2023-2024 Legislative Session Highlights

June 28, 2024 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The 2023-2024 state legislative session, which began in January 2023, has ended. The State Assembly held its final floor date for the regular session on February 22, 2024, and the State Senate held its final regular session day on March 12, 2024.  While the Senate reconvened on May 14, 2024, for a “Veto Review” session day, during which they voted to override the Governor’s vetoes of nine bills, it appears unlikely that the Assembly will also reconvene to vote to attempt to override these vetoes.  Furthermore, it does not appear likely at this time that either chamber will reconvene before the November general election.

The following are highlights from the current biennial budget law, as well as other relevant legislation introduced during the 2023-2024 legislative session.

·     2023-2025 State Budget:

o   Allied Health Professional Training:  Provided $2,500,000 annually to expand allied health professional education and training grants.  Expanded eligibility for the program to include registered nurses.

o   Nurse Educators:  Maintained $5 million in annual funding for this program. 

o   Occupational Credentialing

§  Software:  $3.57 million for occupational credentialing software and related maintenance.

§  License Processing Staffing:  7 license processing contract workers (on a four-year employment contract).

§  Customer Service Call Center Staffing:  6 license processing-focused customer service call center contract workers (on a two-year employment contract).

·     Other 2023-2024 Legislative Highlights

o   Registered as “Other” – Enactment of Senate Bill 178:  Under this bill, if an individual is required to report deaths under current law (including hospices in certain circumstances) and has knowledge of a death that has occurred within 24 after a patient has either presented at, or is admitted to, a hospital or other similar facility (including hospices), that individual must contact the appropriate medical examiner or coroner to determine if the death is reportable under current law. As this legislation would dramatically increase the number of deaths that hospices would need to report – especially since these deaths are expected – WiHPCA members and its government relations team aggressively advocated the legislature to provide an exemption for hospices.  The version of this bill, which is now law, includes such an exemption.

o   Support – Assembly Passage of Assembly Bill 736:  Creates a state Palliative Care Council, which would be “housed” at the state Department of Health Services (DHS).  The intent behind this proposed council would be to increase awareness of palliative care, which is often misunderstood by the general public, as well as some health care providers.  This legislation passed the Assembly unanimously and received a hearing in a Senate committee.  However, despite a strong advocacy push by WiHPCA members and its government relations team, the full Senate did not vote on this legislation prior to the adjournment of the 2023-2024 legislative session. 

·     Governor Signs Bill Creating New State Legislative District Maps

o   On December 22, 2023, the State Supreme Court issued a ruling that Wisconsin’s state legislative district maps are unconstitutional and the maps for each such district must be redrawn before the 2024 elections.  State Supreme Court justices voted 4-3 in favor of this ruling.  The decision focused on specific state legislative districts that include non-contiguous portions of land, which the court found violated the state constitution.  Specifically, the court ruled that the legislature must redraw the boundaries for each state Assembly and state Senate district in advance of the August 2024 primary election. 

o   In mid-February 2024, the Legislature passed a bill with a compromise version of state legislative district maps.  On February 19, 2024, Governor Evers signed this legislation.  As such, these new legislative district maps have taken effect for legislative candidates who are elected in November 2024.  These new maps may be viewed on the Legislature’s website.

·     Governor Creates Task Force on the Healthcare Workforce

  • On January 29, 2024, Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Task Force on Healthcare Workforce.  Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez, a registered nurse with a public health background, chairs this task force.  State Department of Workforce Development Secretary Amy Pechacek and state Department of Health Services Secretary Kirsten Johnson serve as co-chairs. 
  • In March 2024, representatives from WiAHC and the Wisconsin Hospice and Palliative Care Association (WiHPCA) participated in a joint meeting with the task force co-chair, Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez, to discuss health care workforce issues.  Various issues were discussed, including reimbursement from insurers and public sector payers, medical personnel wage levels, and the potential to expand an existing effort to concurrently train high school students to be licensed practical nurses (LPNs), so that they are able to graduate from high school and immediately enter the workforce. 
  • Please be assured that WiHPCA’s government relations representatives will continue to monitor the work of this task force. For more information about this task force, please visit the task force’s website

Wisconsin Hospice and Palliative Care Association

563 Carter Ct, Suite B

Kimberly, WI 54136

Phone: 920-750-7726 | Fax: 920-882-3655

Email: wihpca@badgerbay.co

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