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Rotunda Report
  • Rotunda Report
    March 11, 2024

    Grassroots in Your Backyard

    As the busy 2023-24 legislative session draws to a close, the Advocacy team will shift focus to engage members across the state, meeting them where they are.

    Devin Martin

    Madison Capitol with blooming tulipsMarch 11, 2024 – The first green leaves of tulips and daffodils are beginning to emerge in Madison, hinting that spring is coming soon. The change of seasons also brings an end to the 2023-2024 legislative session at the Capitol.

    The session has been a busy and productive one for the State Bar’s Advocacy Team. A major legislative victory was achieved with the biennial budget including increased investment in the criminal justice system, and many policy changes the State Bar supports are anticipated to become law in the coming weeks. These and other advocacy successes have in part been driven by increased grassroots engagement from State Bar members like you.

    In coming weeks, the focus of State Bar advocacy staff will shift from working with legislators toward growing the grassroots with members around the state. Wisconsin’s new district maps mean that the next legislature will look very different from the current one. This presents new opportunities for grassroots engagement with incumbents and new lawmakers alike. There are many ways to get your colleagues more informed and engaged, including inviting the advocacy team to come to your hometown.

    One of the best ways to start engaging in grassroots efforts is to have the advocacy team work with your local or specialty bar association or law firm to host a meeting with your local legislators. In the past, we have helped organize legislator meetings that ranged from informal meet and greets to roundtable discussions on pressing issues. Such events have taken place in Milwaukee, Waukesha County, Stevens Point, La Crosse, Janesville, Fond du Lac, Appleton, and Wausau, and provide a great way to hear directly from your local lawmakers and ask them questions about issues important to you.

    Devin Martin Devin Martin, is the grassroots outreach coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He can be reached by email, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.

    Another option is to have the advocacy team give a timely legislative update, or an educational “refresher” course on the lawmaking process. Advocacy staff give regular presentations to State Bar Governors and section boards on these topics, and would welcome the opportunity to do so for your local bar or firm as well. These presentations can be tailored to the needs and availability of your group, from hour-long feature presentations to speaking for a few minutes during your regular local bar association meeting.

    Sometimes, of course, the weather, planning conflicts, or global pandemics make in-person meetings a challenge. If traveling to your part of the state becomes a challenge for any reason, another option is conducting virtual presentations. We have hosted successful statewide legislator meetings online that have had more than 100 attendees, and given online presentations to the Marathon County, Sheboygan County, and Winnebago County Bar Associations, among others.

    The Advocacy team would be happy to discuss our work with your local or specialty bar association. Simply email or call grassroots outreach coordinator Devin Martin at or 608-250-6145, and ask about how you can get a presentation for your area.

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