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Evers signs bills setting aside $5.2M for water projects in parks

Among the bills that Gov. Tony Evers signed into law on Wednesday were ones that will make it easier to install stairway lifts in old churches and that will set aside millions for water projects in state parks.

Evers’ office announced Wednesday that the governor had signed 16 bills dealing with a wide variety of subjects. Three of them bear directly on the construction industry.

Senate Bill 125 will take $5.2 million from the state’s Stewardship 2000 Program and set it aside for water infrastructure in state parks. As written, the bill wouldn’t steer the money toward specific projects. But the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources already has certain uses in mind.

Of the total $5.2 million, for instance, $3.3 million would be used to replace toilet and showers at Lake Wissota, Minor Lake, and Peninsula State Parks. And $500,000 would be used to replace plumbing fixtures in parks throughout the state, $250,000 to replace 50 water fountains at state parks and $150,000 to replace 5,100 feet of waters lines at Yellowstone Lake State Park.

Assembly Bill 445 meanwhile allows stairway lifts to be installed in churches that are more than 100 years old even if a church’s stairways are not wide enough to comply with building codes. The legislation was introduced specifically to allow the installation of a lift at Jordan Lutheran Church near Monroe, which dates to 1860.

State Sen. Howard Marklein, a Republican from Spring Green, put the legislation forward after learning that Jordan Lutheran Church’s stairways were too narrow to be equipped with a lift and still comply with building codes and that installing an elevator would be prohibitively expensive. The bill will waive code requirements only for churches that were built before Jan. 1, 1919; have a second stairway between any floors that are connected by stairway chairlift; and otherwise comply with building codes.

Finally, Senate Bill 156 will let designers, architects and engineers keep their professional titles after they’ve retired. They’ll also be exempt from keeping up with continuing-education requirements, as long as they are no longer practicing.

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