SNA-WI Quarterly Legislative Update
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Posted by: Hoven Consulting
SNA-WI Government Affairs November 2017 E-Newsletter
Assembly Bill 215, “The Nutrition Education Act” - On Thursday, September 7, Assembly Bill 215 received a public hearing in the Assembly Committee on Education. SNA-WI has been working on this bill with the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association to require DPI to modify its health education standards to include nutrition education into the required 0.5 credit of health education in schools.
After SNA-WI members testified in support of the bill, we found out the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the School Administrators Alliance oppose the bill by registering and testifying against it. They said they are opposed because they feel it is a mandate and that it will take away from time dedicated to other subject areas.
They have since said their two biggest concerns had to do with using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as the educational resource and requiring health curriculum to be taught during health class. Sen. Olsen said he was willing to change the language so it is not required in health class, thus giving schools more flexibility as to what class the course is taught in. He is not willing to remove the Guidelines as the source because he believes they are the gold standard and make the most sense.
The amendment has been drafted by Sen. Olsen and is supported by the SNA-WI Legislative Committee. Stay tuned for more updates when the legislature reconvenes in January!
Legislature Wraps Up 2017
Thursday, November 9th was the last day of session for the Wisconsin State Legislature in 2017. While there might still be public hearings and committee voting sessions, the full body of both houses will not meet again until next year.
Floor periods are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and will go into the spring. Once session is formally adjourned, legislators will transition into campaign mode leading up to the next election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. While it sounds far off, it is less than one year away and will be here before we know it!
The government affairs team at Hoven Consulting will continue to provide legislative updates while the legislature is in session as well as critical campaign updates leading up to the election.
Assembly Bill 501
SNA-WI was pleased to join a coalition with thirteen other groups to support Assembly Bill 501, which creates a pilot program for FoodShare recipients to have access to healthier food. Known as the “Eating Healthy Incentives,” this program will encourage and incentivize 2,000 households participating in the program to purchase more produce, which could have a positive impact on their diets and overall health. Although the bill was originally written to be two-year pilot program, it was amended to make it a continuing program. SNA supports this change.
The bill passed the Assembly on November 7, but has stalled in the State Senate. Please contact State Senator Chris Kapenga (R – Delafield), Chair of the Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations Committee and urge him to hold a public hearing on Assembly Bill 501.
Campaign Update – 10th Senate District
On Friday, November 10th, Governor Walker appointed State Senator Sheila Harsdorf to be the next Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Harsdorf replaced Ben Brancel, who served as Secretary from January 2011 until August 2017.
With Harsdorf’s appointment, Gov. Walker called a special election to fill her Senate seat. The special election will be held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and the primary will be held on Tuesday, December 19, 2017. So far, Rep. Adam Jarchow (R – Balsam Lake) and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R – River Falls) have announced they will run for the seat. St. Croix County Medical Examiner Patty Schachtner announced she will run for the seat as a Democrat.
This should be an interesting race to watch because of the limited time candidates have to collect nomination signatures and actually campaign. They will also be competing with cold weather and connecting with voters over the holidays. It is fair to predict low turnout for the primary and special election.
Mahlon Mitchell Joins Democratic Field of Candidates for Governor
On Monday, November 13, Mahlon Mitchell became the seventh Democrat to formally announce a gubernatorial bid. Mitchell also ran for Lieutenant Governor during the 2012 recall election. At 40, Mitchell is the youngest person to get into the race.
Mitchell is the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, which represents over 3,200 fire fighters in over 70 local communities around Wisconsin. He served as a fire fighter in the City of Madison for 15 years before becoming the youngest and first African-American president of the organization.
At his campaign announcement, Mitchell said, "I want to make sure that my son has a good future and the opportunities for him need to be there. There's got to be a better investment in the tech schools and the school system in general."
Advocacy Day 2018
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, March 7th as SNA-WI once again teams up with the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND) for our annual Joint Advocacy Day. The event will take place at the Madison Club with legislative meetings at the Capitol to follow after lunch. This is your chance to tell your legislators about the work SNA-WI does to feed bodies and fuel minds. Spread the word and bring a colleague!