2017-18, No.3
January 17, 2017

In this Issue:

Cell Tower Bill may be Tweaked

Study Committee Recommends Legislation

Join Us for League Lobby Day

Recently Introduced Legislation

Public Hearings
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Ph:  (608) 267-2380
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Cell Tower Bill May Be Tweaked  

Many municipal officials and staff have questioned the narrowness and impreciseness of the bill that Sen. Rob. Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) plan to introduce restoring to municipalities the ability to regulate the location of cell towers near a community's least dense residential district.  League staff have communicated these concerns to the authors of the bill and are advocating for a broader approach, such as allowing municipalities to prohibit cell towers in single family residential districts or, alternatively, require a conditional use permit to locate cell towers in any such districts.  

Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) is considering introducing a separate bill that allows municipalities to regulate the location of cell towers within residential districts.   

Of course, telecommunication providers are lobbying against making any such changes to current law. 

We will keep you informed of any changes that are made to the Sen. Cowles/Rep. Allen bill and if Rep. Ott circulates a different cell tower bill.
Study Committee Approves 7 of 8  
EMT/Firefighter Bill Drafts, Including Fire District Enabling Bill

Last month, the members of the Legislative Council Study Committee on Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technical Shortages voted via a mail ballot to recommend introducing 7 of 8 bills the committee considered.

A majority of the study committee voted against recommending LRB-0596/P1, prohibiting local governments from prohibiting their employees who are emergency responders from volunteering to serve in that same capacity in a different jurisdiction. Seven members voted for the bill draft, eight voted against.  
Notably, the study committee voted 10-5 to recommend introduction of LRB-0567/P1, enabling local governments to join together to create fire service districts with the authority to levy a property tax, and impose special charges and issue debt.  The Wisconsin Towns Association strongly opposes this bill. The League has not yet taken a position on it. Regardless, it seems unlikely that the current Legislature would be willing to advance a bill enabling the creation of a new level of local government with taxing authority.   

The study committee also voted to recommend that the following bill drafts be introduced:
  • LRB-0246/P1: Intravenous technician endorsement for emergency medical technicians (passed 10-5)
  • LRB-0247/P1: Licensure or certificate renewal for certain emergency medical services personnel (passed 11-4)
  • LRB-0589/P1: Funding for first responder training and certification (passed 15-0)
  • LRB-0595/P1: Revising the length-of-service awards program in the Dept. of Administration for volunteer emergency response personnel (passed 14-1)
  • LRB-0683/P1: Creating a refundable individual income tax credit for emergency responders (passed 15-0)
  • LRB-0685/P1: Creating an individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by an emergency responder (passed 14-1.
Click here  to see the full memo summarizing the official results of the mail ballot.    
The bill drafts approved by the committee will now go before the Joint Legislative Council and if approved by that body will be introduced later this session.
Elected Official or Staff? Join Us!
As an elected or appointed municipal official, you can advocate for your municipality by joining the League's Lobby Team. Sign up here:   http://www.lwm-info.org/185/Join-the-League-Lobby-Team 

Team members are invited to the League's Lobby Days, scheduled three or four times during each two-year legislative session. Lobby Day starts at 9:30 a.m. with a briefing on legislative priorities. League staff provide briefing materials as well as League memos for you to use when you meet with your Legislators. After the briefing, everyone goes to the Capitol for their legislative meetings and then reconvenes to report out over lunch.

2017 Lobby Days

February 15, League Lobby Day  
Best Western Premier Park Hotel  (formerly the Inn on the Park), 22 South Carrol Street, Madison

May 10, League Lobby Day & Legislative Luncheon
Monona Terrace , 1 John Nolen Drive, Madison

As part of the team, you'll also be invited to participate in behind the scenes interactive political briefings provided by webinar. 
Recently Introduced Legislation  

SB 3 , Project Labor Agreements and Public Construction Contracts. Prohibits the state and local governments from doing any of the following in specifications for bids for public construction contracts: 1) require that a bidder enter into an agreement with a labor organization; 2) consider, when awarding a contract, whether a bidder has or has not entered into an agreement with a labor organization; or 3) require that a bidder enter into an agreement that requires that the bidder or bidder's employees become or remain members of a labor organization or pay any dues or fees to a labor organization. Introduced by Sen. Vukmir (R-Brookfield). (The League has not yet taken a position on this bill. However, in a survey of our members less than 4% of respondents indicated that they require bidders to enter into project labor agreements as a condition of being awarded the contract.) Comment to League on this bill.

AB 14Eliminates a property tax assessment freeze applicable in certain Condemnation Cases. This is remedial legislation recommended by the Department of Revenue. Under current law, if a property owner conveys property through condemnation proceedings to be used for public purposes and acquires a property to replace 
the conveyed property (replacement property), a municipality may "freeze" the assessed value of the replacement property for up to five years. However, court decisions have ruled that this tax freeze option violates the uniformity clause of the Wisconsin Constitution.  The bill eliminates the property tax assessment freeze applicable to  replacement property. Introduced by Rep. Ott (R-Mequon). (The League is neutral on this bill.)

AB 15, Repeals References to Board of Appeal Optional Process found Unconstitutional by Courts. This is remedial legislation recommended by the Department of Revenue. The bill eliminates optional provisions related to board of review proceedings for hearing objections to property tax assessments that the Wisconsin Supreme Court 
found unconstitutional in Metropolitan Associates v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI 20, and Nankin v. Village of Shorewood, 2001 WI 92. Introduced by Rep. Ott (R-Mequon). (The League is neutral on this bill.)  
Public Hearings  

AB 14 , Eliminates a property tax assessment freeze applicable in certain Condemnation Cases. By Assembly Committee on Judiciary on Thursday, January 19 at 11:00 a.m. in room 300 Northeast, State Capitol. (The League is neutral on this bill).

AB 15Repeals References to Board of Appeal Optional Process found Unconstitutional by Courts.  By Assembly Committee on Judiciary on Thursday,  January  19 at 11:00 a.m. in room 300 Northeast, State Capitol. (The League is neutral on this bill).