Working on Solutions to Improve Water Quality in Wisconsin – Session 5 – Kevin Konkol

“Working on Solutions to Improve Water Quality in Wisconsin”

by Kevin Konkol

The second day of Session Five from the Capitol in Madison was filled with more learning opportunities.  Jason Mugnaini discussed a day in the life of being the Chief of Staff for Senator Luther Olson.  Jason has been in this profession for over nine years and really enjoys “diving” into policy and working with various committees and groups.  Jason stated that there is a lot of information that gets published overnight and then his team needs to analyze the information the very next day.  Jason was particularly excited about 13 legislative bills that are currently being drafted relating to improving water quality in the state.  One of the bills introduced will be to “provide a marketplace to trade water quality credits between point and non-point sources.”  The goal of the bill is to encourage farmers to install conservation practices such as grass waterways, manure storage, or manure digesters in return for receiving “water quality credits.” The credits that farmers receive can then be sold on a marketplace to municipalities to help their water treatment facilities comply with stringent phosphorus standards.  He mentioned that committees have been working on these bills since 2017!  Jason stated that there are 60 co-sponsors of these bills and they have also been viewed favorably by the Environmental Protection Agency. He is hoping that the bills will get legislative approval before the end of February.  Thanks to Jason and his extensive knowledge, I have gained a new appreciation for how much time and effort is involved with getting these bills drafted and moved to the legislative floor for a vote!