Advocacy Updates

Legislative Advocacy Updates:

Through both legislative and communication efforts, BioForward promotes the activities of Wisconsin’s biohealth companies. To get legislative advocacy updates to your email inbox, click here to sign up for our newsletter. 

December 2018 Advocacy Updates:

Senate & Assembly Committee Chairs Named

Governor-Elect Evers Names Four Members of his Cabinet

December 18, 2018

Senate Committees                                                                                                           

Senate Committee on Administrative Rules
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue,& Financial Institutions
Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce, & Trade
Senate Committee on Elections, Ethics,& Rural Issues
Senate Committee on Education
Senate Committee on Finance
Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology, & Consumer Protection
Senate Committee on Health & Human Services
Senate Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight, & Courts
Senate Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety
Senate Committee on Labor & Regulatory Reform
Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism, & Workforce Development
Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Energy
Senate Committee on Senate Organization
Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing, & State-Federal Relations
Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, & Forestry
Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans, & Military Affairs
Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children & Families
Senate Committee on Utilities & Housing

Assembly Committees                                                                                                           

Aging and Long-Term Care
Campaigns and Elections
Children and Families
Colleges and Universities
Community Development
Constitution and Ethics
Consumer Protection
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Energy and Utilities
Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Family Law
Federalism and Interstate Relations
Financial Institutions
Government Accountability and Oversight
Housing and Real Estate
International Affairs and Commerce
Jobs and the Economy
Labor and Integrated Employment
Local Government
Medicaid Reform and Oversight
Mental Health
Public Benefit Reform
Regulatory Licensing Reform
Rural Development
Science and Technology
Small Business Development
Sporting Heritage
State Affairs
Substance Abuse and Prevention
Veterans and Military Affairs
Ways and Means
Workforce Development
Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules
Joint Committee on Finance
Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology
Joint Law Revision Committee
Joint Legislative Audit Committee
Joint Legislative Council
Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties
Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems
Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions

State Building Commission


Senator Steve Nass, Chair
Senator Howard Marklein, Chair
Senator Dan Feyen, Chair
Senator Kathy Bernier, Chair
Senator Luther Olsen, Chair
Senator Alberta Darling, Chair
Senator Duey Stroebel, Chair
Senator Pat Testin, Chair
Senator Dave Craig, Chair
Senator Van Wanggaard, Chair
Senator Steve Nass, Chair
Senator Andre Jacque, Chair
Senator Rob Cowles, Chair
Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Chair
Senator Chris Kapenga, Chair
Senator Tom Tiffany, Chair
Senator Jerry Petrowski, Chair
Senator Dale Kooyenga, Chair
Senator Devin LeMahieu, Chair


Rep. Rick Gundrum
Rep. Gary Tauchen
Rep. Ron Tusler
Rep. Pat Snyder
Rep. Dave Murphy
Rep. Scott Allen
Rep. Chuck Wichgers
Rep. Treig Pronschinske
Rep. Michael Schraa
Rep. John Spiros
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt
Rep. Joel Kitchens
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch
Rep. Jeff Mursau
Rep. Jessie Rodriguez
Rep. Tyler Vorpagel
Rep. Cindi Duchow
Rep. David Steffen
Rep. Joe Sanfelippo
Rep. John Jagler
Rep. Kevin Petersen
Rep. Rob Hutton
Rep. Adam Neylon
Rep. Jim Ott
Rep. James Edming
Rep. Todd Novak
Rep. Rob Summerfield
Rep. Paul Tittl
Rep. Scott Krug
Rep. Cody Horlacher
Rep. Jim Steineke
Rep. Nancy VanderMeer
Rep. Romaine Quinn
Rep. Janel Brandtjen
Rep. Rob Stafsholt
Rep. Rob Swearingen
Rep. Jon Plumer
Rep. Travis Tranel
Rep. Bob Kulp
Rep. Ken Skowronski
Rep. John Macco
Rep. Warren Petryk
Rep. Joan Ballweg
Rep. John Nygren
Rep. Dan Knodl
Rep. Jim Ott
Rep. Samantha Kerkman
Rep. Robert Brooks
Rep. Rob Hutton
Rep. Mary Felzkowski
Rep. Tyler August
Rep. Rob Swearingen
Rep. Mark Born

Governor-Elect Evers announced the following four Secretary appointments:

Joel Brennan – Department of Administration
Mr. Brennan ran Tom Barrett’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign and has been CEO of Milwaukee’s Discovery World for the past 11 years.

Preston Cole – Department of Natural Resources
Mr. Cole currently serves as a commissioner for the Department of Neighborhood Services under Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and is a member of the state Natural Resources Board that advises DNR. According to a profile on the city’s website, he was the first African-American forester hired by the Conservation Department.

Kevin Carr – Department of Corrections
Mr. Carr was sworn in as a U.S. Marshal in 2010 after 30 years with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Sara Meaney – Department of Tourism
Earlier this year, Ms. Meaney was hired to be chief marketing officer for Milwaukee Film. She has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2012.

November 2018 Advocacy Updates:

Senate & Assembly Republican/Democratic Caucus Completes Leadership Elections

November 13, 2018

The Senate and Assembly Republican/Democratic caucus concluded their leadership elections, thereby completing the leadership elections for all partisan caucuses for the 2019 session.

WI Legislative Leadership 2019-2020 Session

Assembly Republicans:

  • Speaker – Rep. Robin Vos
  • Majority leader – Rep. Jim Steineke
  • Speaker Pro Tempore – Rep. Tyler August
  • Assistant Majority Leader – Rep. Mary Felzkowski
  • Caucus Chair – Rep. Dan Knodl
  • Caucus Vice-Chair – Rep. Romaine Quinn
  • Caucus Secretary – Rep. Jessie Rodriguez
  • Sergeant at Arms – Rep. Samantha Kerkman

Senate Republicans:

  • Majority Leader – Sen. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Assistant Majority Leader – Sen. Dan Feyen
  • Senate President – Sen. Roger Roth
  • Senate President Pro Tempore – Sen. Howard Marklein
  • Caucus Chair – Sen. Van Wanggaard
  • Caucus Vice Chair – Sen. Patrick Testin

Senate Democrats:

  • Minority Leader – Sen. Jennifer Shilling
  • Assistant Minority Leader – Sen. Janet Bewley
  • Caucus Chair – Sen. Mark Miller
  • Caucus Vice-Chair – Sen. Janis Ringhand

Assembly Democrats:

  • Assembly Democratic Leader – Rep. Gordon Hintz
  • Assembly Democratic Assistant Leader – Rep. Dianne Hesselbein
  • Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair – Rep. Mark Spreitzer
  • Assembly Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair – Rep. Steve Doyle
  • Assembly Democratic Caucus Secretary – Rep. Beth Meyers
  • Assembly Democratic Caucus Sgt. At Arms – Rep. Christine Sinicki

Joint Committee on Finance:

Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) – Assembly Co-chair (2013)

Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) – Senate Co-chair (2011)

GOP will hold a 12-4 majority on the committee next session.  Each majority party in the Senate and Assembly get to appoint six members, while the minority party appoints two.  Remaining appointments are still pending.



2018 Midterm Election RECAP

November 12, 2018

Wisconsin voters turned out in record numbers for the midterm elections held November 6.  The results saw a shift to blue at the top of the ticket, but red majority holding in the local legislative races.

Governor’s Race. Heading into the election, the Wisconsin Governor’s race was a dead heat and the results reflected that.  Democratic challenger, Tony Evers, beat incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker with a 1.2% margin. Similarly, the Democratic challenger for Wisconsin Attorney General, Josh Kaul, narrowly beat Republican incumbent Attorney General, Brad Schimel.

Congress. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) easily defeated her Republican challenger, State Senator Leah Vukmir, and will go back to the U.S. Senate in 2019. Baldwin’s victory came with a 10-point margin and she will serve her second term. This was the first U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin history where both major party candidates were women. Interestingly, there were no party changes to the Wisconsin congressional line-up. Even though the U.S. House of Representative switched to Democratic control, Wisconsin’s congressional delegation remains unchanged in terms of party affiliation.

Wisconsin State Legislature. Despite the blue at the top of the ticket, both houses of the Wisconsin legislature will remain in Republican majorities for the 2019 session. The Assembly Republicans appear to hold a 63-36 majority, although the race in the 14th Assembly district was very close and it remains to be seen whether defeated Republican candidate, Matt Adamczyk, will seek a recount against the Democratic winner, Robyn Vining.   The Assembly will hold their leadership elections for both caucuses during the week of November 12.>

The Senate Republicans gained one seat, further solidifying their majority for the 2019 session at 19-14. The Senate caucuses have re-elected their leaders unanimously. Senators Scott Fitzgerald (R) and Jen Shilling (D) will lead their respective parties in the State Senate for the next two years. Fitzgerald has been majority leader since 2011 and Shilling has been minority leader since 2015.

BioForward congratulates all of the winners and looks forward to representing our membership before our new 2019 legislature and our newly elected Governor Evers. Our biohealth economy is growing in Wisconsin, yet we face issues related to workforce attraction and retention. We are continually looking for ways to further support our growing and emerging companies in Wisconsin through economic development initiatives and will engage with our elected officials in 2019 to further support our industry in Wisconsin.



August 2018 Advocacy Updates:

Wisconsin Elections – Primary Results and November Preview

August 15, 2018


The results of the Wisconsin primary elections that were held on August 15, 2018 are IN and now Wisconsin is looking to the general election in November.   It is expected that concerns related to education funding, access to healthcare and state transportation infrastructure will be a focus as candidates run for their seats in November.


Governor: Governor Scott Walker (R-incumbent) will face former State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Evers (D-challenger) in the general election in November.

Lt. Governor: Current Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R-incumbent) will be challenged by former State Representative Mandela Barnes (D-challenger).

U.S. Senate: Despite reports of being out-spent in media buys, former State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-challenger) easily defeated Kevin Nicholson (R) in the Republican primary.  Vukmir will face incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-incumbent) in the general election in November.

CD-1 – OPEN: In the 1st Congressional District, currently held by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, candidate Randy Bryce (D) will face Bryan Steil (R) in November.  There are also two independent candidates on the ballot for that race.

AD-9 (Milwaukee): Current State Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-incumbent) lost to primary challenger Marisabel Cabrera (D-challenger).  There is no opposition for Cabrera in November.

AD-12 (Milwaukee): Current State Rep. Fred Kessler (D-incumbent) lost a primary challenge for his Assembly seat to LaKeshia Myers (D-challenger). There is no opposition for Myers in November.

AD-18 (Milwaukee): Current State Rep. Evan Goyke (D-incumbent) easily held onto his seat in a primary challenge.  He has no opponent in November.

AD-86 (north central Wisconsin): Current State Rep. John Spiros (R-incumbent) from Marshfield, beat back a primary challenge and becomes the favorite for this seat in November.  Spiros was the only incumbent Republican lawmaker to draw a challenger in the primary election.

AD-59 – OPEN (eastern Wisconsin): There was a four-way Republican primary in the race to replace the seat left open by Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum).  Republican candidate Tim Ramthun (R) pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the primaries, winning the GOP nomination after he didn’t file any campaign finance reports in the race (i.e., he didn’t raise or spend enough to trigger the reporting requirements.) Outgoing state Rep. Jesse Kramer had endorsed his former aide Ty Bodden in the primary, while the American Federation for Children’s independent expenditure arm had backed Rachel Mixon, a teacher, in this primary race.

To see full election results, click here to review the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel results page for statewide and local races:

July 2018 Advocacy Updates:


BioForward Applauds House Vote Repealing Medical Device Tax

We are pleased to report that on Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill, H.R. 184 – The Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017 that permanently repeals the Medical Device Tax. We thank the members of the Wisconsin delegation that voted in favor of this bill. This important legislation now goes to the Senate for full repeal under Senate Bill S. 108.
Over the past eight years, the medical device tax, an excise tax on revenue not on profits, has continued to threaten medical innovation, patient care and job creation in the United States. An excise tax has a significant impact on emerging growth companies that require cash to be reinvested into their companies rather than being penalized through taxation on their revenue.
Wisconsin has a specialized employment concentration in the medical device and equipment sectors that drive the economy throughout our state including our statewide supply chain to our medical device innovators and manufacturers such as GE Healthcare, Accuray, Spaulding Medical, Mortara, and many others.
Full repeal of the medical device tax is not a partisan issue, it is an issue that impacts American patients, families, and innovators. We look forward to working with our two Senators to permanently repeal this destructive tax.

March 2018 Advocacy Updates:


Wisconsin Passes Biosimilars Bill to Cut Costs for Patients and Boost Wisconsin’s Biohealth Industry – March 28,2018

With bi-partisan support, BioForward applauds the passage of the biosimilars authorizing legislation (AB679 /  SB575 ). This bill will allow pharmacists to dispense biosimilars, unless the prescribing authority specifically prohibits substitutions, savings patients money through cheaper equivalents.

Biosimilars are biological products are therapeutically equivalent to or otherwise interchangeable with other biological products, approved and regulated by the FDA. Under previous Wisconsin law, pharmacists could not dispense cheaper biosimilars in place of prescribed biological products.  This legislation also includes labeling and reporting requirements for biological products.

BioForward and their legislative council, Jordan Lamb of DeWitt Ross and Stevens, has worked persistently over the past year for the passage of this bill that will reduce costs of patients while also boosting the prosperity of Wisconsin biohealth companies that produce these cost-friendly alternatives.


State Advocacy Update

  • Pursued Policies that Support Economic Development in the Biohealth Sector. Support for innovation through economic development initiatives is an important issue for BioForward. Accordingly, BioForward collaborated with The Water Council to design legislation with Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Adam Neylon to foster investment into specific industry cluster economic development programs such as challenge grants, R&D funding and increased investment into Wisconsin’s successful SBIR matching grant program-SBIR Advance. This legislation, (SB525/AB640) The Wisconsin Workforce and Innovation Network for Success (WINS) Act, successfully passed through standing committees with bi-partisan support, but failed to get approval by the full legislature this session. Throughout 2018 and 2019 we will continue to promote this legislation for passage in 2019-2020 budget session.
  • Strengthen Healthcare Initiatives for Wisconsin Citizens. BioForward worked with BIO and a nationwide coalition of stakeholders to seek adoption of biosimilars authorizing legislation (AB679/SB575) in Wisconsin. This legislation was authored by a very strong group of bi-partisan legislators including: Reps Deb Kolste(D), Mike Rohrkaste(R), John Spiros (R) and Sens. Tim Carpenter(D) and Leah Vukmir(R). This legislation has passed both the Assembly and Senate is now awaiting Governor Walker’s signature.
  • Support for UW-Madison and the University of Wisconsin System. A strong and vibrant university education and research community is an essential part of a strong and vibrant biohealth economy. Hence, BioForward’s advocacy program continually supports a well-funded UW-Madison and UW System budget. We worked alongside the university during the 2015-17 state biennial budget process. Additionally:
    • BioForward continuously works with our Cures For Tomorrow Coalition partners to prevent the adoption of legislation
      in Wisconsin that would ban specific types of research in the State. To date, no legislation has advanced in Wisconsin.
  • Support Legislation to Promote Research, Jobs and Entrepreneurs. This session, BioForward also supported the UW in seeking an amendment to Wisconsin’s restrictive self-dealing law that includes an overly cumbersome and lengthy process for allowing research companies to contract with the university when a faculty or staff member has an interest in the company. Even relatively small contracts (any contract exceeding $250,000 over a two-year period) tied to relationships that have been reviewed previously by the university must receive a 45-day review by the UW Board of Regents. AB 758 / SB 671 authored by Rep. Dave Murphy and Senator Dan Feyen, along with Senators Risser and Rep. Berceau, will create a more workable system within the UW for development of management plans that will identify and manage any potential conflicts of interest. This legislation has passed the Assembly and awaits consideration by the State Senate in March.

National Advocacy Update

  • Federal Budget Bill Passage to Suspend Medical Device Tax. Although the medical device tax, an excise tax on medical device sales, was not repealed, BioForward and partners across the nation were satisfied with the continuation of suspending this burdensome tax. Wisconsin is a leading medical device manufacturing state and if this tax had not been suspended, companies from early stage to our large medical device companies, like GE Healthcare, would have begun paying excise taxes in January 2018, reducing their ability to reinvest in further product development and expansions.
  • Tax Reform Act. BioForward took no position on this federal legislation. Similarly, BIO and AdvaMed remained neutral on this federal budget bill.
  • Broad Range of Issues to Protect and Support BioForward Members
    o IPAB Repeal
    o Maintaining Orphan Drug Tax Credits
    o Clarifying CMS Language on Biosimilars
    o Signed onto Support for PDUFA and MDUFA Legislation and Letter to Secretary Price
    Relaying Concerns to Changes to Medicare Part B
    o Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act of 2018
  • BIO Fly-In. BioForward participated with BIO and other state associations for a legislative day April 2017, Washington D.C. We met with Wisconsin congressional offices focusing on biohealth issues such as NIH and FDA funding support, protecting Medicare Part B & D, medical device tax, and open discussions on drug pricing.

December 2017 Advocacy Updates:

National Advocacy Update

Medical Device Tax: 

BioForward supports the repeal of the medical device tax or at minimum, supporting the introduction of a 5-year suspension of the medical device tax. We continue to work with our partners, Advamed and MDMA, to advance this federal legislation.

State Advocacy Update

Workforce and Innovation Network for Success (WINS) Act:

BioForward supports the Wisconsin Workforce and Innovation Network for Success (WINS) Act (2017 SB 525 / 2017 AB 640), authored by Senator Alberta Darling, Senator Dan Feyen, Senator Van Wanggaard and Representative Adam Neylon.

This groundbreaking economic development legislation would create an Innovation Fund and Council charged with identifying opportunities for more private sector engagement and national and international exposure for industry clusters in Wisconsin.  This legislation would support the cluster-based model of economic development that is working today in Wisconsin’s biohealth sector.

Funding that is generated by the Innovation Fund will be used to further enhance strengths in Wisconsin’s economy such as biohealth, water technology, food and beverage industries, energy and advanced manufacturing through four main channels:

  • Challenge grants that will incite innovative product development through competition
  • Key partnerships that build industry cluster capacity
  • Early stage R&D grants that push new products to prototyping and field testing
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) matching grants to launch technologies to commercialization

Biosimilars Legislation Updates – AB679SB575 

BioForward has been working with BIO and a nationwide coalition of stakeholders to seek the adoption of biosimilars authorizing legislation in Wisconsin during the fall 2017 session. This legislation has been adopted in 36 states to date.

The legislation was authored by a very strong group of bi-partisan legislators: Reps. Mike Rohrkaste (R), John Spiros (R), and Deb Kolste (D); and Sens. Leah Vukmir (R) and Tim Carpenter (D).

BioForward took part in the following hearings:

  • Senate Health Committee Hearing – December 12, 2017
  • Assembly Health Committee Hearing – December 13, 2017

Protecting Research in Wisconsin: 

BioForward continuously works with our Cures for Tomorrow Coalition partners to prevent the adoption of legislation in Wisconsin that would ban specific types of research in the State.  Currently, no legislation is advancing, but we still expect additional pressure on this issue during the last days of this legislative session.  Right to Life groups are putting increasing pressure on candidates to take “prolife votes.”

  •  Senate Bill 422 / AB 83 (Darling/Duchow) – This legislation ALLOWS fetal tissue research to continue in Wisconsin, but establishes in statute the most stringent ethical standards for this type of research enacted by any state.  (The ethical standards are taken from federal NIH guidance and IRB practices.)  Bioforward is neutral on this legislation.  Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was held on this bill on November 2, 2017.
  • Senate Bill 423 / AB 549 (Mouton/Kleefisch) – This legislation would BAN the used of fetal tissue and cells from being able to be used in research in the State of Wisconsin.  BioForward opposes this legislation.  (See attached written statement.) Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was held on this bill on November 2, 2017.

Assembly Science and Technology Committee Informational Hearing on Biomanufacturing: 

BioForward worked with Representative David Steffen and Representative Romaine Quinn to schedule an informational hearing before the Assembly Science and Technology Committee to brief the committee and the public about the emerging biomanufacturing sector in Wisconsin.

The hearing was well-attended and consisted of the following invited speakers: Dr. Bill Murphy, UW-Madison; Lisa Johnson, CEO, BioForward; Dr. David Gamm, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Opsis; Joanne Payne, VP of Human Resources, Phillips-Medisize; Todd Asmuth, SHINE Medical Technologies; Erika Long, Senior Director Government Affairs, Mallinckrodt-Stratatech.

This was the first opportunity that BioForward had this session to talk to legislators directly about our industry, what changes are happening and what resources we need to continue to grow. It was critical to set the stage for the WINS Act legislation, which was release just a couple of weeks following this hearing.

August 2017 Advocacy Updates:

National Advocacy Update

Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA): 

The Senate approved H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, as passed by the House.  The measure was passed by a vote of 94 to 1. The bill will now be sent to the President who is expected to sign it.  This important package includes several key positive provisions for the medtech industry.

Food and Drug Reauthorization Act (FDARA) & Prescription Drug User Fee Program (PDUFA):

On August 3rd, the Senate passed the Food and Drug Reauthorization Act (FDARA), which includes the Prescription Drug User Fee Program. Next, it will go to the President to be signed into law. The user fee program reauthorization package passed by the Senate today is an important victory for patients and for the next generation of medical innovation. This legislation will advance patient involvement in drug development and bring patient perspectives more clearly to bear on regulatory decisions. It also ensures that the FDA continues to have the resources necessary to carry out its critical human drug review programs, and takes steps to modernize and improve the clinical trial process, which remains the most time-consuming, complex and expensive stage of drug development.

Medicare Part B:

Signed onto a letter to Secretary Price to protect Medicare Part B for reimbursing providers for drugs and biologics administered by physicians.

Drug Pricing:

Drug pricing continues to be a topic of discussion and debate. BIO has developed a web site to provide more transparency to this issue through the following web site:

State Advocacy Update

Foxconn Investment in Wisconsin:

After a recent announcement of Foxconn Technology Group investing in a high-tech manufacturing plant in Southeast Wisconsin, a public hearing was held on August 3rd at the Wisconsin State Capital.

Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward, spoke on behalf of Foxconn promoting the opportunities it can provide to the biohealth industry in Wisconsin.

Interested in More Legislative Insight?

Hear from national and local government relations leaders on the status of healthcare and biohealth legislation at the Wisconsin Biohealth Summit panel: Looking Forward: The Impact of Future Healthcare Reform on the Biohealth Industry. Learn more and register today:

April 2017 Advocacy Updates

State Advocacy Update

  • BioForward and Cures for Tomorrow Work to Preserve Research in Wisconsin

BioForward is a member of the Cures for Tomorrow Coalition – a coalition of Wisconsin academic research institutions, bioscience-related trade groups and health care providers. The coalition supports and advocates for biomedical research in Wisconsin and is committed to educating the public about the value of biomedical research to patients and the state.  Members of the Coalition include BioForward, the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW Health, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Cures for Tomorrow engages with the Wisconsin legislature on any legislation that could impact or restrict the research that is permitted to be conducted in the State of Wisconsin.  Legislation that would ban the use of fetal cells in research in Wisconsin has been drafted and has circulated for co-sponsorship, but as of the time of this writing, it had not yet been introduced.

Research using fetal cells and tissue is already heavily regulated by federal law and the policies of our member research institutions. Profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, for example, has been a federal crime for more than two decades. Cures for Tomorrow members strongly oppose profiting from the sale of fetal tissue but do not believe that any additional regulation by the State of Wisconsin is needed.

BioFoward and Cures for Tomorrow works to educate the members of the Wisconsin State Legislature and others about the life-saving research that is being done in the State of Wisconsin.  For more information about Cures for Tomorrow, go to

  • JFC Begins 2017-19 Biennial Budget Bill Review

Governor Scott Walker’s proposed biennial budget has been introduced and is in the process of being review by the State Legislature.  The Joint Committee on Finance has completed its state agency briefings on the Governor’s 2017-19 biennial budget bill and held public hearings across the state on the Governor’s proposed state budget.

The Committee will start voting on the budget provisions the first week in May and will continue through the early part of June.  The goal is complete the budget process before the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, 2017.

Federal Advocacy Update

  • Supported passage of the 21st Century Cures Act that contained funding for the NIH and Next Generation Researchers. Passed in both the House and Senate January 2017
    • BioForward held meetings during the BIO Fly-In with federal legislators reinforcing our research institutions and industry’s dependence upon full appropriations to NIH, BARDA, and Project BioShield. President Trump had recommended a $6b decrease in NIH funding
    • NIH spurs key basic discovery in an era of genomic health and personalized medicine. BioForward supports increased resources for NIH and opposes cuts to its budget
  • Supported Representative Ron Kind’s sponsorship of the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017 that would repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax.

        Op-ed written by Advamed and BioForward on the repeal of the Medical Device Excise Tax.

  • Supporting passage of negotiated FDA User Fee Agreements-Medical Devices and Prescription Drugs (MDUFA and PDUFA)

. Passage of these fee agreements will provide the FDA with the resources needed to advance modern, patient-focused drug development and medical device approaches

  • Oppose changes to the Medicare Part B Drug Program.

Medicare Part B coverage and payment supports access to critical medicines and specialist physicians relied on by the most vulnerable and sickest patients

  • Oppose changes to Medicare Part D Drug Program.

Medicare Part D ensures that seniors have access to a broad choice of retail drugs and its structure keeps overall costs to beneficiaries and the government down. 90% of beneficiaries are satisfied with the program

  • BIO Fly-In.

BioForward participated with BIO and other state associations for a legislative day April 2017, Washington D.C. We met with Wisconsin congressional offices focusing on biohealth issues such as NIH and FDA funding support, protecting Medicare Part D, medical device tax, targeting abuses of U.S. patent system, and support to the Fostering Innovation Act.

2016 Legislative Advocacy Updates:


December 7th: Senate and House Pass 21st Century Cures Act 

The Senate passed the 21st Century Cures act on Wednesday, sending it to the desk of President Barack Obama, who says he will sign it. The $6.3 billion legislation easily passed the Senate in a vote of 94-5 and the House in a vote of 392-26.

BioForward is very proud to have been an engaged advocate for the Act, working closely with BIO, AdvaMed, and PhRMA to ensure biohealth advances continue.

Click Here to read the full update:

November 16th: Wisconsin State and Federal Races Post-Election Update

The November 8, 2016 election saw Republicans increase their majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Republicans in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate have selected their leadership for the new legislative session that begins January 3rd. Also at the federal level Wisconsin became a “red” state at the top of the ticket for the first time since 1984 with a win for Donald Trump.

Click Here to read the full update including info on:

June 2016

May 2016

  • S.1890 Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016.  Read more..
  • Fostering Innovation Act: The JOBS Act provides emerging growth companies (EGCs) with a five-year exemption from Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), which requires a costly external attestation of a company’s internal financial controls. The Fostering Innovation Act would extend the JOBS Act’s SOX 404(b) exemption for an additional five years for former EGCs that maintain a public float below $700 million and average annual revenues below $50 million. The additional five years of cost-savings would allow growing companies to focus their capital on groundbreaking R&D rather than one-size-fits-all regulatory burdens. Read more here: 

April 2016 

  • Support full appropriations for NIH, BioShield SRF & CARB Initiative. NIH spurs key discovery in an era of genomic health and personalized medicine. We support a budget of at least $34.5b and oppose additional cuts. Full appropriations are needed to BARDA, Project BioShield and CARB Initiative to spur discovery and development of products designed to battle emerging security threats. We praise the House of Representative’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act read more.. 
  • Target Abuses of the US Patent System While Protecting Innovation. BioForward supports a measured, thoughtful approach to patent litigation reform. Halt abuses of the IPR process, an administrative patent challenge, is a top priority but strong intellectual property protection is the lifeblood of the biotech industry. Strong patent protection is critical. We urge Congress to proceed thoughtfully and deliberately on patent reform litigation
  • Opposed CMS’s recently proposed Part B Drug Payment Model which threatens patient access to needed therapies; especially in rural areas and/or by community-based providers by slashing reimbursement rates to effectively ASP+0%. Read BIO’s position pape:
  • Breakway Pathway Legislation Introduced. This bi-partisan legislation streamlines CMS’s coverage and reimbursement process for innovative medical technologies. Read more..

March 2016

January 2016 Update on AB 305 / SB 260

  • BioForward and our member companies support and value the ongoing development of lifesaving research at UW-Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and other institutions across our state. Our companies are the link between academic research and the therapies that are available to patients and families struggling with health issues or injuries. Accordingly, we are working with our colleagues from these research institutions and the Wisconsin Legislature to protect research in Wisconsin that utilizes fetal tissue.Under currently proposed legislation, in the State of Wisconsin, it would be a felony to use ANY fetal cells, fetal cell lines, or fetal tissues for research under all circumstances if those cells were obtained after January 1, 2015.The sale of fetal tissue is already illegal under federal law. We strongly support that prohibition and our research institutions abide by that prohibition. The bills currently being considered, AB 305/SB 260, go much further. If this legislation passes, we are closing the door on any future research that would be used to develop vaccines, therapies, and other medical innovations.For more information about this legislation and the Cures for Tomorrow coalition fighting to preserve research in Wisconsin, go to

July 2015

BIOFORWARD FEDERAL CALL TO ACTION: Protect Innovation – Repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax

September 2015

BioForward Response to AB 305
BIO Response to Wisconsin Assembly Bill 305
Launch of Wisconsin Economic Development Report

December 2015

Support swells for vital university research using fetal tissue and cells

AdvaMed, MITA & MDMA Applaud Congress for Passage of the Medical Device Tax Suspension