Advocate for Equal Access to the State’s Natural Resources

For some time, the Council has been urging the Wisconsin Legislature to pass Steve’s Law, which would give nondrivers access to the state’s online system for licenses and class registrations related to outdoor recreation. A bill was introduced last session, but it was too late in the session to make it through the entire legislative process. We’re pleased to see that Steve’s Law has been introduced in the State Legislature once again, and a public hearing on the proposal, Senate Bill 310, is scheduled for Thursday, September 21 at 1 p.m. in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage.

Named after the late Steve Johnson, an avid outdoorsman and former Council board member from La Crosse, Steve’s Law would fix a problem with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) online Go Wild system, where you can buy fishing and hunting licenses, register boats and off-road vehicles, and sign up for safety education courses. The system currently requires a driver’s license to establish state residency. It does not accept state ID cards, which can be used for almost all other official identification purposes. This unfair setup denies the 31% of state residents who are nondrivers equal access to state resources.

SB 310 addresses the equity issue by stating that people can use any ID issued by the Department of Transportation, including a state ID card, to establish residency for all approvals issued by the DNR. A driver’s license would no longer be the only acceptable form of identification.

We encourage you to submit written testimony to the Committee expressing your support for the bill and why it’s important to remove this unnecessary obstacle for people with vision loss (and other nondrivers) seeking to participate fully in Wisconsin’s amazing outdoor recreation opportunities.

To submit written testimony, email it to Committee Clerk Sharlene Konkel at by Thursday, September 21. Make sure to reference SB 310 and indicate that you are urging them to approve the bill and move it forward for consideration by the full Senate. You can also register your support over the phone by calling the Legislative Hotline at 800-362-9472 and asking that the Committee Chair receive information about your support for SB 310.

If you are able, please let us know if you have submitted testimony. Thank you for being an advocate for ID equity in Wisconsin!

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