2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
December 5, 2019 - Introduced by Representatives Petersen, Considine, Born,
Novak, Swearingen, Tusler, Shankland, B. Meyers, Tauchen, Spreitzer and
Kuglitsch, cosponsored by Senators Petrowski, Olsen,
Bewley. Referred to Committee on Energy and Utilities.
1An Act to amend
100.26 (1); and
100.90 of the statutes;
2authorizing the Wisconsin Propane Education and Research Council to levy an
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill allows the Wisconsin Propane Education and Research Council to levy
an assessment on odorized propane against certain licensed propane retailers.
The bill requires the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association to conduct a
referendum among its retailer members on the question of whether to allow the
council to levy an assessment on odorized propane. The bill defines a “retailer" as
a person who sells propane at retail to the ultimate consumer and who is licensed to
do so by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. If approved in the
referendum, the council has the authority to levy an initial annual assessment
amount of no more than two-tenths of one cent per gallon of odorized propane sold
for use in this state. After the initial assessment, the council is required to set annual
assessments in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of programs developed by the
council, but the assessment amount may not be raised by more than one-twentieth
of one cent per gallon of odorized propane annually unless approved in a referendum
among retailer members of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association and approved by
the council's board of directors.
Under the bill, the owner of propane immediately prior to its odorization or the
owner of odorized propane at the time of its import into this state is responsible for
collecting the assessments from retailers who purchase the odorized propane for use
in this state. The owner is required to remit the collected assessments to the council
on a monthly basis or be subject to an interest penalty on any amount that is not
timely remitted. The bill also allows the council to establish an alternative means
of collecting assessments.
The bill provides that a propane purchaser who pays an assessment may secure
a refund by submitting a written refund application to the council with proof of the
assessment that was charged. A purchaser who obtains a refund is not eligible for
any benefits provided under the council's programs.
The bill also allows the council to bring an action in circuit court to compel the
remittance of collected assessments and allows the council to recover its costs and
disbursements, including reasonable attorney fees, for bringing the action.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
100.26 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, except s. 3
100.18, 100.20, 100.206 or,
, or 100.90
, for which no specific penalty is 4
prescribed shall be fined not to exceed $200, or imprisoned in the county jail not more 5
than 6 months or both.
100.90 of the statutes is created to read:
7100.90 Propane Education and Research Council. (1) Definitions.
(a) “Council" means the organization with the name “Wisconsin Propane 10
Education and Research Council" that is designated as a nonprofit corporation under 11
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(b) “Distributor” means a person whose primary business is the sale of liquefied 13
petroleum gas to a retailer and who owns the gas immediately prior to its odorization 14
or who owns the gas at the time of its import into this state.
(c) “Retailer" means a person who sells propane at retail to the ultimate 16
consumer and is licensed under s. 101.16 (3g) (a).
1(2) Referendum; authority to levy assessment.
No later than 120 days after 2
the effective date of this subsection .... [LRB inserts date], the Wisconsin Propane 3
Gas Association shall conduct, at its own expense, a referendum among its members 4
who are retailers on the question of whether to allow the council to levy the 5
assessment described under sub. (3). Each member who is a retailer shall be entitled 6
to one vote in the referendum. Upon approval of a majority of the members voting 7
in the referendum, the council shall be authorized to levy an assessment on odorized 8
propane as provided under sub. (3).
(a) The council shall set the initial annual assessment at no 10
greater than two-tenths of one cent per gallon of odorized propane sold for use in this 11
state. After the initial assessment, the council shall set annual assessments 12
sufficient to cover the costs of the plans and programs developed by the council. An 13
assessment may not be raised by more than one-twentieth of one cent per gallon of 14
odorized propane annually unless approved by two-thirds of those voting in a 15
referendum among members of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association who are 16
retailers and by the board of directors of the council.
(b) A distributor shall collect assessments from purchasers of the odorized 18
propane who are retailers. The distributor shall calculate the amount of the 19
assessment based on the volume of odorized propane it sells for use in this state. The 20
assessment shall be listed as a separate line item on the distributor's bill of sale to 21
the retailer for the odorized propane and titled “Wisconsin propane education and 22
research assessment." The distributor shall remit the collected assessments to the 23
council on a monthly basis by the 25th day of the month following the month the 24
assessment was collected. If the distributor does not remit the collected assessments 25
as required under this paragraph, an interest penalty of 1 percent of any amount that
is not remitted shall be imposed against the distributor for each month or fraction 2
of a month after the due date, until final payment is made. The council may establish 3
an alternative means of collecting assessments if the council determines that 4
another method would be more efficient or effective and may establish an alternative 5
late payment charge or interest penalty to be imposed on a person who fails to timely 6
remit any collected assessments to the council.
. A retailer who purchases propane who has an assessment added 8
as a line item to the sale price may secure a refund of the amount added by submitting 9
a written application to the council with proof of the assessments charged no later 10
than 30 days after the end of the month for which the refund is requested. The 11
council shall provide an approved refund to a retailer within 60 days of receiving the 12
refund request. A purchaser who obtains a refund is not eligible for any benefits 13
provided under the council's programs.
The council may bring an action in any circuit court of this 15
state to compel compliance with sub. (3) (b). Notwithstanding s. 814.04, the council, 16
if successful in its action, shall be entitled to recover its costs and disbursements, 17
including reasonable attorney fees.
18(6) Use of assessments
. No funds collected as an assessment under this section 19
may be used for the purpose of lobbying, lobbyist pay, or political messaging.
20(7) Annual notice.
The council shall annually notify each retailer of any 21
assessment authorized under this section and the manner of requesting a refund 22
under sub. (3).