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WISCONSIN RESTAURANT ADVOCACy

Here to protect the industry and advance laws and regulations for the industry and create a better business environment for businesses to thrive.

Susan Quam

For more information, contact:

Susan Quam | Executive Vice President

608.216.2875

squam@wirestaurant.org

Action Center

Make a difference in local, state and national politics just by getting involved.

Get Involved

 

ISSUES & SUCCESSES

WRA works with the Wisconsin Legislature on key political issues that challenge restaurants and taverns. The Government Accountability Board website lists the issues and bills WRA lobbies on during a legislative session. Select the Lobbying Interests tab to view WRA’s activity in the Capitol. You can also Take Action Now to email Wisconsin legislators on hot issues under debate!

Combined with our members, WRA has:

2018

Passed Employment Law Standardization Act

WRA pushed to pass this law that pre-empts municipalities from enacting local employment laws such as “fair Scheduling” or mandating specific employment benefits – this ensures that employment laws are set at the state level allowing businesses to develop scheduling and benefit packages that work best for their employees.

2017

Repeal of Personal Property Tax

WRA succeeded in partially repealing the onerous personal property tax on restaurant equipment that unfairly singled out restaurants – this will mean reduced taxes for some restaurant businesses

View Advocacy Events

2016

There was a wave of major cities around the nation banning plastic bags, polystyrene, coated papers and other specific types of containers used by restaurants. WRA and other business-sector groups banded together and passed a law preventing local governments from banning or taxing containers, bags, bottles or cans used by retail businesses.

2015

A secret budget provision would have eliminated the liquor licenses of hundreds of restaurant operators around the state, putting many of them out of business without compensation. WRA uncovered this secret maneuver and convinced Governor Walker to veto the provision from the budget bill.

2014

Milwaukee Common Council president and Health Department announced the development of a restaurant grading system that would require placards with letter grades on restaurants’ front doors. WRA rallied members in Milwaukee to attend meetings and contact alders. WRA remains engaged in this battle, as city leaders introduced the system without going through the Common Council.

2001 – 2014

2013: New York City banned soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. The City of Madison discussed similar legislation. WRA got a state law passed preventing local governments from regulating serving sizes, nutritional values, nutritional labeling or types of foods that may be served in restaurants.

2011: WRA helped to pass a state ban on local regulation of sick leave benefits and Family and Medical Leave, killing the Milwaukee sick leave mandate.

2010: City of Superior debated a plan to ban toys and other prizes in kids’ meals offered by restaurants. WRA staff and members served up the facts to Council members, and defeated the proposal.     

2009: A bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader to create automatic, annual minimum wage hikes and allow local minimum wage ordinances. WRA rallied members and got the measure pulled from the state budget, then defeated the bill in the Assembly Labor Committee.

2008: Milwaukee voters approved a ballot initiative requiring a paid sick leave benefit for all employees. WRA joined a business-sector lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee and delayed implementation of the sick leave ordinance until 2011.

2006: WRA championed a state law preventing obesity-related lawsuits against restaurants.

2005 & 2006: An executive order raised Wisconsin’s minimum wage, but WRA blocked a commensurate increase in the server wage. In fact, there has not been a significant increase in the server wage since 1981. WRA knows that wage increases are needed more in the back of the house. Forcing higher wages in the front of the house is counterproductive.

2005: WRA got a new state law passed that nullified Madison’s minimum wage and prevented all local governments from setting their own minimum wages.

2001: State of Wisconsin claimed that all unredeemed gift certificates and gift cards are “unclaimed property” and told retail businesses to turn over the proceeds of unused gift obligations to the state treasurer. WRA pushed through legislation clarifying that unused gift cards are not “unclaimed property.”

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WRA-POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

WRA’s Political Action Committee (WRA-PAC) helps elect state and local candidates that aim to benefit our industry. WRA-PAC combines contributions from individuals to distribute funds to candidates for greater effect (business donations are allocated to Wisconsin RAF).

Contributions must be personal contributions, not from a business.
DONATE TO PAC

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GET INVOLVED: CAMPAIGN SUPPORT

The WRA Conduit program helps you distribute your personal funds to any candidate for local or state office, at any time. As an individual, you have full control over your political contributions -or- contributions may also be pooled for larger impact.

DONATE TO Conduit fund

The Restaurant Advocacy Fund

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association Advocacy Fund (RAF) educates members and the public on legislative issues that impact Wisconsin restaurants.  Through RAF, members receive the Capitol Report newsletter and are updated on important legislative issues.  Get involved with our community of passionate restaurant industry advocates.

The RAF helps to:

  • Keep restaurateurs on top of changes in laws and regulations
  • Fight for legislation that’s positive for restaurants and challenge legislation that can harm our industry     
  • Get restaurateurs involved in political decisions
  • Ultimately, help protect Wisconsin’s restaurants
DONATE TO RAF

CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS

When the Wisconsin Legislature is in session, WRA lobbies to shape public policy. But when campaign season comes around, WRA works to shape the legislature by supporting candidates we can expect to support our key issues during their term. WRA’s candidate endorsement process gives all candidates the opportunity to inform us where they stand on key issues that impact our industry and the state’s economy as a whole. WRA meets with, interviews and educates candidates on issues that may be coming up in the Capitol in the near future. Help pick candidates worthy of WRA’s support or share information with WRA about candidates that support our industry and small business.

Contact WRA

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does WRA lobby on the issues it does?

  • Looking out for restaurants and their best interest. We only lobby on things that relate to business. Small business —
  • Want restaurants to thrive - concentrate on what on they do best, being hospitable, and providing an engaging place.

Why and how do you endorse candidates?

WRA works to shape the legislature by supporting candidates we can expect to support key issues that impact the restaurant industry and the state’s economy as a whole.  All candidates have the opportunity to inform WRA about their stance on key issues WRA interviews in person and via questionnaires and educates candidates about potential issues that impact the restaurant industry and small businesses in Wisconsin.

How do I get involved?

There are many ways to help with WRA’s advocacy efforts. Whether it’s testifying at hearings, talking with legislators at Restaurant Advocacy Day at the capitol or contacting legislators on important issues, grassroots involvement from restaurant operators is an absolute necessity for lobbying success. On a federal level, Wisconsin restaurant industry professionals have the opportunity to attend the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington DC every year to lobby on important federal issues that affect the restaurant industry and small businesses. Contributions to the WRA Political Action Committee and Restaurant Advocacy Fund are also essential in supporting WRA’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the restaurant industry.
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