Perhaps it is more accurate to say the VU Bill is on life support, but metaphors aside, as the Wisconsin legislative session draws to a close April 3rd, it appears our legislators will not get a chance to vote on our Vulnerable User Bill (SB307 and AB388). Although we believe the VU Bill would pass a voice vote with wide bipartisan support, neither Senate nor Assembly leadership is willing to move the bill in its current form to the floor for a vote. It appears that there are still a handful of key Republicans who are opposed to the bill.
In response to whispers that the opposition is to the penalty enhancements in the bill, we have drafted an amended version that only includes the educational components and will try to get that introduced in the Assembly. Keep your fingers crossed on that, but don’t hold your breath. We will have an update as soon as we know more.
While this is frustrating, it is part of politics and our legislative process. Sometimes it takes more than one session even for majority party legislators to pass important legislation that has broad bipartisan support. For instance over the years, Representative Jim Ott has proposed eight bills to toughen the state’s drunk driving laws. One of his bills to require first-time offenders to appear in court in front of a judge has finally passed the Assembly, and looks like it should pass the Senate, but it has taken multiple sessions to get this far and there is still no guarantee it will be enacted into law.
The point is, we believe the laws to protect more vulnerable road users need to be strengthened and we will not give up just because we did not get the bill to the floor for a vote this session. Our memories of David Landgraff, Robert Gunderson, Tammy Gass, Jeff Littmann and all the other innocent people killed riding their bicycles will keep us fighting to breathe life back into this bill next session and try to nudge the scales of justice closer to balance.