify that an appointing authority or his or her designee is not required to meet with a complainant in person when conducting an investigation related to such a complaint filed by an employee during the public health emergency.
  • Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Application Period
    • Allows households to apply for heating assistance under the low-income home energy assistance program any time before December 31, 2020.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, TRADE, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • Returns During Public Health Emergency
    • Prohibit a retailer from accepting the return of fresh or packaged food, cleaning supplies, personal care products, or paper products during the public health emergency. Allow a retailer to accept the return of food, personal care products, cleaning supplies, or paper products. within seven days of purchase for any reason, or at any time if a product was contaminated due to improper production or packaging.
  • County Fair Aid Eligibility
    • Allows any fair that currently receives county fair aids, to receive funding if the fair was cancelled.

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF PUBLIC LANDS

  • Authorize Trust Fund Loans to Municipal Utilities
    • Allow BCPL to offer loans from the common school fund and other school trust funds to nonprofit municipal utilities during the state of emergency.

BUDGET MANAGEMENT AND COMPENSATION RESERVES

  • Transfers from Sum Sufficient Appropriations
    • Allow the Joint Committee on Finance to transfer up to $75 million from sum sufficient appropriations during the current public health emergency and for a period of up to 90 days after the termination of the public health emergency. Transferred funds could be used for expenditures related to the public health emergency.

BUILDING COMMISSION

  • General Obligation Bonding Refunding Authority
    • Increase the bonding authorization for refunding of any outstanding tax-supported or self-amortizing state general obligation debt by $725,000,000, from its current level of $6,785,000,000 to $7,510,000,000.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • Child Care Development Block Grant – JFC Approval of Care Funding Increase
    • Provide that any additional child care development block grant funds the state receives under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 would be credited to two current FED block grant appropriations for child welfare services that fund aids to individuals and state operations costs.

EMPLOYEE TRUST FUNDS

  • Rehired Annuitants in Critical Positions
    • Specify that a Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) participant who is hired by a participating employer during the public health emergency may elect to not suspend his or her annuity for the duration of the public health emergency if: (a) at the time of terminating employment, the participant does not have an agreement with any participating employer to return to employment or enter into a contract to provide employee services; and (b) the position for which the annuitant is hired is a critical position. Further, specify that the current break-in-service requirement of 75 days would not apply to a participant who is hired for a critical position during the public health emergency if at least 15 days have elapsed between the termination of employment and becoming a participating employee. Require the head of each state agency and each local health department, based on guidance provided by the Secretary of the Department of Health Services, to determine which positions within the respective state agency or local government are critical, for the purposes of administering the provisions applicable to rehired annuitants.
  • Leaves of Absence and Health Insurance
    • Specify that, for the purposes of group health insurance coverage offered by the Group Insurance Board, an employee who returns from a leave of absence and who has not resumed active duty for at least 30 consecutive calendar days during the public health emergency is deemed to have ended or interrupted the leave of absence on March 12, 2020.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

  • Governmental Deadlines and Training Requirements During a Public Health Emergency
    • Allow state or local government to suspend deadlines associated with a program that the governmental unit administers.
  • In-Person Appearance Waiver
    • Allow the head or governing body of a state entity may wave the requirement an individual appeals  in person during a public health emergency.
  • Exemption from Civil Liability for Manufacture of Medical Supplies During Public Health Emergency
    • Exempt manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of emergency medical supplies that donate or sell their products in response to the public health emergency from civil liability associated with injury or death caused by those products.
  • Exemption to 50-Piece Rules for OVID-19 Emergency
    • Allow a person elected to state or local office who becomes a candidate for a national, state, or local government office to use public funds to pay for communications related to the public health emergency if the communications are made during the emergency period, or within 30 days after termination of the emergency period.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES

  • Temporary Suspension of Medical Assistance Provisions to Meet Conditions for Enhanced Federal Matching Percentage.
    • Authorize DHS to take certain actions to satisfy criteria for qualifying for enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) available during an emergency period declared in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, as established by the federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
    • Under this provision, the Department would be authorized to do the following on a temporary basis: (a) suspend monthly premiums for childless adults covered under the medical assistance (MA) program; (b) suspend the requirement that childless adults complete a health risk assessment questionnaire for childless adults, as a condition of MA eligibility; (c) delay the implementation of a community engagement requirement for childless adults until the date that is either: (1) 30 days after the day the federal government has approved the community engagement implementation plan; or (2) 30 days after the last day of the calendar quarter in which the last day of the declared federal public health emergency associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic occurs; and (d) maintain continuous enrollment of any MA beneficiary who is enrolled as of the date of passage of the FFCRA (March 18, 2020), or who subsequently enrolls in the program during the period of the federal public health emergency, until the end of the end of the final month during which the federal public health emergency is in effect.
  • Legislative Oversight of Federal Waiver Requests Related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    • Exempt a Department of Health Services (DHS) request for a waiver, amendment to a waiver, or other federal approval from the current law provisions, enacted in 2017 Wisconsin Act 370, relating to legislative authorization for, and review of, such requests during the public health emergency declared by the Secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services on January 31, 2020, in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus. Provide that: (a) any approved state plan amendment that extends beyond the period of the federally-declared public health emergency must comply with the Act 370 provisions relating to legislative review of state plan amendments; and (b) all of the provisions in this item are temporary, and must comply with Act 370 provisions relating to legislative oversight, and, if applicable, review of state plan amendments.
  • Hours of Instructional Programming for Nurse Aides
    • Prohibit the Department of Health Services from requiring an instructional program for nurse aides in Wisconsin to exceed the federally required minimum total training of 75 hours.
  • Public Health Emergency Dashboard
    • Requires DHS to provide a public dashboard providing information from state acute care hospitals.
  • Medical Assistance Incentive Payments to Encourage Participating in Health Information Exchange
    • Require the Department of Health Services to develop, under the MA program, a payment system based on performance to incentivize participation in health information data sharing.
  • SeniorCare Coverage of Vaccinations
    • Expand the SeniorCare prescription drug assistance program to include coverage of vaccinations that are recommend for administration to adults by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee on immunization practices and approved for the administration to adults by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
  • Renewal of Emergency Medical Services Credentials
    • Prohibit DHS from requiring an ambulance service provider, emergency medical services practitioner, or emergency medical responder that holds a license, training permit or certificate renewal requirements, such as continuing education, during the public health emergency and for the 60 days following the date that the state of emergency is terminated.

OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE

  • No cost Sharing for COVID-19 Testing
    • Require any self-insured health plan offered by a local government or school district, any health insurance policy, and any state health plan that generally covers testing for infectious diseases to provide coverage of testing for COVID-19 without imposing any copayment or coinsurance on the individual covered under the policy or plan, for any such testing done prior to March 13, 2021.
  • Prohibit Coverage Discrimination Based on COVID-19
    • Prohibit any insurer, pharmacy benefit manager, or self-insured health plan from using a current or past diagnosis, or suspected diagnosis, of COVID-19, as the basis for denying coverage or establishing rates.
  • Prescription Drug Limits
    • Prohibit any health insurance policy from providing extended prescription drug prescriptions.
    • Specify that these restrictions do not apply to a prescription drug that is classified as a controlled substance by the Controlled Substances Board.
  • Liability Insurance for Physicians and Nurse Anesthetists
    • Specify that any physician or nurse anesthetist for whom Wisconsin is not a principal place of practice but who is authorized to practice in Wisconsin on a temporary basis, may fulfill the state's practice liability insurance requirements.
  • Liability for Providers of Health Services During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    • Specify that any health care professional, health care provider, or employee, agent, or contractor of a health care professional or of a health care provider is immune from civil liability for the death of or injury to any individual or any damages caused by actions or omissions taken in providing services to address, or in response to, the COVID-19 outbreak under circumstances that satisfy specific conditions.
  • Out-of-Network Charges and Payments During a Public Health Emergency
    • Provide that an individual in a health plan may not be required to pay more for a service, treatment, or supply that is not in the plan’s network.

LEGISLATURE

  • Legislative Audit Bureau
    • Specify in a nonstatutory provision that, beginning July 1, 2020, and continuing through June 30, 2021, the Legislative Audit Bureau must use risk-based criteria to review selected programs affected by the bill and selected expenditures made with funds authorized under the bill.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

  • School and School District Accountability Reports
    • Prohibit the Department of Public Instruction from publishing school and school district accountability reports in the 2020-21 school year.
  • Pupil Assessments
    • Specify that current law requiring assessments to be administered annually to pupils attending school in a public school district, independent charter school, private choice school, or special needs scholarship program school would not apply in 2019-20.
    • Specify that pupil performance on assessments in the 2019-20 could not be considered for the evaluation of teachers and principals under the statewide educator effectiveness system.
    • Change language under the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP) to accommodate a one-year lapse in administering statewide assessments and publishing accountability reports.
  • Virtual Instruction Reports and Guidance
    • Require school boards to submit a report to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) by November 1, 2020, regarding virtual instruction provided during the public health emergency in the 2019-20 school year during which public schools are closed by the Department of Health Services. Report specifics are identified.
    • Require school boards to submit a report to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) by November 1, 2020, regarding virtual instruction provided during the public health emergency in the 2019-20 school year during which public schools are closed by the Department of Health Services.
    • Require DPI to post on its Internet site guidance to schools on best practices related to transitioning from virtual instruction to in-person instruction no later than June 30, 2020.
  • Waivers for Private School Choice Programs, Special Needs Scholarship Programs, and Independent Charters Schools
    • Specify that, during the current public health emergency, if schools are closed for at least ten days in a school year by a local health officer or the Department of Health Services (DHS), DPI could do any of the following:
      • Waive any requirement related to the special needs scholarship program, private school choice programs, or independent charter school programs; private schools participating in a choice program or the special needs scholarship program; or independent charter schools, including any requirement related to an authorizer, governing board, or operator; or
      • Establish an alternate deadline for any requirement related to the special needs scholarship program or private school choice programs if the original deadline is either of the following: (a) a deadline that occurs during the period beginning on the first day schools are closed by the local health officer or DHS and ending 120 days after the last day schools are closed; or (b) a deadline for a requirement that impacts a date during the period beginning on the first day schools by the local health officer or DHS and ending 120 days after the last day schools are closed.
  • Private School Choice Programs and Special Needs Scholarship Program – Failure to Comply with Statutory Requirements
    • If a private school participating in the program is closed for at least ten days, DPI could not withhold payments from the school for failing to comply with statutory requirements.
  • Private School Choice Programs – Cash and Investment Balance
    • States that during a public health emergency, private schools participating in the Milwaukee, Racine, or statewide choice programs are not required to maintain a cash and investment balance equal to its reserves.
  • Private Schools – Waiver for Direct Hours of Pupil Instruction Requirement
    • Specify that in the 2019-20 school year, the governing body of a private school could request DPI to waive any requirement related to providing hours of instruction, including the requirements for minimum hours of instruction for private schools participating in the Milwaukee, Racine, or statewide choice programs or in the special needs scholarship program.
  • Statewide Private School Choice Application Deadlines
    • Specify that a private school participating in the statewide choice program in the 2020-21 school year could accept applications from eligible pupils until May 14, 2020. Require participating private schools to submit to DPI the number of pupils who have applied to attend the public school and the names of those applicants whose siblings have also applied to attend the private school by May 29, 2020.
  • Modify Timeline for Open Enrollment Program
    • Generally modify the various deadlines under the regular application procedure for the fulltime open enrollment program for the 2020-21 school year to extend them by one month.

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • Internal Revenue Code Update (GPR-Tax -$52million)
    • Update income and franchise tax references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). For tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, create provisions adopting selected provisions in P.L. 116-136, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES). Under current law, state tax references generally refer to the IRC in effect on December 31, 2017.
    • Decrease income and franchise taxes by an estimated $4,500,000 in 2019-20 and $47,500,000 in 2020-21, increase such revenues by an estimated $8,200,000 in 2021-22, and decrease revenues by an estimated $300,000 in 2022-23. The fiscal effect is attributable to the following CARES provisions that would be adopted under the bill: (a) special rules for use of retirement funds; (b) partial deduction for charitable contributions; (c) suspension of limitation on certain charitable contributions; (d) telehealth services for high deductible health plans; (e) additional qualified expenses for health savings accounts; (f) payroll protection loan forgiveness exclusion; (g) exclusion for certain employer payments of student loans; and (h) depreciation of qualified improvement property. It should be noted that if the bill did not amend state law to conform with the provision described under "f", state taxes on businesses receiving loan forgiveness would be estimated higher by $114.0 million in 2019-20, $102.0 million in 2020-21, $11.0 million in 2021-22, and a minimal amount thereafter.
  • Interest and Penalties Due on Taxes Owed During the Public Health Emergency
    • Permit the Secretary of the Department of Revenue to waive interest and penalties for persons that owe, but fail to remit, general fund taxes, or taxes or fees that are deposited in the transportation fund, by the filing date if, in the Secretary's determination, that person failed to timely remit those taxes due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak of 2020.
    • Specify that the Secretary must make this determination on a case-by-case basis.
    • Specify that this provision applies only to general fund taxes, or taxes and fees that are deposited in the transportation fund, with filing dates that fall within, and interest and penalties that accrue during, the public health emergency.
  • Income and Franchise Tax Filing Extension
    • The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on March 21, 2020, that the deadline for filing federal income tax returns is extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. The IRS subsequently expanded that guidance on April 9, 2020, to provide that the extension generally applies to all taxpayers with a tax filing due date falling between April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.

DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

  • Health Care Provider Credential Renewals
    • Specify that a health care provider credential, as specifically defined in the bill, is not subject to renewal, or any other conditions for renewal, including continuing education, and remains valid during the period covered by the public health emergency declared and continuing for 60 days after the end of the period
  • Temporary Credentials for Former Health Care Providers During the Public Health Emergency
    • Authorize the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to grant temporary credentials to certain former health care providers during the state public health emergency declared in specific ways.
  • Temporary Credentials for Health Care Providers from Other States
    • Authorize the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to grant temporary credentials to certain former health care providers during the state public health emergency declared.
  • Prescription Order Extensions During the Public Health Emergency
    • Expand the manner in which a pharmacist can extend a prescription order.
  • Autopsies and Cremation of Bodies of Persons Who Died of COVID-19
    • For the period covered by the public health emergency specify that:
      • If a physician, coroner, or medical examiner has signed the death certificate of a deceased person and listed COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death, a coroner or medical examiner must issue a cremation permit to cremate the corpse of that deceased person without viewing the corpse;
      • If a physician, coroner, or medical examiner has signed the death certificate of a deceased person and listed COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death, a coroner or medical examiner must issue, within 48 hours after the time of death, a cremation permit for the cremation of a corpse of a deceased person;
      • If the underlying cause of a death is determined to be COVID-19, the person required to sign the death certificate must provide an electronic signature on the death certificate within 48 hours after the death occurs; and
      • If an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 dies while he or she is in the legal custody of the Department of Corrections and confined to a correctional facility located in this state, the coroner or medical examiner may perform a limited examination of the deceased individual instead of a full autopsy, which may include an external examination of the body of the deceased individual, a review of the deceased individual's medical records, or a review of the deceased individual's radiographs.

SHARED REVENUE AND TAX RELIEF

  • Interest and Penalties on 2020 Property Taxes
    • For any property taxes payable in 2020 that are due after April 1, 2020, allow local governments to waive any interest charges and penalties for a late installment payment, provided that the full amount of the payment is received on or before October 1, 2020. For any property taxes payable in 2020 that are delinquent after October 1, 2020, interest charges and penalties would begin accruing as of October 1, 2020.
  • 2020 Annual Town and Municipal Board of Review Meetings.
    • Allow a town board, or if the town board is unable to meet, the town chair to postpone its annual meeting to a date.

WISCONSIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

  • WEDC Report
    • Require the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to submit to the Governor and the chief clerk of each house of the Legislature, no later than June 30, 2020, a report that includes a plan for providing support to the major industries in this state that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency, including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, retail, and services.

DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

  • Temporary Suspension of the Unemployment Insurance Waiting Week
    • Provide that the waiting week requirement under current law would not apply with respect to benefit years that begin after March 12, 2020, and before February 7, 2021. Require the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to seek the maximum amount of federal reimbursement for benefits that are payable for the first week of a claimant's benefit year as a result of the application of this provision.
  • Non-Charging Employer Unemployment Insurance Accounts
    • Require the Department of Workforce Development, to determine if a UI claim is related to the public health emergency.
    • Provide that if a claim or plan is related to the public health emergency, regular benefits for that claim for weeks occurring after March 12, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, not be charged to an employer's UI account as normally provided. Instead, under the provision, UI benefits for those weeks would be charged to either: (a) the balancing account of the UI trust fund for contribution employers; or (b) DWD's existing interest and penalties account for reimbursable employers that are not subject to contribution requirements.
    • Require the Secretary of DWD, to the extent permitted under federal law, to seek advances to the state's UI trust fund from the federal government so as to allow Schedule D, the lowest unemployment tax rate schedule, to remain in effect through the end of calendar year 2021.
  • Work-Share Plan Requirements
    • Temporarily suspend certain requirements of voluntary work-share plans submitted by employers.
    • Specify that, during the suspension period: (a) work-share plans must cover at least two positions that are filled on the effective date of the work-share program, rather than at least the greater of 20 positions or 10% of employees in a work unit under current law; (b) the maximum reduction in working hours under a work-share program may be either 60% of the normal hours per week of the employees included under a work-share plan, or any other maximum provided by federal law, whichever is greater, rather than the 50% reduction provided under current law; (c) work-share plans may cover any employees of the employer; rather than be limited to a particular work unit of the employer as provided in current law, and; (d) reduced working hours need not be apportioned equitably among employees in the work-share program.
    • Require DWD to allow work-sharing plans to be submitted online, an require DWD to assist employers with development.
  • Worker’s Compensation Benefits for COVID-19 Injuries
    • State that an injury to a first responder found to be caused by COVID-19 is presumed to be caused by the individual's employment. An injury claimed under this provision: (a) must be accompanied by a specific diagnosis by a physician or by a positive COVID-19 test, and; (b) may be rebutted by specific evidence that the injury was caused by exposure to COVID-19 outside of the first responder's work for the employer.
  • Employee Records During a Public Health Emergency
    • During a public health emergency, an employer is not required to provide an employee’s personnel records within seven days after it is requested.