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.

Education

AB 144: School Start Date
Creates exception to Sept. 1 school start date for districts where high school AP participation rates exceed 20%.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab144

AB 194: High School Civics Requirement
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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab20

AB 59: Benefit Corporation
Creates new business corporation category known as a ‘benefit corporation’.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab59

AB 60: Low Profit LLC
Allows qualified limited liability corporations to become ‘low-profit’ limited liability corporations.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab60

AB 62/ SB 162: Small Business Financing
Establishes grant program to assist qualified small businesses in financing expenditures.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab62

AB 103/ SB 112: New Business Development
Creates grant program to assist new businesses in hiring student interns.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab103

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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab281

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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb211

SB 246: Retail Liquor License Quotas
Allows local municipalities to issue one additional liquor license over quota.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb246

Law & Judiciary

AB 95/ SB 76: Small Claims Judgments
Increases interest rate from 1% + prime to 12% on judgments in small claims actions.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab95

SB 114: Court Fees
Increases small claims circuit court fee from $22 to $50.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/sb114

AB 231: Employee Civil Action
Prohibits abusive work environments and permits civil action against employers.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab231

Tax

AB 48/ SB 24: Income & Franchise Tax Depreciation
Allows use of Jan 1 2013 laws to calculate depreciation for income & franchise taxes.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab48

AB 102/ SB 111: Angel Investment
Qualifies existing angel investment tax credits as refundable.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab102

AB 116/ SB 81: Double Regulation
Prohibits local governments from imposing occupational licenses/fees for certain professions once the state begins regulating that profession.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab116

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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab219

AB 226: Sales & Use Tax Audit Impact
Requires sales tax audits to conclude after eight months and lowers penalty fee interest rates.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab226

Workforce & Employment

AB 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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab12

AB 91/ SB 69: Employee Covenants
Replaces existing non-compete laws with more stringent restrictive covenants.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab91

AB 160: Workplace Termination
Prohibits employers from unfairly discharging an employee.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab160

AB 190: Master Electricians
Eliminates the license/registration exemption for master electrician and imposes new continuing education requirements.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab190

AB 212/ SB 140: UI Fraud
Creates additional punishments for unemployment insurance benefit fraud.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab212

AB 261/ SB 166: Employment Status Discrimination
Prohibits employment discrimination based on employment status.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab261

AB 264: Minimum Wage
Increases minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab264

AB 318: Eliminates Unemployment Waiting Period
Repeals the existing one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab318

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.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb219

Notable Bills Signed by Governor Walker

AB 160/ SB 44: Right-to-Work
Eliminates Wisconsin as a right-to-work state.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab160

AB 27: Hwy Speed Limit
Increases maximum speed on highways to 70 mph.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab27

AB 143/ SB 106: Rideshare
Creates a statewide license for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab143