2019-20 Legislative Issues
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WPHA-WALHDAB Legislative Priorities


Click here to find the WPHA/WALHDAB Legislative Priorities and justification statements based upon previous legislation.

WPHA & WALHDAB have released four issue briefs (November 2019) that focus on our 2019-2020 legislative priorities.These issue briefs discuss the background of each of our priorities, include some key talking points, and also the current legislative request.

Early Childhood Education

Criminal Justice Reform

Income Stability and Employment


 On Friday, September 14, 2018, the WPHA and WALHDAB Boards, respectively, approved the 2019-2020 legislative priorities as presented by the WPHA and WALHDAB Joint Public Affairs Committee. After months of discussion, surveys, and data collection, it was evident that three overarching themes should be accounted for in all of our efforts are:

  • Building and retaining public health infrastructure through public health funding.
  • Infusing health and equity in all policies. 
  • Improving public health workforce succession planning to support consistent and efficient delivery of services.

Along with these overarching themes, the Joint Public Affairs Committee decided to detail specific priorities and will actively engage in policy next legislative session that will focus on four social determinants of health. This includes:

  • Criminal justice reform,
  • Early childhood education,
  • Income stability and employment, and
  • Housing.

The following items have been identified and approved as official Legislative Priorities of WPHA and WALHDAB for the 2019-2020 session (in no particular order):

  • Increase treatment alternatives and diversion program (TAD) funding for mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Increase funding allocated to counties for juvenile justice services to fund all costs associated with bringing 17-year-old first time juvenile offenders back to the juvenile justice system.
  • Fully fund School Breakfast Program.
  • Supporting and expanding Paid Family Leave.
  • Increase Earned Income Tax Credit and move from one-time to monthly payments.
  • Increase workforce training/transitional jobs.
  • Establish tax credit for family caregivers.
  • Expand low income housing tax credits for developers and rental assistance vouchers for renters.
  • Funding for programs to eliminate / abate lead paint, soil and pipes, including but not limited to a statutory provision requiring that lead remediation dollars be used for that dedicated purpose.

The Public Affairs Committee, and the WPHA and WALHDAB Boards, are very excited to move in this direction and focus on social determinants of health. We look forward to partnering with you and varying organizations to make progress on these priorities. More information and educational tools will be forthcoming heading into the new legislative session. Please contact the WALHDAB office with any comments or questions!


Legislative Priorities 2017-2018
(Established April 2016)


WALHDAB conducts its advocacy activities with the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA).  The WPHA-WALHDAB Public Affairs (PA) Committee met numerous times in the latter half of 2014 in order to identify the organizations’ legislative priorities.  Although we were able to accomplish strides in each legislative priority, we have not completed fully. After review, modifications and approval by both the WPHA and the WALHDAB boards, the organizations’ top legislative priorities are proposed as follows from the Public Affairs Committee:

  • Short-term:  Secure funding for detection and management of communicable and infectious disease.
  • Mid-term:  Adopt Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule for medical assistance (MA) reimbursement for community prevention activities (e.g., community health workers, health educators, diabetes educators, asthma educators).
  • Long-term:  Infusing health in policy decision-making, with the ultimate goal of a “health in all policies” approach in Wisconsin.

The PA Committee recognizes that these are all substantial issues and that staggering the approach to these is necessary.  For instance, budget-related items will be a priority given the state is in the budget-developing process.  The PA Committee also notes the importance of being sensitive to emerging legislative issues and changes in the political landscape.  

A unified message is critical to our success.  We need public health advocates to reach out (letters, phone calls, district meetings, passing resolutions) and make their voices heard on the important role local public health plays in the control and prevention of diseases in our state! 

Have an issue you would like the Public Affairs Committee to address? Please click here to submit your Member Input form. The PA Committee meets on a monthly basis-check out the meeting minutes by clicking here.

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