Despite expectations by scenic advocates that the bill would pass after the hearing by the Assembly Committee on House and Real Estate, the bill did not pass in the assembly. This bill would have relaxed building codes for historic barns so that it would be practical to upgrade them to use for social events. Many old barns with their gambrel roofs are charming sites for events such as weddings and receptions. The bill was a revision of a bill introduced earlier in the session which was a modification of a bill on this subject introduced, but did not pass, in the session ending May 2016.
Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin was the only organization registered and active in support of this bill, while the Tavern League and the Realtors Association opposed it. The Tavern League saw improved barns as competition to taverns and the Realtors argued that relaxed requirements for barns was an unfair advantage while other newer buildings for social events were held to higher standards. The League of Municipalities did not take a position on this issue.
Author Rep. Travis Tranel of Cuba City (near Platteville) in southwestern Wisconsin has said that he will try again next year. Tranel has a love of the iconic old structures which are gradually disappearing from the Wisconsin landscape.
18 Jan 2018