Thursday, January 31, 2008

Assembly Companion Smoke-free Bill Introduced by Rep. Wieckert

Kudos to Rep. Steve Wieckert. Yesterday he began circulating a companion bill to SB 150 in the Assembly for co-sponsorship. This action is a great way to keep our momentum toward a smoke-free Wisconsin going.

What does this mean for the process? That's good news too. If you look back at the chart Jennie made about how a bill becomes law in Wisconsin, this means we can do Step 8 before Steps 6 and 7 are completed. Rep. Wieckert's companion bill allows both houses of the Legislature to examine the smoke-free workplaces issue simultaneously. (Up until this point we were waiting for one house to completely finish the process before the other house would debate the issue.)

*Warning - For Policy Wonks Only: Want to follow the companion bill through the process? Sign up for WI's Legislative Notification Service here. (Thanks to Connie O. for the tip!) All you have to do is enter an e-mail, password, and select the bills you'd like to follow. You will only get updates on the bills you choose to track. Rep. Wieckert's companion bill is currently still in draft form - you can enter LRB 3791 to track it. Once the bill has been "officially" introduced, it will get a new number called an "AB" number. The Legislative Notification Service will automatically switch its tracking to the AB number when it is assigned.
You can also use the Legislative Notification Service to track SB 150. Even though SB 150 (introduced by Sen. Risser) and Rep. Wieckert's companion bill deal with the same subject, they are technically two separate pieces of proposed legislation.

*Sneak Preview: After Sen. Risser's bill gets through the Senate and Rep. Wieckert's bill gets through the Assembly, any differences between the two bills would have to be reconciled in a joint committee of senators and representatives.

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