2015-2016 STATE LEGISLATION
WSBU focuses on statewide issues of importance to the small business community. Everything from regulations to taxes, education to health care, and the environment to civil justice, all of these areas have a significant impact on our state’s small business economy.
According to the Small Business Administration, regulation adds thousands of dollars in employer cost per worker and regulation is 80% more costly to small employers than large.
One of the most impactful ways to support Wisconsin’s small business community is through advocacy efforts. It is important that policy-makers understand the impact that pending legislation has on the business community. Communities depend on strong economies in order to thrive, and strong economies are built by healthy businesses.
Since the beginning of this year, over 600 pieces of legislation have been introduced. Outlined below is a list of the latest bills impacting small business. This list will be updated as bills continue to be introduced throughout the 2015-2016 legislation session.
AB 144: School Start Date
Creates exception to Sept. 1 school start date for districts where high school AP participation rates exceed 20%.
Requires all high school students successfully complete civic course prior to graduation. http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab194
SB 244: School Board Vacancies
Gives school board president the power to appoint open board positions in the event that remaining board members fail to fill the vacancy within 60 days. http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb244
Environment & Energy
AB 66: Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority
Expands investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab66
Existing Business & Industry Development
AB 20/ SB 176: Buy American
Requires state and contractors hired by the state to purchase materials manufactured in the US.
AB 59: Benefit Corporation
Creates new business corporation category known as a ‘benefit corporation’.
AB 60: Low Profit LLC
Allows qualified limited liability corporations to become ‘low-profit’ limited liability corporations.
AB 62/ SB 162: Small Business Financing
Establishes grant program to assist qualified small businesses in financing expenditures.
AB 103/ SB 112: New Business Development
Creates grant program to assist new businesses in hiring student interns.
AB 281: State Awarded Construction Contracts
Allows DOA to award construction contracts to minority or disabled veteran owned businesses that submit contract bids within 5% of the lowest bidder.
SB 211/AB 304: Wisconsin Job Development & Retention Commission
Prohibit business owners from outsourcing work to other states and countries while receiving state tax benefits, loans, or grants; creates a commission to identify said businesses.
SB 246: Retail Liquor License Quotas
Allows local municipalities to issue one additional liquor license over quota.
Law & JudiciaryAB 95/ SB 76: Small Claims Judgments
Increases interest rate from 1% + prime to 12% on judgments in small claims actions.
SB 114: Court Fees
Increases small claims circuit court fee from $22 to $50.
AB 231: Employee Civil Action
Prohibits abusive work environments and permits civil action against employers.
TaxAB 48/ SB 24: Income & Franchise Tax Depreciation
Allows use of Jan 1 2013 laws to calculate depreciation for income & franchise taxes.
AB 102/ SB 111: Angel Investment
Qualifies existing angel investment tax credits as refundable.
AB 116/ SB 81: Double Regulation
Prohibits local governments from imposing occupational licenses/fees for certain professions once the state begins regulating that profession.
AB 219: Sales & Use Tax Audit Procedure
Streamlines sales and use tax audits by creating a statistical sampling procedure to determine taxpayer margin of error.
AB 226: Sales & Use Tax Audit Impact
Requires sales tax audits to conclude after eight months and lowers penalty fee interest rates.
Workforce & EmploymentAB 12/ SB 2: Minimum Wage
Increases minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour; $2.33 per hour to $3.00 per hour for tipped employees.
AB 91/ SB 69: Employee Covenants
Replaces existing non-compete laws with more stringent restrictive covenants.
AB 160: Workplace Termination
Prohibits employers from unfairly discharging an employee.
AB 190: Master Electricians
Eliminates the license/registration exemption for master electrician and imposes new continuing education requirements.
AB 212/ SB 140: UI Fraud
Creates additional punishments for unemployment insurance benefit fraud.
AB 261/ SB 166: Employment Status Discrimination
Prohibits employment discrimination based on employment status.
AB 264: Minimum Wage
Increases minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour
AB 318: Eliminates Unemployment Waiting Period
Repeals the existing one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
SB 219: DWD Job Seeker Resources
Provides individuals without social security numbers with a unique ID number in order to access DWD job seeker resources.
Notable Bills Signed by Governor WalkerAB 160/ SB 44: Right-to-Work
Eliminates Wisconsin as a right-to-work state.
AB 27: Hwy Speed Limit
Increases maximum speed on highways to 70 mph.
AB 143/ SB 106: Rideshare
Creates a statewide license for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.