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2021-2022 WPHA-WALHDAB Legislative Priorities

WPHA & WALHDAB are refining our 2021-2022 Legislative Agenda, and we need your input. It typically takes 6 - 10 years to accomplish legislative goals and pass policy on the statewide level. Find more information and ways to provide feedback here!

2019-2020 WPHA-WALHDAB Legislative Priorities


Click here to find the WPHA/WALHDAB Legislative Priorities and justification statements based upon previous legislation. 

WPHA & WALHDAB have released four issue briefs (November 2019) that focus on our 2019-2020 legislative priorities.These issue briefs discuss the background of each of our priorities, include some key talking points, and also the current legislative request.

Early Childhood Education

Criminal Justice Reform

Income Stability and Employment


Additionally, WPHA and WALHDAB support efforts to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars. Medicaid expansion will provide funding to support prevention initiatives that address social determinants and will provide health care coverage to more than 82,000 residents living between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level. According to DHS, the proposal generates $324.5 million in savings which will be invested back into health initiatives focused on prevention.  Accepting federal Medicaid Expansion dollars allows the state to invest in a wide variety of initiatives including the Healthy Women - Healthy Babies Initiative, Lead Poisoning Elimination, Dental Care, Community Health Benefits, and Tobacco Cessation. Click here for an additional document in support of Medicaid Expansion and its benefits.

On Friday, September 14, 2018, the WPHA and WALHDAB Boards approved the 2019-2020 legislative priorities as presented by the WPHA and WALHDAB Joint Public Affairs Committee. After months of discussion, surveys, and data collection, it was evident that three overarching themes should be accounted for in all of our efforts are:

  • Building and retaining public health infrastructure through public health funding.
  • Infusing health and equity in all policies. 
  • Improving public health workforce succession planning to support consistent and efficient delivery of services.

Along with these overarching themes, the Joint Public Affairs Committee decided to detail specific priorities and will actively engage in policy next legislative session that will focus on four social determinants of health. This includes:

  • Criminal justice reform,
  • Early childhood education,
  • Income stability and employment, and
  • Housing.

The following items have been identified and approved as official Legislative Priorities of WPHA and WALHDAB for the 2019-2020 session (in no particular order):

  • Increase treatment alternatives and diversion program (TAD) funding for mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Increase funding allocated to counties for juvenile justice services to fund all costs associated with bringing 17-year-old first time juvenile offenders back to the juvenile justice system.
  • Fully fund School Breakfast Program.
  • Supporting and expanding Paid Family Leave.
  • Increase Earned Income Tax Credit and move from one-time to monthly payments.
  • Increase workforce training/transitional jobs.
  • Establish tax credit for family caregivers.
  • Expand low income housing tax credits for developers and rental assistance vouchers for renters.
  • Funding for programs to eliminate / abate lead paint, soil and pipes, including but not limited to a statutory provision requiring that lead remediation dollars be used for that dedicated purpose.

The Public Affairs Committee, and the WPHA and WALHDAB Boards, are very excited to move in this direction and focus on social determinants of health. We look forward to partnering with you and varying organizations to make progress on these priorities. More information and educational tools will be forthcoming heading into the new legislative session. Please contact the WPHA office with any comments or questions!

WPHA-WALHDAB Legislative Priorities 2017-2018 Session
(Established April 2016)


WPHA conducts its advocacy activities with the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards (WALHDAB).  The WPHA-WALHDAB Public Affairs (PA) Committee met numerous times in the latter half of 2014 in order to identify the organizations’ legislative priorities.  Although we were able to accomplish strides in each legislative priority, we have not completed fully. After review, modifications and approval by both the WPHA and the WALHDAB boards, the organizations’ top legislative priorities are proposed as follows from the Public Affairs Committee:

  • Short-term:  Secure funding for detection and management of communicable and infectious disease.
  • Mid-termAdopt Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule for medical assistance (MA) reimbursement for community prevention activities (e.g., community health workers, health educators, diabetes educators, asthma educators).
  • Long-term:  Infusing health in policy decision-making, with the ultimate goal of a “health in all policies” approach in Wisconsin.

The PA Committee recognizes that these are all substantial issues and that staggering the approach to these is necessary. For instance, budget-related items will be a priority given the state is in the budget-developing process.  The PA Committee also notes the importance of being sensitive to emerging legislative issues and changes in the political landscape.  

A unified message is critical to our success.  We need public health advocates to reach out (letters, phone calls, district meetings, passing resolutions) and make their voices heard on the important role local public health plays in the control and prevention of diseases in our state! 

If you are interested in meeting with your legislators, please reach out to the WPHA Office, or fill out this Key Contact Form. We will be happy to set up a meeting when and where it’s convenient for you, with one of our lobbyists, or with assistance to attend on your own!

Have an issue you would like the Public Affairs Committee to address? Please click here to submit your Member Input form. The PA Committee meets on a monthly basis-check out the meeting minutes by clicking here.

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