Powers of Municipalities

League members may also request an opinion directly from the League via email. Please include the subject heading and number when making such a request.

942. Article by Sherri Russell, reprinted from IMLA's Municipal Lawyer, explains how the First Amendment protects expressions posted on private property but in public view that may be deemed profane or offensive, such as the proliferations of signs posted on private property after the 2020 presidential election that contain an expletive directed to President Biden. 9/2021.

941. Article by Attorney Matt Dregne (Stafford Rosenbaum LLP) emphasizes importance of rule of law, particularly in context of land use decisions, and distinguishes how it applies when making legislative decisions versus when making quasi-judicial decisions that require an impartial decision-maker to decide a particular matter after making factual findings based on evidentiary record and applying existing legal standards. 4/2021.

 940. Under current state law, as affected by 2017 Act 317, a municipality may establish a rental property inspection program in designated districts where there is evidence of blight, high rates of building code complaints or violations, deterioration of property value, or increases in single-family home conversions to rental units. This article looks at three communities that have implemented rental inspection and landlord registration requirements as allowed under current law. 11/2020.

939. A municipality may rely on its broad statutory and/or constitutional home rule powers to create a transportation utility and charge property owners transportation utility fees. Alternatively, a municipality may charge property owners a street maintenance user fee under Wis. Stat. § 66.0627. Any fee must be reasonably related to the cost of the services provided. A transportation utility fee is most defensible against challenge if the basis for the fee is closely related to property occupants' use of the local street network. Transportation utility fees with such a basis are accurately characterized as fees and not taxes. Such fees should be segregated and used only for street maintenance and other transportation services. To avoid needing to reduce the community's property tax levy under § 66.0602(2m)(b) of the levy limit law, municipalities should avoid using transportation utility fee revenue to pay for snow plowing or street sweeping. 9/2020.

937. Legal comment briefly summarizes legal authority supporting and constraining municipal intergovernmental cooperation agreements for the receipt or furnishing of municipal services or the joint exercise of authority or provision of services, and recommends minimum provisions that should be addressed in such an agreement. 12/2019.

936. Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to that act preempted ordinance prohibiting any train from obstructing railroad crossing for more than 10 minutes unless the train is in continuous motion. The ordinance did not come within two clauses that would have saved it from preemption because the ordinance related to railroad safety and its subject matter was regulating the operation and movement of trains, and the ordinance did not address an essentially local safety hazard. City of Weyauwega v. Wisconsin Central Ltd., 2018 WI App 65.

935. Summarizes Chapter 323 which requires municipalities to adopt emergency management programs and specifies some of local governments’ emergency powers. Supersedes that portion of Powers of Municipalities 882 which summarizes this topic under former chapter 166. 10/31/18. 

934. 2017 Wisconsin Act 317 removes the general authority of municipalities to conduct inspections of apartments as part of a "program of regularly scheduled inspections." However, the Act authorizes a city, village, town, or county to establish a rental property inspection program in designated districts in which there is evidence of blight, high rates of building code complaints or violations, deteriorating property values, or increases in single-family home conversions to rental units. No inspection of a unit may be conducted under the program if the occupant of that unit does not consent to allow access, unless the inspection is under a special inspection warrant. Also, a local government is prohibited from inspecting rental property that is less than eight years old as part of the inspection program. 4/30/18.

933. Article summarizes 2017 Wis. Act 243 (Developers bill), which expands condemnation relocation benefits, increases levy limits for new single-family residential dwelling units, modifies impact fee law, imposes new housing affordability and fee reporting requirements for larger municipalities, repeals zoning protest provision, prohibits municipal inclusionary zoning regulations, limits municipal development regulation authority, and amends statutes governing land division and plat approval. 4/30/18.

932. Summarizes items in the 2017-2019 state budget, 2017 Act 59, affecting municipalities, including language creating Wis. Stats. sec. 32.015, expressly prohibiting municipalities from acquiring property by condemnation to establish or extend a recreational trail, a bicycle way, a bicycle lane, or a pedestrian way. Act 59 also creates Wis. Stats sec. 66.0414, prohibiting municipalities from enacting an ordinance prohibiting the rental of a residential dwelling for seven consecutive days or longer. 9/28/17.

931. A village ordinance regulating the residency of child sex offenders (offenders) within the Village's borders, which was enacted to keep offenders out of the Village and made more than ninety percent of the Village off-limits to offenders, with the remaining ten percent largely non-residential and not including most low-income housing, and which banished offenders from the Village and without justification differentiated between offenders who were or were not living in the Village at the time of their most recent offense, was unconstitutional under the ex post facto clause of Article I of the U.S. Constitution as well as the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause. 
Hoffman, et al. v. Village of Pleasant Prairie, Case No. 16-CV 697-JPS (E.D. Wis., 4/17/2017).

930. Section 66.0104 constrains municipal authority to require registration and inspection of rental properties and declares inconsistent ordinances in effect on March 2, 2016 inapplicable and unenforceable. Wis. Stat. sec. 706.22 prohibits municipalities from imposing or enforcing time-of-sale, purchase or occupancy (TOSPO) requirements on the sale of real property and declares inconsistent municipal ordinances in effect on July 14, 2015 (time-of-sale) and March 2, 2016 (purchasing and occupancy) inapplicable and unenforceable. Municipalities can still enforce code compliance, but not in conjunction with the point of sale, purchase or occupancy. The full text of this article begins on page 16 of the Municipality April 2017.

929. Although not decided on the merits, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has acknowledged that cities can ban private signs on public ways, including signs expressing symbolic speech, but may not selectively enforce an ordinance imposing such limits in the absence of a compelling justification to ustify the content discrimination. Constr. & General Laborers' Local Union No. 330 v. Town of Grand Chute, Wisconsin, Case No. 15-1982 (7th Circ. Aug. 19, 2016). 12/2016. 

928. Legal comment summarizes recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations governing drones effective August 29, 2016, as well as state statues and municipal ordinances regulating drones and contains links to additional resources. 11/2016.

927. Notice provision in city ordinance requiring inspection and registration of rental properties which required landlords to inform tenants of city inspections was preempted by sec. 66.0104(2) (d) 1.a., but was severable from the remainder of the ordinance because of the severability clause. Olson v. City of La Crosse, 2015 WI App 67. 8/31/15.

926. Rule adopted by city transit and parking commission prohibiting persons from traveling in city buses with weapons was not preempted by Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0409 which only preempts "ordinances" and "resolutions" enacted or adopted by a "city, village, town or county." Wisconsin Carry, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2015AP146 (Aug. 6, 2015, publication recommended). 8/31/2015. 

925. 2015 Wis. Act 55 created Wis. Stat. sec. 706.22, which prohibits municipalities from restricting the owner of real property to sell, transfer or refinance the property by requiring the owner to take certain actions with respect to the property before, at the time of, or immediately after the sale or transfer of the property.  The statute gives examples of some things included within the meaning of "actions with respect to the property." Inconsistent municipal ordinances became null and void and unenforceable on July 14, 2015, the day after Act 55 was published.  Municipalities can still enforce code compliance, but not in conjunction with the point of sale.  7/31/15.  

924. Municipalities are generally prohibited from banning hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow within the community. However, a municipality can prohibit hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow in municipally owned lands. Wis. Stat. sec. 29.038(2)(b). Also, a municipality may prohibit hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow within 100 yards of building used for human occupancy. A municipality may also require that bow or crossbow hunters discharge the arrow or bolt toward the ground when hunting. Wis. Stat. sec. 29.038(3)(b)1.3. 12/31/13.

923. City ordinance prohibiting child sex offenders from residing within 1000 feet of specified facilities frequented by children and defining such residency as a nuisance per se required no showing of individual dangerousness and would be upheld absent a showing of oppressiveness or unreasonableness. Ordinance was not preempted by state law, nuisance per se provisions did not violate due process since determination of dangerousness was irrelevant, and the ordinance, as applied to child sex offender, did not violate constitutional protections in double jeopardy and ex post facto clauses and would be upheld in absence of clearest proof that Ordinance was a criminal and punitive measure rather than a civil, nonpunitive regulatory scheme. 3/31/13.

922. Effective April 1, 2013, ordinances relating to licensure or certification of electrical contractors or electricians adopted pursuant to municipal authority under sec. 101.865 or 101.87(2005 Stats.) are no longer in effect and municipalities are now preempted from imposing any registration, licensing or certification requirements on electrical contractors, electricians, or electrical inspectors. 2/4/13.

921. New uniform statewide wind turbine siting rules, Wis. Admin Code ch. PSC 128, which the Public Service Commission finalized in December 2010 and the Legislature suspended from taking effect in March 2011, took effect March 16, 2012. The suspension was lifted when the 2011-2012 legislative session ended without the Legislature passing a bill requiring the PSC to promulgate new wind energy system rules. 3/31/12.

920. Inconsistencies in local government determinations arising by comparison are not proof of arbitrariness or capriciousness. Guse v. City of New Berlin, Appeal No. 2011AP663 (Jan. 18, 2012) (publication recommended). 1/31/12.

919. Although sec. 943.13(1m)(c), the criminal trespass statute that allows municipalities to post buildings to prohibit persons from carrying firearms or certain types of firearms in the building only applies to firearms, Wisconsin’s Concealed Carry law, sec. 175.60 does not prohibit municipalities from also prohibiting other weapons in municipal buildings. 10/31/11.

918. Effective July 23, 2011, no person may be in violation of or be charged with a violation of an ordinance relating to disorderly conduct or other inappropriate behavior for loading, carrying, or going armed with a firearm, without regard to whether the firearm is loaded or is concealed or openly carried, unless other facts and circumstances apply that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person. A municipality may not apply or enforce any municipal ordinance that violates sec. 66.0409(6). 8/31/11.

917. Effective November 1, 2011, municipal laws that restrict the discharge of firearms  don’t apply and cannot be enforced if the actor’s conduct is justified or, had it been subject to a criminal penalty, would have been subject to a defense listed in sec. 939.45. See Wis. Stat. 66.009(3)(b) as modified by 2011 Wis. Act 35. 8/31/11.

916. Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0401 and Wis. Admin Code PSC ch. 128 greatly limit municipal authority to regulate wind energy systems and require municipalities that want to regulate wind energy systems to enact ordinances that are no more restrictive than PSC requirements.  Legal Comment provides an overview of the application and appeal processes established by state law and an overview of the new anticipated PSC rules which regulate such things as setbacks, noise, shadow flicker, signal interference, stray voltage, construction and operation, and decommissioning of systems. 1/31/11.

915. Housing authority failed to act according to law when it denied application for rent assistance and both the authority's written notice of an informal review hearing and its written decision failed to adequately explain to applicant why her rent assistance was being denied. Case was governed by Driver v. Housing Authority of Racine County, 2006 WI App 42, 289 Wis. 2d 727, 713 N.W.2d 670 which required the housing authority to identify the authority justifying denial. Bratcher v. Housing Authority of City of Milwaukee, 2009AP2204 (Wis. Ct. App., June 8, 2010) (publication recommended). 6/30/10.

914. Answers frequently asked questions about the municipal role in enforcing and implementing 2009 Wisconsin Act 12, the new state smoking ban effective July 5, 2010. Written by Attorneys Anita Gallucci and Rhonda R. Hazen of the Boardman Law Firm. 4/30/10.

913. The definition of “enclosed place” in 2009 Wisconsin Act 12, the new state smoking ban, is confusing and open to interpretation.  A municipality can clarify the definition by adopting a no smoking ordinance that provides an unambiguous definition of “enclosed place” or uses different language to describe indoor areas subject to the smoking ban. 4/30/10.

912. City authority in Wis. Stat. sec. 62.234 to adopt erosion control ordinance does not mandate that erosion control inspection fees be part of such an ordinance. Edgerton Contractors, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, No. 2009 AP 1042 (Ct. App. Feb, 17, 2010) (recommended for publication). 2/27/10.

910. Legal comment discusses content neutrality, overbreadth, vagueness and prior restraint  constitutional principles and current issues regarding municipal zoning and licensing regulation systems for adult entertainment businesses. 10/30/09.

909. Describes 2009 Wisconsin Act 12, banning smoking in all places of employment statewide, including bars and restaurants. The Act takes effect July 5, 2010. Under it municipalities retain their authority to adopt ordinances regulating indoor smoking more stringently. However, municipalities are prohibited from regulating outdoor smoking except on municipally owned property. 9/30/09.

908. 2009 Wisconsin Act 11 created Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0627(8) authorizing a municipality to make a loan to a municipal resident for making or installing energy efficiency improvements or a renewable resource application to the resident's property. The municipality may collect the loan repayment as a special charge. 9/30/09.

907. Legal comment reviews state laws governing firearms in light of sec. 66.0409 which limits municipal authority to regulate firearms and requires that local laws governing firearms be the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, state laws on the subject. 8/31/09.

906. Comment provides legal framework for conclusion that yard art display on private property is protected speech or expression under the First Amendment and discusses specific constitutional requirements that the asserted goals of a yard art regulation be supported by specific objective evidence and that yard art regulations be neither underinclusive nor overinclusive.

905. Cities and villages have no authority to regulate second or subsequent marijuana possession violations since Wis. Stat. 66.0107(1)(bm) expressly excludes such regulation and 66.0107(1) (bm) is the exclusive source of city and village authority to regulate marijuana possession. 7/1/08.

904. A Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0107(1)(bm) forfeiture amount for violating a first offense marijuana possession ordinance may be different than and may exceed the maximum forfeiture under its criminal statute counterpart, Wis. Stat. sec. 961.41(3g)(e), because the plain language of 66.01071)(bm) authorizes any forfeiture amount a city or village is otherwise empowered to adopt and no other statute requires that the 66.0107(1)(bm) forfeiture amount conform to or be less than the amount specified for violating 961.41(3g)(e). 7/1/08.

903. Describes 2007 Wisconsin Act 44, compromise legislation addressing impact fees, the practice of passing through professional service fees to developers, dedication of storm water facilities and fees in lieu of park land dedication. The Act took effect January 19, 2008.  2/29/08.

902. Comment reviews First Amendment public forum doctrine principles which limit power of municipalities to restrict speech on public property and several decisions where courts have applied the doctrine to analyze government power to control access to Internet speech on municipal computers and manage content of municipal Web sites. 7/31/07.

901. Comment reviews basic legal rules and leading Wisconsin cases regarding delegation of legislative, administrative, and quasi-judicial power in cities and villages. 12/7/06.

900. Describes 2005 Wisconsin Act 477, which makes changes to the impact fee law, including prohibiting the use of impact fees to fund the purchase of vehicles or the construction of "other recreational facilities." 5/31/06.

899. A city and county ban on phosphorous fertilizer that applies to products which contain both a phosphorous fertilizer and a pesticide (a "weed and feed" product) is not preempted by state pesticide regulations which prohibit local regulation since such combined products are a pesticide and a fertilizer and local regulation of fertilizers is not preempted under Wisconsin law. Croplife America v. City of Madison, et al., ___ F.3d __ (7th Cir., December 23, 2005). 1/30/06.

898. Overview of basic constitutional procedural due process limits on municipal powers and municipal officials with additional material on the impartiality requirement for local decision makers and vagueness doctrine limits on drafting of local laws and policies. 10/31/05.

897. A city did not violate the Establishment Clause when it sold a plot of park land underneath and surrounding a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments to the local Eagles chapter that had donated the monument to the City and erected it in the park forty years earlier. However, the sale of property inextricably linked with the seat of government would be, on its face, a sham. Mercier v. City of La Crosse, Case Nos. 04-1321 & 04-1524 (7th Cir. Jan. 3, 2005), rev'g 305 F. Supp.2d 999 (W.D. Wis. 2004). 12/30/04.

896. Comment surveys First Amendment principles regarding; (1) disparate treatment of commercial and noncommercial speech; (2) content-neutral versus content-based speech regulation; (3) the Doctrine of Prior Restraint and; (4) the Public Forum Doctrine and highlights application of these principles by the Supreme Court and other federal courts to a variety of political sign regulations. 8/31/04.

895. Opinion concludes that city Stormwater Flood Control Project (SFCP) that is intended to prevent flooding and sewage infiltration of residential properties by providing funding assistance to city homeowners for inspections of and improvements to non-public portions of the city's sewer system, including backflow valves, complies with the public purpose doctrine. 3/31/04.

894. Juvenile curfew regulation with affirmative defense for First Amendment activities, which leaves assessment of defense entirely to judicial officer, reaches substantial amount of protected conduct and, therefore, is not narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest and fails to allow for ample alternative channels for expression. Hodgkins v. Peterson, No. 01-4155 (7th Cir. January 22, 2004). 1/31/04.

893. Reviews the Federal Railroad Administration Final Interim Rule, published 12/18/03 and effective 12/18/04, requiring the sounding of locomotive horns or train whistles at highway-rail crossings and governing how municipalities can establish new quiet zones or maintain existing ones. 12/30/03.

892. Although the law is unclear, it appears a city can use its statutory home rule authority to abolish both the position of police chief and the city police department, and contract with the county for law enforcement services. Although section 62.13 is a matter of statewide concern providing for the uniform regulation of police departments, it should not be read to require the creation or preservation of a municipal police department. Rather, it governs how a police department must be governed if a police department exists. 12/2/2003.

891. Modifying and extending opinions in Powers of Municipalities 839 and Ordinances & Resolutions 456, opinion concludes that a city council has authority to establish term limits for elected and appointed statutory officials, such as alderpersons and members of statutory commissions and boards, by charter ordinance under Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0101, and authority to establish term limits by non-charter ordinance for any member of non-statutory board, commission or committee created by a city council. 8/29/03.

890. This legal comment summarizes Wisconsin case law involving the "public purpose doctrine" which requires that public funds be expended for only public purposes. 3/31/03.

889. Municipalities may prohibit the sale, use or consumption of alcohol on the premises of sexually oriented businesses. A liquor regulation prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol on the premises of adult entertainment establishments is constitutional if (1) the State (local government) is regulating pursuant to a legitimate governmental power; (2) the regulation does not completely prohibit adult entertainment; (3) the regulation is aimed not at the suppression of expression, but rather at combating the negative secondary effects caused by adult entertainment establishments; and (4) the regulation is designed to serve a substantial government interest, narrowly tailored, and reasonable alternative avenues of communication remain available or, alternatively, the regulation furthers an important or substantial government interest and the restriction on expressive conduct is no greater than is essential in furtherance of that interest. Ben's Bar, Inc. v. Village of Somerset, Case No. 01-4351 (7th Cir., Jan. 17, 2003). 2/28/03.

888. A town's expenditure of tax monies to develop and sell land in the town's subdivision did not violate the public purpose doctrine since the town's goals of creating jobs, promoting orderly growth, enhancing the tax base, and preserving and conserving environmentally sensitive lands were a legitimate and valid public purposes justifying the expenditure of public funds. Town of Beloit v. County of Rock, 2003 WI 8, ___ Wis.2d ___, 657 N.W.2d 344. 3/31/03.

887. Cities, villages, towns and counties may, pursuant to sec. 66.0143, Stats., file a request with the Department of Revenue (DOR) for a waiver from any state mandate except those relating to health and safety. 10/31/02.

886. Section 79.036, Stats., created by 2001 Wisconsin Act 109, provides municipalities incentive payments for consolidation of municipal services. This note points out some of the statutory methods which can be used to consolidate municipal services such as secs. 66.0301, 66.0229, 66.0305, 66.0307, and 66.1001, Stats., and gives examples of some of the types of services which are subject to consolidation. 9/30/02.

885. Under broad grant of statutory home rule powers, municipalities can prohibit video poker machines in premises with an alcohol license because such a prohibition is more restrictive than, rather than in conflict with, sec. 945.03(2m), Stats. However, a municipality cannot provide a larger forfeiture for a violation than that allowed by state law and cannot consider an arrest or conviction for a violation of sec. 945.03(2m) in any action to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a Class B beer or liquor license. 3/11/02.

884. Municipal ordinance that imposes permit requirement on all groups of 50 or more persons and those using sound amplification devices for use of public park without regard to what a speaker might say is a content-neutral restriction on the use of a public forum and is constitutionally sufficient restriction even though noncompliance with permit approval criteria may be waived by administering official where application inadequacies do not undermine the policies furthered by the criteria and such waivers are not used to favor particular speakers. Thomas et al. v. Chicago Park District, 70 U.S.L.W. 4091 (2002).

883. Municipalities are authorized to subdivide property and the expenditure of taxpayer funds to plat and develop the property did not violate the public purpose doctrine. Town of Beloit v. County of Rock, Case No. 00-1231 (Ct. App. Oct 25, 2001) (recommended for publication). Heimerl v. Ozaukee County, 256 Wis. 151, 40 N.W.2d 564 (1949) does not suggest that municipalities can never engage in traditionally private business in competition with the private sector. Id. 10/31/01.

882. Summarizes Wis. Stats. 166 which requires municipalities to adopt emergency management programs and specifies some of local governments' emergency powers. 9/30/01.

881. Encouragement of economic development and tourism and the creation of employment opportunities provide direct advantages or benefits to the public at large and are valid public purposes under the public doctrine which requires that public funds be spent for public purposes. Alexander v. City of Madison, No. 00-2692 (Wis. Ct. App. Aug. 2, 2001) (publication recommended), citing Libertarian Party of Wisconsin v. State, 199 Wis.2d 790, 546 N.W.2d 424 (1996). 7/31/01.

880. Local government regulation of solar and wind energy systems is limited by Wis. Stats. 66.031 and local restrictions are permitted only if they serve the public health or safety, do not significantly increase the cost or decrease the efficiency of the system, or allow for an alternative system of comparable cost and efficiency. State ex rel. Numrich v. City of Mequon Board of Zoning Appeals, 2001 WI App 88.

879. Town ordinance, similar to a model ordinance developed by the League, that prohibits nude dancing but encompasses expressive activities that do not implicate the "secondary effects" of such activity is overbroad and therefore violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Town of Lyndon v. Byer, Case No. 00-2125 (Ct. App. 2001) (unpublished opinion).

878. Describes and discusses a number of substantive changes to laws governing annexations, public utilities, contracting for garbage collection services and the procedure for discontinuing streets made by 1999 Wisconsin Act 150. Act 150, which reorganizes and modernizes chapter 66, Stats., takes effect January 1, 2001. 10/31/00. 4/27/00.

877. Concludes that home rule municipalities contracting for mutual aid can vary from sec. 66.305(1) by agreeing that law enforcement officers responding to a request for assistance in another jurisdiction will continue to be employees of their employing municipality for all purposes at all times while within the municipality requesting assistance. Although this conclusion is contrary to the conclusion reached in Liebenstein v. Crowe, 826 F. Supp. 1174 (E.D. Wis. 1992), the Liebenstein court cited no authority and failed to analyze the issue and Wisconsin courts are not bound by federal decisions on issues of state law. Greenlee v. Rainbow Auction/Realty Co., 202 Wis.2d 654, 553 N.W.2d 257, 263 (Ct. App. 1996).

876. A municipality can enact an ordinance which waives fees or sets forth criteria for waiving fees for nonprofit organizations as long as it has a rational basis for doing so. The fivefold test for reviewing equal protection challenges to classificatory schemes is set forth in Omernik v. State, 64 Wis.2d 6, 218 N.W.2d 734, 811 (1974). 3/10/2000.

875. Before a municipality may collect fees for the renting of boat slips at a municipally-owned pier, dock or marina, the municipality must create a board of harbor commissioners to fix and regulate the fees and to operate the pier, dock or marina. 3/31/00.

874. Since nothing in ch. 174, Stats., or elsewhere in the statutes expressly states that the dog license tax established by the county applies within the incorporated areas of the county and nothing in ch. 174 expressly requires a city to charge at least the county dog licensing tax, in my opinion city officials need not require city residents applying for a dog license to pay the increased dog license tax set forth in the county's ordinance. Also concludes that a municipality may, but is not required to, adopt an ordinance increasing its dog license tax to match the new fee adopted by the county. 12/16/99.

873. The 1999-2000 State Budget Act, 1999 Wisconsin Act 9, which generally took effect October 29, 1999, established a comprehensive procedure and strict standards for conducting unannounced, undercover investigations of retail outlets to identify violations of state laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors. Sec. 254.916, Stats. Under the new statute, the Department of Health and Family services (DHFS) may contract with local health departments or with municipal police departments, as agents of the department, to conduct unannounced investigations of retail outlets. Concludes that municipalities are precluded from conducting undercover investigations of retail establishments to enforce state laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors unless they do so acting as an agent of DHFS under sec. 254.916, Stats. 11/30/99.

872. Under its home rule powers, a municipality may adopt a Parental Responsibility ordinance requiring custodial parents to properly supervise their juveniles. Requiring proper supervision on the part of custodial parents is rationally related to the city's legitimate interest in reducing incidences of misconduct by juveniles. Wisconsin courts have held that a similar state statute, sec. 895.035, which imposes parental liability for property damage or for personal injury attributable to a wilful, malicious or wanton act of a minor child in any circumstances where the parent(s) may not be liable under the common law, represents a valid exercise of the state's police power. N.E.M. by Kryshak v. Strigel , 198 Wis.2d 719, 543 N.W.2d 821 (Ct. App. 1995), affirmed, 208 Wis.2d 1, 559 N.W.2d 256. First Bank Southeast, N.A. v. Bentkowski , 138 Wis.2d 283, 405 N.W.2d 764,766 (Ct. App. 1987). 4/30/99.

871. City with a population in excess of 4,000 and therefore subject to sec. 62.13, Wis. Stats., and a county cannot create a joint county-city law enforcement agency in the absence of express statutory language authorizing such a consolidation of agencies. See 60 Op. Att'y Gen. 85 (1971). 1/29/99.

870. County ordinances do not apply and are not enforceable within cities and villages unless a statute explicitly provides that they do apply. See 56 Op. Att'y Gen. 126 (1967); 72 Op. Att'y Gen. 153 (1983); 77 Op. Att'y Gen. 87 (1988); and League legal opinion Ordinances & Resolutions 468. This legal comment lists county ordinances that are applicable within cities and villages. 10/30/98.

869. A Wisconsin court would likely conclude that state law preempts a municipality from enacting an ordinance requiring lakefront property owners to obtain a property survey before making any conveyance of that property in light of chapter 706, Stats., which establishes a comprehensive scheme governing "every transaction by which any interest in land is created, aliened, mortgaged, assigned or may otherwise be affected in law or in equity." 8/17/98.

868. Because courts defer to a legislature's determination of what constitutes a public purpose and there is a strong presumption that a legislature's acts are constitutional, a court would likely conclude that a city can, consistent with the public purpose doctrine, set up a revolving fund for the purpose of giving employees interest-subsidized loans to purchase home computer equipment for their personal use where the city concludes that the program will improve public service by helping employees acquire and sharpen computer literacy skills and save money in training costs. 7/22/98.

867. Summarizes new state laws affecting municipalities that were enacted during the 1997-98 legislative session. Among the legislative changes described are new grants of authority allowing municipalities to prohibit truancy, establish joint local water authorities, and enact ordinances conforming with DOT rules governing vehicle size, weight and load limits. Other changes described in the Comment include a change in the open meetings law allowing governmental bodies to discuss non-agenda items raised by the public during a public comment period, new standards for determining when a performance bond must be required of a prime contractor, a new procedure property owners must follow when first seeking to declare their property tax exempt, and a number of modifications to the laws governing municipal public libraries. 5/30/98.

866. On May 7, 1998, Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Chibardun) withdrew its petition to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), which it had filed in October 1997. The petition alleged that the City of Rice Lake's right-of-way regulatory efforts had prevented the company from providing telecommunication services in the City in violation of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the Act). As a result, the significant questions raised by Chibardun's preemption petition concerning municipal regulatory authority over the use of local rights-of-way by telecommunication service providers remain unsettled. 5/30/98.

865. The village board may appropriate and expend funds for the purpose of donating money to the Area Library Advisory Board, the Youth Baseball Association, the water ski club, the high school band and similar non-profit local organizations only if the expenditures serve primarily a public purpose. Thus, each contemplated donation by the village board to a particular organization within the community must be analyzed under the public purpose doctrine to determine whether it is constitutionally permissible. 4/30/98.

864. A municipality may enter into a cooperative agreement under sec. 66.30(2), Stats., with a school district to provide snow removal services to school district property located within the municipality, as long as the municipality is reimbursed by the school district for the cost of the work. (1/31/98).

863. A municipality may, pursuant to sec. 86.105, Stats., and its statutory home rule powers, enter into contracts for plowing and salting private roads, driveways and parking lots if: (1) such work is necessary to provide ingress and egress to the public highway from the private property; (2) the contract sets forth a fee schedule for the work to be performed and requires prepayment of the fee; and (3) there are no private persons in the municipality willing and capable of performing such work. Heimerl v. Ozaukee County, 256 Wis. 151, 40 N.W.2d 564 (1949); 67 Op. Att'y Gen. 304 (1978). (1/31/98).

862. Summarizes the difference between copyright and trademark law and concludes that a municipality can copyright its corporate seal or emblem to prohibit its unauthorized copying for a limited time. 2/9/98.

861. Summarizes Federal Communication Commission (FCC) comments concerning municipal authority to manage the public rights-of-way in an opinion and order issued on September 19, 1997, in which the FCC granted in part, and denied in part, the Petition for Declaratory Ruling of TCI Cablevision of Oakland County, Inc. (TCI). TCI had alleged, among other things, that Troy Michigan's telecommunications ordinance violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In the Matter of: TCI Cablevision of Oakland County, CSR-4790 (September 19, 1997).9/30/97.

824A R1. Discusses ability of local officials to, in their official or individual capacities, lobby or attempt to influence state legislation without registering as lobbyists or complying with the provisions in Wis. Stat. Chapter 13, the state lobby law. 11/31/14.