January 23, 2018

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Leading on Lead Act Reaches Final Passage

MADISON- Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2017 Senate Bill 48, the Leading on Lead Act authored by Senator Cowles and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), was passed by the Senate during today’s floor session:

“Wisconsin has over 170,000 lead service lines, and an EPA study showed that the number of Wisconsin children poisoned by lead is higher than the national average. The Leading on Lead Act addresses the public health concerns that thousands of Wisconsin residents, especially children are faced with every day from lead laden drinking water. SB 48 also recognizes that a one-size fits all solution will not work for Wisconsin.

“While the scope of the problem in each community is different, the local control provided by this bill will help us to remove this harmful water infrastructure while addressing one of the largest public health concerns Wisconsin families face. I want to thank my co-author, Representative Thiesfeldt, and all of the co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the ability of Senate Bill 48 to help Wisconsin families. It’s my hope that the Governor takes swift action to sign the Leading on Lead Act into law, and that communities will respond promptly to rid their communities from lead drinking water.”

The Leading on Lead Act provides a funding mechanism for communities to address lead contamination in drinking water. This bill allows a municipal government to pass an ordinance to ask the Public Service Commission for the authority to use ratepayer dollars for a low or no-interest loan or an up to 50% grant for private property owners to replace their lead service lines. The bill was passed in October by the Senate and November by the Assembly, but as a result of a conflicting Assembly amendment, the Senate voted for final passage today. Senate Bill 48 now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.