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Wisconsin Advocacy efforts

05 Jan 2018 10:02 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

First, have you signed up for WI SHRM's Day on the Hill on February 21?  There's still time! http://www.wishrm.org/2018-Day-on-the-Hill

Second, check out all the cool things happening in Madison and please talk to your state Senators and Representatives to keep these bills moving forward!  As always, if you want to chat, or get help reaching your legislator, or crafting your message, just email me

From WI SHRM's Legislative Director, Elise Rommes:

2017 was sure a busy year at our State Capitol! As Wisconsin SHRM’s Legislative Director, I wanted to take some time to give you an overview of what is going on and how you can help. All three of the below issues are also ones that attendees at Wisconsin SHRM’s Day on the Hill spoke with legislators about in January 2017, so it is great to see progress being made.

1.       Worker’s Compensation

Senate Bill (SB) 665 was introduced in December 2017 and would introduce a medical fee schedule to help control the cost of worker’s compensation in the state. The Worker’s Compensation Research Institute recently found that Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation costs are 46% above the median costs across the nation! More information and statistics can be found here: www.WIWorkersCompReform.com.

2.       Wisconsin FMLA

SB490 & Assembly Bill (AB) 772 were introduced in October and December 2017, respectively. These bills would eliminate state family and medical leave for employers who already need to comply with the federal FMLA. They would still allow eligible employees to take state leave to care for a domestic partner who has a serious health condition. The intent is to clarify for employers and workers what the law is, what benefits are, and help in planning for upcoming leave events. Additionally, they would reduce the administrative burden of having duplicative laws.

3.       Local Laws

SB634 & AB748 were introduced in December. These bills follow the lead of Wisconsin’s current minimum wage preemption law and the preemption of paid sick leave ordinances by setting statewide employment law standards and prohibiting local governmental units from enacting their own employment law restrictions on private employers. Reducing laws within the state would reduce the compliance & administrative burden on human resources professionals and make Wisconsin a more attractive place to do business.

4.       Attracting Talent to Wisconsin

AB811 was just introduced last week and would approve the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to spend $6.8 million on a marketing campaign in places like Chicago & Minneapolis to attract those who might want to move to Wisconsin. The campaign would focus on the great job and life opportunities in our state to bring additional talent here and improve the tight labor market.

The Senate Labor Committee is likely to hear SB634 (local ordinances bill) next week on Wednesday, January 10 at 10am. The hearing on the Worker’s Compensation bill (SB665) is expected to be in late January. Senators on the Senate Labor Committee are: Senator Nass (Chair), Senator Wanggaard (Vice-Chair), Senator Wirch, & Senator Ringhand. Please reach out to your Senator to support SB634 & SB665 if you feel they would be helpful for your organization, especially if your Senator is on the Labor Committee! You can simply call, email or visit their office and let them know why you feel the bill(s) would be beneficial and why they should support it.

The Committee on Jobs & the Economy will hear AB811 (attracting talent bill) on Wednesday, January 10 at 10am. Representatives on this Committee are listed on the Wisconsin State Legislature website. If this bill would be beneficial for your organization you can reach out to your state Representative to let them know.

Lastly, you can speak directly with your legislators during Wisconsin SHRM’s upcoming Day on the Hill event on February 21. This will be another wonderful opportunity to advocate for these important HR issues, network, and gain some additional legislative insights. Hope to see you all there!

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