Legislative Report
By Steve Panten 

A few years ago, I walked into Inn on the Park for Lobby Day to get final directions from Dave Dwyer, our previous Legislative Committee Chair, and I asked him how he was doing. I was surprised when he responded "Doing excellent! This is like Christmas for me!" ... or something like that. Now that I am trying to fill the boots he wore for so many years, I realize what he meant. The days/weeks/months leading up to this very important day are hectic. Trying to organize where we are in the process with our issues, and then trying to relay the ever-changing information to our membership is challenging. Then comes the "big day"! The things that I can count on during all this craziness is, that the day will come ... and so will our members!

Lobby Day 2017 will not be any different. The day will come, our dedicated members will show up, and we will have success. Those are the three things that I know will happen for sure. If I survive without having a heart attack, that's left to be seen. I am writing this article after ABATE's Officers Training, but still before Lobby Day because Marlene has deadlines to get our newsletter to print, so I cannot speak on the success that we had. I know our members are ready and the Legislators are looking forward to us being there. Many of the offices that I get to visit throughout the year all comment on how great it is when we show up. How knowledgeable our members are on the topics and how well we present it. That is credit to everyone involved in putting it together and to the commitment of our members. Thank You!

Now on to what's going on;

Autocycle -- In late January we sent out a call for members who are comfortable speaking about the autocycle issue to join us in Madison, to meet with the members of the Joint Finance Committee. The goal for this "Seal Team" was to educate the members of this committee on the financial benefit to the State if we passed an Autocycle law. The state would benefit by collecting higher fees for registrations and it would free up staff time at the DOT. If we create an avenue for manufacturers to sell more of these vehicles, the state would collect more in sales tax, counties could collect more wheel taxes, business at the dealerships would pick up and finally, any manufacturing plant that supports the building of these vehicles would have more work. We were very well received by the staff in these offices and I thank them for giving us time to meet with them. We are still looking for someone to help us draft this piece of legislation but I am hopeful that we will get that help during our Lobby Day. How a motorcycle is defined is an important issue for motorcyclist on February 23.

Black Box LRB1649/P1-- Senator Stroebel and Representatives Kremer and Quinn are helping us work with all interested parties to clearly spell out who owns the information in any data collection device installed in your vehicle. We had a meeting with members from the Auto Dealers and the Auto Manufacturers to discuss how we can protect citizens' privacy while still allowing service stations and auto dealers to do their jobs. It was a good opportunity to hear what the issues are and how we can come to an agreement on our differences. It appears that we have a few differences but a big one is consent. I reached out to our friend Attorney Jason Abraham from Hupy and Abraham, for help with defining consent. Although Wikipedia tells me the difference between consent, implied consent, expressed consent and written consent, I sure would like to hear what the courts thinks these words mean. I was hopeful to have an agreement before Lobby Day but, we will be taking our previous bill to the Legislators and ask them for support. Remember, last session we got it passed through both Transportation Committees before it died on the floor of the Senate.

ROW violations LRB-0662/P1 -- Representative Brandjen has been working with us on this bill for a while now and we finally have a draft that is acceptable to ABATE of Wisconsin and the Insurance Industry. This draft includes the violations that were not included in the first versions, and it protects the training requirement for drivers convicted of violating these statutes. The change comes in the license suspension. If the violation does not result in Great Bodily Harm or Death, the violator will have 6 months to take the training. If they don't complete it within a 6 month period, their license will be suspended. During our Lobby Day we will be looking for support in the Assembly and we will need a lead author in the Senate.

ACT 19 -- This bill was introduced in the Assembly by the DOT to clear up the difference between a motorcycle definition, and a motorcycle registration. Wisconsin State Statute does not list a weight limit in the definition of a type 1 motorcycle but in order to register the motorcycle, the weight must be 1499 pounds or less. Since some autocycles weigh more than 1500 pounds they legally should not be registered in Wisconsin. ABATE of Wisconsin testified against this change as we felt that it would open the motorcycle class for every vehicle that has 3 wheels no matter what it weighs. Since registration fees are based on a vehicles impact on the roads, (how much they weigh) we feel that removing the weight limit would have a negative impact on Wisconsin roads. ABATE is working on setting up a meeting with the Wisconsin DOT and DMV to determine the best way to address this problem.

One final note -- ABATE of Wisconsin would like to thank the AMA District 16 for their very generous donation to help us offset the cost of Lobby Day. Their generosity and commitment to motorcyclists in Wisconsin is appreciated.

That's it.

Panten, Steve. "Legislative Report." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Mar. 2017.

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