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Senate Bill 545 Adult Use Legislation Co-Sponsorship Analysis

Have you heard of Senate Bill 545 yet? It is a comprehensive legislation addressing cannabis reform. Adult use/medical marijuana combination bill (LRB-4361) has been assigned the Senate Bill Number of 545. The bill is awaiting an assembly bill number assignment.

For the first time in the history of Wisconsin legislation, a majority of the Democratic Senate has signed onto the bill as either an author or co-sponsor. The Senate Democratic Caucus is comprised of 12 members (Republicans hold 21 seats).

In previous years, Incumbent Senators Agard (Minority Caucus Vice Chair), Johnson, L. Taylor, Smith (Minority Caucus Chair) and Larsen have all been authors/co-sponsors. The addition of Senator Roys in her first term as Senator and the crew bringing over Senator Erpenbach rounds the total to 7 out of 12 Democratic Senators on board for sure.

Who are the Democratic hold outs, no shows or non-supporters. We have Minority Senate Leader Bewley high on that list. Her right hand Assistant Senate Minority Ringhand comes in a close second.

Incumbent Senator Carpenter is still MIA.

Senator Wirch is vocal about medical marijuana and decriminalization and he is trying, we will say that.

Newly elected Senator Pfaff was not supportive on the campaign trail and sticks to his opinion and is a no show. It should be noted that Pfaff was the only newly elected democrat in 2020 that has not co-sponsored this legislation.

There are a few more Assembly Members to digest and analyze. First, the big picture is the Democrats hold 38 seats and the Republicans hold 61 seats. Of the 38 seats the Democrats hold 32 one of them either authored or co-sponsored Senate Bill 545.

Of those 32, the analysis shows that 13 of those Incumbents has previously co-sponsored adult use legislation and they are: Reps: Bowen, Ohnstad, Spreitzer (Minority Caucus Chair), Stubbs, Hebl, Emerson, Pope, Shankland, Anderson, Conley, Subek (Minority Caucus Vice Chair) and Sinicki.

Additionally, of those 31, 10 Incumbents that had not previously signed onto total legalization have shown their strong support by co-sponsoring SB 545 and they are: Reps: Hintz (Minority Leader), Hesselbein (Assistant Minority Leader), Considine, L. Myers, Vining, Cabrera, Goyke, Neubauer,and McGuire (McGuire added as co-sponsor on Sept 9th). (Milroy added as co-sponsor on Sept 29th)

Important to note is that all 9 newly elected Democrat Assembly Representatives in the 2020 election stepped up the the plate and co-sponsored adult use marijuana legalization legislation and they are: Reps Hong, S. Rodriguez, Baldeh, Snodgrass, Shelton, Moore Omokunde, Drake, Ortiz-Velez and Andraca.

Which Democrat Assembly Representatives are not on the list. They are Reps Billings, Doyle, Haywood (Minority Caucus Sergeant at Arms) , B. Meyers (Minority Caucus Secretary), Riemer and Vruwink.

Over the past, Haywood has indicated support for reform, but never sponsored any cannabis bills. Billings only co-sponsored decriminalization, while Doyle seems to have dumped marijuana reform from his agenda.

B. Meyers remains uncommitted as in past sessions and again does not sponsor a bill. Vruwink has been a sponsor of medical and decriminalization, early indicators pointed towards him signing on this year to recreational but he is not listed as co-sponsor. Riemer remains without any co-sponsorship history under his belt of any kind for cannabis reform.

What is missing from this picture? Republicans! Of the 21 in the Senate and the 61 in the Assembly, not one of them has supported this legislation by co-sponsoring, nor have they offered legislation of their own for consideration.

Use the form below to express support to your law makers for this important piece of legislation.

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