Forward Thinking – Wisconsin Climate Change Bills

#5 – Wisconsin Lawmakers – State Climate Change Bills

This week, a group of legislators released 22 bills to reduce the effects of climate change and make Wisconsin more sustainable. These bills were spearheaded by representatives across the state including Representative Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, who said “We have no time to waste if we want to give young people a fighting chance. We have a crisis on our hands, but we also have an opportunity to make life better for each other and for the people who come after us.” There are four bills in particular that forward the mission of our organization, here is a brief summary of those bills:

AB 789 – Climate Change Local Planning

When local governments prepare comprehensive plans, they must also include consideration for the impacts of climate change. This bill also provides funding and state staffing to support this additional work. For 25 years, 1000 Friends has been the go-to organization on land use in Wisconsin and we continue to support more funding for comprehensive planning. We applaud the addition of climate change considerations to the comprehensive planning process.

AB 796 – Complete Streets

WisDOT must consider bikeways and pedestrian paths in all road reconstruction projects funded with state or federal money. This bill would restore the complete streets language to its original form before it was weakened in 2015. 1000 Friends remains a steadfast advocate for complete streets, promoting it through our Active Wisconsin coalition, hosting a webinar all about the benefits of complete streets, and promoting this policy during our presentation to theGovernor’s Task Force for Climate Change.

AB 800 – Long-Range Transportation Planning

WisDOT’s long range transportation planning must include a vision for low-carbon public transit, electrification of the transportation sector, cost-effective charging infrastructure, incentives to develop equitable, clean transportation options, and transportation solutions for underserved areas of the state. 1000 Friends continues to push these goals, which align closely with the major policy recommendations from our Blueprint 2050 report and our presentation to the Governor’s Task Force for Climate Change.

LRB 0248 – Urban Forestry Grants

Increase funding for DNR’s urban forestry program designed to mitigate the “urban heat island” effect. Urban forestry, or planting trees and creating more green spaces in cities, can help to cool neighborhoods and reduce the urban heat island effect, improve air quality, and mitigate these effects of climate change. 1000 Friends advocates for more urban forestry funding as a member of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council, in our organization’s budget recommendations, and our recent urban forestry webinar series.

These lawmakers ongoing commitment to reducing emissions and investing in Wisconsin communities will support local economic growth and have positive climate impacts. Our state needs more forward thinking leaders who strive to meet both local needs and address climate change!

Check out our previous entries in the Forward Thinking series:

#4 – City of Eau Claire – Roadmap to EV Adoption

#3 – La Crosse Municipal Transit – Embracing the Future

#2 – City of Racine – Embracing Commuter Rail

#1 – Bayfield County – Fixing Local Roads and Building Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in Rural Wisconsin