State Assembly Passes Bill to Improve Tractor Safety

Submitted photo

(OnFocus) The State Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a bill that will provide state funding for the Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program.

Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of accidental death on farms. The funding will allow farmers to offset up to 70 percent of the cost of retrofitting their tractors with the structure. An ROPS is 99 percent effective, when used with a seatbelt, in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn.

Assembly Bill 31 was written and championed by Representative Bob Kulp and Senator Patrick Testin, along with Senator Kathy Bernier, and Representative Tony Kurtz, who survived a tractor rollover himself.

Farmer Ken Seehafer was retrofitted with an ROPS. Submitted photo.

“The bill will result in more farm tractors being retrofitted, and help prevent injury and death from occurring,” said Rep. Kulp. “Improving workplace safety for farmers and making safety features affordable is the right thing to do. The bi-partisan support for the bill demonstrates that farm safety is an issue that everyone supports.”

The bill authorizes the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to provide grants for the purpose of the reimbursement program.

Glen Wendt and his family won a free ROPS at the 2018 Farm Tech Days through National Farm Medicine Center. Submitted photo.

Applications will be open once funding is allocated by the state. The Senate version of the bill has made its way through committee and will proceed to the floor for a full vote.

In 2013, the National Farm Medicine Center established a Wisconsin Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program which has retrofitted 300 tractors in 30-plus counties. This program is possible due to philanthropic support from the Auction of Champions held annually in Marshfield.

The NFMC program is open to all Wisconsin farmers. Farmers can visit www.ropsr4u.com for more info.

Two other bills authored by Representative Bob Kulp were also passed by the State Assembly on Thursday.

This includes Senate Bill 489, which allows those participating in clinical trials to be reimbursed for expenses related to the trial, and clarifies that financial support may be offered to patients for ancillary costs through an organization’s support of a reimbursement entity or program.

“Approximately 20 percent of cancer clinical trials fail due to insufficient patient enrollment, and participation in a clinical trial frequently involves a lot of travel to medical appointments. Our bill will help cancer patients who don’t have the personal funds to cover out-of-pocket expenses like gas mileage and hotel stays during their treatment, but who want to participate in a clinical trial,” said Kulp.

The bill passed the Senate with bi-partisan support and will head to the governor’s desk for signing.

Senate Bill 613, also passed, clarifies whether a “breach of peace” occurs when collateral or leased goods are repossessed, and protects a person who repossesses vehicles from liability under certain circumstances.

“The proliferation of claims relating to breach of the peace based on a consumer’s objection has occurred throughout the state. This bill will allow lenders and repossession agents to perform their jobs without the fear of facing litigation based on after the fact claims of protest or objection,” said Kulp.

The bill was passed in the Senate and proceeds to Governor Evers for final action.

Lincoln County farmer wins free ROPS at Wisconsin Farm Tech Days

Kaylin S
Author: Kaylin S

Kaylin Speth is a Marshfield native with a bachelor's degree in English from UW-Green Bay. She enjoys highlighting the many great things happening in the community and bringing to life the untold stories. Email the team at [email protected]