REALTOR® & Government Day Roundup

Hundreds flock to Wisconsin Capitol to lobby lawmakers

 Tom Larson  |    March 09, 2020

On February 5, 2020, nearly 350 REALTORS® from across Wisconsin gathered in Madison as part of the WRA’s annual REALTOR® & Government Day (RGDay) to lobby state lawmakers on several of the WRA’s legislative priorities. 

RGDay is one of the most important parts of WRA advocacy efforts. It’s a day when REALTORS® learn about legislative issues important to the real estate industry, talk to their state representatives, and hear from some of Wisconsin’s top leaders.  

RGDay is the one day that REALTORS® from all parts of the state with different backgrounds and political beliefs visit the Capitol and speak with one voice. The day symbolizes our strength in membership, our reach to every community in the state, and our knowledge about issues important to property owners and the real estate industry. Your background, which company you work for, or whether you are Republican or Democrat don’t matter on RGDay. The only thing that matters on RGDay is that you attend and that you are a REALTOR®.    

The day started with a presentation by Gov. Tony Evers, who talked about the importance of K-12 schools to homeownership and the real estate market as well as the need to prioritize workforce housing. The importance of workforce housing was further emphasized by several REALTOR® members who asked the governor questions during a Q&A session. Next, RGDay attendees learned about and lobbied their state lawmakers on five of the WRA’s top legislative priorities:

Restore the right to place a pier on flowages (AB 551/SB 501): This legislation seeks to clarify that all waterfront property owners, even those with land abutting flowages and artificial waterways, have the right to place a pier subject to the regulations in Chapter 30 of the Wisconsin Statutes. 

Update disclosure reports (AB 596/SB 549): This legislation modifies the seller disclosure reports to include clarifications relating to:

  • The right to rescind after an offer is accepted and an amendment to the condition report has been modified.
  • Addressing what happens when a seller provides a condition report with strikethroughs and no responses to questions.
  • A new disclosure related to FIRPTA.

Improve home inspection reports (AB 655/SB 599): This legislation requires a home inspector to label in the inspection report items identified as “defects” during the home inspection and to provide a summary page as part of the report.

Prohibit chasing sales (AB 691/SB 624): This legislation seeks to better educate property owners and property tax assessors about the prohibition under current law on using the sales price of real estate as the sole basis for adjusting the assessed value, a practice known as “chasing sales.”

Increase workforce housing supply (AB 544/SB 484 and additional legislative initiatives): Various legislative initiatives aim to increase the workforce housing supply in Wisconsin. These include:

  • Rural workforce housing initiative (AB 544/SB 484).
  • Local regulatory reform incentives and workforce housing tax increment districts (AB 859).
  • Workforce housing tax credit program (SB 786).
  • Department of Administration housing reports storage and dissemination (SB 787).
  • Sales tax exemption for building materials used in workforce housing (SB 791).
  • Older housing rehabilitation tax credit (SB 792).

The day concluded with a reception to share feedback from the lawmaker meetings and network with other REALTORS® from all parts of the state.  

While veteran RGDay attendees showed up in full force as they usually do, an exceptionally large number of first-time participants also made the trip to Madison for this year’s event. Based on the positive feedback we received from state legislators, this combination of familiar and fresh faces made its mark on the Capitol and was extremely effective at emphasizing the importance of the WRA’s legislative priorities.

We hope to see you at the 2021 RGDay on April 27, 2021. 

Tom Larson is Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs for the WRA.

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