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Wine Walks Legislation Demonstrates the Strength of
Over the past decade, communities in Southwest and South Central
Wisconsin have promoted businesses in their area by sponsoring
events called Wine or Beer Walks. During these events,
pre-registered guests are welcomed into a wide variety of
participating businesses to sample wines and beers while they
meet the business owner and “shop” their business. These events
are usually sponsored by a chamber of commerce or downtown
business association to encourage local residents to explore
businesses they wouldn’t otherwise know, create a fun community
event and fundraise for local programming year round.
While the concept of these events may seem simple and
straightforward, the Department of Revenue (DOR) recently
clarified that Wine Walks are illegal because current law does
not allow a municipality to issue licenses in number, location
and manner in which the events are currently held.
A dedicated group of business owners, municipal officials and
community leaders collaborated with my office and Representative
Keith Ripp’s (R-Lodi) office to draft a bill that adjusts
current law to create a framework for Wine Walks to continue
throughout our state.
In order to legalize these important events, SB 236 and AB 320
proposed to change existing law to allow local Chambers and
business groups to obtain temporary licenses for a set number of
locations during a specified time to create a Wine Walk. Each
location will be required to have a licensed operator on site
and comply with other alcohol service rules and regulations. In
reality, we are simply legalizing the way that these events have
successfully operated for many years without incident.
To confirm the local impact beyond the businesses involved, I
contacted Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker to discuss whether
the Reedsburg Wine Walk or Barley Walk created any law
enforcement challenges. Chief Becker assured me that the way the
Reedsburg Revitalization Organization has conducted the event in
the past was well done and participants followed the rules of
The groups organizing Wine and Beer Walks have a vested interest
in following a safe, legal framework for these events. All of
the communities that have held Wine and Beer Walk events have
shared the profound impact on local business exposure and
fundraising efforts that help our downtown communities thrive.
Bekah Stelling of Bekah Kate’s in Baraboo summarized the impact
during her testimony before the Senate Committee on Revenue,
Financial Institutions & Rural Issues. She said, “How many other
marketing investments can we make as a business that guarantee
that 500 people are going to walk into our store on a given
Jim Murphy from WRJC in Mauston also testified at the hearing
and recalled the excitement and energy during their first Wine
Walk. “Downtown Mauston was full of people on a Friday night!”
Murphy said. “There was a different feel to our community.
People dressed up, made a night of it and went into businesses
they had never explored before! One business owner sent me a
text the next day with dollar signs in it. That said it all.”
I am honored to be a part of a solution to continue these
important events. These bills are a great example of the
strength of grassroots efforts in the legislative process. Local
businesses connected with others around the state to bring this
issue to our attention and proposed a solution. Their support
and encouragement throughout the process was an important reason
why these bills moved through the legislature efficiently.
The Senate and the Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 236 and
Assembly Bill (AB) 320 over the last two weeks and these bills
now await Governor Scott Walker’s signature. It is our hope that
the Governor will sign these bills very soon so that our
communities may move forward with planning Wine Walks this fall.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and not
hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need
assistance with any state-related matters.
Senator Marklein’s 2015 Fall Legislative Survey
If you haven’t already, please take my 2015 Fall Legislative
Survey. Below you will find a link to a 10 question survey
seeking your thoughts on a number of relevant legislative issues
and concepts that we will be discussing in the coming months.
This survey is available online at
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein or please feel
free to print out a copy from the link below and return it to me
at PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53703 or via fax at 608-282-3557.
Please submit your survey by October 30, 2015.
For a PDF version of the survey, click
2015-16 Blue Books
The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would
like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you
receive a blue book.
In the District
Listening Sessions on Monday, September 28
On Monday I will be having three listening sessions in
Fennimore, Lancaster and Bloomington. I hope that you will be
able to join me at one of these listening sessions! I look
forward to the opportunity to receive your thoughts, ideas and
concerns. Here is the schedule for Monday:
Monday, September 28, 2015
Fennimore – SWTC, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Lancaster – Schreiner Public Library, 113 West Elm Street,
Bloomington – Bloomington Town Hall, 453 Canal Street,
addition to the listening sessions on Monday, September 28, I
will also be having four listening sessions on Friday, October
2, with Representative Ed Brooks, in Mauston, Necedah, Kendall
and Elroy that I hope you can make. Here is the schedule for
Friday, October 2:
Friday, October 2, 2015
Mauston – Mauston City Hall, 303 Mansion Street, Mauston
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Necedah – Necedah Memorial Library, 217 Oak Drive, Necedah
Kendall – Kendall Village Hall, 219 W South Railroad Street,
3 -4 p.m.
Elroy – Elroy Library, 501 2nd Main Street, Elroy
For a complete list of all of my upcoming listening sessions,
please visit my
Day in Platteville with UW System President Ray Cross!
This week, I had the opportunity to spend a day visiting with
business leaders and community leaders in Platteville with UW
System President, Ray Cross.
We were fortunate to get a tour of Esterline AVISTA. The AVISTA
group at Esterline Control and Communication Systems provides
safety-critical and mission-critical software development and
systems engineering services to the world’s leading aerospace,
defense, medical and industrial manufacturers. They have
attained the highest Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
rating available, Level 5, and International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification—one of very few
companies in the country to have achieved these standards of
process quality. We learned that there are 130 software
engineers in the company, and the company continues to grow and
provide great jobs for the community.
We also had the chance to stop in and get a tour of Delta 3
Engineering. Delta 3 Engineering is a full-service consulting
engineering firm that specializes in civil and municipal
engineering, structural engineering, architecture, building and
facility design, grant writing, planning, land development, and
Both Esterline AVISTA and Delta 3 Engineering have strong
relationships with UW-Platteville. Both companies were founded
by UW-Platteville Alumni. I want to send my sincere thanks to
the folks at Esterline AVISTA and Delta 3 Engineering for
showing President Cross and I around.
Senator Howard Marklein, Daniel Dreessens and UW
System President Ray Cross at Delta 3 Engineering in Platteville
August Housing Sales up, Capping Strongest Summer in 10
The Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) recently released the
August year to date (YTD) housing data for the state. As the
summer selling season comes to a close, Wisconsin’s housing
market grew at a more moderate pace in August compared to June
and July. The August sales and median price levels remained
above those of August 2014, according to the most recent
analysis of the existing home market conducted by the WRA. Home
sales increased 3% in August compared to that same month last
year, and the median price rose 2.9% to $161,000 over that same
The table below shows the year to date median price and sales
for the counties in my district.
*Source: Wisconsin Realtors Association
Wisconsin Local Employment and Unemployment Estimates
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimates of unemployment and
employment statistics for metro areas, major cities and counties
in Wisconsin. The estimates include revisions for July 2015 and
preliminary estimates for August 2015.
The following table shows the local unemployment rates from
August 2014 and August 2015 for the counties in our district.
Local Unemployment Rates
Department of Workforce Development
*Senator Marklein is pleased to provide this
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