News Flash

Posted on: March 26, 2019

Court Declines Invitation to Revamp Governmental Immunity

Courts 369, Liability 435

Courts 369 Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to adopt interpretation of governmental immunity statute that would reverse longstanding precedent and expand municipal liability under sec. 893.80(4) explaining that to do so would create problems for governmen...

Claire Silverman, The Municipality, March 2019

Claire Silverman, The Municipality, March 2019 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 26, 2019

Panhandling Ordinances after Reed and Norton

Licensing/Regulation 399, Ordinances/Resolutions 511: Legal comment discussing the constitutionality of panhandling ordinances in the wake of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S.Ct. 2218 (2015) and Norton v. City of Springfield, 806 F.3d 411 (7th Cir. 2015).

Maria Davis, The Municipality, March 2019 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 26, 2019

Nuisance Concerts Separate Events

Liability 434, Nuisances 160: Concerts constituting a nuisance are considered separate events for purposes of the 120-day notice timeline in Wisconsin Statute § 893.80(1d). Yacht Club at Sister Bay Condo Assn., Inc. v. Village of Sister Bay, 2019 WI 4.

Maria Davis, The Municipality, March 2019 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 26, 2019

Wisconsin Cities Have Class!

Municipal Corporations 59: Provides overview of Wis. Stat. sec. 62.05 which classifies cities as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th class cities based on population as well as procedure for altering classification and some differences between the different classes.

Claire Silverman, The Municipality, March, 2019 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 30, 2018

FRSA Preempts Ordinance Prohibiting Trains from Obstructing RR Crossings

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. . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 30, 2018

Local Government Emergency Powers

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.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Municipal Publication Requirements

This article provides a basic overview of municipal publication requirements and addresses common questions that arise with regard to those requirements.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Kenosha Program "Gets the Lead Out!"

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.

St. Peter, Kobza and Walker Smith November 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

A Silent Revolution of Agency Review

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.

Barry J. Blonien, the Municipality October 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: November 8, 2018

Supreme Court Review for States and Local Governments 2018

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 Cases
In South Dakota v. Wayfair** the Supreme Court ruled . . .

Lisa Soronen the Municipality September 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: August 3, 2018

Removal of Officers: Governing Body Procedures and the Recall Procedure

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 . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality August 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Determining the Residency of Municipal Officers

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 . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Special Assessments--A Common Way to Recover Costs of Public Improvements

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 . . .

Curt Witynski in July 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Managing the Risks of Tax Increment Financing

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 . . .

Matthew Dregne, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP July 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

Act 243 Constrains Municipal Development Authority

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 . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 29, 2018

The Latest Landlords Legislation--A Description of Act 317

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 . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality June 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Board of Review

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.

Micheal Drea, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: June 28, 2018

Collecting Room Taxes from Airbnb and other Short-term Rentals

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.

Curt Witynski, April 2018 the Municipality Legal Articles
Posted on: March 14, 2018

Municipal Regulation of "Click and Collect" Alcohol Sales

“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 . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality March 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: February 27, 2018

Public Records Law Application to Individual Local Officials

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.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality January 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Agenda Control and Presiding Officers

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 . . . .

Daniel Olson December 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Items in the State Budget Affecting Municipalities

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 . . . .

Curt Witynski in the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When is a Street a Street?

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.

Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Is Your Website Accessible to People with Disabilities?

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 . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

When are Committees "Governmental Bodies" Under the Open Meeting Law?

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 . . . .

Claire Silverman, the Municipality October 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 1, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 2)

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.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Sept 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Wisconsin Takings Case

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 . . . .

Jeffrey A. Mandell, the Municipality August 2017 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Municipal Case Law Update (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2-part case law update summarizing Wisconsin appellate and 7th circuit decisions affecting Wisconsin municipalities.

Claire Silverman and Daniel Olson, Aug 2018 Legal Articles
Posted on: March 2, 2018

Court Rejects Substantial Zoning and Planning Law Changes

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.

Daniel Olson, the Municipality July 2017 Legal Articles