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WRA Government
Affairs Contact:

Susan Quam


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"WRA keeps us informed of political activity and advocates in our best interest so we can focus the majority of our time on running our business."

- Trey Hester
Rocky Rococo of Oconomowoc

Issues & Successes

Wisconsin Issues
WRA works with the Wisconsin Legislature on key political issues that challenge restaurants and taverns.

The Government Accountability Board website lists issues and bills WRA lobbies on during a legislative session. Select the Lobbying Interests tab to view WRA’s activity in the Capitol.

Take Action Now to email Wisconsin legislators on hot issues
under debate.

Combined with our members, WRA has:

2001: State of Wisconsin claims that all unredeemed gift certificates and gift cards are “unclaimed property” and tells 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.”

2004: City of Madison passes an unprecedented local minimum wage requirement.

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

2005 & 2006: An executive order raises Wisconsin’s minimum wage, but WRA blocks 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.

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

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

2009: Bill 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.

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

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

2013: New York City bans soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. The City of Madison discusses similar legislation. WRA gets 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.

2014: Milwaukee Common Council president and Health Department announce 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, and no proposal has been introduced.

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.

2016: There is 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 band together and pass a law preventing local governments from banning or taxing containers, bags, bottles or cans used by retail businesses.

W R A logoWRA helps make your opinions known and carry weight. WRA provides legislative notices as they’re happening, access to government and regulatory agencies and protection for your business as a whole.
Make an impact in government.

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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960