Wisconsin is soon to become the first state in the nation to regulate the activities of traveling sales crews, although not everyone at the state Capitol is sold on the a new law.
State Senate debate grew contentious on Tuesday with West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman saying the new law will drive at least one company, which contracts with college students, out of Wisconsin: “once again Wisconsin, the most regulated state in the Union . . . we're going to be the first state in the country that will not allow this business, which has been around for 140 years, to not continue their business model.”
The bill's author, Waunakee Democrat Jon Erpenbach, said no one will lose a summer job because of the new regulations. “I hear the company saying 'we don't want to, we shouldn't have to, you should exempt because we've been around for 140 years, and we take college kids and we help them build up their own business,' and that's all a wonderful thing,” said Erpenbach. “But we all know how difficult it is to exempt one company.”
The bill, inspired by a 1999 van crash near Janesville which killed seven young people on a magazine sales crew, requires crew members to be employees of the sales companies, rather than independent contractors.
Phil Ellenbacher's daughter, Malinda Turvey, was one of the victim's of the crash, which occurred on April 24, 1999, ten years to day from Tuesday's debate at the Capitol. “I think they may have passed it just because they wanted to get rid of me,” joked the 60 year-old Verona resident, who's been advocating for the legislation for as long as Erpenbach. “It's the most incredible thing I've ever experienced,” said Ellebacher after Tuesday's vote in the Senate. “Words can't describe how I feel. I'm just overjoyed.”