Legislative Report
By Steve Panten 

Why would motorcyclists from across the state take time from their jobs and their lives to travel to Madison on a cold and rainy October weekday? Because they feel that we are not being heard! Well ... we were heard!

I am happy to report that WE DID IT! Our Right-of-Way Bill is on its way to the Governor for his signature! In November, the state Assembly passed our bill with one opposing vote and then it passed the Senate unanimously. It has been a struggle but we made it! The next step is the Governors' signature which we are hoping to have this month. Thank You to Representative Brandtjen and Senator Olsen for taking the lead on this bill.

Passing this piece of legislation is a big step in creating safer roads for all legal users. I would like to thank everyone who helped on this. Without the support of our membership with phone calls, emails, Lobby Day visits and of course our Storm the Capitol event this would not have been possible. It was a long road but ... WE DID IT!

What else did we accomplish? Our Autocycle Bill has a Senate lead! Oh yea ... one more time ... WE DID IT! I would like to thank Senator Testin for recognizing the need for this piece of legislation and taking the lead in the Senate for us. He will be joining Representative's Jacque and Edming to help us pass this. This bill started out as an attempt to define a motorcycle but it has become much more complicated than that. We are hoping to allow anyone with a regular drivers' license operate a vehicle with a steering wheel and gas and brake pedals but why would a vehicle like that have a motorcycle license plate? That seems to be the sticking point. Our position is that if you do not need a motorcycle endorsement to operate a type of vehicle, it is not a motorcycle so why would it have a motorcycle plate? Sign up for legislative alerts on ABATE's website and PLEASE act on those call to actions. We don't have much time to get this done this session so pushing our legislators to act is critical.

January 23rd is ABATE of Wisconsin's Lobby Day. This will be a very important day for motorcyclists In Wisconsin. We have momentum, we are being heard, let's keep this going. Watch for bus schedules in next month's newsletter (they should be the same as last year, but we need to set up some new bus captains on a few routes) and PLEASE ... PLEASE make arrangements to be in Madison on January 23rd. We are going to be pushing the legislators to act. We have heard for a few sessions now that they agree with our agenda so let's move on it. Let's get these vehicles out of the motorcycle class. Let's get an individuals' privacy about where they drive, how and when they travel protected. Why is the information in your home computer protected but the information in your vehicles' computer is not? We need your help!

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation needs your help too. Did you act on the MRF Call to Actions that were sent out? Did you take the 30 seconds that it takes to follow the link and respond to the action items? How about sending it to all your friends and family members to do the same? You do not need to be a MRF member, or a motorcyclist for that matter, to complete the action item. Wisconsin is #1 in membership for the MRF, #1 in sustaining members but yet we are not even close to the top of states that respond to these action items. Try this trick ... take a laptop, or tablet, or your phone to a meeting or an establishment and show people how simple this is to do. Explain to them how important this is for our voices to be heard in Washington DC.

One final thing. In November I had an opportunity to speak to the AMA at their annual District 16 banquet about our issues. I was very happy to be able to report our success with the ROW Violations bill and to inform them of the other items on our agenda. I would like to thank the AMA for their support in the past and I am looking forward to working with them again in the future.

One final thing part 2. I would like to congratulate Wisconsin's very own Senator Johnson for receiving the Motorcycle Riders Foundations "Legislator of the Year Award". Here is the release from the MRF;

Also honored as Legislator of the Year in the Senate, is Wisconsin's Ron Johnson. Senator Johnson was the lead Republican in sponsoring the Senate companion to the profiling resolution, working across the aisle with Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. He continues to support the riders in his state through working to ensure motorcyclists' perspective on automated vehicles policies and EPA emissions issues related to racing. "We continue to be impressed with Senator Johnson's commitment to riders in his state and across America," said Kirk 'Hardtail' Willard, Chairman of the Board for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation as well as an active leader for ABATE of Wisconsin. "We can think of no better recipient of this award than Senator Johnson," he concluded. His efforts related to the anti-profiling measure help reinforce the First and Fourth Amendments as cornerstones of the Bill of Rights."

This was a very exciting couple of months for ABATE members. Our Storm the Capitol event was amazing and it gave us just the push we needed to move what we were working on for the past few legislative sessions. We got our ROW violations bill to the floor for a vote and to have it pass so overwhelming was incredible. Then ... we got a Senator to agree to take the lead on our Autocycle draft. WE DIT IT! Let's not let up, let's keep our voices ringing out and being heard! Thank You!

That's It -- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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

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