April 26, 2021 | Number 17 (Link Corrected)
Governor Vetoes bills barring health officials from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, closing places of worship
Last week Governor Tony Evers vetoed two bills that would have placed restrictions on state and local public health officers regarding actions they may take to address the ongoing pandemic.
The first bill, AB 23, would have prohibited the Department of Health Services and local health officers from requiring people to receive a COVID vaccine. The second, AB 24, would have banned local health officers from closing places of worship to control coronavirus outbreaks.
In a statement, Evers said he vetoed both bills because he objected to provisions that would have taken away existing tools for public health officials to use in the fight against COVID-19.
Both bills passed the Assembly along party lines and the Senate by voice vote.
Final State Budget Hearing is Wednesday and it is Virtual
The Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance is conducting its final public hearing on the 2021-2023 state budget on Wednesday, April 28th. Registration is closed.
The hearing begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 5 p.m. Persons testifying will likely be limited to two minutes of testimony.
Action Step: The League urges municipal officials to send comments to the Joint Finance Committee and your state legislators focusing on:
- Local Transportation Aids
- Payment for Municipal Services Program
Use the state budget comment template prepared by League staff here. In addition to emailing the Joint Finance Committee members at the budget email address above, please also email legislators representing your municipality.
The League greatly appreciates all who have participated in helping us advocate for municipalities across the state. There is still time to make your voice heard!
Racial Disparities Task Force Law Enforcement Subcommittee
Issues Final Report
Last week, the Assembly Speaker's Task Force on Racial Disparities - Subcommittee on Law Enforcement Policies and Standards released its final report with 18 recommendations to change law enforcement practices in Wisconsin to improve racial disparities.
The 32-person task force separated into two subcommittees to address racial disparities in Wisconsin - one focusing on law enforcement, the other focusing on education and economic development.
The Subcommittee on Law Enforcement Policies and Standards reached consensus on various recommendations that fall within four general categories: (1) use of force by law enforcement; (2) law enforcement oversight and accountability; (3) officer training and standards; and (4) community engagement.
Read the subcommittee's full report here.
State Revenue Collections up in March
Frequently Asked Questions about ARPA
TAKE ACTION - ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITIES
Adopt the Shared Revenue Resolution!
Thank you to the cities and villages that have adopted or have added the Shared Revenue Resolution to their agenda for consideration. If your municipality isn’t on the list, it is NOT TOO LATE to take action in support of long-term funding for police, fire, parks, etc. We have provided a sample resolution - League Shared Revenue Take Action Plan
Send us your Shared Revenue Stories Please Email Jerry Deschane. He has already gathered stories from quite a few municipalities.
RECENTLY INTRODUCED LEGISLATION
SB 311, Traffic Violations when Emergency or Roadside Response Vehicles are Present. This bill increases the penalties for certain traffic violations that are committed within 500 feet of an authorized emergency vehicle giving a visible signal or a tow truck displaying flashing red lamps (emergency or roadside response area). In addition to increase fines, the bill provides for the following:
- specifically prohibits using a wireless telephone while driving a motor vehicle in an emergency or roadside response area.
- allows law enforcement officers, fire fighters, or emergency medical responders to post temporary reduced speed limits in response to an emergency.
Senator Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Representative Loudenbeck (R-Clinton). The League has not taken a position on this bill to date.
SB 312, Composition of Local Boards of Health. The local board of health is required under current law to consist of not more than nine members, at least three of which must be community members who have a demonstrated interest or competence in public or community health. In appointing those community members, the appointing authority must make a good faith effort to appoint a registered nurse and a physician. This bill allows the appointing authority to appoint a physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, or both instead if it is unable to find a willing registered nurse, physician, or both. Senator Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Plumber (R-Lodi). The League has not taken a position on this bill to date.
SB 315, Meter Installation or Replacement Project by Water Public Utilities. This bill exempts water public utilities from needing a certificate of authority issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC) before beginning certain projects related to installing or replacing customer meters. Specifically, under the bill, a water public utility or a combined water and sewer public utility does not need to obtain a certificate of authority from PSC before beginning a project to install or replace meters that measure service to customers if the estimated average annual cost of the project is not more than $250,000 or 25 percent of the utility's operating revenues in the year before the project is started, whichever is less. Senator Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative VanderMeer (R-Tomah). This is a League and Rural Water Association initiated bill.
SB 316, Deadline for Certain PSC Actions for Water Public Utilities. This bill provides deadlines for certain Public Service Commission (PSC) actions after a water public utility or a combined water and sewer public utility submits an application for a certificate of authority and after a water public utility submits an application for approval of lead service line financial assistance. The timelines included do not equate to approval of any applications. Just a reasonable expectation of time associated with regulatory review. The bill also requires PSC to issue a notice opening a docket on an application as soon as practicable but no later than 14 days after determining that the application is complete. Senator Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac). This is a League and MEG -Water Division initiated bill.
SB 324/AB 285, Veteran Boat Launch Permits. This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to issue a free boat launch permit to veterans over the age of 65 that authorizes access to public boat launches. Senator Jacque (R-De Pere) and Representative Thiesfeldt (R-Fod du Lac). The League supports this bill.
PUBLIC HEARINGS THIS WEEK
The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee will hold the last Public Hearing
on the 2021-2023 State Biennial Budget virtually this week on Wednesday, April 28th. See the information above for details and how to send comments on the League's budget priorities.
On April 30, 2021, at 2:30 pm WisconsinEye guest host Steve Walters will sit down with Tom Larson, Senior VP of the Wisconsin Realtors Association; Prof. Kurt Paulsen, Professor at UW-Madison; Jerry Deschane, Executive Director of the League of WI Municipalities; and Scott Manley, Executive VP of Government Relations at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; for an update on workforce housing. View on Wisconsin Eye.
IN THE NEWS
(Paywalls may apply)
League Membership Virtual Roundtable
Tuesday, May 11, at 12PM to 1PM
Unless the US Treasury provides guidance on ARPA before May 11, then we will schedule a call earlier. Stay tuned to League newsletters for ARPA information.
Local Government 101
May 7, May 21 and June 4 via Zoom
Please thank our sponsors!
Clerks, Treasurers & Finance Officers Institute
June 9-11, 2021 via Zoom
Please thank our sponsors!
This workshop is Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association credit eligible.
Chief Executives Summer Workshop
August 19 & 20, 2021 – Hotel Retlaw, Fond du Lac
Please thank our sponsor! MPIC
2021 Municipal Attorneys Institute
August 30 – September 1, 2021
Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake