Look Who Is Behind a Bill to Loosen Lead Paint Inspections

June 17, 2015

Real estate and construction interests, which have contributed about $1.9 million to legislators since January 2011, are backing a bill that would loosen lead paint inspection requirements in Wisconsin.

The measure has drawn support from the Wisconsin Realtors Association, Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee and the Apartment Association of South Central Wisconsin.

The state has rules for inspecting and testing for lead-based paints before renovations are done on dwellings built before 1978.

The measure, Senate Bill 178, creates an exemption from state lead inspection requirements for lead sampling and testing for renovation projects. Under current law, a dwelling that undergoes a renovation does not have to be inspected if the presence of lead-based paint is assumed, and tests are done, and the renovation is performed in a lead-safe manner.

Ninety percent, or nearly $1.7 million, of the contributions made by construction and real estate interests between January 2011 and December 2014 to all legislators went to Republican lawmakers, who control the Assembly by a margin of 63-36 and the Senate by a margin of 19-14.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Mary Lazich and GOP Rep. Michael Kuglitsch, both of New Berlin. Kuglitsch received about $6,000 and Lazich received about $4,300 from real estate and construction interests between January 2011 and December 2014.

Kuglitsch’s top contributors from the real estate and construction industries between January 2011 and December 2014 were David Schmidt, of Grafton, a C.G. Schmidt construction company executive, and his wife, Tracy, $1,000; Roger Dibble, of Brookfield, a general contractor with Venture Development, and his wife, Karen, $1,000; and Associated Builders and Contractors’ state political action committee (ABC PAC), $750.

Lazich’s top real estate and construction industry contributors between January 2011 and December 2014 were the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin PAC, $1,000; ABC PAC, $500; Todd Rasmussen, of Big Bend, a contractor with Affordable Heating & Air Conditioning, $500; and Ralph Gorenstein, of Milwaukee, president of Bell Property Management, $500.