Bills to Watch: Tax Cuts, Expungement, Campaign Finance


Increasing tax deductions

These bills, simultaneously moving through the Senate and Assembly, would increase the state income-tax maximum deduction by 20.6 percent for single people making less than $127,000 and for joint filers making less than $155,000. The bill is estimated to cost the state $495.6 million during the 2019-21 biennium, paid for by a budget surplus. Although Governor Evers does support the tax cut, he wants to fund it through a reduction in a manufacturing and agricultural tax program, calling the use of surplus funds an unsustainable source of revenue.


Expungement reform

This bill would make changes to Wisconsin’s expungement process: the way in which individuals can get a criminal charge removed from their record. The bill would eliminate the requirement that expungement be offered only at the time of sentencing, clarify criminal-background disclosures on employment applications, grant expungement only for misdemeanors and Class H and I felonies, define completion of a sentence and eliminate the 25-year-old age limit. The bill is circulating for sponsorship until Feb. 5. For more on Wisconsin’s unusual existing expungement laws, visit

LRB 1098-1095

Campaign-finance reform

This package of bills put forth by Sen. Chris Larson would limit certain political-campaign contributions, reform and define the role political action committees (PACs) can play in financing elections, limit coordinated expenditures between candidates and groups, and increase reporting requirements for contributors. There are seven separate proposals, all of which are circulating for sponsorship until Feb. 14.


Tractor rollover-bar grants

This bill would provide $250,000 for grants to farmers who install roll bars on their tractors. Roll bars prevent a tractor from rolling on top of the operator. Tractor rollovers kill an estimated 100 people in the United States annually. This bill is circulating for sponsorship until Feb. 8.


Coverage of pre-existing conditions

This bill would provide protections for pre-existing conditions in the event of changes to the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed the Assembly but has stalled in the Senate.