By Andrew Engel – WISCA Lobbyist (Hamilton Consulting)
Governor, Legislators Prepare for New Session
After all the ballots were cast and counted, not much changed in the Wisconsin legislature. Governor Tony Evers will return for four more years after beating Tim Michels by over 90,000 votes.
State Senate republicans picked up a seat to move their majority to a 22-11 advantage. This gives them a veto-proof majority. Senator Devin LeMahieu was re-elected by his caucus as the Majority Leader and he is in the process of forming committees and naming Chairs.
Republicans in the State Assembly also picked up seats moving their majority to a 64-35 advantage, just two seats away from having a veto-proof majority. Speaker Vos was re-elected by his caucus as well and remains the longest serving Speaker in Wisconsin history.
In other Wisconsin state races Attorney General Kaul was re-elected by about 35,000 votes, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette was re-elected by less than 7,500 votes, and John Leiber (R) defeated Aaron Richardson (D) by nearly 40,000 votes to become the new State Treasurer
Chaperone Rule Still in Flux at Latest Medical Examining Board Meeting
Representatives of the Wisconsin Medical Society and Wisconsin Hospital Association spoke to the board during the hearing. Mark Grapentine (Medical Society) commented that his organization supports the revised rule, understands the board’s intent, and appreciates MEB’s willingness to compromise. He noted that WMS received an “inordinate” level of feedback from members concerning the original draft of the rule.
Ann Zenk (Hospital Association) asked MEB Chair Dr. Wasserman to meet with the WHA Physician Leaders Council before the board votes on the latest version of the rule. She said that WHA members still have concerns with the rulemaking and want to discuss potential alternatives. She noted that her organization is also submitting written comments.
Following the public hearing, MEB reviewed the Legislative Clearinghouse report, which identifies potential legal and technical issues in a rulemaking. Notably, the report indicated that MEB did not adequately explain its intent regarding the responsibility of hospitals and other employers of physicians and to explain the source of its authority to impose a requirement on anyone other than physicians. The report asked what MEB expects to happen if a hospital does not post a chaperone policy.
The board agreed to add an explicit statement to the rule to the effect of, “Nothing under this rule is intended to impose a requirement on any person or entity that the board does not have jurisdiction over.” MEB member Dr. Goel commented that he was “disappointed” that some organizations responded to the board’s rulemaking in a “get off our turf” manner.
The board also agreed to some minor language changes suggested by the Clearinghouse Report, but the overall language and effect of the rule will remain the same. Meanwhile, MEB Chair Wasserman said he would meet with WHA to discuss the organization’s concerns. The board will review a revised rule at its next meeting in December.