July 10, 2017          No. 26

2017-18, No. 26
July 10, 2017

In this Issue:

Dark Store Hearing a Huge Success

Hearing this week on Bill Increasing Competitive Bidding Threshold

In the News

Recently Introduced Legislation

Public Hearings
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Ph:  (608) 267-2380
       (800) 991-5502


Like me on Facebook Follow me on Twitter View my profile on LinkedIn
Over 50 Local Officials Testify in Support of League's Dark Store and Walgreens Reversal Bills at June 29th Hearing

The June 29th hearing on  AB 386  (Dark Store) and  AB 387  (Reversing the Walgreens v. City of Madison decision) was a huge success. There were many highlights to the hearing, including:
  • Over 60 people testified on the bills. All but a handful testified in support. Municipal officials testifying included the following Mayors and Village Presidents: Mike Vandersteen, Sheboygan; Kraig Sadownikow, West Bend; Steve Cummings, Oshkosh; Shawn Reilly, Waukesha; Dan Devine, West Allis; Kathy Ehley, Wauwatosa; Tim Michalak, Hartford; Paul Esser, Sun Prairie; and Burt McIntyre, Howard.  
  • The hearing lasted from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • The Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Rep. John Macco, publicly acknowledged the many city, village, town, county, and school district officials in attendance at the hearing and made a point of thanking them for testifying.
  • Rep. Macco also bristled about negative radio ads purchased by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce that had been circulating about him and Rep. Rob Brooks in relation to these bills. Rep. Macco commended the bill's authors for the "phenomenal job of generating consensus" among lawmakers in support of AB 386 and 387. He pointed out that more than half of state legislators in both houses have signed on as co-sponsors of the bills, including both Republicans and Democrats.
  • The authors of the two bills, Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), started the hearing by doing an outstanding job of explaining what the bills do and why they are necessary. Watch their testimony as recorded by Wisconsin Eye here:  http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/11685#
  • Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), the Assembly Minority Leader, testified in support of the bill and complimented the authors on putting together one of the most significant bipartisan bills of the session. Given that the authors of both bills are Republicans, this was unusual and shows that support for the bills crosses over normal partisan lines.
  • Nearly all Committee members stayed for the entire hearing and listened to all testimony, which is unusual for a 7 hour hearing.  
  • After the hearing, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) signed on as a co-sponsor of both bills. As a result, 10 of the 12 members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee are co-sponsors of the dark store bill, AB 386. Nine of 12 committee members are co-sponsors of AB 387, reversing Walgreens v. City of Madison.
  • The League's written testimony in support of both bills can be viewed here.  
  • All other written testimony submitted to the committee on both bills can be viewed on the Legislature's website here.
What Happens Next?  The authors of the bills will be meeting with us and others to determine whether any tweaks should be made to the bill as a result of testimony received at the hearing. We anticipate few, if any, changes to the bills will be made. The Ways and Means Committee will vote on the bill soon, perhaps within the next three weeks, more likely later this summer or early fall. 

In the meantime, we'll be working with the Senate authors to schedule a hearing in the Senate on the Senate companion bills, SB 291 (Reversing the Walgreens decision) and SB 292, the dark store bill. So far, we have no timetable on when a Senate hearing will be held because Sen. Howard Marklein, the Chair of the Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues, to which the bills have been referred, also serves on the Legislature's budget-writing committee. He is waiting until JFC is done with the budget before scheduling a hearing on our bills before the Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues.
Our goal is to have the Assembly and Senate committees vote to recommend passage of both bills between now and September and then to press legislative leaders to get the bills on this fall's calendar for final passage.
Up to this point momentum has been on our side, thanks to a combination of a lot of local interest in this issue (thanks to you) and a lot of hard work by the authors of the bills. But we can't get complacent. We are up against powerful opponents who have a lot of friends and who believe they have a lot of money to lose on this issue. We'll need to keep the pressure on.
Public Hearing this week on legislation Increasing Competitive Bidding Threshold 

The Assembly Committee on Local Government is holding a public hearing on AB 307 this Wednesday at 11:00. The bill, which the League strongly supports, increases from $25,000 to $75,000 the amount at which a public construction project must be competitively bid. The change made by the bill does not apply to road construction projects. 

The bill also provides an express exception to bidding requirements for improvements that are constructed by a person other than the local government and donated to a local government after the completion of construction. 
In the News

Wisconsin's ongoing transportation budget impasse, explained
"If you haven't followed every twist and turn of the transportation debate, you can catch up here..."  Read the full article
Homeowners don't have to let assessors in to challenge tax
"The court said in a 5-2 decision that such visits amount to unreasonable searches and that assessors need to get warrants if they can't obtain the homeowners' consent." Read the full article here...
Recently Introduced Legislation  

AB 421, Enabling Municipalities to Impose Residency Requirements on City and Village Managers. By Rep. Spreitzer (D-Beloit). This bill allows a city or village operating under the city manager system of government to impose a residency requirement on its city or village manager. The residency requirement authorized under the bill first applies to an individual hired after the bill's effective date.  The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill
Public Hearings  

AB 307, Increasing from $25,000 to $75,000 the Competitive Bidding Threshold on all Public Construction Contracts other than Road Construction. By Assembly Committee on Local Government, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 12, in room 400 Northeast, State Capitol. The League supports this bill.