Latest on Service Animals, CO Detectors,
Brand USA and More 
July 17, 2014 


Dear WH&LA Lodging Member:  

One of the many benefits of being a member of BOTH your state association (WH&LA) and our national association (AH&LA) is that you gain valuable information on BOTH state regulations & legislation and on Federal regulations & legislation. If you have not yet renewed your membership in WH&LA this may be the last free resource you will receive from us, so please renew quickly! If you are a Brand property, be sure to renew your AH&LA membership through your Brand, and if you are not a Brand property, be sure to renew or join AH&LA through us to ensure you receive their information direct.

Service Animals - The Latest ADA Interpretations
AH&LA is hosting a new webinar on July 31 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. CDT covering the many questions that lodging properties have relating to Service Animals and what your property can and cannot do relating to guests wishing to bring or showing up with "Service Animals". This is a special offering just for AH&LA Members, so be sure to have your AH&LA Member ID # handy when you register.

New Rest Area with Tourism Information in La Crosse 
Yesterday Governor Walker announced that in 2016, as part of an Interstate 90 reconstruction project, a new Rest Area will be built in La Crosse for travelers entering and leaving our state, which will house Wisconsin's state Tourism Information, as well as space for the local area CVB's information. Read more about the project here.

New International Building and Fire Codes Published This Summer
The lodging industry has been watching the development of proposed new International Building and Fire Codes that are not mandatory, but frequently are adopted as regulations by states within a few years of introduction. The new 2015 Codes will be published sometime this summer; however, the Code Committee creating the new draft has shared some of the content in advance.

What makes this important in Wisconsin is that the portion of the Codes relating to carbon monoxide detectors in lodging properties, overturns a 2012 International Code recommendation that required a CO detector in each guest room. Wisconsin is one of the few states that passed CO detector requirements prior to 2012 and did NOT require a CO detector in each guest room, but allowed for specific installation locations near fuel combustion units instead, a much more reasonable and yet safe requirement. With the 2015 codes coming out shortly that are closer to our state requirements, any further pressure to expand our state requirements to the "in every room" concept to comply with the International Code recommendations should be eliminated. This is good news for Wisconsin!

August 12 Primary in Wisconsin
While WH&LA published more extensive coverage of the state and congressional elections in an early June Capitol Insider, following the formal release of candidate rosters, it is important to be aware of your district and if there is a primary that you can vote in. There are a number of districts with multiple candidates from just one party, meaning that the position will be filled by the winner in the primary, so please don't just assume it may not be important. Please mark both August 12 and November 4, and be sure to exercise your right to vote in selecting who represents you in state government and in Congress.   

On July 15, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act (H.R. 4450) was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a unanimous vote. This important legislation, introduced by Congressmen Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Peter Welch (D-VT), would take the crucial step of reauthorizing Brand USA until FY 2020. AH&LA and many partner states were extremely active on this in the days leading up to the vote, securing additional cosponsors for the legislation and urging the committee members to vote for the bill.   
This program has been very successful attracting tourists from around the world, given us a competitive edge, and provided invaluable stimulus for the continued strength of our industry and the national economy, and all at no cost to taxpayers. Last year, Brand USA's efforts resulted in: 
  • 1.1 million additional visitors to the U.S. who spent
  • $3.4 billion on travel and purchases, resulting in
  • $7.4 billion in total sales, which supported over
  • 53,000 new U.S. jobs, and generated
  • $1 billion in total sales tax revenue.

The unanimous vote demonstrates an awareness among members of Congress of the vital need for continuing this program and providing further stimulus. The bill now moves to the full House of Representatives for a vote. AH&LA is continuing to reach out to members of Congress (especially to Congressman Tom Petri and Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, if you live in their districts) on this bill and urges AH&LA lodging property members to click here to contact your congressman and ask for their support. 


Contact: Trisha Pugal
Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association