2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
October 7, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives Tusler, McGuire, Born, Bowen,
Edming, Goyke, Kurtz, Mursau, Neubauer, Oldenburg, Petryk,
Pronschinske, Sinicki, Tittl, Zamarripa, Zimmerman, Vruwink and Dittrich,
cosponsored by Senators Testin, Wanggaard and Bernier. Referred to
Committee on Judiciary.
1An Act relating to: a Public Defender Board student loan payment pilot
2program, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and making
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill directs the Public Defender Board to establish a student loan payment
pilot program for private bar attorneys who accept public defender appointments.
The program would provide a payment to use to repay student loans of up to $20,000
per year for attorneys in counties with a population of 25,000 or less or a population
density of 55 or fewer persons per square mile who agree to accept at least 50 state
public defender appointments per year. The bill provides $250,000 GPR in each fiscal
year of the 2019-21 biennium for the program.
For further information see the state 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:
Student loan payment pilot program.
(a) The public defender board shall conduct a student loan payment pilot 2
program for private bar attorneys who accept public defender appointments. The 3
program shall provide up to $20,000 per year, or the outstanding balance on the 4
attorney's student loans, whichever is less, to eligible attorneys to use to repay 5
student loans. To be eligible to receive a payment under this paragraph in any 6
calendar year, an attorney must meet all of the following criteria:
1. The attorney is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin.
2. The attorney is certified to accept state public defender appointments.
3. The attorney agrees to accept a minimum of 50 state public defender 10
appointments per year in a county with a population of 25,000 or fewer residents or 11
a population density of not more than 55 persons per square mile.
4. The attorney maintains a law practice that either is headquartered or 13
performs a demonstrated majority of its legal work in a county with a population of 14
25,000 or fewer residents or a population density of not more than 55 persons per 15
5. The attorney has outstanding student loans that were incurred to obtain a 17
juris doctor degree from an accredited university.
(b) An attorney who will meet all of the criteria under par. (a
) may apply for the 19
student loan payment pilot program beginning on January 1 of each year to qualify 20
to receive a payment at the end of that year. Applications will be accepted on a rolling 21
basis and all payments will be disbursed in the order that applications are received. 22
At the end of the year, the attorney must certify that he or she has met all of the 23
criteria for that year and must provide proof of his or her outstanding student loan 24
balance on January 1 of that year to determine the payment amount that he or she 25
is eligible to receive under the program.
(c) The public defender board may promulgate emergency rules under s. 227.24 2
to implement the program under par. (a
) for the period before the effective date of 3
permanent rules but not to exceed the period authorized under s. 227.24 (1) (c), 4
subject to extension under s. 227.24 (2). Notwithstanding s. 227.24 (1) (a), (2) (b), and 5
(3), the board is not required to provide evidence that promulgating a rule under this 6
paragraph as an emergency rule is necessary for the preservation of the public peace, 7
health, safety, or welfare and is not required to provide a finding of emergency for a 8
rule promulgated under this paragraph.
(d) By September 30, 2019, the public defender board shall submit to the 10
legislature for distribution under s. 13.172 (2) a report that evaluates the 11
effectiveness of the student loan payment pilot program, recommends whether to 12
continue the program, and if program continuation is recommended, provides 13
recommendations for improving the effectiveness of program.
(1) Student loan payment pilot program.
In the schedule under s. 20.005 (3) 16
for the appropriation to the public defender board under s. 20.550 (1) (a), the dollar 17
amount for fiscal year 2019-20 is increased by $250,000 to conduct a student loan 18
payment pilot program under Section
1 (1) of this act for private bar attorneys who 19
accept public defender appointments and who meet certain additional criteria. In 20
the schedule under s. 20.005 (3) for the appropriation to the public defender board 21
under s. 20.550 (1) (a), the dollar amount for fiscal year 2020-21 is increased by 22
$250,000 to conduct a student loan payment pilot program under Section
1 (1) of this 23
act for private bar attorneys who accept public defender appointments and who meet 24
certain additional criteria.