Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

 Cori Lamont, WRA Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs  |    January 02, 2024

REALTOR® & Government Day (RGD) is back again. And 2024 is going to be a hot one! The legislative session will be coming to an end in late February or early March 2024, and the Capitol will be bubbling with activity.

RGD isn’t centered around politics; it’s focused on policies. Policies that mold the environment of your business, influence your transaction and protect private property rights. RGD is dedicated to these critical aspects — your business, your clients, your customers and the realm of real estate.

At RGD, it’s about being a REALTOR®

Regardless of political affiliation, or lack thereof, Wisconsin REALTORS® have consistently united together every year for more than four decades. On this one day, you converge in the state Capitol to advocate on issues that significantly affect your business and the real estate sector.  

What is RGD?

RGD allows Wisconsin legislators to hear from REALTORS®, their constituents, on issues important to the real estate industry. While state legislators regularly hear from your WRA advocacy team about important matters, your voice and your story really capture the need for legislative change.  

Why should you attend RGD?

RGD gives you the unique chance to speak directly with your lawmakers and advocate for issues that affect the real estate industry. As a practicing REALTOR®, you live with these issues every single day. You hear and feel the frustration from your clients and customers about the hurdles they face with regulatory limitations, such as not being able to place a pier on a property, an unfair tax assessment, or overwhelmingly high property taxes preventing them from affording a property. While the WRA advocacy team can convey the same story, it is the way you personalize the story — because you have lived it — that cuts through the noise and resonates with the lawmaker. 

Is RGD truly impactful?

Certainly, the presence of hundreds of Wisconsin REALTORS® at the Capitol lobbying for various issues undoubtedly produces positive outcomes for the WRA’s legislative priorities.

For the last 40 years, Wisconsin REALTORS® have been active on numerous fronts related to the Wisconsin state budget. This involvement has included opposition to proposals like doubling the Wisconsin transfer tax or endorsing measures such as supporting a property tax cap.

In the past 10 years, here are a few examples of the issues that have been on the agenda for RGD:

  • Property taxes.
  • Condition reports.
  • Piers.
  • Right to rent.
  • Nonconforming structures.
  • Broker experience requirements.
  • Appraisal management companies (AMCs).
  • Vested rights.
  • Real estate licensee two-year statute of limitations on liability.
  • Codifying the Dinger case.
  • Time of sale requirements.
  • Broadband expansion.
  • Housing affordability.
  • Wetland regulatory reform.
  • Modernization of landlord tenant laws.
  • DSPS website upgrades.
  • Seller surveillance.
  • Right to place a pier.
  • Improving inspection reports.
  • Chasing sales.
  • 40-year access easements.  

And one of RGD’s most significant achievements took place just last year: Over 500 REALTORS® participated in the 2023 RGD and contributed to the successful passage of a historic $525 million investment in senior and workforce housing! REALTORS®, did that! You did that!

Visit to learn more about the WRA’s legislative victories in the past decade.

Which issues will you lobby for during the 2024 RGD?

At every RGD, the WRA’s advocacy team arms you with written information and an in-person briefing to help you understand the issues you’ll lobby for with your lawmakers during your Capitol visit. Again, your job for the day is to tell the story. Tell your lawmaker a story about the impacts on your client, a customer, a transaction or your business and how the legislation could help. Personalizing the message makes your advocacy more relatable and influential. You don’t need to worry about the politics behind the bill, but instead the policy that can address the issues. 

The following are brief overviews of some issues you likely will lobby for with your legislators at the 2024 RGD event next month. 

Changes to Wis. Chap. 452 real estate practice

Wisconsin Statute Chapter 452 governs real estate brokerage practice, limitations on legal actions, investigation and discipline of licensees, and the duties and powers of the Real Estate Examining Board (REEB). Real estate brokers and salespersons are regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) as well as the REEB, which protects Wisconsin property buyers and sellers by ensuring safe and competent practice.

A new bill proposes a series of changes to create a safe harbor against liability for licensees to use government information if attribution to the government source is provided, creates specific disclosures to consumers in contracts when contractual rights are being assigned to another, and provides consistency in the statute and administrative rule relating to disclosure obligations by real estate agents. 

Licensee advertising of FSBO properties

The WRA opposes SB 394/AB 407, a bill that aims to exempt real estate licensees from vital consumer protections such as inspection, disclosure and other duties. The removal of these license law requirements is a detrimental step that would undermine safeguards for consumers.

For many, a real estate transaction is the single largest financial transaction an individual is involved in. Accordingly, a license ensures that a professional has the necessary knowledge and skills to guide a party in a transaction, reducing the risk of fraud and protecting consumers.

Current Wisconsin law allows real estate licensees to advertise For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties. To advertise a FSBO, a licensee must:

  • Walk through the property to verify the condition and information provided (inspect).
  • Enter into a written agreement identifying the services provided by the firm (listing contract).

In addition to eliminating the inspection requirements by a licensee advertising a FSBO to confirm what is actually being sold, SB 394/AB 407 eliminates the requirement to have a listing contract as well as other license requirements such as disclosure duties.

Addressing discriminatory covenants and deed restrictions in Wisconsin 

The WRA supports SB 439/AB 444, which proposes to create a process that allows a property owner to act when a discriminatory restriction or covenant is recorded on their land.  

Offensive, discriminatory covenants based on race and other protected classes appear in deeds and subdivision restrictions and covenants throughout Wisconsin. While illegal, this language haunts the title records and title commitment reports received by buyers looking to purchase these properties. 

The 1968 Fair Housing Act and Wisconsin’s Open Housing Law prohibit these covenants, but these laws do not erase discriminatory restrictions from property deeds and title records. Seeing such discriminatory language often stuns and offends potential buyers, adding more tension to the homebuying process that’s already filled with emotion.

This legislation is intended to empower the property owner to act when a discriminatory restriction is recorded on their land record. 

Join your fellow REALTORS® as one voice on February 7, 2024, in Madison. 

Event details and registration 

February 7, 2024  I  Monona Terrace and the State Capitol  I  Free registration

When you attend RGD, you can let your state lawmakers know what keeps you up at night and impacts your business, your clients and property rights. And after your visit to the Capitol, enjoy complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres with your fellow REALTORS®. 

Earn CE credit when you attend RGD

When you attend RGD 2024, you can earn one hour of CE credit for the 2023-24 Wisconsin real estate biennium! Simply attend RGD and complete and pass the CE course exam provided at the event to earn one hour of CE credit.

Event agenda

  • 12:30 p.m. Registration desk open
  • 1:00 p.m. Welcome
  • 1:15 p.m. Guest speaker (Gov. Evers invited to attend)
  • 1:40 p.m. WRA advocacy issues briefing
  • 3:00 p.m. Group photo at Capitol
  • 3:15 p.m. Capitol office visits
  • 4:30 p.m. Reception

Register for free

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