2001 - 2002 LEGISLATURE
February 25, 2002 - Introduced by Representatives Urban, Wasserman and
Freese, cosponsored by Senator Robson. Referred to Committee on Public
1An Act to renumber
95.22 and 252.06 (4);
to renumber and amend
21.80 (1) 2
(a); to amend
21.80 (title), 21.80 (3) (a) 4., 21.80 (3) (c) 1., 21.80 (3) (c) 2., 21.80 3
(3) (c) 3., 21.80 (3) (f) 1., 166.03 (1) (b) 1., 252.02 (title), 252.05 (1) and 252.06 4
(1); and to create
20.285 (1) (fg), 20.435 (1) (e), 21.80 (1) (a) 2., 36.25 (11) (em), 5
95.22 (2), 157.055, 166.02 (1p), 166.02 (1r), 166.02 (1t), 166.02 (7), 166.02 (8), 6
166.03 (2) (a) 6., 250.01 (6g), 250.01 (6r), 250.03 (3), 250.03 (3) (b), 250.042, 7
251.05 (3) (e), 252.02 (7), 252.041, 252.06 (4) (b), 440.142 and 979.012 of the 8
statutes; relating to: authorizing a declaration of and actions under a state of
9emergency related to public health, requiring the exercise of rule-making
10authority, making appropriations, and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, the governor may proclaim a state of emergency for any
portion of the state or the whole state if the governor determines that an emergency
resulting from enemy action or a natural or man-made disaster exists. The state of
emergency may not exceed 60 days for an emergency resulting from enemy action or
30 days from disasters, unless extended by a joint resolution of the legislature. The
department of military affairs, through the division of emergency government, is the
lead state agency to respond to the emergency. This bill allows the governor to
proclaim a state of emergency related to public health and designate the department
of health and family services (DHFS) as the lead state agency if the governor
determines that a public health emergency exists. The bill defines a public health
emergency as the occurrence or threat of a health condition that is caused by
bioterrorism or a novel or previously controlled biological agent and that poses a high
probability of a large number of deaths or serious injury and a high probability of
widespread exposure to a biological, chemical, or radiological agent that creates a
significant risk of harm to a large number of people.
Current law relating to the duties of funeral directors prohibits a public officer,
an employee or officer of a public institution, or a physician from sending the corpse
of a person to a funeral director without having first made inquiry as to the desires
of the next of kin or others who may be chargeable with the funeral expenses. No
person who is not licensed as a funeral director by the funeral directors examining
board may engage in the business of a funeral director. Further, no person may
cremate a corpse without first obtaining a cremation permit from the appropriate
county coroner or medical examiner. If a corpse is the subject of a coroner's or medical
examiner's investigation concerning cause of death, no person may embalm or
conduct an autopsy on the corpse without authorization from the appropriate
coroner or medical examiner.
Under current law, DHFS must carry out a statewide immunization program
to eliminate mumps, measles, German measles, diphtheria, whooping cough,
poliomyelitis, and other diseases that DHFS specifies by rule and to protect against
tetanus. Any registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse midwife, physician,
physician assistant, respirator care practitioner, physician therapist, podiatrist,
dietitian, athletic trainer, or occupational therapist who knows or has reason to know
that a person treated or visited by him or her has a communicable disease or, having
a communicable disease, has died, must report the appearance of the disease or the
death to the local health officer; the local health officer must report, or require the
person reporting, to report to DHFS. DHFS has broad authority to implement
emergency measures necessary to control communicable diseases, that are diseases
specified by DHFS by rule. DHFS or local health officers of local health departments
may require isolation of a patient, quarantine of contacts, disinfection, or modified
forms of these procedures. If a local health officer has a reasonable belief in the
existence of a communicable disease or receives a diagnostic report of a physician or
notification or a confirming report from a parent or caretaker, the local health officer
must immediately quarantine, isolate, and impose restrictions on persons or take
other communicable disease control measures. If DHFS or a local health officer
determines it necessary for a particular communicable disease, no persons except the
local health officer, his or her representative, the attending physicians and nurses,
members of the clergy, members of a patient's immediate family, and other persons
with a special permit from the local health officer may be in direct contact with the
This bill requires DHFS to act as the public health authority during the period
of a state of emergency related to public health, if the governor declares the state of
emergency and designates the department as the lead state agency. During the state
of emergency, the secretary of health and family services may designate a local
health department as an agent of DHFS and confer upon the local health
department, acting under that agency, the powers and duties of the public health
The bill creates a sum sufficient appropriation of general purpose revenues
from which DHFS may purchase, store, or distribute antitoxins, serums, vaccines,
immunizing agents, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutical agents or medical
supplies that DHFS determines are advisable to control a public health emergency.
DHFS also may order any individual to receive a vaccination unless the vaccination
is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the individual or unless the individual,
for reasons of religion or conscience, refuses. DHFS also may isolate or quarantine
any individual who is unable or unwilling for reasons of health, religion, or
conscience to receive the vaccination. Further, the bill creates provisions relating to
visitation during isolation or quarantine under a state of emergency related to public
health to establish a penalty for any person, other than a person authorized by the
public health authority or agent of the public health authority, who enters an
isolation or quarantine premises. In addition, a person, whether authorized or not,
who enters an isolation or quarantine premises may be subject to quarantine or
isolation. All health care providers who know or have reason to know that a person
treated, visited, or otherwise provided service by them has a communicable disease,
or, having a communicable disease, has died, must report the communicable disease
or death to the local health officer.
The bill also permits a public health authority, during a period of a state of
emergency relating to public health, to do all of the following:
1. Issue and enforce orders that are reasonable and necessary to provide for the
safe disposal of human remains, including by embalming, burial, cremation,
interment, disinterment, transportation, and other disposal.
2. Take possession and control of any human remains.
3. Order the disposal, through burial or cremation, of any human remains of
an individual who has died of a communicable disease, within 24 hours after the
4. If reasonable and necessary for emergency response, compel a funeral
establishment, as a condition of its permit, to accept human remains or provide the
use of its business to the public health authority for the period of the state of
5. Require the labeling of all human remains before disposal with all available
identifying information and information concerning the circumstances of death, and
require the tagging of the human remains of an individual with a communicable
6. Maintain or require maintenance of a written or electronic record of all
human remains that are disposed of and, if it is impossible to identify the human
remains, require that fingerprints, photographs, or identifying dental information
be obtained and a specimen of deoxyribonucleic acid be collected.
7. Authorize a county medical examiner or county coroner to appoint assistants
or deputies, if necessary to perform the duties of the medical examiner or the coroner.
The bill requires a pharmacist or pharmacy to report to DHFS all of the
1. An unusual increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed or
nonprescription drug products sold for the treatment of medical conditions, as
specified by DHFS by rule.
2. An unusual increase in the number of antibiotic drug prescriptions
3. Prescriptions dispensed for treatment of a disease that is relatively
uncommon or may be associated with bioterrorism.
The bill also requires a coroner or medical examiner to report to DHFS any
illness or health condition of a deceased that is caused by bioterrorism or by a novel
or previously controlled or eradicated biological agent.
This bill directs the laboratory of hygiene board to maintain a roster of
scientists and others with technical expertise who are willing to work at the
laboratory if the governor declares the existence of an emergency related to public
health. The bill provides that if the governor declares such an emergency, the
laboratory board must hire as limited-term employees the requisite number of
persons from the roster to assist DHFS to perform the duties described above. The
bill requires the employer of a person who is hired by the laboratory board to assist
DHFS during an emergency related to public health, subject to certain exceptions
and conditions, to reemploy the person on completion of that service in the position
in which the person would have been employed or in a position of like seniority,
status, and pay, and with the seniority that the person would have had, if the person's
employment had not been interrupted by that service. In addition, the bill prohibits
the employer of such a person from discharging the person, except for cause, for 180
days after reemployment, if the person's service with the laboratory was for more
than 30 days, but less than 181 days, or for one year after reemployment, if that
service was for more than 180 days. The bill also permits such a person, if covered
under an employer-provided health benefit plan, to continue his or her coverage
under the plan while absent from employment.
Lastly, beginning on July 1, 2002, after first consulting with the adjutant
general, local health departments, health care providers, and law enforcement
agencies, the bill requires DHFS to report biennially to the governor and to the
legislature on the preparedness of the public health system to address public health
emergencies. In addition, no later than 90 days after a state of emergency relating
to public health is declared and the lead state agency is designated to respond to that
emergency and no later than 90 days after the termination of this state of emergency,
the lead state agency, either DHFS or the department of military affairs, must
submit to the legislature and to the governor a report on the emergency powers used
and the expenses incurred by the department and its agents.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB850, s. 1
20.285 (1) (fg) of the statutes is created to read:
(fg) State laboratory of hygiene; limited-term employees.
A sum 3
sufficient to pay the salaries, benefits, and training of limited-term employees under 4
s. 36.25 (11) (em).
AB850, s. 2
20.435 (1) (e) of the statutes is created to read:
(e) Public health emergency.
A sum sufficient to defray all expenses 7
necessary to respond to a state of emergency related to public health only if the 8
governor declares such an emergency and designates the department of health and 9
family services as the lead state agency to respond to the emergency under s. 166.03 10
(1) (b) 1.
(title) Reemployment rights after national guard or, state
14defense force, or public health emergency service.
(a) (intro.) "Active service" means
active any of the following:
service in the national guard or the state defense force under an order 19
of the governor issued under this chapter or active service in the national guard 20
under 32 USC 502
(f) that is not considered to be service in the uniformed services.
AB850, s. 5
21.80 (1) (a) 2. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 2. Active service with the state laboratory of hygiene under s. 36.25 2
(11) (em) for the purpose of assisting the department of health and family services 3
under s. 250.042 during a state of emergency relating to public health declared by 4
the governor under s. 166.03 (1) (b) 1.
(a) 4. The person's In the case of active
service in the national guard 8
or the state defense force, the active service
has not been terminated under other 9
than honorable conditions.
(c) 1. Any period of active service, as defined in sub. (1) (a) 1.,
that 5-year period that is required to complete an initial period of obligated active 14
(c) 2. Any period of active service, as defined in sub. (1) (a) 1.,
for which 18
the person, through no fault of the person's own, was unable to obtain orders 19
releasing the person from a period of active service before the expiration of the 5-year 20
(c) 3. Any period of active service, as defined in sub. (1) (a) 1.,
that was 24
performed to fulfill any additional training requirements determined and certified 25
in writing by the federal secretary of the army, the federal secretary of the air force,
or the adjutant general to be necessary for professional development or for 2
completion of skill training or retraining.