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News & Press: Legislative Updates

WPA Legislative Update, July 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017  
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Eric Jensen, WPA Lobbyist

Doctor Day 2018

Doctor Day 2018 will be on January 30, 2018 – mark your calendars now!  We moved the date earlier to ensure as best we can that the Legislature has not adjourned their session when you come to Madison next year.  Stay tuned for sign-up and other information.

State Budget Update

The Wisconsin Constitution requires that the State Budget be signed into law by July 1 of the odd year – and as of today (June 26) the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has not completed its work on the budget.  Once JFC is complete, the budget bill must be approved by both the Assembly and Senate before finally going to the Governor for signature.  The upside is that in Wisconsin, there is no government shut-down—absent a budget for the next biennium, all agencies and programs continue forward at the last biennium’s funding and spending levels.

The Governor, Senate and Assembly remain at odds over a small number of key programs, including education and transportation funding.  Leaders have been meeting regularly in an effort to find common ground, but have been unable to do so thus far. 

Chiropractor Scope Expansion Efforts – Again

It seems like every year we discuss a new effort by the chiropractors to expand their scope.  Last session and summer it was an effort to create a “Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine” license that, with little additional training, would have authorized chiropractors to perform undefined “minor procedures,” utilize some anesthesia, prescribe some medications, etc.  That bill was supported by one chiropractor organization (WI Chiropractic Association), but opposed by the other (Chiropractic Society of WI) and never progressed in the Legislature.

This session come AB 260 (Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego) and SB 232 (Sen. Frank Lasee, R-DePere) – companion legislation that would (among other things) authorize chiropractors to conduct pre-participation physical exams for student-athletes and that would require the WIAA, state technical colleges and 2-year UW campuses to accept a chiropractor’s pre-participation exam.

Despite opposition from 22 physician, hospital, insurer and other organizations, AB 260 moved very quickly from introduction to hearing (Assembly Health Committee) to committee vote, and was voted on by the full Assembly on June 21st.  An amendment offered on the Assembly floor by Rep. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville) that would have removed the athletic examinations portion of the bill was defeated on a party-line vote, and the bill was passed on a “voice vote” which means there is no record of any particular lawmaker’s vote on final passage.

A WPA Legislative Alert was sent to WPA members in June providing details about AB 260/SB 232 and urging WPA members to contact their State Senators to oppose the legislation.

SB 232 has been assigned to the Senate Health Committee, and AB 260 now received from the Assembly is awaiting committee assignment.  Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) chairs the Senate Health Committee and has generally been opposed to chiropractic scope expansion efforts.  With summer in full swing, it is unlikely there will be any action on these bills in Senate until at least this fall, but it is important for Senators to hear from you now to set the tone for their consideration.