Church Stairway Chairlift Bill Passes Assembly
Jordan Lutheran Church in Green County to benefit from legislation
Madison, WI – Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) announced today that Assembly Bill (AB) 445, a bill written at the request of Jordan Lutheran Church in Green County, passed the Assembly and is now headed for the Senate. AB 445 makes a very narrow change to state law to allow historic churches to install stairway chairlifts for parishioners to access basement fellowship halls.
“Jordan Lutheran Church in rural Green County was built in 1860. This legislation is a simple, narrow, commonsense change to state law that will make a big difference for the people who attend historic churches like Jordan Lutheran,” Marklein said. “It is an honor to work with engaged leaders, like LaVerne Gordee, to write bills that will solve local problems. Rural Wisconsin has unique challenges and we’re fixing them, one at a time.”
“This legislation will have an enormous positive impact on our church community. As a church, we realized that under current law, we were unable to install a stairway chairlift to allow access to the basement for all of our members.” LaVerne Gordee, President of the Jordan Lutheran Church Council said, “By allowing for the installation of a stairway chairlift, our entire congregation will be able to enjoy fellowship together in the basement. Having to exclude those church members with physical handicaps from our fellowship gatherings has been very painful for our congregation. For me personally, it is especially painful when an elderly member can no longer navigate the stairs.”
AB 445 creates a very narrow exception to state building codes to allow installation of a stairway chairlift in a narrow stairway if the building was constructed before January 1, 1919, there is a second stairway between the floors connected by the chairlift, the chairlift meets all other building code requirements and the area Fire Chief determines that the chairlift will not render a section of the building unsafe.
AB 445 was passed by the Assembly on a voice vote. It is now available for scheduling in the Senate.