Bills to Watch: Sparsity Aid, Voter Registration


Automatic voter registration

This bill, among several other efforts to increase voter participation, would automatically register residents to vote by transferring information provided by the Department of Transportation on state IDs or driver’s licenses to the Elections Commission, although residents could opt out of this information transfer. Voter turnout in the 2016 general election was 67.34 percent among the voting-age population. The bill is currently in the Senate Committee on Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues.


Increasing the number of schools eligible for sparsity aid

Currently, school districts receive $400 per student in schools with 745 pupils or fewer or if there are fewer than 10 students per square mile, primarily to help offset greater transportation costs. This bill would create two tiers of sparsity aid: $400 per student in districts with up to 1,000 students, and $100 per student for districts with enrollment between 1,000 and 2,700. Gibraltar Area, Sevastopol and Washington currently receive sparsity aid. Under this proposal, Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay would also qualify for the second tier of funding. The bill is circulating for co-sponsorship until April 19, when its anticipated fiscal impact will be calculated.


Creating a special Wisconsin State Parks license plate

The cost would be the cost of regular license plates plus the cost of an annual state-parks pass. Revenue generated would be deposited in a conservation fund for use by state parks. The bill is circulating for co-sponsorship until April 29.