BILLS WE'RE WATCHING

OVERVIEW

Every legislative proposal has both a Senate Bill Number and an Assembly Bill Number. To advance through the Wisconsin legislative process, each bill must be introduced in both the Senate and the Assembly by at least one member of each body.  Additional Senators and Assembly Representatives are solicited and may be added as coauthors and cosponsors throughout the process.  A bill’s Senate page on the Wisconsin Legislature website includes a link to its Assembly page and vice versa.

Clicking on the bill numbers listed below will open the bill’s Senate and/or Assembly home page. There you will find a summary of the bill and full bill text link to analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau, a list of coauthors and cosponsors, the committee to which it is assigned (linked to a list of committee members) and the history of the bill’s progress through the legislature. Clicking on “Wisconsin Ethics Commission information” goes to the Commission’s lobbying website page listing organizations registered for and against each bill.

For additional information, see also How a Bill Becomes Law (last updated 2016) and Wisconsin Citizen's Guide to the Legislature (2023).

WLA members will be notified when contact with legislators is urgent for any of the bills listed below.


 

WLA is Monitoring These Bills

Updated 1/13/2024

Access by minors/pupils to harmful material in public libraries and public schools.2023 Senate Bill 10 / 2023 Assembly Bill 15 
This bill is concerned with school and public library computer filtering, adopting a policy specifying criteria for determining whether certain material is offensive material, providing parents with outline of curriculum and summary of instructional materials that contain the offensive material. 

Common School Fund purchase of school library materials. 2023 Senate Bill 304/ 2023 Assembly Bill 309 
This bill adds language expressly prohibiting using Common School Funds to purchase obscene materials to 43.70(3).

Removal of protection from prosecution for education employees.  2023 Senate Bill 305 / 2023 Assembly Bill 308
This bill would remove public elementary and secondary schools, private schools and tribal schools from the list of institutions for which an employee is protected from prosecution for an obscene materials violation under current law 944.21(8) for acts or omissions while in their capacities. The liability protection for public library employees and trustees is not affected by the proposed changes.

Parental notification related to SCHOOL library materials. 2023 Senate Bill 597 / 2023 Assembly Bill 642
This bill would require school boards to develop and implement a policy under which the custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16 is notified of each document or material the child checks out from a school library as soon as is practicable, but no later than 24 hours after the checkout. (Current law 43.30(1m) already requires that a library supported by public funds disclose to the custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16 all library records relating to the use of the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services by the child, but only upon request of the custodial parent or guardian.) The bill also requires a school board to annually notify parents and guardians of pupils enrolled in the school district of whether or not the school board provides pupils access to the electronic collection of resources known as BadgerLink that is maintained by the Division for Libraries and Technology in the Department of Public Instruction.

Parental notification related to PUBLIC library materials. 2023 Senate Bill 598 / 2023 Assembly Bill 641 
This bill would require public libraries to develop and implement a policy under which the custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16 is notified of each document or material the child checks out from a public library as soon as is practicable, but no later than 24 hours after the checkout. (Current law 43.30(1m) already requires that a library supported by public funds disclose to the custodial parent or guardian of a child who is under the age of 16 all library records relating to the use of the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services by the child, but only upon request of the custodial parent or guardian.)

Prohibiting restricted access to books and other media by state agencies and local governments and prohibiting public funding for a library, school, or institution of higher learning that enacts such restrictions. 2023 Senate Bill 615 / 2023 Assembly Bill 657
This bill provides that no library, public or private elementary or secondary school, or institution of higher education is eligible for receipt of state or local funds if the entity prohibits, bans, or unreasonably restricts access to any book or other media based upon 1) partisan or doctrinal disapproval or 2) the origin, background, or views of those contributing to the creation of the book or other media. The bill also provides that no state agency or local governmental unit may prohibit, ban, or unreasonably restrict access to any book or other media on these bases. The provisions of the bill do not apply to any age-based restriction on obscene or pornographic material and do not apply to prison libraries operated by the Department of Corrections; libraries in jails, Type 1 juvenile correctional facilities, juvenile detention facilities, or secured residential care centers for children and youth; or libraries in institutions operated by the Department of Health Services.

Relating to national reading program grants. 2023 Senate Bill 707 / 2023 Assembly Bill 741 
This bipartisan bill would establish a grant program through the Department of Children and Families to help local non-profits create public-private partnerships with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library – ensuring Wisconsin children under the age of five have every opportunity to start reading at an early age. Since its inception in 1995, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has mailed over 150 million books to children under the age of five. These age-appropriate books are mailed free of charge regardless of family income. Local non-profits in Wisconsin that are interested in participating, would be required to share a portion of the cost. To offset this cost, the bill proposes to invest $500,000 from the state budget on an annual basis to allow non-profit groups to receive reimbursement up to $10,000 or 50% of required expenditures to participate in the program. 

Full-time school librarian employment mandate and revenue limit adjustment. 2023 Senate Bill 758/2023 Assembly Bill 782 
Under this bill, each school board must employ a licensed instructional library media specialist on a full-time basis for each school in the school district; each independent charter school must employ a licensed instructional library media specialist on a full-time basis; and each private school participating in a parental choice program must employ a licensed instructional library media specialist, or an individual with a degree in library science or an equivalent degree, on a full-time basis. The bill also creates a school district revenue limit adjustment for the costs of a school board to comply with this requirement.

Procedures for evaluating requests for removal or restriction of public or school library materials.2023 Senate Bill 824 / 2023 Assembly Bill 783 The bill provides that, if a library board or school board has a procedure to evaluate and resolve a complaint alleging that library materials should be removed from the collection or restricted to certain users, the procedure may only be initiated upon finding that a complainant meets specified residency or parent/guardian of pupil requirements, has reviewed the material in its entirety, and provides an explanation of objections.  Each request must also be accompanied by the signatures of not less than 5 percent of the total number of the electors from the political subdivision that established the public library, or from the school district in which the school library is located.