The Wisconsin Legislature Officially Kicks Off 2013-14 Legislative Session,
By Tom Larson Set for 2013-2014 Session
With the official swearing-in ceremony taking place on January 7th, the Wisconsin Legislature officially began the 2013-14 legislative session. The session will run from January 2013 until April 2014 with the first 6 months focusing primarily on the passage of the biennial state budget, which is required to be complete by July 1, 2013. In addition to the state budget, the nonmetallic mining regulatory reform bill and a complete review of all administrative rules will be top priorities in the early months of the legislative session.
In the upper house of the legislature, Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) assumes the role of Senate Majority Leader after a brief time as minority leader after the June 5 recall elections. The State Assembly gets its third speaker in as many sessions when Robin Vos (R-Burlington) assumes the post vacated by Jeff Fitzgerald who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate this summer and was unable to run again for his state assembly seat.
Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) will again be leading the Assembly Democrats this session. A relative newcomer to the state senate, Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), will take the reins of leadership for the State Senate Democrats from Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona).
The chairs of the Housing Committees in both houses remain the same (Rep. Murtha and Sen. Lasee) but other members of the committee have changed. The Assembly Housing and Real Estate Committee features six new members, five of them freshman, and the Senate Insurance and Housing Committee features two new members representing the Democrats on the committee (Senators Erpenbach and Cullen).
Lawmakers to Conduct Comprehensive Audit of All Administrative Rules
One of the top priorities for the Wisconsin Assembly during the 2013-14 legislative session will be to review every chapter of Wisconsin’s administrative rules (approximately 1800 chapters) and modify, suspend or eliminate any rule that is obsolete, too costly, unnecessary (e.g., already addressed by federal law) or creates an excessive burden on job creation or economic development.
For years, administrative rules have been looked upon unfavorably by both the regulated community and some lawmakers. In fact, one former lawmaker described administrative rules as “state government’s dirty little secret” because, in the past, the rules were often massive documents filled with numerous regulations written in technical jargon that receive little or no review by the public or elected officials. In 2011, Wisconsin lawmakers made significant modifications to the rulemaking process to limit the scope of administrative rules, provide the public with more time to review the proposed rules and require elected officials to review and approve the rules before the rules can go into effect. However, these modifications do not change the thousands of rule chapters that are already in effect.
The Assembly is planning to begin the review process later this month and has asked NAIOP-WI and other stakeholders for input on what, if any, rules should be evaluated. The rules may pertain to environmental regulations, access to highways, approval of subdivision plats, landlord/tenant regulations, commercial building codes, workforce development, or other issues that impact your business.
If you are able to identify any specific state administrative rules that you think should be modified or eliminated, please email send your recommendations to Tom Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org).