MADISON, Wis. – Things are heating up in Wisconsin.
After the second snowiest December on record in the state capital — and with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Tuesday — the Legislature abolished a statewide ban on heated sidewalks, stairs, entrances and pedestrian walkways.
The bill, which cleared the state Assembly in October and was approved unanimously Tuesday by the state Senate, overturns a law passed in 1980s in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s. Wisconsin is the only state that had such a prohibition in the books.
Supporters of overturning the ban argue that with better technology, and the prospect of using less salt and saving money on snow removal, the ban had outlived its usefulness.
Phyllis Christensen, director of the Marathon City library, said library officials hoped the bill would pass so they could build an outdoor stairway between a new parking lot and the library's entrance, which is about 17 feet up on a hill.
"Trying to keep a staircase like that cleared so it's safe during the winter would be extremely difficult," Christensen said.
The bill now goes to Gov. Jim Doyle, who supports it, said his spokesman Matt Canter.