Farmers in diverse states like Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine and Minnesota are researching a new crop: industrial hemp. Many states are changing laws to allow growing of hemp.
Wisconsin is slow to get in the game. Hopefully, this is about to change.
Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee are considering a hemp legalization bill. If Senate Bill 119 becomes law, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) would create an active industrial hemp program and license growers.
Hemp is not a new crop to Wisconsin. We once had flourishing fields of hemp. But, as the saying goes, you are sometimes known by your relatives. Even for a plant. Hemp suffered from an association with its cousin, marijuana. By the 1950s, farmers stopped growing hemp. Federal and state drug laws swept up hemp in an effort to eradicate marijuana.
Are you a licensed or registered professional in Wisconsin? Do you use the services of licensed professionals?
Consumers and professionals of all kinds could be affected by two bills moving through the state legislature. The bills establish a process for delicensing professionals and allowing unlicensed people to register as “state certified”.
These bills jeopardize consumer protections now in the law, erode confidence in professionals, and could have disastrous consequences for patient safety and worker protection.
What’s happening that might affect all professions in the state?
Under the proposals, all the requirements for every profession and occupation currently licensed, including continuing education requirements, would be up for repeal or change every 10 years.
A partisan appointed Occupational License Review Council is given the authority to write legislation to effect the repeal or change.
The legislation creates a “self-certification registry” and individuals would be able to add their own names if they complete a registration process through a private “supporting organization”. Those individuals could then call themselves “state certified”.
The bills have been voted out of committee in the Senate and could be up for final Senate passage by the end of October.
All professions currently licensed by the state would be affected.
Imagine you are with your loved one who is in the hospital. Night comes. You prepare to leave, gently kissing your loved one “good night”.
As you walk down the corridor and into the hospital parking lot, you might wonder how your loved one will feel in the morning. Will things be better, worse or stay the same?
One thing you don’t worry about is the quality of care provided to your loved one because the nurses working the night shift are licensed by the state.
“Oh, my gosh,” I said to the Senate page. “I need that book.” The ‘book’ was a 744-page binder written by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) detailing, in plain language, the decisions in the massive state budget.
Knowing what was in the binder was critical to making an informed vote on the state budget. However, there was no time. The binder showed up in my office just as the Senate was about to go into session to debate a $3 billion dollar deal for Foxconn.
Less than twenty-four hours earlier, the budget writing committee made its final decisions on the state’s two-year, seventy-six billion dollar spending plan. In the next twenty-four hours, the full Assembly would vote on the budget bill. By the end of the same week, Friday night, a majority in the Senate would pass the budget. In less than another week, both Foxconn and the budget would be law.