Marklein, Kurtz Authored Bill Heads to Governor

MADISON – Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Senate Bill (SB) 218, authored by Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc), which creates a grant program for communities to buy new radios that are compatible with the Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications (WISCOM), a new public safety interoperable communication system upgrade.
“While much of the cost of replacing the WISCOM system’s technology and infrastructure is the responsibility of the state, many local agencies will likely need to update their radios and associated technology as well,” Sen. Marklein said. “Senate Bill 218 creates a grant program to assist local agencies with those costs.”
“These technology upgrades will likely cost our local public safety agencies millions of dollars. The grant program requires a 20% local match and should help to relieve some of the funding pressure on our locals,” said Rep. Kurtz.
WISCOM is a radio system that permits emergency responders from public safety agencies to communicate across jurisdictions. State and local agencies, such as Juneau County, may choose to use WISCOM as their primary radio system.
The current system was developed in 2012 and has reached the end of its life. The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) is in the process of building the system's replacement. The WISCOM replacement must ensure the system can deliver public-safety grade communications to current users, expand to support other users at the state and local levels, and provide interoperability with other communications systems.
The 2023-2025 State Budget provided $2 million a year beginning in Fiscal Year 2025 to fund this grant program. The bill now heads to Governor Evers to be signed into law.