Assembly passes bill expanding birth control access
MADISON — Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Assembly has passed a bill opposed by anti-abortion groups that would broaden birth control access.
The bill approved Thursday with bipartisan support would allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptive patches and birth control pills to anyone 18 or older. Under current law, only doctors can prescribe them.
Anti-abortion groups oppose the measure, arguing that increasing access to birth control encourages premarital sex and the odds of unintended pregnancies and abortions.
Democrats questioned the intention of Republicans, saying they are pushing the measure to make themselves more electable. Democrats favor a more expansive proposal that had no age limits on who could get the birth control.
It passed on an 82-13 vote.
The bill would also have to pass the Senate and be signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.
Assembly passes wetland credits bill
MADISON — The state Assembly has sent to Gov. Tony Evers a bill that would require developers to purchase wetland mitigation credits within the watershed they’re changing.
The Department of Natural Resources requires 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 a stash of credits generated by other developers who created or preserved wetlands.
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The bill passed Thursday would require builders buy credits from banks in impacted watersheds. The DNR could allow purchases from other watersheds to better serve conservation goals, however.
Evers would have to sign the bill for it to become law.
Assembly passes suicide prevention bills
MADISON — The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a package of eight bills designed to prevent suicides.
Democrats argued the measures passed Thursday aren’t as effective as gun control measures they refused to debate, including one that would allow judges to confiscate guns from people determined to be a threat to themselves or others.
The bills all passed with broad, bipartisan support.
One of them would create a grant program to pay gun shop owners to store guns voluntarily turned over by gun owners.
Another creates a new suicide prevention program within the state Department of Health Services that would hand out about $250,000 in suicide prevention grants a year.
Another would require schools and universities that issue student identification cards to include contact information for suicide prevention and crisis support hotlines on the cards.
In total, the bills would spend about $1.5 million over two years on a variety of suicide prevention initiatives.
They now head to the Senate.