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.

January 14, 2018

With inauguration week behind us and the 2019-2020 Legislature in session, now is the time to sign-up for our 2019 Planner’s Day at the Capitol on February 12th and to begin scheduling your meetings with legislators.  We have spots available, so check your schedule and let me know if you can join us by the end of this week.  Thanks!

December 28, 2018

On behalf of the APA-WI Board, I’m pleased to open registration for our inaugural Planner’s Day at the Capitol in Madison on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.  This event is open to all APA-WI Members, and we have availability for up to 30 attendees.  The day will begin with a complimentary breakfast briefing at 9 AM at The Madison Concourse Hotel (1 W. Dayton Street).  Our briefing will end by 10:30 AM, and we’ll walk to the Capitol for a group photo on the steps (weather permitting) before heading to our pre-arranged meetings with Legislators and/or staff.  This event is free, although attendees will need to pay for their own parking if driving to this event.  The rate at the Concourse is $1.50 per hour.

In order to attend this event, please complete both of the following steps by January 18th:

1.     RSVP by emailing me (, even if you already expressed interest in response to earlier messages about this event.  Due to meeting space limitations, the breakfast briefing is limited to 30 participants.

2.     Schedule at least two separate meetings with Representatives or Senators who represent your home address and/or the community in which you work between 11:00 AM and 3 PM on February 12th.  Use the “Who Are My Legislators” search feature at in order to find contact information.  If you have any trouble with this, please let me know and I’ll try to assist.  These meetings will likely be 15-30 minutes in duration.  Attendees will be given voluntary talking points on APA-WI’s priorities, but are expected and encouraged to discuss issues of local concern.  If you are open to meeting as a team with other planners in the same district, feel free to mention that when you email each legislator’s staff and they may choose to combine meetings.

Thanks in advance for your advocacy.  Our overall goal for this event is to open the lines of communication between legislators and planners, and to pivot from a defensive legislative posture to one of advocacy and engagement.

December 21, 2018

Download a copy of of APA-Wisconsin’s 2019 Legislative Priorities, as prepared by the Legislative Committee and approved by the Board on December 7th.  These positions will form the foundation of our advocacy efforts next year, and will be optional talking points for those attending Planner’s Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 12th.

November 29, 2018

As many of you have heard from statewide media reports, the State Senate may be called into a Special Session as early as next week to advance a number of bills before Governor-elect Evers takes office in January.  The Special Session was originally billed as necessary to approve a $70M subsidy to keep Kimberly-Clark’s Fox Crossing plant open (already approved by the Assembly).  However, it now appears that a Special Session may occur even without support for that subsidy, and may include a number of unrelated bills.  

 At the federal level, APA National is seeking our assistance in advocating for congressional approval of Fiscal Year 2019 funding before it runs out on December 7th.  This funding is critical to programs such as CDBG, HOME, and BUILD.  Please consider sending a quick message to your representatives using the following link:

Finally, the APA-WI Legislative Committee is discussing the possibility of hosting a 2019 Planner’s Day at the Capitol in Madison.  This would be an opportunity to network and learn more about APA-WI’s legislative priorities, followed by small group meetings with elected officials and/or their staffers.  Look for new APA-WI Legislative Priorities in the near future.  Please let me know if you might be interested in attending this type of event by sending a quick email to me (

September 28th, 2018: APA-WI Represented at 2018 Planner's Day on Capitol Hill 

It was an honor to represent APA-WI in Washington, D.C. at the 2018 Policy & Advocacy Conference and Planner’s Day on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, September 25th.  APA-WI President-Elect Josh Clements and I had productive meetings with Senator Johnson’s staff and Senator Baldwin’s staff.  In addition, I met with Congressman Mark Pocan’s staff and Josh met with Congressman Ron Kind’s team.  The focus of these advocacy efforts was housing, and APA had us briefed and ready to advocate for improved federal housing programs and funding.  For example, we asked each office to support Senate Bill 3231, which would establish The Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis.  We also asked for full funding of a range of key housing and transportation programs, such as CDBG, HOME, and TIGER.  We received a warm welcome from all of the offices, and it was a great starting point for enhancing APA-WI’s relationship with our federal officials.

Senate staffers made us aware of a couple of significant pieces of federal legislation of interest to planners.  The first is the bi-partisan COMMUTE Act, co-sponsored by Senator Baldwin.  According to a press release from Baldwin’s office, “the COMMUTE Act requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and provide states and transportation planning organizations with data sets measuring the level of access by all modes of transportation to important destinations. These destinations include jobs and areas with a concentration of available jobs, health care facilities, childcare services, educational and workforce training facilities, affordable housing and food sources.”  We also learned of the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, introduced this week by Senator Elizabeth Warren.  This bill would drastically reshape federal housing policy, and features a competitive grant program that is tied to non-exclusionary zoning practices at the local level.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope to see all of you at the upcoming annual conference on October 8 & 9th in Madison.

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