June 2016: Legislative Update
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Even though this past legislative session was productive, with the passage of four key WEDA legislative TIF priorities, the WEDA staff and Legislative Volunteers are working diligently to ensure that WEDA remains an important, as well as strategic, economic development voice. That’s why WEDA has already positioned several legislative efforts during the upcoming summer and fall months. In addition, staff is in the process of scheduling meetings with key members of the administration, the legislature and state agencies.
Concurrently, WEDA is requesting your participation in a legislative survey. This survey will provide critical insight on how our members’ views have changed over the past couple of years. Once the survey results are received, staff and volunteer leadership will commence work with the Legislative Committee to develop the 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda. To date, various policy and program-related ideas have been discussed, and during the coming months those items will be more fully vetted based on survey results.
Case Studies Sought – Using Economic Development Toolbox
As these efforts move forward to advance our legislative priorities, WEDA is also focused on bringing our members’ work at the local and regional level to the forefront. While our government relations staff works with state agencies on case study projects that show how Wisconsin programs play a critical role in garnering project wins, we also seek your suggestions on showcase projects that have been successfully advanced in the past couple of years.
Legislative Council Study on Rural Broadband
The committee will be chaired by Senator Marklein. WEDA will attend and monitor this Legislative Council committee and provide updates as appropriate to the membership. In 2014, the TIF bills that were introduced during the 2015-16 session were developed in a Legislative Council committee. WEDA hopes that similar policy enhancements to this important legislative priority will be an outcome of this Rural Broadband committee.
Government Relations Staff
Due to the anticipated short legislative session this spring, the WEDA Board allowed the short-term legislative contract with James Buchen to expire as originally planned. As described above, WEDA’s efforts continue over the summer, while also implementing bi-weekly conversations between volunteer leadership and staff to ensure that legislative goals and expectations are consistent with past activities. A government relations solution is being finalized and will soon be in place.