— GOP lawmakers are circulating legislation that would bar landowners from claiming the state’s farmland preservation tax credit for some cases when solar energy systems are present.
The bill would apply to portions of property that house a solar energy system, unless it plays a role in farming operations.
In a cosponsorship memo sent to other legislators, Rep. Ellen Schutt of Clinton and Sen. Cory Tomczyk of Mosinee highlighted a “substantial increase” in the installation of solar panels on agricultural land in the state.
The memo also shows the amount of farmland in Wisconsin dropped from 24 million acres in 1950 to 16 million acres in 2000, before falling further to 14.2 million acres by 2021.
The lawmakers note the farmland preservation program was meant to reduce property tax burden on farmland owners while encouraging local governments to develop policies to preserve the land. They also say some renewable energy generation facilities are being allowed within farmland preservation zoning districts.
As long as 50 percent of the land is used for agriculture, the landowner can still qualify for the tax credit for the entire property, according to the memo.
Under the bill, the credit couldn’t be claimed for any part of the land on which a solar system is located, as long as it’s not an “integral part of or incidental to” agricultural use.
“As agricultural land continues to disappear, this bill will ensure that those who are receiving the farmland preservation tax credit, are truly farming the land and preserving its soil and quality for generations to come,” the lawmakers wrote in the memo.
The cosponsorship deadline is 5 p.m. Sept. 25.
See the bill text: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/23-2291_1.pdf
— A group of Republican lawmakers is renewing a push to legalize kratom, and at least one law enforcement group has backed off its opposition to the drug some tout for its ability to relieve pain and aid in recovering from opioid addiction.
The bill, AB 393, spearheaded by Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, and the American Kratom Association, seeks to legalize and regulate kratom in Wisconsin. Kratom is a plant-based drug most commonly used to treat pain and opioid withdrawal. A similar bill was struck down in 2021 after united opposition by law enforcement groups.
“I believe the bill will pass with bipartisan support, and I’m optimistic the governor will sign it,” Rep. Murphy told WisPolitics regarding the current bill.
Bill co-sponsor Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevera, R-Appleton, told WisPolitics she is planning on soon introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
When asked about the possibility of a Senate floor vote, she said: “I have seen a renewed push, which I believe can move the needle.”
One law enforcement group is stepping back from its previous opposition to the bill, saying that’s the job of health care experts and lawmakers. The State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, which lobbied against the 2021 bill, has adopted a neutral stance against the current bill.
The group’s president, Ryan Windorff, in an interview with WisPolitics said he rarely hears of or sees kratom-related crimes. He said his organization will not comment on the current bill because it is outside their area of expertise. He hopes lawmakers consider the medical input and make an informed decision that is in the public’s best interest.
“We depend on the Legislature to make informed decisions on what’s best,” he said.
See the full story at WisPolitics: https://www.wispolitics.com/2023/230915report/#story-3
— Exact Sciences has announced plans to acquire a company called Resolution Bioscience, which develops blood-based diagnostic tests.
The Madison-based maker of cancer screening products is purchasing the company from Agilent Technologies, a large California business that reported nearly $7 billion in revenue last year.
In a statement on the acquisition, Exact Sciences General Manager of Precision Oncology Brian Baranick said Resolution Bioscience’s “innovative diagnostics” products will be integrated into his division’s portfolio.
The platform involves a standard blood test and DNA sequencing, and the company says it’s been shown to detect the four main types of genetic changes that lead to cancer.
“Resolution Bioscience’s high-quality liquid therapy selection platform perfectly complements our OncoExTra test, allowing Exact Sciences to help more cancer patients determine their best treatment options,” Baranick said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Resolution Bioscience was previously acquired by Agilent Technologies in early 2021.
See more at Madison Startups: https://www.madisonstartups.com/exact-sciences-acquires-resolution-bioscience/
<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report…</b></i>
— The Senate has voted 30-1 to allow new mothers on Medicaid to receive benefits for a year after they give birth, rather than the current 60 days.
<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>
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— Eligible homebuyers now have access to a new down payment assistance program through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
WHEDA CEO and Executive Director Elmer Moore Jr. says getting down payment help “is more important than ever before” given the rising cost of entry-level housing and higher interest rates.
The agency recently announced the Capital Access Advantage program, which offers up to $7,500 as a loan that can be used as a down payment or to cover closing costs or mortgage insurance premiums. It’s reserved for certain borrowers who earn 80 percent of the county median income or less, the release shows.
— Organizers for the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest have announced the list of nominees for this year’s competition, which highlights the most popular products manufactured in the state.
They represent a wide range of industries in the state, from biotechnology and advanced manufacturing to food and beverage production and more.
The top 16 products will be selected through a round of popular voting before the contest proceeds to the bracket-style “Manufacturing Madness” tournament, featuring head-to-head matchups between the top nominees.
This year’s winner will be announced Oct. 19 at WMC’s Business Day in Madison event.
See the list of nominees here: https://www.madeinwis.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2023/09/CoolestThing_List-of-Nominees_2023.pdf
Listen to an earlier podcast on the contest: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/wisbusiness-the-podcast-with-nick-novak-wisconsin-manufacturers-and-commerce/
# Lake Superior island town reaches tentative $17M deal to buy Madeline Island Ferry Line assets
# GE HealthCare targets innovation hub in Waukesha, better supplier relations: CEO
# Low Mississippi River limits barges just as farmers want to move their crops downriver
– Wisconsin Senate passes Farmland Preservation Bill
– State senate passes clarification bill for roadbuilders and utilities, revives oil pipeline installation bill
– Renaissance Farwell will return to Milwaukee officials with amended building plans
– Metro Milwaukee exports up almost 8% in Q2
– UW System enrollment projected to stabilize, bucking downward trend
– Enrollment up, and steady, across the UW System
– DNR issues special fire order requiring burn permits across a dozen counties
– Mad Agriculture’s Omar de Kok-Mercado sees revolution on the prairie
# FOOD AND BEVERAGE
– Spark something savory with Spark Spices
– The Bartolotta Restaurants will relocate to Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point
– Briggs & Stratton cuts staff after Simplicity, Snapper exit; division president departs
– Wisconsin agriculture secretary at NASDA meeting
– The term ‘consensual abortion’ is central to Planned Parenthood’s decision. But what does it mean?
# REAL ESTATE
– Oconomowoc luxury home on private island sells for $3.3 million: Open House
– F Street to demolish Brown Deer offices for 148 new apartments
– Northwestern Mutual sponsors jersey patch on Brewers uniforms
– Neenah’s John Hollister winner of Community First Fox Cities Marathon; Breanne Terakedis top female
– Valley Transit will reapply for grants for new Appleton Transit Center
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: