As of Pulse press time, the Wisconsin Senate postponed its regular March session due to the coronavirus. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the Senate would reconvene in an extraordinary session in the spring to consider bills that are awaiting Senate approval.
In regard to bills specifically targeted at combating the coronavirus, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said agencies are able to make requests through the Joint Committee on Finance, but it was unlikely that the entire Legislature would convene on a new set of bills related to the virus.
Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said the full Legislature may need to consider bills relating to hospital-bed shortages or support for individuals and businesses struggling from lost income if the health crisis worsens.
Volunteer firefighter and EMS tax credit
This bill would create a $100 nonrefundable income-tax credit for volunteer firefighters, emergency medical responders and emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners who have served as responders for at least five years. In Door County, volunteer responders typically drive their own vehicle and incur costs associated with leaving work.
Departments are also having a difficult time recruiting new volunteers, so this bill would add a small incentive to the roles. Rep. Joel Kitchens and Sen. André Jacque are co-sponsors of the bill, which unanimously passed the Assembly in October 2019 and is now before the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions.