Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update from the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee Chair

August 19, 2011

Welcome, Readers!
The Spanbauer E-Update is the e-newsletter designed to keep my constituents and friends up-to-date with the latest State Capitol news. I hope that you will find these updates informative, and also it will give readers another way to communicate to me their concerns.

Please feel free to forward the newsletter to friends and family who you think would like to know what is happening at the State Capitol. To sign up, send an email to Rep.Spanbauer@legis.wi.gov and requestSpanbauer E-Update.  

Redistricting Update
Since my last E-Update, Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 148 and Senate Bill 149 into law as Acts 43 and 44, respectively.  Act 43 redraws Wisconsin's 99 Assembly and 33 Senate districts to reflect changes in the state's population since the 2000 census, and Act 44 redraws Wisconsin's eight congressional districts.


You may view the new maps from around the state at the Legislature's redistricting website.

Gearing Up for September
The Legislature is expected to reconvene in mid-September, and both houses are holding committee meetings on bills that may be voted on this fall.

On August 30, for example, the Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs, of which I am a member, will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 18, a bill I introduced (the Assembly version is Assembly Bill 27) that will, in its current form, allow the surviving spouses and children of state and local law enforcement and correctional officers who die in the line of duty to continue to be covered by their late spouses' or parents' health insurance.  This protection is already available to the survivors of local firefighters under a law the Legislature passed during the 2009-2010 session, 2009 Act 285, and I felt that the families of law enforcement officers deserve the same level of protection.  An Assembly amendment to SB 18 will be introduced to cover state-employed firefighters, who were accidentally omitted from the Senate amendments that extended SB 18, which originally covered only local law enforcement officers, to state law enforcement and correctional officers.

On September 1, the Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, of which I am chair, will also hold a hearing.  One of the proposals to be heard, Assembly Bill 66, is a bill I introduced that will make court proceedings involving child custody or physical placement when one of the parents is a service member more accommodating to the service member if he or she is called to active duty.  For example, a court would not be able to modify a custody order while the service member is deployed, and the service member would be able to assign his or her placement rights to a third party (such as another relative) during deployment.  Service members would also be able to participate in family action hearings via telephone or other electronic means if they are away on active duty at the time.

The other proposal before the committee, Assembly Bill 121, introduced by my colleagueRep. Kevin Petersen of Waupaca, will expand eligibility for the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit to surviving, unremarried spouses who receive dependency and indemnity compensation from the federal government as the result of their late spouses' service-connected death.  The credit is currently generally available only to surviving, unremarried spouses whose spouses died in active duty or who had a service-connected disability rating of at least 100%.  AB 121 extends this credit to spouses who are no less deserving but who fall through a loophole in the current law.

As always, you are welcome to contact my office to share your thoughts and concerns about legislation and other state issues. My office’s toll-free number is (888) 534-0053.

Office Hours
I am looking forward to a productive fall session, and I will continue to hold office hours around the 53rd Assembly District so that I can personally meet with you and hear your comments and concerns.  I hope you will stop by to visit at the following places and times:

Monday, August 22

Rosendale Village Hall
211 N Grant St, Rosendale
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Rosendale Town Hall
N8472 County Road M, Ripon
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

If you would like to be removed from the mailing list, please click here.

1 comment: