May 14, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #34
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
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On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down DHS’s Emergency Order 28, Safer at Home, as invalid and unenforceable. See  Wisconsin Legislature vs. Andrea Palm , 2020 WI 42. For more information on the Court’s opinion click  here

The following FAQs address some of the questions member municipalities are asking: 
In the absence of a county or local health department order, does a municipality have authority to impose restrictions similar to Safer at Home, such as prohibiting public gatherings of a certain size and closing businesses?  
The answer is unclear. Wisconsin Stat. § 323.14(a), which sets forth local government’s powers and duties during an emergency, provides that “the emergency power of the governing body conferred under s. 323.11 includes the general authority to order, by ordinance or resolution,  whatever is necessary and expedient for the health, safety, protection, and welfare of persons and property within the local unit of government in the emergency  and includes the power to bar, restrict, or remove all unnecessary traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, from the highways...” The italicized language is written quite broadly, so it is possible a municipality could exercise its emergency powers to enact restrictions similar to Safer at Home. However, it is unclear whether a court would find the scope of authority under § 323.14(a) to extend that far. In contrast, Wis. Stat. § 252.03, governing communicable diseases, gives local health departments the authority to do what is reasonable and necessary to prevent and suppress disease, and provides that they may forbid public gatherings when deemed necessary to control outbreaks or epidemics. 
Following the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision invalidating DHS’s Safer at Home Order 28 can a municipality choose to keep municipal facilities such as playgrounds, parks, athletic fields, etc. closed?  
Yes. The legislature has granted municipalities management and control over municipal property and power to act for the health, safety and welfare of the public. See Wis. Stat. §§ 61.34(1) and 62.11(5).  In the absence of an express limitation on those powers, a municipality has authority to decide whether municipal property should be open or closed.   
Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Emergency Order 28 Safer at Home, what is the status of Emergency Order 5 which prohibited gatherings of ten people or more?  
With Safer at Home overturned, Emergency Order 5 has no effect. The language in Emergency Order 5 specified the order would remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared in Governor Evers’ Executive Order #72, which expired on May 11, or until a superseding order was issued. Emergency Order 28 Safer at Home appears to be a superseding order; therefore, Emergency Order 5 presumably is no longer in effect. 
Would a county health order control in a municipality without a local health department?  
Yes. Wisconsin Stat. § 251.08 provides that the jurisdiction of a county health department applies throughout the county unless a municipality within the county has its own local health department. 
Must a library close if there is a county or local health department order in place establishing restrictions similar to Safer at Home?  
Yes, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 251.08, the jurisdiction of the local health department extends to the entire area represented by the governing body of the county, city, village or town that established the local health department, except that the jurisdiction of a single or multiple county health department or of a city-county health department does not extend to cities, villages and towns that have local health departments.    
In the absence of a county or local health department order, does the governing body have authority to close the library or does that authority fall to the library board?  
In the absence of such an order, the statutes appear to give the library board the authority to determine whether the library should open or close. Wisconsin Stat. § 43.58(1) provides that the library board has “exclusive charge, control and custody of all lands, buildings, money or other property devised, bequeathed, given or granted to, or otherwise acquired or leased by, the municipality for library purposes.”  

This FAQ will be posted to our website here .
League's Legal Electronic Newsletter - "the League-EL"

May 13, 2020
By Maria Davis, Assistant Legal Counsel, League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Request - Please send COVID-19 emergency orders adopted by your municipality and/or any forward looking planning documents that you would like to share with your peers to Gail Sumi at the League THANKS!

Check back. We will add the FAQ, emergency orders and plans to the League's COVID resources here>>

Implementation of the City of River Falls “Crushing COVID-19: A guide to recovery” will follow guidance and direction from the State of Wisconsin and public health officials throughout its response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s Badger Bounce Back plan serves as a framework for this guide.  Review the plan...
In the News

Here's which Wisconsin counties and cities have continued or modified stay-at-home orders
In the immediate aftermath of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ending Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order, local governments around the state began issuing their own measures. 

Here is an updating roundup of counties and cities that have announced their own measures, or will be continuing to follow Evers' order. Read the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel... Comment on this article on the League's Facebook page...

New Marquette Law poll finds reduced but majority support for COVID-19 restrictions
Nearly seven out of 10 Wisconsin residents still back the “Safer at Home” order issued by Gov. Tony Evers' administration in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but support has dropped for keeping schools and businesses closed as Republican opposition has grown, a Marquette University Law School poll released on Tuesday, May 12 showed. Read the full Fox6 News article... Comment on this article on the League's Facebook page...

 Wisconsin's stay-at-home order has been overturned by the state Supreme Court; here's how people are responding
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has  struck down Gov. Tony Evers' order shutting down daily life to limit the spread of coronavirus  — meaning bars, restaurant, concert halls and other businesses are allowed to reopen across Wisconsin.

Here's how public officials and others in Wisconsin are reacting to the news. Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article... Comment on this article on the League's Facebook page...

Crowded bars seen across Wisconsin after Safer at Home extension struck down
The  State Supreme court struck down Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order  in its entirety, ordering all future orders to go through the Legislature.

Following the announcement, the Tavern League of Wisconsin issued bars "open immediately." Read the WKOW27 article...
League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

NOTE - Schedule change to Thursday!

Tuesday, May 19 - 4:00-5:00 p.m.
CDBG Funding
David J. Pawlisch | Bureau Director
Department of Administration
Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources

Join Zoom Meeting

Or Dial 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 943 2945 2289
Password: 990365

Thursday, May 21 - 9:00-10 a.m.
WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson

Join Zoom Meeting

Or Dial 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 919 6078 3036
Password: 990365

If you aren't able to connect or have a question after participating, please contact Jerry Deschane at email .

We will schedule additional calls as needed. Notice and call-in information will be provided on the League's website and in these Special Edition newsletters, which will also be sent as needed.
The League's first Local Gov 101 Webinar is tomorrow, May 15 and you can still sign up!
Participants who opt for the online webinar version have the option to take the course all in one day or mix and match the four different modules during any of our offered webinar dates over a 12 month period following their registration. In addition to the online training, participants will have the option of receiving a hard copy workbook or a USB version.  Details and Registration
Reminder - REOPEN GUIDELINES by industry or type of business from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
"With input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with the  Wisconsin Department of Health Services , the  Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) , the  Wisconsin Department of Tourism  and our regional economic development partners, WEDC has compiled a series of industry-specific documents to help you get back to business while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. Following these guidelines will help us all get Wisconsin’s economy back on track.

You are encouraged to bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates to guidelines and the addition of new industry documents."

Click here to share the Guidelines from the League's Facebook page to your own or your municipalities page.
Reminder - Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association Monitoring Pool Closures
WPRA has created an  online document  to monitor pool closures across the state, as of Monday, May 11th, 65 agencies have provided data. Pool closures are based on many factors including government restrictions, financial projections, public perception and above all the health and safety of Wisconsin communities. On a poll of 42 agencies conducted May 1st, half had not yet decided whether or not they will be opening at all this Summer, approximately 25% intend to make that decision this month (in May). 
Reminder - League's Best Practices for Virtual Meetings Webinar Available
The League’s free May 6, 2020 webinar discussing best practices for virtual meetings will help you review the basic open meeting requirements as they apply in a virtual meeting, along with etiquette, communication tips and a discussion of various software platforms.

Thank you to our panelists! Sarah Edgerton, CIO, Director of Information Technology, City of Madison, Nathan Thiel, Village Administrator, Village of Pleasant Prairie, and Jim Healy, Village Administrator, Village of Richfield.
The archived webinar is available  here .
Take Action! From the National League of Cities Action Alert :

"We are concerned that the CARES Act, and the Coronavirus Relief Fund authorized under the bill, does not address the necessary increases in spending, or the unavoidable shortfall in revenues, faced by the vast majority of local governments. It is appropriate and necessary for Congress to approve emergency appropriations for direct local budget relief for every city and town, not only for those over 500,000 in population as in the CARES Act, or for entitlement cities over 50,000 as is the case for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula grants. 
The National League of Cities sent a letter to House and Senate leadership to advance a fourth emergency appropriations package to address the immediate need for local budget relief by making direct emergency funding available to every city and town in need, regardless of population.  The letter can be accessed here .   

We call on Congress to include:  
  • Direct supports for local governments 
  • Infrastructure measures to quicken economic stabilization and recovery efforts 
  • Measures to expand opportunities for job security, economic mobility, and the health and well-being of our residents 

Please take action by sending a tweet to your members of Congress or reaching out to them directly via phone or email with  NLC’s letter .
Frequently Asked Questions f rom the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters have been updated and c an be accessed here .
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Information on FEMA, including templates for tracking expenses are on the League's State and Federal Assistance Resource Page .
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security
Information on State and Federal Assistance including FEMA and the CARES Act is on the League's COVID-19 website here .
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is on the League's website on the Employees page here.
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
NEW - Now might be the time to access Additional Resources through UniverCity

"The state of local government is up in the air with all the uncertainty of COVID-19. Wouldn't it be nice to have a partner helping you think through how your locality will bounce back? It could mean a revised economic development plan, or an improved mechanism for communicating with citizens or localities, or rethinking how county services will be offered, or how to think differently about tourism in this uncertain time. 
UniverCity Year is a flexible three-year partnership where local governments pitch ideas to UW-Madison, and they match you with courses and resources on campus that help you think through your approach to those issues. It could be COVID-19 response, or affordable housing, or water quality/nutrient management, or parks/recreation. We are willing to be flexible to adapt to this new reality, so your projects don't have to be fully formed. If you'd like to talk more about your options or questions, reach out to Gavin Luter, , Managing Director of the Program. 

To see deliverables for projects in places like Monona, Brodhead, Durand, Monroe, and Stockholm, see
The application is HERE ."
NEW - Wondering what municipalities across the United States are doing?

Mayor's Innovation Project Live City Response Feed

"Our live city response feed provides you with a curated list from around the country, making it quick and easy to access the most relevant ideas for city leaders. Submit your own innovative policies here ." To see the city responses so far: 
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Communication Collaborative for COVID-19 Response has developed 10 essential steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. They reflect the overall need for maintaining a physical distance from each other, washing you hands and staying home: Read the article...
Webinars and Training
League’s Local Government 101 program now offered as webinars

The League’s 1-day workshop provides a basic framework for governing to both new city and village officials and those who want to brush up on their knowledge of local governance. 
You’ll learn about city and village powers including municipal home rule, hear about how to recognize and avoid conflicts of interest, go home with a quick tutorial on municipal budgeting as well as how to run a meeting and finish with an overview on managing public works projects. In addition, you’ll have that age-old question answered: “what is a walking quorum anyway?”

We're adapting and have converted four of the one-day workshops into webinars - with more dates possible. Participants who opt for the online webinar version have the option to take the course all in one day or mix and match the four different modules during any of our offered webinar dates over a 12 month period following their registration. In addition to the online training, participants will have the option of receiving a hard copy workbook or a USB version. The cost of the program is $70 per person. Details and Registration
Local Government Essentials
Programs brought to you by the Local Government Center at UW-Madison Extension

Alcohol Beverage Regulation and Licensing – Part 1
Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Under state law, Wisconsin municipalities issue and renew alcohol licenses. New municipal clerks and others looking for a refresher on the basics of alcohol licensing will benefit most from this session. Learn about the different types of licenses, license qualifications, notice requirements, and other statutory requirements as your municipality prepares for the upcoming license renewal period.
Presented by Attorney Carol Nawrocki of the Wisconsin Towns Association and Attorney Claire Silverman of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

Alcohol Beverage Regulation and Licensing – Part 2
Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Part 2 is intended for both new and continuing officials who want to stay up-to-date with recent changes in the law, current issues, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue resources related to alcohol licensing. In addition to providing these updates, Mr. Quam will be available to answer any questions you submit ahead of time, and if time, those questions posed during the presentation. To submit questions, please email them by Wednesday, May 1, 2020 to .
Presented by Tyler Quam Special Agent-in-Charge at Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit.


When Revenues Fall Short – Weathering the COVID-19 Recession
UW Madison Extension’s Local Government Center
June 9, 2020, from 10:00 am to 11:30

Wisconsin municipal governments are already feeling the COVID 19 recession’s impact, and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Further, Retail and Main Street have taken an economic hit in our current environment. Non-essential businesses have lost sales and workers, and community leaders and economic development professionals are concerned about the future of local business districts. Room taxes and other revenues are significantly off across all sectors. This webinar will provide data and practical information on the potential revenue loss impacts on municipalities and how to anticipate and mitigate those impacts.

We bring together experts from Ehlers, KerberRose, the Wisconsin Policy Forum, and UW Madison Extension’s Community and Economic Development program, each of whom will provide data, practical advice, and potential solutions for local governments to consider as they deal with revenue shortfalls for 2020 and beyond.

Agenda details here .

Upcoming League Conferences and Workshops
Our priority is your safety and well-being. Decisions on whether to hold, cancel or postpone League events will be made with that priority as our number-one concern. 

League's Local Gov 101 Workshops - three programs were scheduled for May and one for June 5th.  All four Local Gov 101 programs will be provided as webinars. Details here .

League's Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers - POSTPONED TO 2021! Please mark your calendar for June 9-11, 2021 (yes, that is next year !) at the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay.  

League's Municipal Attorneys Institute has been POSTPONED! Please stay tuned for details.

Decisions about the other upcoming programs will also be made with health and safety in mind. We will provide notice in our newsletters and on our website regarding those and future workshops. Details on cancellation policies and more... 
League Handbooks

The following Handbooks are now available as a PDF at a reduced price for email delivery.

  • Handbook for Wisconsin Municipal Officials - PDF Available!
  • Handbook for Wisconsin Police and Fire Commissioners - Completely updated in Jan. 2019.  PDF Available!
  • Municipal Licensing and Regulation of Alcohol Beverages - Completely updated in Sept. 2019. PDF Available!

Physical PRINT copies of ALL Handbooks are also still available but on a delayed weekly shipping basis.    You can order Handbooks online here .
General Resources
COVID-19 is a virus that has not previously infected humans and information about its rate of spread and its effects is still largely unknown, which makes it incredibly important to be highly cautious in dealing with the current situation. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will continue to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. You are encouraged to monitor the site for updated guidance as the situation continues to evolve.

Want to share relevant and credible information to your Social Media?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Facebook & on Twitter (Scroll down to see more recent posts.)

The Wisconsin Dept of Health Services (DHS) on Facebook & on Twitter.

And the League's social media: