Drew Pennington, VP for Chapter Affairs

Watch for Legislative Alerts on proposed bills or regulations affecting the practice of planning in Wisconsin.

Alerts are provided by Chapter VP for Legislative Affairs, Drew Pennington, advised by the Legislative Committee, which is made up of Drew and the Chapter's four District Representatives.

April 1st, 2019

Greetings WI Planners:

Over the next few weeks, the Legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance will be holding public hearings on the proposed state budget.  The first hearing is scheduled for this Friday, April 5th from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Pontiac Convention Center in Janesville.  The other hearings are as follows:  April 10th in Oak Creek, April 15th in River Falls, and April 24th in Green Bay.  I’ll be attending this Friday’s hearing on behalf of APA-WI and advocating for the following policy provisions in the Governor’s proposed budget, which are two of APA-WI’s Legislative Priorities in 2019:

  • Support for property tax fairness and transparency at the local level.  Elimination of the Dark Store and Walgreen’s loopholes, which increase taxes upon homeowners and small businesses while national retailers fail to pay their fair share.  These tax avoidance moves increase homeownership costs statewide.
  • Support for multi-modal transportation options and long-term funding solutions. Repeal of the prohibition on using eminent domain to acquire land for complete streets, bike paths, sidewalks, and recreational trails that was tucked into the last state budget.

 If you are unable to attend the budget hearings, you can email your comments to:

 Finally, in case you missed the last Legislative Alert, our partners at APA Policy & Advocacy have developed a new tool for us to use when advocating for transportation equity.  Please check-out the following link and consider contacting your legislators regarding this important issue:

March 21st, 2019

Greetings WI Planners:

As many of you know, the last biennial budget included an ill-advised and discriminatory provision that prohibits the use of eminent domain to extend or create bike paths, trails, lanes, sidewalks, etc.  APA-WI is actively advocating to reverse this ill-advised provision, and thanks to our Policy & Advocacy partners at APA, we have a new tool to use.  As part of his proposed budget, Governor Evers has proposed repealing this prohibition on eminent domain, thereby restoring local control and transportation equity.  Please check-out the following link to learn more about APA-WI's position statement and to quickly and easily send a letter to your legislators asking for their support on this issue:

Please consider this quick and easy way to advocate for stronger communities in WI.

Finally, the Wisconsin Active Communities Alliance is collecting examples of the negative impacts of the eminent domain prohibition.  Please consider sharing your stories here:   google spreadsheet 

If you'd like to learn more about this group advocating for healthy and equitable communities, feel free to reach out to coordinator Jen Walker ( or join their next networking call from 1-2PM on March 27th.  The phone number is 855-947-8255 and passcode is 8434 841#. 

March 1st, 2019:

Greetings WI Planners:

Here is a summary of the Governor’s proposed budget courtesy of the League of WI Municipalities.  The budget includes many items of interest to planners, including many of APA-WI’s legislative priorities.  For example, the proposed budget would eliminate the Dark Store and Walgreens loopholes, increase funding for all modes of transportation, and repeal the prohibition on using eminent domain for trails and paths.  Clearly, many of these policy and funding priorities are not shared by the Legislature, so we’ll see where things land later this year.

We had a very positive and productive Planner’s Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, with 14 planners meeting with more than 20 different legislators to advocate for strong and equitable communities.  Given the number and scope of changes to planning and zoning statutes over the past few years, the legislators that I met with seemed to enjoy a candid and often technical discussion of how these changes are implemented on the ground.  As planners, our voice has been missing for far too long.  Thank you to all of the Planner’s Day attendees for your advocacy and professionalism.

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