Written By: David Allen
I just wanted to give a brief update on what the Legislative Committee has been up to since the WAA Winter Conference held this past January. Through our fundraising efforts at the Winter Conference, we raised approximately $13,000 for legislative funds. At our first Board of Directors meeting, Jeff Hines assigned Bridget Siler and myself to the Legislative Committee. A one year contract was signed shortly thereafter with our lobbyist Shawn Pfaff and we set up a weekly conference call with him to plot a plan for 2019. The goal of partnering with Shawn was to allow him to be our eyes and ears at the Capitol in Madison and to have him stay on top of anything legislative that could possibly affect our membership/the auction industry here in Wisconsin. In addition, since our professional licensing was not removed/deregulated in December of 2018 when the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) reviewed all licensed professions, we really wanted to take the opportunity to update and strengthen auction law here in our state. In addition to Shawn, I too became a registered lobbyist due to the regulations surrounding my ability/allowed frequency to meet with representatives outside of my district. The state is pretty strict on how they view lobbyists and have guidelines in place as to how their activity is to be monitored and logged. We plan to be transparent in our lobbying activities as required and fully comply with these regulations.
So currently, every week Jeff Hines, Stan Jones, Carol Miller, Bridget Siler, Bryce Hansen, and Carol Wagenson, who all expressed an interest in legislative affairs and being a part of this committee, are invited to join a conference call along with Shawn Pfaff, Natalie Pratt, and myself. After our most recent call, Stan Jones, Carol Miller, Shawn Pfaff, and myself came up with “4 Reasons to Modernize Auction Law.” These legislative talking points, our own four legged stool if you will, center around creating a higher level of professionalism in the auction industry, increasing consumer protection, deal with state revenue/taxation, and express the need for greater enforcement of our auction laws.
On Wednesday, February 13th, Shawn and I went to the Capitol to attend meetings he scheduled with Representative Mark Spreitzer (Democrat from Beloit) and Representative Romaine Quinn (Republican from Rice Lake). Both of these representatives have shown an interest in auctioneer issues in the past and we wanted to start building support for what will hopefully and eventually be an update to our state’s auction laws. We explained while the auction industry has advanced here in Wisconsin and across the nation, in particular with online auctions, auction law in Wisconsin has not. We discussed our four talking points and the need to create a level playing field with anyone who would call themselves an auctioneer/conduct auctions. Both representatives seemed to understand where we were coming from and wanted to continue to be part of the conversation as we moved forward.
Shawn and I set up future meetings for later this month as well with Senator Patrick Testin (Republican from Stevens Point who spoke at our gala during the Thiel 100th Year Anniversary Celebration), Representative Diane Hesselbein (Democrat from Middleton), Representative Cody Horlacher (Republican from Mukwonago), and Representative Tony Kurtz (Republican from Wonewoc). Ultimately we hope to continue to meet and talk with our state’s senators and representatives and have both a bi-partisan and bicameral backing for any legislation we may introduce down the road.
Over the next few weeks we are planning to reach out to other state auctioneer associations and research what other states have done in regards to their auction laws. We want to take a good look at their failures and successes, both in getting legislation drafted and approved, but also, if not more so, enforced. The next few months will see a flurry of activity as we continue to lay the groundwork to see what we can get accomplished this year. At some point, we will probably ask each of you to reach out to your local representatives to gain support for any legislation that we may hope to introduce. We would also love to have all of you join us for “WAA Day on the Hill” at the Capitol in Madison which will be on Thursday, April 18th this year (more details to come as the date approaches). Thank you.
WAA President-Elect and Legislative Committee Member