The Blueprint: Commercial Building Code Moves Forward


ALSO: Commercial Building Code Moves Forward; Attorney General Brad Schimel Announces Reelection; State Senate Approval Still Needed for Civil Justice Reforms; 2018 WBA Legislator of the Year Decides Against Third Term in State Assembly; From NAHB: Download Housing Data By Congressional District

Commercial Building Code Moves Forward


The administrative rule package to update the commercial building code in Wisconsin that has been discussed since early 2017 has finally moved through the legislative process. 

The code package was first discussed in January and February 2017, when it was introduced by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) after consulting with the Commercial Building Code Council.  Objections were heard to the DSPS efforts to eliminate code language concerning the requirement for multifamily sprinklers because it was inconsistent with state statutes.  This delayed the process for moving forward with a code package until an Attorney General Opinion was released.

After Attorney General Brad Schimel issued Attorney General Opinion 04-17 on December 8, 2018, DSPS then moved forward with the code update which deleted the language on multifamily sprinklers (installation of sprinklers on any building larger than a duplex) on December 18, 2017.

This code update package went first to the standing housing committees in each house of the legislature and then to the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR).  Those advocating against the rule were trying to torpedo these efforts up until the very end.  We are thankful that JCRAR co-chairs Senator Nass and Representative Balweg quickly moved this code package forward after the 30-day review period.

We now await this rule moving though the final review process by the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB).  Once the LRB finishes its review of the rule it will go into effect on the first day of the month following publication.  DSPS currently estimates that this rule package will go into effect on May 1, 2018.

Thank you to members who took the time to make your voice heard on this topic way back in early 2017 by using WBA’s Voter Voice or by filling out a petition at our member meeting day in January or at a local HBA meeting.   The language on multifamily sprinklers that conflicted with state law was ultimately removed from the code package because of your grassroots efforts.  

Attorney General Brad Schimel Announces Reelection

Last week Thursday, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that he would seek a second term to the office he has held since 2015.  Schimel replaced former AG J.B. Van Hollen who decided against a third term after first being elected in 2008.

Schimel made his reelection announcement with a press release and a video that can be viewed by clicking here.

“As a nearly 30-year prosecutor and Wisconsin’s Attorney General I’ve been on the front lines in the battle against opioid and drug abuse, human trafficking and killing over-reaching regulations that stall job growth,” Schimel said. “During my time as Attorney General I’ve pushed for harsh penalties for violent and career criminals and will continue to be a tough, fair and independent voice for Wisconsin families.”

Schimel has served as Attorney General since 2015 where he has implemented programs to protect Wisconsin’s elderly, led the way as a national leader in drug abuse prevention and drug take back programs and stood with law enforcement in the fight to end human trafficking.

As you may suspect, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin had a less positive response to AG Schimel’s announcement.  Martha Laning, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin stated, “Wisconsin has never seen an attorney general more wedded to the GOP’s extreme, anti-Wisconsin agenda.  As attorney general, Brad Schimel never hesitated to help out special interest groups and his Republican donors before the people of Wisconsin. The idea that Schimel is ‘independent’ would be funny if it weren’t so untrue.”

As of today, democrat Josh Kaul is the only registered candidate set to face off against Schimel in the fall of 2018.

State Senate Approval Still Needed For Civil Justice Reform

As part of the last Blueprint, we shared the good news that both houses of the legislature had signed off on our efforts to streamline the process to build in areas that contain state regulated wetlands (AB 547), several revisions to streamline the development process in Wisconsin (AB 770), and legislation to merge two councils to the Uniform Dwelling Code Council (SB 394).

One last piece of legislation that members lobbied on during Advocacy Day at the Capitol in February is AB 773 which will shorten the time of the statute of repose for building projects from 10 to 7 years.

The state assembly signed off on AB 773 on February 22, but we still are working to pass this bill in state senate before they conclude their work on either March 20 or March 22.

We are looking to place some targeted calls to State Senators Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), and Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) to support this WBA legislative priority.  If you are a constituent of one of these state senators or build/develop in their legislative districts and are willing make a call in support of this legislation, please contact Brad Boycks ( ASAP. 

2018 WBA Legislator of the Year Decides Against Third Term in State Assembly

After running unsuccessfully in a special session this winter to serve out the term of former State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, State Representative Adam Jarchow announced that he would not seek a third term to the state assembly in 2018.

In a brief announcement stating his intention not to seek reelection Jarchow stated, “I look forward to returning full-time to the private sector in January 2019. It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve my friends and neighbors in the Legislature. I will never be able to thank them enough for this experience. I look forward to spending more time with my family, friends and co-workers.”

Jarchow has been one of the leading advocates for property rights and fighting to reduce the cost of housing for Wisconsin families in the Wisconsin Legislature since he took office in January 2015.  During his first year in the legislature, Jarchow lead the efforts to make Wisconsin’s shoreland zoning requirements statewide and uniform, along with authoring two property rights bills to conclude the legislative session in 2016.

This session Jarchow authored the “Homeowner Bill of Rights” with State Senator Tom Tiffany that contained moving Wisconsin to a six-year cycle for the review of the one and two family electrical code, a more predictable process to receive a variance from a local unit of government and get more information on administrative rules that effect housing.

For their hard work on the “Homeowner Bill of Rights” Tiffany and Jarchow were named the 2018 WBA Legislators of the Year by the WBA Board of Directors in January 2018.

We are very thankful for all Representative Jarchow’s efforts over the past two legislative sessions to advance sound public polices to give property owners more ability to enjoy their land and to reduce the overall cost of housing or Wisconsin families. 

Download Housing Data By Congressional District

From NAHB: NAHB has launched a new Internet portal where members can develop a detailed profile of their local markets and potential customers and get the stats on new home production, housing affordability, remodeling activity and other benchmarks.

The NAHB Housing Portal also provides results of housing surveys conducted for NAHB by Morning Consult, the polling firm that created the website.

This information can help both housing providers and advocates. The site offers data at the national, state and congressional district levels. It even offers a statistical overview of Census Bureau-recognized metro areas.

Here’s how it works: Open the portal, go to the U.S. map and click on any state. Then choose a congressional district.

With just the click of your mouse, you will see the district’s homeownership rate, median home value, median household income, the percentage of renters that pay more half of their income in rent, and other useful market information.

Drilling down to the polling and economic data allows you to create a detailed report that reveals the percentage of people who believe there is a housing shortage in their community. Also included are residents’ opinions on a broad range of housing policy issues such as overregulation, tax treatment of homeownership and federal involvement in local land use decisions.

The economic data provides a more focused look at the area with median family income, the median value of recently purchased homes, and a percentage breakdown of single-family, single-family attached, multifamily and “other” types of housing.

The Housing Portal also addresses rental housing and provides the local rental vacancy rate, the median gross rent, and a breakdown of the percentage of renter households that are rent burdened and severely rent burdened.

Finally, the site also allows you to generate and download reports about a given state or congressional district.

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