January WPRA Legislative Update 

  • Wisconsin’s Legislative Session. The Wisconsin legislature is cramming all the bills they can into the final months of the legislative session. The Assembly is expected to be on the floor at least one a week through February, while the Senate is only convening once or twice a month through March. The pace of bills moving through the process has progressed significantly in the last couple weeks and will continue to be nonstop until adjournment.
  • Speaker’s Childhood Obesity Taskforce Releases Bills. At the beginning of the fall, Assembly Speaker Vos created several bipartisan legislative task forces to research policy areas and offer solutions. WPRA presented to the Speaker’s task force on Childhood Obesity in November, providing information on Park and Recreation best practices, policies and programs that support healthy activities, nutrition and combat childhood obesity. This week, the task force released legislation – which includes a bill to fund a new $5 million childhood obesity prevention and management grant program. Local government would be eligible for the matching grant. WPRA PPC’s has reviewed the draft bill and plans to support it as it moves through the legislative process in the coming weeks.
  • Raising the Bidding Threshold. Legislation (AB 723/SB 688) to raise the bidding threshold for local governments to $50,000 has now had a bill in both houses. The Senate Committee held a hearing on January 10 after the Assembly heard the bill in December.  WPRA, along with the League of Municipalities and the Wisconsin Counties Association are all in favor of this legislation. Numerous school organizations registered against the bill, as it also includes a provision to require school districts to also utilize competitive bidding. In addition, numerous labor groups registered against the bill. It is unclear if this bill will advance through both houses at this point with this amount of opposition. The author is unwilling to remove the school district provisions in the bill, which are the cause of the opposition.