If all politics is local, then in Wisconsin, it can be all about the Green Bay Packers.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin may have that in mind as she seeks re-election this November.
Baldwin, D-Madison, said Wednesday that she’s introducing a bill to extend Packers game broadcasts and other Wisconsin programming to parts of northern Wisconsin that don’t always get them because they’re in media markets that spill out of neighboring Minnesota or Michigan.
Baldwin’s bill would affect residents in 13 counties in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth-Superior and Marquette, Mich., media markets.
Those Wisconsin households “get Minnesota Vikings or Detroit Lions games, not Packers games, when those teams are playing at the same time,” Baldwin said in a statement.
Her bill would require cable, satellite and other video providers to provide their Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from the broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market. Providers would be required to give each subscriber the option of a Wisconsin broadcaster for all of the major broadcast networks.
The bill does not provide a fix for viewers who rely only on broadcast TV.
Baldwin’s office said the bill is about more than just Packers games; it’s also about ensuring the counties have access to other Wisconsin-based programs such as local news.
Counties affected by Baldwin’s proposal are Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer in the Duluth-Superior market; Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Barron, St. Croix, Dunn and Pierce in the Twin Cities market; and Florence in the Marquette market.
The lack of access to Wisconsin TV programming in these regions is not a new problem and there have been bipartisan attempts to address it. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, pushed to enact a provision in federal law that created a process for the Federal Communications Commission to allow satellite carriers to broadcast Packers games in two of the affected counties: Ashland and Iron. Johnson also touted his efforts during his bid for re-election in 2016.
Johnson’s office didn’t say Wednesday whether he would support Baldwin’s proposal.