WED AM News: GOP bill would add disclosure requirement for residential property purchases; Biz, environmental groups clash over proposed water regs during hearing

— A circulating GOP bill aims to require buyers of certain residential properties to disclose if they plan to live there.

The goal is to improve housing affordability, advocates say.

Rep. Shae Sortwell sent a co-sponsorship memo to other lawmakers highlighting the legislation. He noted the current seller’s market has prospective buyers making bids on houses that are often accepted within days or even hours. 

“Families competing with one another for single-family houses is the standard for a free and fair market system,” the Two Rivers Republican wrote. “However, when these families have to compete with big corporations making all-cash offers just to rent the houses out at astronomical amounts, the market becomes less affordable and creates a tougher situation trying to secure a place to live.” 

According to an analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau, prospective buyers of residential real property with one to four dwelling units in Wisconsin would be required under the bill to disclose in the contract of sale or option contract if they intend it to be owner-occupied. 

Sortwell argues the legislation aims to combat the issue of affordability in the state’s housing market without “compromising” the free market. 

“This requirement does not violate fair housing law and would give sellers more transparency on who is seeking to buy their homes,” he wrote in the memo. 

The bill comes during a competitive year for homebuyers in the state, according to the latest figures from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. The group’s report covering September found the state’s median home price rose 9.3% over the year, reaching $295,000. 

The WRA has taken a neutral stance on the legislation, according to Sortwell’s memo. 

The co-sponsorship deadline is 5 p.m. Dec. 5. 

See the bill: 

See coverage of the WRA figures: 

— Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce urged a GOP-controlled Assembly committee to modify or object to proposed surface water pollution regulations.

But the DNR argued failing to approve the rule could lead the federal government to step in.

The proposed revision updates the state’s antidegradation policy. It seeks to protect surface water by regulating new or increased pollutant discharges under federal requirements in the Clean Water Act.

WMC has threatened to go to court to block the regulations, which it argues exceed what state law allows. While DNR has estimated two-year costs at $2.5 million, WMC has estimated the costs at more than $56 million.

During yesterday’s Jobs, Economy and Small Business Development Committee hearing, GOP state Rep. Jerry O’Connor asked DNR officials about WMC’s threat of legal action, which he said makes him “take pause.”

Adrian Stocks, DNR water quality program director, said he wasn’t aware of any potential lawsuits. He said changes were made to address WMC’s concerns, including requiring the use of a “less degrading” alternative to a specific pollutant, if possible, rather than the “least degrading” option.

See more at WisPolitics: 

— Hunters registered 173,942 deer during this fall’s gun deer season, a drop of 17.6% statewide compared to last year’s nine-day hunt, the DNR said.

The drop was most pronounced in the northern forest deer management zone, where the number of deer registered was down 30% from 2022.

That decrease was attributed to several factors, including a lack of snow cover during opening weekend that made tracking deer more difficult and a hard winter last year in northern Wisconsin that likely dropped the herd’s population in that region.

Jeff Pritzl, a DNR deer program specialist, noted last year’s harvest was on the high end of the five-year average, making this year’s drop look more significant by comparison. The preliminary numbers for the 2023 hunt were down 11.1% compared to the five-year average.

He also said there were a half-dozen reasons that impacted the harvest and the role of predators in the size of the population is hard to pin down.

The size of the state’s wolf population has been a hotly debated issue in the Capitol, particularly among northern Wisconsin Republicans concerned over the impact on livestock and the deer population.

Pritzl said last year’s harsh winter may have increased the impact of predators, particularly wolves. Still, he added that won’t always be the case, particularly when there are mild winters.

“It’s again just one of those things that’s influenced by the ebb and flow of hunting from year to year,” Pritzl said.

Pritzl also noted there has been a continued shift over the last 30 years toward less of an emphasis on the nine-day gun season and more on other opportunities to hunt.

While preliminary figures show hunters registered 174,942 deer during the nine-day deer hunt, they’ve registered 266,132 statewide so far this year since the opening of bow and crossbow seasons.

Three more hunting seasons before year’s end will impact the total harvest: muzzleloader, a statewide antlerless four-day hunt, and an antlerless-only holiday hunt in some zones.

The numbers show:

*of the 173,942 deer registered during the gun hunt, 85,390 were antlered and 88,552 were antlerless.

*through Sunday, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and conservation patron licenses hit 788,697, including 434,817 for gun privileges only. The year-to-date numbers are down 0.8% compared to last year.

*there were three gun incidents this season, down from eight last season. None were fatal.

The three incidents: a 53-year-old man in Forest County who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot to the foot; a 47-year-old woman who was shot in her thigh in Adams County while walking her dog by a 62-year-old man who shot once believing the dog was a deer; and a 30-year-old man who was shot in the upper thigh by a 35-year-old man during the end of a deer drive. For the past 10 gun seasons, there has been an average of 5.9 incidents.

See the release:

— Hospitals and health systems in Wisconsin had a $2.1 billion “community benefits” impact last year, marking an increase of more than $100 million from the previous year. 

That’s according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s Community Benefits Report covering fiscal year 2022, released yesterday by the industry group. It covers a wide array of community services such as education and charity care, as well as Medicaid losses and other spending. 

By comparison, the total impact for 2021 was just under $2 billion. 

The total for last year includes $276 million in health professions education, $151 million in charity care, $111 million in subsidized health services, $54 million on other public programs, $24.1 million on research and $23 million on nursing home losses, as well as other services and activities. 

WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding in the report highlights the “unwavering dedication” of Wisconsin hospitals, even when “offering services that aren’t financially viable” in the free market. 

“Each day our hospitals provide care to over 1.5 million individuals enrolled in the state Medicaid program, despite receiving roughly 65 cents for every dollar it costs to treat a patient,” Borgerding wrote. 

The report highlights about $1.3 billion in Medicaid shortfalls for 2022, along with $65 million in community health improvement services, $35.8 million in cash or in-kind donations, $9.9 million in community building activities and $10.9 million in community benefit operations. 

It also includes a regional breakdown, showing southeastern Wisconsin saw the largest portion of the community benefits total with nearly $1.2 billion. Others ranged from $361 million in the “Packerland” region of northeastern Wisconsin to just under $16 million in western Wisconsin. 

See the full report here; 

See the financial summary here: 

See the release: 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report…</b></i> 

— Three health initiatives in the state are getting up to $250,000 from the Wisconsin Partnership Program in Madison. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i> 

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— Wisconsin is receiving $1.9 million in new federal technical assistance for small businesses.  

Gov. Tony Evers in a release yesterday announced the funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, to be administered through the state Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. 

These state agencies will award grants to the UW-Madison Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic and the UW Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship, according to the release. The clinic and institute will use the funding to offer legal and financial advice to companies applying for state or federal support. 

Wisconsin will have capacity to help 1,150 small businesses over a five-year period thanks to the grant funding, the release shows. That includes helping 120 new small businesses launch. 

“Our clinic, which serves more than 300 entrepreneurs across the state each year, will be able to increase capacity and create new online legal resources,” L&E Clinic Director Emily Buchholz said in a statement. “Access to attorneys and on-demand technology is a powerful combination with a track record for long-term business success.”

See the release: 

— Six businesses in the state are getting about $1.3 million in USDA funding aimed at opening up new markets for agricultural producers in Wisconsin. 

Funding comes from the agency’s Value-Added Producer Grants program, USDA Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin Julie Lassa said yesterday in a release. 

“These investments are being made in rural businesses across the state whose products range from timber to produce, eggs and pork to wine and distilled spirits,” she said 

Recipients include: Red Door Family Farm in Marathon County; Lakeshore Forest Products in Manitowoc County; Chateau Saint Croix LLC, a winery in Polk County; Ledgerock Distillery LLC in Fond du Lac County; Three Brothers Farm LLC in Waukesha County; and May Hill Farm LLC in Fond du Lac County. 

While May Hill Farm is getting about $50,000, the other recipients are each getting around $250,000. 

See the full list of project awards:  


# Mount Pleasant approves Microsoft deal for data centers on Foxconn land

# Wisconsin could get more electric vehicle chargers if not for one law

# Kosher milk, glass bottles help Lamers Dairy reach 110 years



– Wisconsin farmers continue harvest, fall tillage 


– Government recovers more than $1.2 million for construction workers who built Oconomowoc housing project

– Construction firms to pay $1.2M over wage violations at Pabst Farms

– OSHA fines 2 companies after carpenter fatally injured at Lambeau Field


– Hunters kill 17.6 percent fewer deer during the gun deer season


– Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo dismisses lawsuit against luxury bed maker

– OSHA fines Suamico business $180K over fall hazards in Appleton, Menasha


– Milwaukee-area software firm with $156M growth capital adds ex-Zywave president

– Milwaukee Women inc names first full-time president and CEO


– Making one of the ‘coolest’ things in Wisconsin: Thorogood work boots


– Hundreds of media organizations to visit Milwaukee to prep for RNC


– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher aims his ire at The Satanic Temple tree at National Railroad Museum


– Cambria Hotel in downtown Milwaukee is in foreclosure


– GOP lawmakers circulate bills that would allow Wisconsin to access federal funds to build EV charging stations


– Microsoft data center land deal in Mount Pleasant gains final village approval


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

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