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Posted on: January 7, 2017

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The CAPITOL BUZZ is sent with breaking legislative news. If you sign up, you'll get three or four emails a month. The LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN is sent on Monday's but only when the Legislature is in session. The LEAGUE LETTER is sent once a month to keep you ...

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Posted on: January 7, 2017

Join Us - League Lobby Day is Feb. 15


You can join Darla and the 400 other members of the League’s Lobby Team.  Sign up is easy.  Fill out the form on the League’s website http://bit.ly/LeagueWILobbyTeam or contact Gail Sumi, the League’s Member Engagement and Communications at gsum...

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Posted on: December 19, 2016

Cats, Rats, Courts and the Constitution

A federal court decision might be notable simply because it begins with, “Rats. This case is about rats. Giant, inflatable rats . . . Cats too – inflatable fat cats, wearing business suits and pinkie rings, strangling workers.”

Daniel Olson December 2016
Posted on: December 19, 2016

Municipal Authority to Regulate Drones

In the past year, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, has proliferated with affordable models making the popular technology increasingly accessible to both commercial and recreational users.

by Claire Silverman November 2016
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Alcohol Law Changes Allow Municipalities to License Wine/Beer Walks

Wisconsin statutes regulating alcohol, and more specifically temporary beer and
wine licenses, were recently modified to include chambers of commerce among
the organizations eligible for Temporary Class B beer and wine licenses. . . .

January 2016 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 15, 2016

FLSA Overtime Changes Take Effect December 1, 2016

. . . the United States Department of Labor has promulgated new regulations governing the application of minimum wage and overtime pay requirements to certain “exempt” employees.

Full reprint
Posted on: November 15, 2016

Constitutional Home Rule Authority Diminished

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently held that the City of Milwaukee’s longstanding charter ordinance1 requiring city employees to reside in the city is unenforceable following the legislature’s enactment of Wis. Stat. § 66.0502 . . .

Full reprint
Posted on: November 15, 2016

DPPA Exemption Authorizes Release of Unredacted Uniform Traffic Accident Reports

For several years now, law enforcement record custodians have been navigating difficult, uncharted terrain when responding to requests under Wisconsin’s public records law for law enforcement records

Full reprint
Posted on: November 15, 2016

Significant Changes to FLSA Overtime Laws Effective December 1, 2016

On May 18, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced its Final Rule updating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations governing the application of minimum wage and overtime pay requirements . . .

Full reprint
Posted on: November 21, 2016

Municipal Home Rule In Wisconsin

Common council and village board members may find
it helpful to have a general understanding of municipal authority. The general rule is that municipalities are creatures of the state and have only the powers given them. . . .

June 2016 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 22, 2016

Beware the Liability Boogeyman

When it comes to opposing governmental decision-making,
“boogeyman” threats are not just the stuff of bedtime stories.

May 2016 Matt Dregne and Kyle Engelke
Posted on: November 22, 2016

The 2015-16 Legislative Session Turned Out Well for Municipalities

Thanks to increased lobbying efforts by municipal officials, the 2015-2016 legislative session was one of the best for municipalities in years. Dozens of items helpful to cities and villages . . . .

May 2016 Curt Witynski
Posted on: November 22, 2016

Wisconsin's Recreational Immunity Statute: How Much Protection Does it Offer?

Many Wisconsin municipalities own property used to provide residents and visitors with opportunities for recreation. These include municipal parks, playgrounds, pools, beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, skating rinks, hills used for sledding . . . .

Additional Info...
Posted on: November 22, 2016

Election Law Changes Impacting You and Your Municipality

This article summarizes recent developments related to election administration and campaign finance laws which will be in effect for the first time in 2016.

February 2016 Michael Haas
Posted on: November 22, 2016

Changes to FLSA Overtime Laws Now Predicted for Late 2016

Last July, the United States Department of Labor (DOL or Department) proposed
updating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations governing
the application of minimum wage and overtime pay requirements to executive,
administrative, and . . . .

February 2016 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Sign Regulation and Reed v. town of Gilbert

One of the most perplexing local government policy areas is sign regulation.
The difficulties arise from sometimes incomprehensible free speech decisions
by courts and the uncertain impacts on regulation programs that seek to control
signs . . . .

November 2015 Daniel M. Olson
Posted on: November 23, 2016

On Rehearing, Court Concludes Anti-Panhandling Ordinance is Content Based

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently agreed to
rehear a case challenging the constitutionality of a city’s anti-panhandling
ordinance in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Reed v. Gilbert, 135
S.Ct. 2887 (2015) . . . .

November 2015 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Disciplinary Process - Police and Fire Commission

Police officers and firefighters manage difficult and often dangerous situations. Fortunately, most protective services employees are dedicated public servants,
and smaller communities may see years go by without need for formal disciplinary

October 2015 Paul Schwarzenbart
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Rental Property Inspection and Registration Program's Notice Requirement Preempted

La Crosse landlords challenged a city ordinance requiring landlords to
participate in an inspection and registration program, asserting that the
ordinance was preempted by Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0104. The circuit court rejected
the landlords’ arguments.

October 2015 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 23, 2016

Court Upholds Bus Rule Prohibiting Weapons

Wisconsin Carry, Inc., a self-described “gun rights organization,” sought a declaratory judgment that a rule prohibiting persons from traveling in city buses with weapons. . . .

October 2015 Claire Silverman
Posted on: November 23, 2016

What Was in the State Budget Affecting Municipalities?

On July 12, Governor Walker signed the 2015-2017 state budget bill into law as Act 55. Municipalities came out fairly well considering the state’s fiscal condition and the political dynamics in the state capitol.

September 2015 Curt Witynski

Posted on: January 5, 2017

Cities brood over 'dark store' tax lawsuits

Big-box retailers are suing Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and other Wisconsin cities to lower their property tax load with a legal loophole that opponents say will cause cities to raise residential taxes to make up the difference.

Nate Beck, USA Network-Wisconsin
Posted on: January 5, 2017

Cities Look To Voters, Other Revenue Sources To Fund Services

The leader of one northern Wisconsin city says they will be relying more on tax revenues it brings in from an oil terminal to help balance its budget in the future. Some cities are trying to find ways to maintain the same level of services. . .

WPR News December 22, 2016
Posted on: December 14, 2016

Jerry Deschane: Ask community members to run for office

Wisconsin not only has a workforce shortage, but in many cases it also has a candidate shortage. According to the 2016 State of Wisconsin Cities and Villages Report. . . most local government positions have one or fewer candidates on the ballot

Jerry Deschane for The Chippewa Herald
Posted on: December 8, 2016

Brookfield sends message to combat big retail loopholes

Brookfield’s aldermen unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night that urged Gov. Scott Walker and the state legislature to close loopholes that are causing property taxes in many municipalities to be shifted more onto the shoulders of residents. . .

Geoff Bruce, Brookfield Elmgrove NOW
Posted on: December 6, 2016

WECC's Energy Finance Solutions Launches PACE Wisconsin Program

WECC's Energy Finance Solutions (EFS) has launched PACE Wisconsin, a statewide program which enables commercial property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements.

Marketwired - December 05, 2016
Posted on: December 5, 2016

Dark store theory: The move big box retailers are making that could cost you big bucks


Local municipalities are losing millions each year, and thousands of dollars are being spent on legal fees. It's an issue that's been steadily creeping into Wisconsin -- big box stores appealing their assessed values to pay lower property taxes.

Brittany Shannon - Fox 6 News
Posted on: November 28, 2016

Ashland Mayor Lewis Appointed to League of Wisconsin Municipalities Board

Ashland, WI – Mayor Debra Lewis was recently appointed to the League of Wisconsin
Municipalities Board of Directors. The 16-member League Board is responsible for
setting the strategic direction for the League.

The Wheeler Report
Posted on: November 28, 2016

Climate Corner: Wisconsin’s Most Innovative Counties and Municipalities Join Together

November 22, 2016 A diverse group of Wisconsin cities, villages and counties have joined with the Department of Natural Resources and several nonprofit organizations to help each other advance sustainability goals.

Curt Witynski for Door County Pulse
Posted on: November 18, 2016

City of Sturgeon Bay Supports “Just Fix it WI” Initiative

November 16, 2017 The Sturgeon Bay City Council went on record in support of the statewide initiative of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities urging the governor and state legislature to agree upon a sustainable solution . . .

Roger Levendusky for WDOR 93.9 FM
Posted on: November 14, 2016

Fix state's roads, transportation budget

November 12, 2016 “Just Fix It” was echoed from every corner of the state on Sept. 29 when thousands of local government leaders and concerned citizens brought attention to an issue that has moved to the forefront on their “to do” list . . .

Mark O'Connell, et.al., Daily Tribune
Posted on: November 7, 2016

Many local races around Wisconsin have few candidates

November 4, 2016 As Election Day nears, races for local offices in many parts of Wisconsin aren't drawing much attention. That's because there aren't many candidates.

Madison, WI (AP)
Posted on: November 7, 2016

West Bend asks governor, legislators to close tax loopholes

John Ehlke, Daily News

November 2, 2016 . . . aldermen and Mayor Kraig Sadownikow voted to approve a resolution asking Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators to protect residential property owners and independent business owners from a potential tax increase . . .

Ralph Chapoco, Daily News
Posted on: October 10, 2016

Two Dozen Attend Turnout for Transporation

October 10, 2016 Calumet County Highway Commissioner Brian Glaeser thanked the nearly two dozen people who attended the Turnout for Transportation meeting held Thursday evening at the Calumet County Courthouse.

Tri-County News
Posted on: November 7, 2016

Learn about Green Tier Legacy Communities at Nov. 9 Climate Change Program

November 3, 2016 "Wisconsin’s Most Innovative Local Governments: Green Tier Legacy Communities” will be the focus when Curt Witynski, assistant director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, speaks at the Climate Change Coalition. . .

Door County Pulse, Peninsula Pulse
Posted on: November 7, 2016

Rough Roads Ahead: Sustainable solutions sought for roads

Kim McDarison

October 6, 2016 Road reconstruction, repair and maintenance were the topics of discussion at a countywide “Turnout for Transportation” held Sept. 29 at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville.

Kim McDarison, The Milton Courier
Posted on: October 10, 2016

Municipalities Statewide Call for Road Funding

October 7, 2016 State legislators should be getting an earful about bad roads and the need for a better transportation plan from municipal leaders throughout the state. Aging roadways and culverts, a lack of money to fix them, political maneuvering. . .

John Lundstrom, Peninsula Pulse
Posted on: September 27, 2016

Baraboo seeks changes in highway funding

September 26, 2016 Baraboo is joining municipalities across Wisconsin in asking lawmakers to change the way road work is funded.

On Monday, the City Council’s public safety committee voted unanimously to approve a resolution. . . .

Ben Bromeley Baraboo News Republic
Posted on: September 26, 2016

Turnout for Transportation calls for solutions

September 22, 2016 Three local governmental associations will hold an event drawing attention to the need to find a sustainable solution to Wisconsin’s transportation challenge.

Milton Courier
Posted on: September 13, 2016

Appleton not alone in being sued over cell towers

September 6, 2016 Appleton isn't the only community in Wisconsin that's headed to the courthouse over cell towers. Although the state law regulating cell tower sites is relatively new, both Eau Claire and Prairie du Sac have faced legal hurdles . . . .

Madeleine Behr, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Posted on: September 13, 2016

Our Views: Act 10's big winner: taxpayers

September 7, 2016 Protesters descending on the Capitol five years ago in a desperate bid to stop Act 10’s passage were right about one thing: They had a lot to lose.
But as a growing body of evidence suggests, their loss has been the taxpayers’ gain—

Gazette Editorial Board, Janesville Gazette Xtra
Posted on: August 26, 2016

Study: Smaller villages struggling

Four out of 10 municipalities said budget conditions had improved since 2010, while 30% said it had worsened. Among larger cities, 45% reported better and 21% reported worse budget conditions. Among smaller villages. . . 32% percent said it was worse.

08/26/2016 The Chippewa Herald
Posted on: August 26, 2016

Study: Smaller villages struggling more than bigger cities with economic recovery

August 26, 2016 Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said . . . the report reveals troubling trends for smaller municipalities, which are just as vital to the health of Wisconsin’s economy as the larger cities.

The Journal Times
Posted on: August 26, 2016

New Report Outlines Challenges Facing Wisconsin Municipalities

08/26/2016 A new report from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance details the challenges facing cities and villages throughout the state. We'll learn more from LWM Executive Director Jerry Deschane.

J. Carlisle Larsen for Wisconsin Public Radio
Posted on: August 26, 2016

Civic Engagement Lacking in Cities and Villages, Report Shows

Civic engagement in small cities and villages is rising toward the top of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities' priority list following a report on overall municipal health.

08/26/2016 WisPolitics.com
Posted on: August 26, 2016

Study: Smaller villages struggling more than bigger cities with economic recovery

Wisconsin’s cities and villages are scaling back road repairs in the face of state aid cuts, and smaller villages have struggled more than larger cities to recover from the Great Recession, according to a new study.

Matthew DeFour for the Wisconsin State Journal
Posted on: August 25, 2016

NEWSMAKERS: State of Cities and Villages

August 25, 2016 A study of Wisconsin’s 597 cities and villages found that debt service made up 21.7% of spending. Commissioned by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the study also found the smallest cities and villages have the biggest problems.

WisconsinEye Studio
Posted on: August 25, 2016

WISTAX Releases State of Wisconsin Cities and Villages

August 25, 2016 The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance was commissioned by the League of Municipalities to review the state of Wisconsin’s cities and villages. This report focused on reviewing the fiscal health, service levels, and employment conditions.

Wheeler Report Blog
Posted on: August 12, 2016

Officials note few differences between city, village status

August 11, 2016
Cottage Grove Village Attorney Lee Boushea said that based on a cursory examination, there is not much different between being a village and fourth class city in Wisconsin.

Kevin Passon for The Herald-Independent
Posted on: August 4, 2016

WNA, associations spar over legal notices

August 3, 2016 Representatives of three local government associations called for the elimination of publication requirements for public notices during a hearing Tuesday at the state Capitol.

James Debilzen, WNA, for The Star
Posted on: August 2, 2016

Legal experts weigh in councils' authority after alleged ethics violation

July 31, 2016 MILTON—The Milton City Council has the authority to remove one of its members for divulging what happened in a closed session if that behavior is found to be "official misconduct," attorneys told The Gazette.

Jake McGee for GazetteXtra
Posted on: July 27, 2016

Cities, villages to challenge legal notice laws

publication hearings.jpg

July 27, 2016
Current law requires cities and villages to publish ordinances, minutes, and other notices in their local newspapers, but that could change. The municipalities would like to post that information to their websites. . .

Rebecca Cardenas for WSAW-TV
Posted on: July 22, 2016

Court: Milwaukee can't enforce worker residency requirement

June 23, 2016 MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee can no longer enforce a long-standing requirement that police, firefighters, teachers and other public workers live within city limits, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Scott Bauer for Milwaukee StarTribune
Posted on: July 25, 2016

Local Government Leaders Decry Wisconsin's Road Repair Backup


June 14, 2016 The cost of delayed road projects is causing local government leaders and lawmakers to reconsider how the state is repairing its ailing network of roads.

Danielle Kaeding for Wisconsin Public Radio
Posted on: July 26, 2016

Madison, district craft deal to keep school funds

June 8, 2016 In a move that city and school officials say has never been done before, the City of Madison agreed this week to lend almost $9.3 million to the Madison School District. . . .

Patrick Thomas for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Posted on: July 26, 2016

Big box tax dodgers? Municipalities want to curb “dark store” property tax challenges

May 26, 2016 MADISON — Municipal leaders in Wisconsin are seeking changes that would hasten the demise of the trend of big box retailers challenging their property tax assessments. . . .

Cara Spoto for The Journal Times
Posted on: July 26, 2016

Groups raise concerns about new overtime rules

May 18, 2016
The Obama administration's new overtime rules are drawing concern from government and charitable groups in Wisconsin, who say the measure would raise their costs beyond their means to pay.

Jason Stein for the Journal Sentinel
Posted on: July 26, 2016

Business groups, municipalities raise concerns over new federal overtime rules

May 18, 2016
Business groups and local governments are slamming a new Obama administration rule that would make 4.2 million more full-time salaried workers eligible for overtime pay.

Polo Rocha for WisBusiness.com
Posted on: July 26, 2016

Additional News Items 2016

05/13/16 - Wisconsin Public Radio - Group Calls On State To Invest In More In Wisconsin's Roads, Transportation Network
05/10/16 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Court rules for disclosure of Wisconsin accident reports05/03/16 - Better Roads - Wisconsin ...Read on...