By Rose Oswald Poels
As the 2021–2022 legislative sessions come to a close next month, our Government Relations team at the Wisconsin Bankers Association have been working tirelessly to ensure that the voices and needs of our member banks are heard by our legislators both in Madison and in Washington, D.C.
Grassroots advocacy is foundational to our work at WBA. On January 18, over 100 bankers from across the state met at the State Capitol in Madison for WBA’s annual Capitol Day. Along with advocating for our legislative agenda, bankers had the opportunity to hear from the elected leadership from both parties and several insiders regarding the remainder of the 2021–2022 session and the upcoming November election. I want to thank all of the 2022 Cap Day attendees for your grassroots advocacy for our industry and continued efforts in keeping our legislators informed.
Along with your general advocacy in support of issues affecting our industry, the efforts of WBA-member bankers specifically on the WBA-led banking modernization bill directly helped in this bill clearing two significant hurdles just last week. On Tuesday, the full State Senate unanimously passed SB 596 on a voice vote. Then on Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions recommended the bill for passage on a 9–0 vote. I am incredibly grateful to bill authors Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) for their efforts in advancing this important legislation. The bill is now eligible to be voted on by the full State Assembly, the final step before it would head to Gov. Evers for signature.
This spring, WBA will also be joining both the American Bankers Association (ABA) and Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) for our spring Washington, D.C. visits. These summits, taking place March 7–9 and May 1–4 respectively, are critical in making your voice heard by policymakers in Washington, D.C. Please let me know if you are interested in attending one of these two key summits at your earliest convenience.
2022 is off to a fast start on policy matters and the hectic pace is only expected to continue as we approach several high-profile elections later this year. As always, I know that your grassroots involvement will not only help us shape the future of our industry, but, also, assist us in advocating successfully for the banking industry throughout the remainder of the year.