April 2021 Legislative Update

Stewardship Reauthorization in 2021-23 State Budget: Uphill Battle Continues

WPRA continues to advocate for reauthorization and funding for the Stewardship program. WPRA is working closely with those organizations that are a part of #TeamKnowlesNelson coalition to ensure legislators appreciate the value of the program and understand the impact of LUG projects in their district.

  • WPRA members have met directly with the Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. Mark Born, Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, Senator Joan Ballweg and Senator Mary Felzkowski. These meetings are critical to the overall coalition effort to reauthorize and fund the Stewardship program.
  • WPRA PPC continues to work alongside our coalition partners, like the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Gathering Waters to coordinate our collective efforts.
  • WPRA recently learned that JFC members are considering several “policy changes” to the program and those changes are essential to the approval of reauthorization and sustained funding levels.
  • Senate Republican JFC members are also considering the amount of time for reauthorization (10-year, 7-year, 5 -year, etc), overall funding level and subprogram level. WPRA has learned several JFC members are considering a cut to the overall funding level of the Stewardship program.
  • WPRA continues to meet with key legislative staff to learn more about these policy changes and work to protect our members from any possible changes that could have a negative impact.

What can you do?

WPRA members can let the JFC members how valuable this program is to our communities!

JFC will hold public hearing around the state in April:

Each hearing will begin at 10 AM and conclude at 5 PM. Individuals who wish to testify at the virtual hearing are required to register in advance. Written comments on the budget can be emailed to the following address: [email protected]

WPRA Testifies in Support of Increased Penalties for Harassing Sports Officials

  • On April 15, the Assembly Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 158 which modifies the current harassment statute by increasing the penalty for harassment of a sports official from a Class B forfeiture to a Class A misdemeanor. 
  • WPRA member and Middleton Park and Rec Director, Matt Amundson testified in support of the AB 158.
  • Matt testified on behalf of WPRA and explained to the committee that WPRA members, across the state, organize, host, and otherwise facilitate many kinds of athletic activities and WPRA believes that organized sports benefit our communities, and we are concerned about the persistent shortage of qualified officials that many communities have faced and that this legislation will help protect officials.
  • Committee members questioned the need for the increased penalties under the bill and expressed an uneasiness with the policy change.
  • It is not clear when the committee will hold a vote on the bill.