41 New Laws Hit the Books in Wisconsin

Group of Wisconsin hunters walking through fields during hunting season
41 New Laws Hit the Books in Wisconsin
Group of Wisconsin hunters walking through fields during hunting season

Last month, Governor Scott Walker signed 41 bills into Wisconsin law, affecting areas such as criminal justice, drugs and medication, students and recreation. As attorneys, it's our job to stay up-to-date on developments in Wisconsin law (and, when laws get weird, it can be lots of fun). How will this new crop of statutes affect Wisconsinites? Read on to learn about some highlights and what they could mean for you.

Curious about other laws going into effect this year? Take a look at our post on new Wisconsin laws in 2018.

Straw purchasing

As the debate over gun control continues on a local and national level, Act 145 aims to keep firearms out of the hands of people who aren't supposed to have them. The law makes it a crime to purchase a gun with the intent of giving it to someone who is legally barred from owning a firearm.

Impaired driving

Act 172 requires that a person's license be revoked after a fourth OWI offense. If the person has two other serious OWI-related charges, such as injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle or second-degree reckless homicide involving a vehicle, the law allows their license to be revoked after a second OWI.

Prescription cough medicine for minors

Act 160 prohibits minors under the age of 18 from buying any drug containing Dextromethorphan (DXM) without a prescription. DXM is a common ingredient found in over-the-counter cough medicine. Adults will still be able to buy medications containing DXM over the counter.

"Right to Try" experimental treatments

Act 165 provides quicker access to potentially life-saving drugs. The "Right to Try" bill allows terminally ill patients to access experimental treatment options that are awaiting FDA approval.

Employment and entrepreneurship for young Wisconsinites

Act 153 allows teenagers aged 15 years or older to become lifeguards. The new law requires the Department of Workforce Development to permit 15-year-olds to be employed as lifeguards but requires that an adult employee be present.

Act 177, which passed both the House and Assembly unanimously, makes it easier to young entrepreneurs to form businesses. The new law waives the filing fee to form a limited liability company for students, saving them $130 per filing.

Water skiing safety

Until now, Wisconsin law has required two people be in a motorboat that is towing a person on water skis - one to operate the boat and another to observe the skier. However, the new Act 163 authorizes towing a person on water skies with only one person operating the boat as long as the boat has a mirror that provides the operator with a complete view behind the boat.

Hunting regulations

Act 171 allows hunters to hunt from mechanized lifts attached to motor vehicles. This is an exception to existing Wisconsin law, which prohibits any person from placing, possessing or transporting a loaded firearm or crossbow on a vehicle.

When charitable organizations host hunting-related events, Act 182 requires that any terminally ill hunters who participate be treated as residents when determining their eligibility or costs. This law allows terminally ill individuals to obtain hunting and fishing approvals at no cost whether they are residents or nonresidents.

Check out the Governor's press release to learn about other new laws.