Wisconsin lawmakers introduce act for presidential candidates to pay bills back

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 11:19 AM CST
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Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) and Representative Amanda Stuck (D- Appleton) introduced the Recovery of Unsettled Municipal Payments Act Monday.

Senator Smith says this act will prohibit a presidential or vice-presidential campaign with outstanding bills from receiving a permit for another event until all debts are paid.

"It is a strong motivation especially since Wisconsin is going to be the battleground state in 2020. There is going to be a lot of activity here so all the better that at the beginning of the year we set the ground rules and let these campaigns know that we mean business," Smith says.

It will also allow municipalities to charge in advance of the events for costs related to police and sanitation services.

"The presidential campaigns are using public resources for their rallies and for their enhancement of their campaigns and they should definitely pay the bill," Smith says.

Smith also said the cities of Eau Claire and Green Bay still have outstanding bills for presidential campaign visits for the 2016 election, with the biggest being the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign owes Eau Claire $47,398.

Smith says he hopes to see bipartisan support.

"This is not a partisan issue at all," Smith says. "We should be sure that we are supporting our communities that are already stretched thin and can't budget and plan ahead for that extra cost."

Smith released this following statement saying, “It’s one thing to ask for our vote, it’s another to ask us to pick up your tab. Charging campaigns in advance of events protects our municipal budgets and sends a clear message that Wisconsin voters value someone who pays their way. Pay up, or don’t come back!”

Representative Amanda Stuck also released a statement saying, "While it is great to see presidential candidates visiting Wisconsin, property tax payers should not be left on the hook for the increased costs to local law enforcement agencies. This legislation makes sure that candidates visiting Wisconsin pay their bills beforehand, so that local communities aren’t left footing the bill."