2018 - Statewide Victory

The Leading on Lead Bill (AB 78/SB 48)

Lead in drinking water is a real crisis in Wisconsin. It causes serious health problems like low IQ, mental illness, and increased violent behavior. Thousands of children and families are at risk in Wisconsin. In fact, even a very limited EPA study showed that Wisconsin has over 176,000 lead service lines carrying water to homes and businesses all over the state.

AB 78/SB 48, introduced by Sen. Rob Cowles and Rep. Jeremy Theisfeldt, allows greater flexibility for municipalities to help families replace dangerous lead pipes. When the bill was introduced, bipartisan support was overwhelming in the state legislature, with 55 cosponsors split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Then the state’s biggest industry lobby group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), came out against the bill, and it came to a screeching halt.

With just two weeks to get AB 78/SB 48 back on track, conservation voters leaped into action, sending over 2,500 emails to their decision makers, signing 247 petitions in one day, and making dozens of phone calls to decision makers. Over 100 health and faith professionals and organizations wrote a letter to the legislature, calling for action. Thanks to you and the efforts of our staff, volunteers, and partner organizations, WMC withdrew its opposition, and AB 78/SB 48 was signed into law.