MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2019 Senate Bills 296 and 297 were signed into law. These two bills are part of the ‘Bite Back’ package to combat Lyme disease in Wisconsin which Senator Cowles authored with Representatives Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and Nick Milroy (D-South Range) and Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona):
“The problem of Lyme disease is growing and shows no signs of slowing as the number of cases annually has doubled in the past decade. Preventing Lyme disease is not about making people cautious to spend time in Wisconsin’s great outdoors, but instead it’s about educating people on the simple steps to prevent tick bites, reminding people to search the body for ticks after time outside, and raising the awareness of the warning signs of Lyme disease to catch more cases early and allow for the better management and treatment of the disease.”
The first bill that was signed into law, Senate Bill 296, requires that signage be posted in common areas of State Parks System properties. These signs raise awareness of Lyme disease, inform on how to prevent tick bites, and encourage visitors to check for ticks after visits be posted in common areas of State Parks System properties. The second bill, Senate Bill 297, requires the sale of bug spray, one of the easiest methods to prevent tick bites, in certain State Parks and Forests when their park or forest office is open and staffed.
“I’ve personally seen the impact that Lyme disease can have on someone’s life. By approaching the awareness and prevention of Lyme disease through the ‘Bite Back’ package, we can ensure that the Legislature has made the first step and will foster continuing discussions to combat Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses in our state. I’m proud to see these two bills signed into law, and I hope that more of this package will receive a vote in the Assembly before the Session is adjourned.”