On behalf of the Waukesha Water Utility, MS&A worked to help pass the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin. Many legislators and stakeholders were opposed to providing water to communities beyond the surface water divide. Other legislators and stakeholders said the proposed Great Lakes Compact, which will regulate the use of Lake Michigan water, was overly restrictive. MS&A worked with key lawmakers in both houses and the Department of Natural Resources to ensure that the historic Compact passed.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community is concerned about the potential impacts of global warming both on Wisconsinís environment and on environments around the world. MS&A worked with the Tribe to make them one of the most active and influential members of the year-long Governorís Task Force on Global Warming. With our help, the Tribe was extremely influential in offering recommendations for key aspects of the Task Force, including recommendations for an enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard, a regional cap and trade system, and a state Forest Legacy Program. In addition, through our work the Tribe was also successful in negotiating restrictions on the inclusion of large Canadian hydro power in the definition of renewable energy, to address concerns about the need for in-state renewable energy development and jobs, as well as the impacts that hydro power has had on First Nations in Canada.
When a legislative committee recommended a state budget amendment to weaken the stateís requirements for utilities to use renewable energy, a renewable energy company contacted MS&A for help. Our firm successfully worked with legislative leaders to remove the provision from the state budget bill.
A state conservation group needed help in convincing legislators to enact a major increase in state funding for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, which preserves unique areas of Wisconsin from development. MS&A designed and managed a grassroots campaign, including direct mail and phone calls, which successfully motivated constituents to contact key legislators in large numbers. In the end, the Stewardship Fund was increased in the state budget by 43%, to $86 million per year.
MS&A organized an effort to prevent passage of the Two Cents for Tooth Sense legislative proposal to add a tax on soft drinks. A significant association-backed grassroots letter-writing effort generated several hundred letters of opposition to targeted state lawmakers. In the end, the proposed soft drink excise tax was not approved as separate legislation, nor was it added to the 2007-09 state budget.
Preventing the adoption of legislation singling out bottled water for increased regulation or taxation has been a central focus of the Wisconsin Beverage Association. Working with a coalition of stakeholders, MS&A was successful in ensuring the beverage industryís interests and concerns were represented and considered during the development of legislation implementing the Great Lakes Compact.
Through the Wisconsin Beverage Association, MS&A worked with the American Beverage Association to develop a response to a recent claim that a container deposit program in Wisconsin will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our comments and our subsequent participation as part of a related stakeholder workgroup served to persuade stakeholders that a broader focus on enhanced curbside recycling was the preferred approach.
MS&A facilitated several meetings with lawmakers to urge passage of legislation to permit malt beverage samples at grocery stores. The bill was signed into law.
MS&A represented the Miller Brewing Company in the development and passage of legislation to regulate the sale of scrap metal to prevent kegs from being stolen and sold as scrap metal. The bill was recently signed into law.
On behalf of a coalition of union fire sprinkler fitters and fire sprinkler contractors, MS&A built a broad-based group in support of adopting the 2006 International Building Code (IBC), a national model code, which included policy on installing automatic fire sprinkler systems in all newly constructed multi-family dwellings. In conjunction with several fire service organizations, MS&A pulled together a massive public relations effort, which included editorial board visits and guest columns in daily newspapers all over the state. In spite of strong opposition by one of the largest, most powerful lobby groups, the Wisconsin Builders Association, our collective efforts prevailed.
When a manufacturer of fire protection equipment contacted MS&A looking to pass legislation requiring carbon monoxide alarms in certain residential and commercial buildings, it was already well into the legislative session. Despite opposition from groups like the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, we were able to build a successful case for the need to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. A bill was signed into law that will require carbon monoxide alarms in hotel/motels, resorts, single-unit cabins, and all multi-family dwellings and dormitories.
Despite deep cuts in the original Assembly version of budget to the Building Program (more than $65 million), MS&A was able to work on behalf of the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association to preserve nearly all of the Building Commissionís recommendations for a $1.3 billion budget for the stateís Building Program. In addition, we were able to ensure that portions of the renewable energy grant were preserved and funding for the Youth Apprenticeship Program was increased.
When a proposal was introduced and approved by the Joint Finance Committee by a vote of 9-7 to remove the requirement to display two license plates thereby allowing Wisconsin motorists to use only one license plate on the back of the vehicle, the Wisconsin Troopers Association sprung into action. MS&A worked diligently to prove the public safety value of displaying two license plates. Creating an alliance with a variety of groups including; 3M, school bus drivers, missing and exploited children organizations and gas station owners, we successfully led the lobbying effort to overturn the proposal.
It was the entire focus of Omnlink Systems to develop and preserve funding in the state budget for a state-funded program at the Department of Corrections to monitor child sex offenders with electronic tracking devices. We worked with Assembly Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Governor to develop a program based in part on the Kansas model, a model preferred by our client. Additionally, we were able to preserve the funding, even when the Corrections budget package, which included funding for GPS tracking, fell apart and many programs were ultimately cut.
Native American tribes opposed a proposal for a metallic
mine on the Wolf River for more than two decades when MS&A was
asked to join the fight. MS&A worked to craft and advance bills
to close loopholes in state mining laws. MS&A also directed
multi-media campaigns of TV, radio, direct mail, billboards and
phone banks to support the bills and oppose the mine. Within 18
months of MS&A's involvement, the public and government attention
to the controversy led the owner of the mine - the largest diversified
mining company in the world - to put the site up for sale. Soon
after, MS&A's client and another tribe purchased the site from
a new owner for a fraction of previous estimates of its worth. The
mining permit was withdrawn and the controversy ended.
A coalition of telecommunications companies approached
MS&A when their State contract was approaching time for renewal.
Martin Schreiber & Associates helped define the benefits that
a contract renewal would bring to the state, including cutting edge
infrastructure development, job creation and retention, benefits
to schools, and taxpayer savings. MS&A's efforts helped the
client win renewal of this major state contract.
When the state budget proposed giving local governments
the authority to impose new fees on tax-exempt property, a client
objected, noting that the fees would reduce nonprofit organization
funds for charitable activities. By organizing a coalition of fraternal
benefit societies, charities, churches and business groups to oppose
the provision, MS&A convinced the governor to veto the proposal.
Protecting the animal health lab was a top priority for
Wisconsin's veterinarians, but probationary accreditation by a national
association put the lab at risk. MS&A worked with veterinarians
to demonstrate the importance of the lab to the detection of disease
in animal herds and to the quality of Wisconsin's agriculture industry.
MS&A's strategic planning and grassroots advocacy won the legislative
and gubernatorial support needed to rebuild the laboratory, meeting
the veterinarians' goal.
During a highly-charged political session, MS&A helped
the Miller Brewing Company build a broad coalition that reached
across party lines to achieve bipartisan approval of a landmark
drunk driving bill. Together with Wisconsin law enforcement, the
hospitality industry and labor, Miller Brewing and MS&A won
the attention of the key legislators who successfully pushed the
issue to the forefront of the legislative agenda.
Through effective research techniques, a vigorous grassroots
campaign and targeted legislative efforts, MS&A guided the Wisconsin
Troopers Association in making the case that their interests - and,
in turn, the public's interests - were ill-served through its current
bargaining unit. MS&A successfully sought a statutory change
creating a separate law enforcement bargaining unit, meeting the
When an important government services contract was about
to expire, a financial business turned to MS&A for help. The
company wanted the State to issue an RFP instead of simply extending
the current contract with its competitor. MS&A worked with the
client to identify and frame the messages that, through MS&A's
contacts, convinced a reluctant state board to allow the competition
the client was seeking.
MS&A developed a comprehensive plan - including polling,
advertising, public relations and lobbying - that allowed the Forest
County Potawatomi Community to win approval of a Milwaukee casino
expansion, despite the determined opposition of the state's strongest
mayor and its largest newspaper. Our two-year campaign led well-known
talk show commentator Charlie Sykes to say "no other firm could
have done it" when the city council overrode the mayor's veto.
MS&A successfully defended Wisconsin's soft drink industry
against an expensive, bureaucratic sticker tax for vending machines.
Added to the budget with bipartisan support in two consecutive years,
the proposal had all the makings of a done deal. But MS&A successfully
defeated the legislation - not once, but twice - by convincing legislators
of the significant policy flaws associated with the vending sticker
Building coalitions across party lines and between industry
players, MS&A successfully protected the interests of a small
business while helping guide Wisconsin's Telecommunications Act
through often-changing political waters.
New job options opened for trade union members when MS&A
used legislative knowledge and executive branch insight to help
them gain expanded licensing opportunities.