Scott Walker generic file photo, AP photo

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker signed 64 bills into law Tuesday, including one that prohibits state health insurance plans for public employees from covering abortion procedures with some exceptions.

The abortion bill, which the Assembly passed in November and the Senate passed in February along party lines after it failed to pass in 2013, is the latest in a series of laws passed by Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature that restrict access to abortion.

Other measures have banned abortion after 20 weeks, restricted funding to Planned Parenthood, required an ultrasound before an abortion and required abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, though that last law was blocked by a federal court.

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The latest bill prohibits the Group Insurance Board from covering abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. State law already limited state health plans to covering only medically necessary abortions, though bill proponents said the new law was needed to clarify what constitutes a medically necessary abortion.

Walker also signed bills that:

  • Ensure Dane County isn’t affected by laws that currently apply only to Milwaukee County by raising the population threshold for such laws from 500,000 to 750,000.
  • Alter the discovery process in civil lawsuits, reduce the time period by which certain lawsuits must be filed and make other changes to tort law.
  • Ban state agencies and local governments from participating in a boycott of Israel.
  • Implement cost-containment recommendations from a legislative audit of the Department of Transportation.
  • Prohibit municipalities from creating certain planning and zoning standards that exceed statewide standards, such as low-income housing quotas. The bill also allows municipalities to create tax incremental financing (TIF) districts for workforce housing.
  • Require the Department of Workforce Development to establish a program to provide transitional jobs to veterans in cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Children and Families.
  • Allow businesses to contribute to a college savings account for an employee or child.
  • Require mammogram facilities to notify patients with dense breast tissue about how that could affect a mammogram.
  • Allow minors to receive emergency outpatient mental health treatment without parental consent in certain situations.
  • Require state agencies to provide the Legislature with dollar-for-dollar accounting of expenditures as part of the budget process, a practice that was put in place in 2002 and discontinued in 2009.
  • Ensure police can’t take ownership of assets seized during an investigation until after conviction. Also, proceeds from any sale of seized assets would go to the state school fund, rather than the local law enforcement agency.
  • Eliminate the $15 additional fee for firefighter, rescue squad member or EMT special registration license plates.
  • Ratify building trades union contracts for the state, UW-Madison, and the University of Wisconsin System for 2016-17 and 2017-18, including raises that were approved in the state budget.

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