Press Release: Gov. Evers Signs Senate Bill 829

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Signs Senate Bill 829
APPLETON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Senate Bill 829, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 218, which allows a tactical emergency medical services (TEMS) professional, who is acting in the line of duty, to carry a firearm in otherwise prohibited areas, such as fish hatcheries and wildlife refuges, and for the purposes of trespassing. The governor was joined by local leaders, community members, and representatives from the Appleton Fire Department at a bill signing ceremony in Appleton. Since 2012, the Appleton community has been a leader in working to integrate TEMS into community emergency response services, and the local success of their program helped inspire the measures for Act 218.

“I’ve always said that much of the hard work happens at the local level, and that includes our first responders and EMS professionals. Our first responders and EMS professionals run towards danger without second thought, often putting their own health and safety at risk. This legislation will help ensure highly experienced folks who are trained as medical professionals can do their important, life-saving work in high-risk situations,” said Gov. Evers.

Gov. Evers has been unwavering in his commitment to improving community safety and bolstering support for local emergency services. This legislation comes as, last year, Gov. Evers signed 2023 Wisconsin Act 12, a historic piece of legislation that reflects a bipartisan compromise to address the dire need for increased investment in local communities, including funding for local emergency services. The 2023-25 biennial budget signed by Gov. Evers funded the structure that was created in Act 12 and provided a $275 million boost in state aid to localities, known as shared revenue. This momentous investment in local communities across Wisconsin included a $68 million increase in aid for counties and a $207 million increase in aid for municipalities in fiscal year 2024-25, representing a 36 percent increase over current county and municipal aid entitlements. This funding has been critical to supporting and stabilizing local EMS, police, and fire departments that have for years struggled to maintain community services as a result of state aid being cut or held flat under previous administrations.

In addition, the 2023-25 biennial budget invested $22.8 million to increase funding for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) EMS Funding Assistance Program (FAP). FAP grants are available to all public ambulance service providers, including volunteer fire departments, nonprofits, and county and municipal services, and can be used for things such as new emergency service vehicles, safety upgrades to existing vehicles, durable diagnostic medical equipment, immobilization equipment, patient transport equipment, and more. The budget also expanded eligible applicants for the grant program to include emergency medical responder departments and expanded eligible uses to include nondurable and disposable medical supplies, equipment, and medications.

In 2022, Gov. Evers invested more than $69 million in state and federal funds to support and stabilize Wisconsin’s EMS systems and providers, including directing $8 million in one-time supplemental funding for FAP grants and $32 million through the EMS Flex Grant Program, which Gov. Evers created to help fill the gap for those providers who were otherwise not eligible for FAP funding.

Senate Bill 829, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 218:
  • Allows a TEMS professional, who is acting in the line of duty, to carry a firearm in otherwise prohibited areas, including fish hatcheries, wildlife refuges, and for the purposes of trespassing;
  • Creates an exception under the concealed carry statute for TEMS professionals;
  • Defines a “tactical emergency medical services professional” as a licensed EMS professional who has been endorsed by DHS as a person who provides medical services when operating as part of a tactical team and who operates with the prior written approval of the sheriff or chief of police for the jurisdiction in which the professional is authorized to carry out their duties;
  • Requires the Law Enforcement Standards Board to establish minimum training standards for TEMS professionals and to certify them; and
  • Adds TEMS professional to the definition of law enforcement officer for the purposes of the use of force standards.
An online version of this release is available here.