The 2017-2018 Wisconsin Legislative Session has come to an end. Over the course of the last couple weeks, Governor Scott Walker called a Special Session on School Safety. Additionally, legislative leaders called two Extraordinary Sessions on School Safety and Special Elections.

A “special session” of the Wisconsin Legislature differs from a regular legislative session in its purposes and procedures. A special session is called by the governor and is designed to deal exclusively with one or more matters the governor considers so important that they must be addressed promptly and separately from other legislative business. Since statehood, Wisconsin governors have called almost 100 special sessions.

In contrast to a special session, which is called by the governor, an extraordinary session is initiated by the legislature. The legislature adopted a joint rule in 1977 permitting the call for an extraordinary session during a committee work period or after the expiration of the last scheduled floor period. An extraordinary session may meet concurrently with a special session called by the governor. The rule states that action in the extraordinary session is limited to the business specified in the call by which it was authorized. Unlike the governor who can only specify subject areas to be covered in a special session, the legislature in calling an extraordinary session may designate specific pieces of legislation for the session agenda. 

While there were plans to come in next week to vote on the special election bill, Governor Walker has decided to not appeal a court order to the supreme court to delay the elections. Special elections for the 42nd Assembly District and 1st Senate District will be held on June 12.

WBA will put together a full listing of bills that concern banks and our customers that were signed into law since January 2017. However, here is a list of the major bills that passed during the final session days:

  • ‚ÄčWBA’s Omnibus Bill
    • WBA's bill that includes several pro-banking provisions that were brought to us by members over the last year.
    • Add the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) to the list of entities to which the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) may disclose reports of examination and confidential supervisory information pertaining to Wisconsin banks, thrifts and credit unions.
    • Amend Wisconsin law to explicitly permit a letter of credit (LC) from the FHLB to be used to secure Wisconsin public unit deposits.
    • Repeal requirement that banks shall pay interest on escrow accounts. This change would not prohibit such interest accounts if a bank chooses to offer.
    • Allow a savings bank to lend up to 20% of its capital to one member. This change brings parity for savings banks with their state bank, universal bank, and savings & loan charters.
    • Federalize the Wisconsin definition of outside sales representative. Outside sales representatives are no longer going door-to-door to make sales. This change will bring law in-line with current practice.
    • Allow DFI to accept information collected by other agencies (FDIC) to be used to satisfy certain exam state requirements.
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit
    • Passed both houses with amendments proposed by WBA. More changes to the program will likely be needed in the next session and with rulemaking and general time it will take to set up, we still have a two year window before the program really takes off.
  • Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit
    • Both the Senate and Assembly passed a that will increase the per project credit for Historic Rehab from $500k to $3.5mil. This program was originally expanded in the state budget but vetoed by the governor for cost reasons.
  • Pre-emption of local ordinances
    • This legislation will pre-empt local governments from creating, among others, their own wage lien ordinances. Wisconsin already has a law pre-empting local minimum wage ordinances.
  • Condo Law Changes
    • WBA heavily amended this bill to strip out language that would have placed unpaid condo assessments ahead of banks in lien priority. Passed by the Assembly two weeks ago and likely taken up by the Senate in March.