October legislative agenda

October 1, 2009

By Jeff Plale, 7th District State Senator

On Sept. 15., the Wisconsin Senate resumed its 2009-10 legislative session. Here’s an update on four important bills I’ve authored to help Wisconsin workers and families. Over the next few weeks I hope that these initiatives will move forward through the legislative process.

• Teacher Tax Credit (SB 111): A growing number of teachers are spending money out of their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies. This bill creates an individual income tax deduction of up to $500 for public and private school educators for educational materials and supplies they have purchased on their own for use in school.

• The Family Justice Bill (SB 203): Currently in Wisconsin, a parent does not have the right to recover damages for an adult child who dies as a result of medical malpractice, nor can an adult child recover damages for the loss of a widowed, single, or divorced parent who dies as the result of medical malpractice. This bill will change Wisconsin law to allow these grieving family members some recourse in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

• Renewable Resource Credits (SB 273): Act 141, Wisconsin’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires Wisconsin utilities to obtain 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2015. Currently, the law does not allow direct-use renewable energy sources-for example, certain systems that capture solar and geothermal power-to apply to RPS. SB 273 would change that. It maximizes use of renewable energy, saves Wisconsin ratepayers money, and creates “green” manufacturing jobs across the state.

• Capital Gains Tax: In the 2009-11 budget (Act 28), the state capital gains tax exemption in Wisconsin was trimmed back from 60 percent to 30 percent in order to help offset the state budget deficit. Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and I have coauthored legislation to alter these changes. Our bill creates a better balance between addressing the budget deficit and encouraging individual savings and investment.

These are just a few of my priorities as we move forward in the legislative session. If you have any questions regarding these or any other state initiatives, please contact my office.

Jeff Plale is the state senator for Wisconsin’s Seventh Senate District, which spans from Milwaukee’s East Side to Oak Creek, including downtown, the Third Ward, Bay View, St. Francis, Cudahy, and South Milwaukee. He can be reached locally at (414) 744-1444 or in Madison at (800) 361-5487 or sen.plale@legis.wisconsin.gov.

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