undefinedAfter the budget there is an extended break between floor sessions for the full legislature. That does not mean work isn't being done. Committees and Speaker's Task Forces are meeting weekly to get bills ready for the fall. Currently, the legislature is slated to meet to vote on bills the second week of October. WBA is working on several bills that will benefit the banking industry.

Elder Abuse
WBA has worked with the Department of Justice and other stakeholders over the last several years to combat elder financial abuse. Senator Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point) has authored a bill endorsed by WBA that would allow banks to freeze potential transactions that might be fraudulent for five days while they work with the customer to determine the true intent. 

Trust Code Update
The WBA Trust Section has been working on an update to the trust code since passing a complete overhaul of the statutes in 2013. This bill will be authored by Representative Cindi Duchow (R-Delafield), Chair of the Assembly Financial Institutions Committee. The legislation simply provides technical updates to the trust code after seeing the need for improvements once the 2013 statutes were used in practice.

Industrial Hemp Trailer Bill
The Growing Opportunities Act (AB206/SB188) was introduced by Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and Senator Testin earlier this year. The act works to create a framework that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can utilize to develop a plan to submit to the USDA so that Wisconsin can maintain control over our hemp program as it transitions from pilot to permanent. The bill aligns Wisconsin with federal law by removing hemp from Wisconsin's Controlled Substances list and updates the definition of hemp to conform to the federal definition, which still stipulates that hemp contain 0.3% THC concentration or less (a non-psychoactive level).

Banking Statutes Update
Like last session, WBA's Government Relations Committee developed several policy changes—technical in nature—to improve banking practices. These include providing a reasonable time for a bank to respond to a garnishment order, reducing the amount of time a bank may reissue a cashier's check, and parity in the ways the Federal Home Loan Bank works with state chartered banks, among others. This bill will be authored by Representative Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green). 

After October, the Senate and Assembly will meet for a week in November, January, and possibly February before gaveling out for the rest of 2020. At that point campaign season will officially start; the full assembly and half of the senate will be on the ballot in November 2020. After March, only the governor calling the legislature into special session or the legislature calling itself into extraordinary session would have them back on the floor. While this did happen in 2018, it is extremely rare.

Turke is WBA director – government relations.