State Capitol

The Wisconsin state Capitol

The Republican-controlled state Assembly has passed a resolution supporting F-35 jets at Truax Field, as well as bills ranging from legalizing lemonade stands to insurance premium coverage for the survivors of fallen officers.

The Assembly on Thursday approved, by an 87-9 margin, a joint resolution expressing support for the U.S. Air Force bringing F-35 jets to Truax Field, located at the Dane County Regional Airport.

The base at Truax Field is one of two sites preferred by the Air Force for a squadron of 20 F-35 jets. The base generates more than $99 million in economic activity and supports more than 1,650 in-state jobs, according to a 2015 UW-Extension report.

The joint resolution supporting the new class of fighter jets comes amid public outcry over the effect their heightened noise will have, particularly on Madison residents who live just south of the airport.

Only Democratic lawmakers voted against the resolution, including Madison representatives Melissa Sargent and Chris Taylor.

Lemonade stands

The Assembly passed in a voice vote a bipartisan bill that would allow children to legally operate lemonade stands.

The bill would allow anyone under 18 to operate a stand on private property without a permit. Lemonade sales would be limited to $2,000 a year, or 8,000 cups at 25 cents apiece.

To address concerns of public health officials, the bill would prohibit the sale of potentially hazardous food, like raw meat or egg salad.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.

Death duty bill

The Assembly voted 96-0 in support of a bill that would require state and local governments to pay the health insurance premiums for the surviving spouse and children of law enforcement officers or emergency responders killed in the line of duty. Immediate survivors of Wisconsin firefighters already receive similar benefits.

Versions of the legislation have existed in various forms since at least 2011, but they failed to gain traction.

The requirement would not apply to surviving spouses who remarry or reach age 65, or to surviving children once they reach age 26. Municipal and state governments, plus public universities and Marquette University, would be required to cover law enforcement officers of any kind, such as Department of Natural Resources officers. The bill would apply to the survivors of officers killed since the beginning of 2019.

Premium payments would be reimbursed from the state’s general fund. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.

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