Legislative Alerts

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DRAFT BILL LRB-3006/1 & LRB-3181/1

“Membership of certain federated public library system boards”

Regarding minimum number of public library system board members



A draft bill is circulating among legislators seeking co-sponsors to change s. 43.19(1)(b)1.  A copy of the draft bill is found here.

  • Under current law, the board for a federated public library system that has territory in two or more counties must have at least 15 members and not more than 20 members.
  • Under this bill, the system board must have a minimum of 11 members. The maximum remains at 20 members.

That's it. The proposed bill will change the number 15 to 11.

  • The revision does not require any of Wisconsin's library system boards to downsize.
  • It simply allows smaller boards for systems with only a couple of counties.
  • The number 11 was chosen because it is the smallest odd number that allows all Wisconsin library systems to offer fair county representation. (The Indianhead Federated Library System is comprised of 10 counties.)
  • The change would continue to enable fair representation and encourage future efficiencies, especially among smaller systems where a requirement for 15 members would mean additional expense. 

The change was initiated in response to the migration of Jefferson Co. from Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System to join with Waukesha County Federated Library System and form the new Bridges Library System. It has been endorsed by the LD&L Committee and the WLA Board. It has the blessing of the DPI Division for Libraries and Technology. Wisconsin Public Library System Directors have voiced no opposition. 

WLA members and library supporters will be asked to contact their legislators several times during various steps in  THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS as this bill moves forward through committee review to floor action. 


AND SUPPORT LRB-3006/1 & LRB-3181/1! 

Two identical companion bills are currently in draft form identified as LRB-3006/1 and LRB-3181/1; they will be given separate Senate and Assembly bill numbers once they are sent to the clerk in each house. Lead authors are  Senator Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) and Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago). 

A request for co-sponsors was sent to all members of the legislature by Rep. Horlacher on Thursday, September 10. 

Deadline for other legislators to sign on as co-sponsors to both bills is one week from today - Friday, September 18, at 4 PM.


  • IMMEDIATELY. (Don’t delay! They need time to process and decide.) 
    • IDENTIFY YOURSELF to the staff member who answers as a voter who lives in the legislator's district, as a WLA member and/or library professional, trustee, or library supporter. 
    • IDENTIFY THE PROPOSED BILL: "I'm calling about draft companion bills LRB-3006/1 and LRB-3181/1 being circulated by Representative Horlacher and Senator Nass ..."  
    • USE THE TALKING POINTS above to clarify WHAT'S THIS AND WHY NOW. The talking points closely parallel the excellent information sent to legislators by Rep. Horlacher in his request for co-sponsor memo. 
    • MAKE THE ASK: "I'm asking that Senator [insert name here] join Senator Nass as a co-sponsor in support of LRB-3006/1 and LRB-
    • 3181/1….” OR "I'm asking that Representative [insert name here] join Representative Horlacher as co-sponsor in support of LRB-3006/1 and LRB-3181/1...." 
    • Do not expect an immediate answer. Acknowledge that the staff member will need to talk to the legislator before venturing a yes or no. 
    • Make follow up communication easy. Ask the staff member whether you can call again on September 17 to learn whether the legislator will be a co-sponsor. (Some staff may then offer to call you back with an answer.) 
    • Take note of the staff member's name for future follow up and say thank you. Staff members are listed on the legislators' home pages at Wisconsin.Gov  
  • FOLLOW UP on Thursday, September 17 to confirm whether the legislator is on board as a co-sponsor, if you haven't received word since you called. 
  • SEND A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE to the legislator once confirmation is received. Send a second note to the staff member who helped facilitate. (Staff seldom get happy mail; you will be remembered!) 

IS AN EMAIL REQUEST OK AS AN ALTERNATIVE? Yes. You may use the information and guidelines above to send an email request to the legislator's office email address which is usually monitored by a staff member. HOWEVER, given the a tight turnaround, starting with a phone call not only mitigates delay but also provides a better relationship building opportunity with those always-important staff members. Use your judgment if you already have an established relationship with a staff member and prefer to go directly to that person with the ask. 

An excellent show of bi-partisan support for this bill will further legislative relationships as well as establishing WLA as a reliable non-partisan partner or subsequent legislative work such as the Return of Library Materials issue (where a draft is pending).