News & Updates

September 2023 - Legislative Update
This month, the Wisconsin Assembly focused on redistricting efforts to adopt the “Iowa-style” model for the development of the legislative maps. The Senate meanwhile, focused the appointment of Megan Wolfe, the head of the state’s Elections Commission and voted to remove her - kicking off a court battle on if the Senate brought the proceedings illegally.

August 2023 - Legislative Update
State Supreme Court Flips. August is usually a quiet month in the state’s Capital city. However, this August – the action hasn’t stopped after Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in as a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1. The changeover has shifted the ideological balance of the court to a 4-3 majority of judicial liberals. Judicial conservatives previously enjoyed 5-2 and 4-3 majorities on the court for several years.

July 2023 - Legislative Update
On July 5, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced his signing of 2023 Act 19, the Wisconsin state budget for the 2023-25 fiscal biennium, which began July 1. The two-year budget, assembled by the Republican-led Joint Committee on Finance, appropriates $97.4 billion. For comparison, the 2021-23 budget allocated $87.5 billion.

June 2023 - Legislative Update
This month the legislature passed the Shared Revenue bill, granting a sales tax increase. Meanwhile, the Governor continues to battle the proposal to eliminate DEI programming in the UW System. The bill to open the eligibility for the Urban Control Wildlife Program continues to advance in the legislature and the Wisconsin's Pool code is ready to take effect in September.

May 2023 - Legislative Update
This month, the shared revenue reform legislation hit a snag when the Wisconsin Assembly met on a floor session to take up Assembly Bill 245, the Assembly rejected two amendments introduced by Democratic legislators and then adopted an amendment from the bill’s author and passed the bill. 

Additionally, the Joint Committee on Finance held an executive session May 18 to vote on budget motions related to DNR, the Environmental Improvement Fund (EIF), and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

April 2023 - Legislative Update
The Legislative Joint Finance Committee will be wrapping up public hearings next week and is continuing to work on rewriting the Governor’s 2023-25 state budget.

This week, the legislature’s budget and finance committee voted to reject the Largest State Stewardship Project, the Department of Natural Resources request for $4 million to help keep the land undeveloped.

March 2023 - Legislative Update
On Wednesday March 15, WPRA members from across the state convened for the association’s first ever Capitol Day. Participants were able to meet with their local legislators to discuss key issues for Park & Recreation professionals across the state. 

February 2023 - Legislative Update
Gov. Tony Evers gave his third biennial budget address on February 15, unveiling his 2023-25 executive budget. He proposes an operating budget of $103.8 billion over the next two fiscal years, adding a net 816.55 FTE positions.

January 2023 - Legislative Update
Inauguration Day in Wisconsin took place on January 3, marking the beginning of the 2023 - 2024 Session of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Democratic incumbents Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul began their second terms in office, while Sara Rodriguez was sworn in as the state’s new lieutenant governor. 

December 2022 - Legislative Update
Happy Holidays from the Wisconsin Capitol! The tree is lit, the freshman legislators are moving in, and political optimism is renewed for the next 2023-25 legislative session.

For the last several months, the WPRA PPC has been busy discussing, researching, and assembling our legislative priorities for when session begins.

November 2022 - Legislative Update
Results from the elections held on November 8th. On Thursday following last week’s elections, Republican legislators from the Senate and Assembly met to elect their leaders for the 2023-24 session.

October 2022 - Legislative Update
A new Marquette poll was released on October 12th interviewing registered Wisconsin voters in regards to the Gubernatorial Race which is currently a toss up between parties. US Sen. Johnson has widened his lead On October 12 since the last poll was released.

Gov. Evers announced this month that, if he is reelected, his 2023-25 executive budget will propose “$91.4 million to increase shared revenue, an increase of four percent in each year of the biennium over current levels, to help local governments fund essential services in counties and municipalities across the state.”

September 2022 - Legislative Update
The August primaries are behind us, and looming November state election has taken center stage. For the Governor’s race, Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is running against millionaire businessman Tim Michels. Poll after poll show the race as a dead heat.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin legislature is expected to stay in the control of Republicans, who are seeking to obtain a “supermajority” in both houses.
In the Senate, the current composition of the 33-seat Wisconsin Senate is 21 Republicans and 12 Democrats. The chamber’s 17 odd-numbered districts are on the ballot this year. All incumbents seeking reelection appear likely to retain their seat.

August 2022 - Legislative Update
Wisconsin held its 2022 partisan primary election on August 9

The state has had a divided government for the last four years, with solid Republican majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature and a Democratic governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state treasurer. Wisconsin is typically a “purple” or “swing state” where statewide-elected offices regularly change party hands, although the Republican Party has dominated the state legislature in recent years because of its natural geographic advantage as well as two favorable rounds of redistricting.  

July 2022 - Legislative Update
Pool Rule Draft Modified and On Hold for Review
Over the last several months, WPRA has engaged with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Program on the rewrite of ATCP 76 or the “Pool Rule.” The DATCP Board reviewed the draft rule on May 12. WPRA has been engaged in the rule-making process and submitted written comments in support of the draft rule. 

The new “pool rule” will remain pending until the legislature reconvenes in January 2023.

June 2022 - Legislative Update
Candidates Finalized
June brings the beginning of summer and the official beginning of the campaign season. Candidates for federal, statewide, and legislative offices had to file their nomination papers by June 1, 2022. The summer months will be filled with local campaign events and listening sessions, leading up to the August 9, 2022 primary election.

 May 2022 - Legislative Update
Wisconsin Supreme Court Reverses Earlier Redistricting Decision, Selects Republican Legislative Maps
Since the last update, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has adopted state legislative maps proposed by Republican legislative leaders, a reversal of the court’s earlier decision adopting maps proposed by Gov. Tony Evers (D). On April 15, the state’s high court issued what is likely to be its final ruling related to the current cycle of redistricting in Wisconsin. The case was on remand from the United States Supreme Court, which ordered its Wisconsin counterpart to reconsider an earlier ruling.

April 2022 - Legislative Update
Waiting for the Maps
The Wisconsin Legislature is adjourned and before campaign season can start to really ramp up there is one essential outstanding question – what are the legislative districts? The saga of Wisconsin’s redistricting – which occurs once every decade – continues to be in limbo after the United States Supreme Court ordered the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reconsider its decision adopting state legislative maps proposed by Gov. Tony Evers at the end of March.

March 2022 - Legislative Update
The Wisconsin Legislature stands adjourned following the Senate’s final planned floor day on March 8. The Assembly adjourned two weeks earlier after its final votes on February 23 and 24. Also on March 8, Republican leaders in the Senate and Assembly gaveled in and then immediately adjourned a special session called by Gov. Tony Evers (D) earlier in February during his State of the State address. Gov. Evers called on the Legislature to consider his proposal to spend some of the $3.8 billion surplus the state is projected to have at the end of the 2021-23 fiscal biennium. 

Barring any unusual circumstances, the Legislature will not convene again until the next legislative session begins in January 2023.

February 2022 - Legislative Update
The Wisconsin 2021-22 legislative session is almost over! Both houses were on the floor this past week to take up a variety of bills and will reconvene against next week, February 21st. The last available week for the legislators to be on the floor on March 8-10.

Gov. Evers delivered his fourth annual State of the State address on the evening of February 15 before a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature. The core of Gov. Evers’ address outlined his plan for spending some of the state’s projected $3.8 billion surplus revenue.

The Boat Launch Legislation is still paused in the Senate as WPRA seeks the bill be amended to further clarify language about fees. The National Anthem Legislation bill is still in the Senate as WPRA gathers support for an amendment regarding venue capacity.

January 2022 - Legislative Update
The 2021-22 legislative session is beginning to wrap up! The senate plans on finishing its work on March 10. The Assembly is in on the floor January 20 and 25 with The Senate holding floor sessions January 25 and 26. February 15-24 and March 8-10 are also set aside for possible  floor sessions.

The Boat Launch Legislation has paused in the Senate as WPRA seeks the bill be amended to further clarify language about fees. The National Anthem Legislation bill is still in the Senate as WPRA gathers support for an amendment regarding venue capacity.

December 2021 - Legislative Update
Happy Holidays from the Wisconsin Capitol! The Legislature is gearing up for 2022. In 2022, Wisconsin Legislature is expected to continue committee work and floor votes for the first few months of the year and then adjourn in the spring, likely mid-March.

The Boat Launch Legislation, which aimed to waive boat launch fees for veterans, has passed out of the Assembly Committee on Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

November 2021 - Legislative Update
Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature met the week of November 8 to take up Republican leaders’ proposals for legislative and congressional redistricting. The legislative is not expected to be on the floor again until January 2022.

Additionally, WPRA is engaging on boat launch legislation which aims to waive the boat launch fees for veterans. WPRA reviewed the bill and plans to suggest the bill be amended to further clarify that the waiver of the boat launch fees only apply to annual fees, not daily.

October 2021 - Legislative Update
Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature met on September 28 to vote on a variety of matters. After months of delay, the Senate voted to confirm nearly 40 of Governor Tony Evers’ (D) appointments to various state agencies, boards, and commissions, including six agency heads.

There is still no Senate movement on the National Anthem Legislation

September 2021 - Legislative Update
WPRA Continues to Ask Questions on Implementation of the National Anthem Legislation which would require the national anthem be played or sung at any sporting event held in a venue constructed entirely or in part with taxpayer funds. The bill does not include penalties, enforcement mechanisms, or any specifics as to how the anthem must be played or sung at any event. WPRA requested the bill’s Senate author, Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point), to consider an amendment so that the bill would only apply to events at venues with a capacity of 500 or more. Sen. Testin declined to amend the bill. The bill has not received a Senate committee vote yet. WPRA continues to advocate for the common-sense amendment and discuss with interested legislators.

August 2021 - Legislative Update
On July 27, the Wisconsin Assembly met in extraordinary session to vote on a veto override of Assembly Bill 336. It ended without changes.

Additionally, WPRA Continues to Ask Questions on Implementation of the National Anthem Legislation as they were the only organization to provide written testimony on the bill during the hearing. WPRA expressed concern that the bill would be a burden on the many small, recreational, and children’s sporting events that our members host.

July 2021 - Legislative Update
WPRA successfully advocated for additional funding for the LUG Stewardship program. Thanks to the hard work and outreach of WPRA members, the committee agreed to provide $9.25 million for grants to local units of government, a $3.25 million increase over the program’s previous authorization. Additionally, WPRA continues to ask questions on implementation of the National Anthem Legislation.

June 2021 - Legislative Update
Thanks to the hard work and outreach of WPRA members, the Finance Committee voted to reauthorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for a four-year period, earlier this month. Additionally, WPRA is working to amend National Anthem legislation so that the bill requiring the National Anthem to be sung at any sporting event only pertains to events with a capacity of 500 or more. 

June 14, 2021- Press Release
Statement from the Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association Thanking the Joint Finance Committee on Stewardship Action

May 2021- Legislative Update
Currently, the Wisconsin Legislature is focused on constructing a state budget for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium, which starts July 1, 2021. The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance, led by Republicans, took steps during the first week of May to remove hundreds of non-fiscal policy items from the governor’s budget, remove major initiatives such as Medicaid expansion and recreational marijuana legalization, and to return overall spending levels to the baseline established in the 2019-2021 budget.

April 2021- Legislative Update
WPRA continues to advocate for a reauthorization of the Stewardship Program and robust funding for the Local Units of Government (LUG) component. The Legislature is working through the budget but has yet to address major components of the DNR agency budget and related programs.

March 2021- Legislative Update
The legislature is gearing up for lots of action on the 2021-23 state budget  and therefore advocacy efforts to reauthorize and fund Stewardship are in full swing. 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.

February 2021- Legislative Update
And just like that the 2021-23 state budget process is officially underway!

On Tuesday, February 16, Governor Tony Evers gave his second biennial budget address and released his 2021-23 executive budget. All told, the governor proposes an operating budget of $45.4 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 and $45.6 billion in FY 2022-23. The complete budget, budget in brief, and other executive budget documents are available here.

January 2021- Legislative Update
The 2021-22 legislative session is officially underway here in Wisconsin. The session started last week on January 4 and runs through spring of next year.

Right out of the gate, the legislature and governor have focused on another COVID-19 bill. In April, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed Wisconsin Act 185. Many of the provisions included in Act 185 have expired.

October 30, 2020 - WPRA Letter to Governor
Bolster Stewardship Local Assistance Program
Sent to: Governor Tony Evers

WPRA supports the Department of Natural Resources’ 2021-23 budget request for a 10-year reauthorization of the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program funded at $50 million annually. 

April 24, 2020 – WPRA Letter to Governor
Plans to Reopen Wisconsin’s Parks, Aquatic Resources and Recreational Amenities
Sent to: Governor Tony Evers and Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Department of Health Services

WPRA members continue to work hard to adhere to the revised Safer at Home Order (Emergency Order 28)! In order for members to be adequately prepared for the summer months, the Association extended a request to Gov. Evers and Sec-Designee Palm to consider and adopt certain exemptions immediately upon the conclusion of the executive order.

Hamilton Consulting Group COVID-19 Resource Website on the State Actions

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