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The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to that act preempt a City of Weyauwega ordinance prohibiting any train from obstructing, for more than 10 minutes. . . .
Is your municipality prepared to deal with an emergency? Recent disasters in communities across the state, like flooding and explosions, highlight the importance of being prepared to cope with local emergencies.
This article provides a basic overview of municipal publication requirements and addresses common questions that arise with regard to those requirements.
There has been a surge in public awareness of the risks of lead exposure in drinking water. Exposure to lead has been linked to adverse health effects in infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is potentially harmful to adults.
Municipalities frequently interact with state and federal agencies, and they sometimes need courts to review whether an agency decision is arbitrary, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law.
The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) files Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Big Seven national organizations* representing state and local governments. Big CasesIn South Dakota v. Wayfair** the Supreme Court ruled . . .
Can a governing body remove a member who repeatedly fails to show up for meetings? What about a member who always shows up but seems to focus all his or her energy on creating dissent? What about a member who reveals information discussed in closed . . .
At the time they are elected, members of municipal governing bodies and other local elected officers must be resident electors of the municipality. Common council members representing aldermanic districts must not only reside within the city . . .
Several months ago a state legislator called me into his office to discuss a question he had received from a constituent. The constituent had called to complain about the city charging her a special assessment of over $1,000 for sidewalk and curb . . .
Tax increment financing (“TIF”) is a local economic development tool that can be an essential ingredient in making a development project happen. However, financing a development project can expose a municipality and its taxpayers to significant . . .
The Developers bill (2017 AB 770), so called because it was sought by the Wisconsin REALTORS and the Wisconsin Builders Associations and limits municipal powers to regulate development and recover the cost of serving new development, was signed . . . .
The following description of municipally relevant provisions in Act 317, the Landlords' legislation, is lifted with minor changes from a memo prepared by Wisconsin Legislative Council Principal Attorney Scott Grosz. The League appreciates . . .
Each year, spring brings a mix of showers and sunshine. Much like the weather, property taxes provide a healthy foundation for funding local government services. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, fair and equitable taxation is essential.
Despite recent changes made to the room tax law designed to help municipalities receive room taxes from short-term rental properties advertising on Airbnb and other online services, the reality is that little has changed in Wisconsin.
“Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . .
Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business.
Although agendas are not required by any state law, many governmental bodies, by custom or procedural rule, use them. They serve important practical purposes by providing a structure that facilitates efficient and effective use of meeting time . . . .
After nearly three months of legislative delay, Governor Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law as Act 59 on September 21. Like all state budgets, Act 59 is a mixed bag for municipalities, although positive changes slightly . . . .
When is a street a street? Although the question posed by this title may sound like a riddle or the lead-in to a joke, being unable to answer that question is no laughing matter when the outcome is important to those with a stake in the issue.
Local governments are increasingly finding that municipal websites are a cost-effective and efficient way to make information available to the public 24-7 without the direct assistance of government personnel. Not surprisingly . . . .
In State ex rel. Krueger v. Appleton Area School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 2017 WI 70, the Wisconsin Supreme Court attempted to clarify when a committee constitutes a "governmental body" for purposes of the open meeting law after Krueger, a parent . . . .
This is part 2 of a case law update summarizing cases decided within the last year that affect municipalities but not including U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Part 1 was published in the August issue of The Municipality.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided a major regulatory takings case last week, ending a Wisconsin land-use battle that lasted more than a dozen years. See Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214 (U.S. June 23, 2017). It is not common for a case to jump . . . .
This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.
The City of Fitchburg (City) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (League) recently won an important Wisconsin Supreme Court case for local government control over municipal zoning, planning, and development.