This page describes some of the items and issues we are following at the State and Federal Level.
On Monday, March 15th, 2010 SB 482 was signed by Governor Doyle completing the passage of our amended athletic training practice act. Attending the signing were Governor Doyle (seated) and standing from left to right, Denny Helwig, WATA President-Elect Ryan Wilkinson, Rep. Louis Molepske, WATA Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Mike Van Veghel, Sen. David Hansen and WATA President Joe Greene. Not pictured are Mindy Walker and Scott Stenger of Stenger Government Relations.
The past few weeks brought forth a flurry of legislative activity regarding management of concussion in both houses of the legislature. As you may have heard, two bills were introduced by two different authors: Rep Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-Fox Hills). The bills are quite similar but do have some key differences. Representative Fields has passed his bill, AB 259, in the assembly in the late night hours just prior to the end of the Assembly floor period. This was the initial bill that was authored and which we lobbied extensively to seek key fundamental changes as to how the bill is administered and applied in practice. The assembly bill has been amended several times, some due to our discussions and recommendations, others seemingly out of the blue. The version that passed the assembly is attached for your review.
The senate concussion bill is taking a more deliberate procedural path and it is currently awaiting executive session in the Senate Committee on Public Health, Human Services and Revenue. Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), chairs that committee and is a physician who practices in Wausau. As of now, Sen. Galloway’s committee has not offered a particular stand on the language of either bill. Likewise, neither bill has yet been scheduled for “executive session” which is where the respective committees vote on the bills under their charge. What happens next will depend on how Sen. Galloway’s committee wishes to proceed.
The GAC along with our lobby team of Scott Stenger and Matt Phillips have been is regular contact with the respective authors and committee members regarding the language contained within these bills. Many questions and uncertainties remain unanswered at this time both in terms of what will happen next and how the respective bills will be implemented and regulated for compliance. We are hoping for inclusion of language that acknowledges the need for implementation of an Emergency Action Plan as well as training on other potentially fatal conditions such as SAD/SCA and heat illness. We are hopeful that both bills will maintain inclusion of youth athletic organizations and leagues that extend beyond traditional high school/WIAA member schools.
As of yet, there are no specific guidelines regarding any aspect of the nature of “training” required of “Health Care Providers” to decide/approve return to play status following a concussion. It is important to note that in this context, a “health care provider” is ANY health care provider acting within their scope of practice licensed or certified by the state that has had training in the recognition and management of concussion, head injuries etc.
Fortunately, by tabling her committee action for the time being, Sen. Galloway has offered us some time to discuss this issue further and has graciously offered her time to hear “our side” of the story. The current “floor period” has closed and the Legislature will not reconvene until January however, they can return for a “special session” at any time so your input on this manner is VERY IMPORTANT. If possible, we will attempt to schedule a visit with Sen. Galloway either in her home district (Wausau) or here in Madison in the coming weeks.
We are incredibly fortunate to have Scott Stenger and Matt Phillips representing us in the Capitol. It has become very clear that they are the best in the business and the WATA is in very good legislative hands. Judy Pulice is an incredible resource for us at the NATA office. She keeps us updated as to new developments that are occurring nationally and provides us with a unique perspective on potential wording/amendments. The GAC also wishes to thank WATA President Ryan Wilkinson and WATA Member Michael Moll for testifying before the Assembly and Senate committees. In addition we would like to thank the following for offering ongoing support of our efforts as we strive to make this bill the best it can be:
Please review the attached materials and forward any questions, concerns or comments to the GAC chair Mike Van Veghel. Thank you for your time and for your dedication to the WATA and those whom we serve.
Mike Van Veghel LAT: WATA Governmental Affairs Committee
Ab 259 bill history with links to the many amendments can be found here: