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Yes, I support the Wisconsin LRB-1195/1 Bill put forth by Senator Jon Erpenbach
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Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach

Janesville, Wisconsin Van Crash March 25, 1999

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SB 251, Malinda's Traveling Sales Crew Regulation Act

This bill was introduced late in the last session and passed the Senate Committee on Labor, Small Business Development and Consumer Affairs 3-2, but did not make it to the floor for a full vote before our session ended. I am re-circulating this draft for co-sponsorship as we mark the 6 year anniversay of the tragic deaths of seven young magazine sellers in a van crash near Janesville.

The attached draft will create new statewide regulations for traveling sales crews. Traveling sales crews consistently ignore city, state and federal laws. A clear example of this is the senseless van crash that resulted in multiple fatalities near Janesville in 1999. The crew chief driving the van at the time of the fatal accident didn't have a valid driver's license, so he attempted to avoid being caught by authorities by trying to switch seats with another passenger while going 90 miles per hour on I-90. He lost control of the van killing 7 fellow crewmembers (all of whom were younger than 20 years old), permanently paralyzing a 15- year-old crewmember and injuring the remaining members. While operating in Wisconsin the crew obtained no local solicitor permits to sell door-to-door in any community. The plan was to stay in motels located near the state border so they could skip across the border and avoid prosecution, if they ran into any questions from local authorities.

This legislation is named in honor of Malinda Turvey, one of the victims of the tragic Janesville van crash.

This bill will not only protect vulnerable members of traveling sales crews, but will protect consumers and homeowners as well. In several instances, consumers have not received the products they agreed to buy from these door-to-door sales crews. In other states, there have been stories of crew members preying on elderly homeowners-committing a number of crimes including armed robbery and murder.

This legislation does the following:

1. Requires employers who utilize traveling sales crews in Wisconsin or who recruit crewmembers in Wisconsin to obtain a "certificate of registration" from the DWD before conducting such business.

2. Sets up standards for the issuance of a certificate of registration.

3. Requires that all members of sales crews be considered employees and prohibiting the use of independent contractors as crewmember salespersons.

4. Requires employers of traveling sales crews to post a $10,000 bond or equivalent as part of the registration process.

5. Prohibits the employment of minors in traveling sales crews.

6. Requiring employers of persons on sales crews to issue a disclosure statement to salespersons at time of hire providing specific information about the business and how it operates.

7. Requiring at least semi-monthly payment of all wages earned.

8. Limits the times of day salespersons on a traveling sale crew can engage in sales activities.

9. Allows local law enforcement to issue citations to any crew workers violating the provisions of the bill-money collected through citations to be retained by local governments.

10. Sets penalties for violating the provisions of this bill.

For more information, please see the attached draft of LRB-1195.

Please contact Senator Erpenbach ' s office at 608-266-6670 prior to Friday, February 11th , if you would like to co-sponsor this legislation. Thank you.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Senator Jon Erpenbach
October 20, 2004

State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D- Middleton) is the author of 2003 SB 475, which would regulate traveling sales crews. Unfortunately, that bill failed to pass at the end of session after receiving two negative votes in the Senate Labor Committee. Introduced because of the work of Erpenbach’s constituent, Phil Ellenbecker, the bill is named “Malinda’s Act” for Ellenbecker’s daughter. Malinda’s Act, which includes employee protections and protections for consumers to curb abuses in the traveling sales industry, will be reintroduced next session.

Statement of Erpenbach on settlement:

“The tragedy these families have suffered is immeasurable. I once again send my condolences for this most significant loss. I am hopeful that I can again work with families and Phil Ellenbecker to try to change Wisconsin’s laws to regulate traveling sales and help create a safer work environment for those that work door to door in the future, in memory of those that died,” Erpenbach said.

Fact Sheet on Malinda’s Act, Traveling Sales Crew Regulation

Highlights of the employee protections in the bill are:

No hiring of minors
Vehicles that transport employees must be up to safety codes
Employers cannot abandon employees because they are sick injured or arrested
Employers cannot take away workers money, ID, phone or any other personal items
Employers cannot prohibit contact between workers and their families

Highlights of consumer and homeowner protections are:

Traveling sales crews certification from Department of Workforce Development
Limits the time of day sales crews can work from 9am to 9pm
Local law enforcement can issue citations


Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach
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