Hemp, lemonade stands and fighter jets: State Senate passes flurry of bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The following are bills passed by the Wisconsin State Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Information provided by the Associated Press.

Wisconsin Senate approves bill making bestiality a felony

The Wisconsin Senate has approved a bill that would make bestiality a felony.

Having sex with an animal is a misdemeanor under current law. The bill would create a new crime punishable by up to 12½ years in prison. Sentences would vary depending on the circumstances, such as whether the animal dies and whether a child is present or coerced into sex with an animal. Convicts would have to register as sex offenders.

The measure's author, Republican Sen. Andre Jacque, introduced the same bill during the last legislative session after a Town of Eaton man was convicted of molesting a horse. The Assembly passed the bill but it died in the Senate.

This time around the Senate approved the bill on a voice vote Tuesday with no debate.

Senate OKs bill allowing kids to run lemonade stands

Children in Wisconsin could legally operate lemonade stands under a bill the state Senate has passed.

But they'd have to hold the egg salad.

The measure would permit anyone under 18 to operate lemonade stands on private property without a permit and without fear of getting in trouble as has happened in some states. They couldn't sell more than $2,000 of lemonade a year, or 8,000 cups at 25 cents a pop.

The young entrepreneurs would also be barred from selling any potentially hazardous food, like raw meat and egg salad. That was added to address concerns of public health officials.

The measure has bipartisan support. The Senate approved the bill on a voice vote Tuesday with no debate. The measure goes next to the state Assembly.

Wisconsin's growing hemp industry to get boost under bill

Wisconsin's hemp industry would remain under state control as it enters its second year under a bill the state Senate has approved.

The bipartisan measure is designed to help farmers, hemp processors, retailers and consumers as the industry in Wisconsin explodes. It makes a variety of changes to align Wisconsin's hemp program with the 2018 federal farm bill's regulations.

In the first year of the program, Wisconsin issued 250 hemp growing licenses but applications have increased more than 10-fold this year.

Hemp and marijuana are both forms of cannabis, but hemp lacks enough of the active ingredient THC to get people high.

Democrats support legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, but Republicans have not advanced bills to do that.

The Senate passed the bill 30-2 on Tuesday. It goes next to the state Assembly.

Wisconsin Senate approves insurance for police survivors

The state Senate has approved a bill that would force the state, municipalities and universities to continue paying health insurance premiums for immediate survivors of police officers and emergency medical workers killed in the line of duty.

The bill would require the state, municipalities, the University of Wisconsin System and Marquette University to cover premiums for slain officers and medical workers' spouses and children if the entity paid such premiums while the officer or worker was employed.

Coverage would last until spouses turn 65 and children turn 26. The state would reimburse municipalities for the costs. State agencies and universities would not be eligible for reimbursement.

The Senate passed the bill 33-0 on Tuesday. It goes next to the state Assembly.

Senate OKs bills to combat Lyme disease

The Wisconsin Senate has approved a package of bills to combat Lyme disease.

The average number of Lyme disease cases in Wisconsin has more than doubled over the last decade. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin had the fourth-highest number of cases among all 50 states in 2017 at 1,794 incidents.

The bills would require the Department of Natural Resources to post Lyme disease warnings on state land and sell insect repellent at state parks and forests. The DNR would also have to include information on Lyme disease in state park brochures and run an annual Lyme disease public awareness campaign.

The measures also would create a tick-borne disease study committee.

The Senate approved all the bills with no debate Tuesday. They go next to the state Assembly.

Wisconsin Senate passes sexual assault kit protocols

The Wisconsin Senate has overwhelmingly approved two bills that would establish protocols for handling sexual assault evidence kits.

A backlog of untested kits has been an issue in Wisconsin and across the country for years.

The proposals have broad bipartisan support. The measures were developed by lawmakers, victims' rights advocates, law enforcement representatives and others.

Under one bill , if a victim wants to report an assault to police, nurses must notify officers within 24 hours of collecting the kit. Police must send the kit to the state crime lab within 14 days. If the victim doesn't want to report it, the kit still goes to the lab within 72 hours for storage.

The other bill would require the state Justice Department to track kits.

The Senate passed the first bill on a voice vote and the second 33-0 on Tuesday. The measures go next to the Assembly.

Wisconsin Senate OKs wetland impact credit changes

The state Senate has signed off on a bill that would require builders to purchase wetland mitigation credits within the watershed they're changing.

Right now the Department of Natural Resources must require restoration, enhancement, creation or preservation of other wetlands as a condition of an individual permit allowing dredging or filling wetlands.

Builders can satisfy those conditions by purchasing credits from a mitigation bank located anywhere in Wisconsin. Banks are essentially a stash of credits generated by other builders that created or preserved wetlands.

The bill would require builders buy credits from banks located in the impacted watershed. The DNR could allow purchases from other watersheds if it would better serve natural resource goals.

The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote on Tuesday. It goes next to the Assembly.

Wisconsin Senate passes F-35 resolution

The state Senate has passed a resolution supporting new F-35 fighter jets at Madison's Truax Field.

The U.S. Department of Defense is considering housing two squadrons of the state-of-the-art fighter at the base. Neighbors are outraged at the prospect. An environmental impact statement says noise from the jets would render more than 1,000 homes uninhabitable.

Republican legislators crafted a resolution supporting F-35s at Truax. The resolution says the planes could help keep the base open and preserve its economic impact.

The Senate debated the resolution first on Tuesday. Sens. Fred Risser and Jon Erpenbach, two Madison-area Democrats, tried to amend the resolution to ask the U.S. Air Force to continue studying the jets' environmental and health impacts but the attempt failed and the body ultimately passed the resolution on a voice vote.

The Assembly is expected to vote on the resolution Thursday.

Senate OKs bill clearing path for e-bikes in Wisconsin

Bikes with small rechargeable electric motors that are gaining in popularity would be regulated in a new way under a bill the Wisconsin Legislature has passed.

The measure changes how electric bikes, or e-bikes, are regulated under state law. Currently, they are treated as "motor bicycles," which subject them to regulations for old-fashioned gas-powered motor bikes.

For example, under current law e-bikes are banned from bike paths and operators must carry a valid driver's license.

But as sales of e-bikes have gone up, so has the effort to bring the regulation of them into line with their use. The bipartisan bill would treat e-bikes like regular bikes, while also giving local governments the ability to restrict their use on some bike paths.

The Senate passed the bill Tuesday on a voice vote. The Assembly approved it on a voice vote in June. It goes next to Gov. Tony Evers.