Kolste, Loudenbeck gets bills passed through Legislature

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Gazette staff
Thursday, March 20, 2014

MADISON—Different pieces of legislation authored by two local lawmakers cleared the Legislature this week and are heading to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill designed to expand services at free medical clinics. Reps. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville, and Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, co-authored the measure.

The bill, Assembly Bill 270, adds a number of health care practitioners who can volunteer at free clinics and receive medical malpractice coverage through the state.

Officials from HealthNet in Janesville told Kolste it is particularly important that nurse practitioners who can prescribe medicine be covered.

“I started working on this bill the day I took office,'' Kolste said. “I worked with Sen. Tim Cullen and met with HealthNet of Rock County officials, and we drafted the bill. Then I found Republican supporters and co-sponsors, especially Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, and we worked to get it passed.”

Kolste held meetings with officials from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the Wisconsin Nurses Association and with HealthNet and other free clinics from around the state.

“The free clinics were unable to use these nurse practitioners and other medical professionals to the full scope of their licenses, training and ability,'' Kolste said. “The talents of these highly trained people were being under-used.''

Meanwhile, Loudenbeck saw two of her bills that would expand resources for vulnerable children, youth and families pass Wednesday.

Loudenbeck partnered with the Department of Children and Families to author the two pieces of legislation.

Assembly Bill 674 allows a youth with an Individualized Education Plan placed in foster care or another out-of-home care setting to remain in out-of-home care until age 21. Assembly Bill 570 allows a child to be placed in a shelter care facility without a court order under a voluntary agreement for up to 20 days.

“These two bills will provide additional means of support to our most vulnerable populations including unaccompanied youth, youth with disabilities in foster care and families in crisis,” Loudenbeck said. “I am pleased to see final passage of these bills that will expand resources to our at-risk children, youth and families in Wisconsin.”

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