April 10, 2017          No. 15

2017-18, No.15
April 10, 2017

In this Issue:

JFC Chairs Remove 83 Policy Items and Gov's Transportation Plan from State Budget

Municipal Government and Utility Day in the State Capitol is May 10

In the News

Join the Lobby Team

Recently Introduced Legislation

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


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Joint Finance Committee Removes 83 Policy Items from Governor's Budget; and chooses not to Begin with Governor's Recommendations on Transportation 

Last week, the Joint Finance Committee announced that except for transportation it would use as the beginning point of its deliberations on the state budget, the Governor's recommendations minus 83 non-fiscal policy items he had included in his proposal. With regard to the transportation budget the committee will use current law as its beginning point rather than the Governor's recommendations. This means that in order to include the Governor's proposed increase in General Transportation Aids or any other of the Governor's recommendations on transportation, the committee will need to amend the budget by majority vote.  

Removing the Governor's transportation plan from the state budget means that the GOP lawmakers will need to reach a compromise that the Governor is willing to sign or face a tight transportation budget with dramatic delays in major state highway projects around the state, including the Milwaukee Zoo Interchange.

The language in the Governor's budget allowing local governments to publish legal notices online instead of paying for their publication in the newspaper was included in the list of non-fiscal policy items the JFC chairs removed from the state budget. This and the 82 other items will be introduced as separate items of legislation. Also, the committee could restore any of these items to the state budget, but it would take a budget amendment approved by a majority vote.  

Read the Joint Finance Committee memo here.
Join us for Municipal Government and Utility Day on May 10 in Madison  

All city and village officials and staff are invited to participate in a half day of advocacy and networking in Madison on May 10. The League is teaming up this year with several other municipal organizations, including Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rural Water Association, MEG -- Water, and MEG -- Wastewater for the first ever Municipal Government and Utility Day at the state capitol. 

The focus of the day will be on the critical role that municipal infrastructure plays in growing the state's economy.
Agenda for May 10:

9:00 -- 10:15 -- Breakfast, Briefing by League Staff on Municipal Legislation, and a Presentation by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos -- Monona Terrace Convention Center
10:15 -- 12:15 -- Participate in meetings with your State Senator and State Representative and/or their staff in the State Capitol
12:30 -- 1:45 -- Have Lunch with your Legislators and Hear a Presentation by a National Speaker on Public Infrastructure and the Economy -- Monona Terrace and Convention Center  

Lunch Only Option. If you are unable to attend the morning events, then please join us for the legislative luncheon. 

No Cost. There is no cost for municipal officials and staff to attend the luncheon or to participate in any aspect of the Municipal Government and Utility Day at the State Capitol.

Register for the May 10 Municipal Government and Utility Day here!
In the News

Unusual budget maneuver sets up showdown on conservative policies, transportation
Curt Witynski, assistant director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said local governments are nervous that starting over on transportation will put the governor's increases for local roads in jeopardy.
"The dynamics are very unusual right now," Witynski said. "I think it ratchets up the pressure to come up with a solution." Read the article here...
Backlash against zoning bill results in rare town board write-in wins
"It's obviously a reaction to the effort to prevent town residents from being able to vote on opting out of town zoning," said McDonell, a Democrat who supports the county's approach to limit sprawling rural development. "If I were on a town board thinking about getting out of county zoning I would slow down." Read the article here...

Join the Lobby Team 
May 10: Municipal Government & Utility Day (Lobby Day & Legislative Luncheon)

Municipal Government & Utility Day is a collaborative effort powered by the League, Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW),Wisconsin Rural Water Association (WRWA), Wisconsin Water Association (WWA), The Wisconsin Transportation Development Association, and Municipal Environmental Group Water and Wastewater Divisions.

All city and village officials, as well as municipal utility managers, commissioners, and staff are invited to participate in this lobbying and networking event. Join us for a morning spent on educating and advocating state legislators about municipal needs. There will be special focus on promoting the critical role quality municipal infrastructure plays in advancing the state's economy. The event also includes a lunch with your state legislators.

Registration for May 10 is here.  You can sign up for the Lobby Team here .    
Recently Introduced Legislation  

SB 158, Homeowners' right to refuse entry for assessment purposes and conditions for appearing before the board of review. Current law prohibits a person from appearing before the board of review to contest the assessed value of the person's property if the person has refused a 
written request from the assessor to view the property or if the property is valued using the income method and the person has not provided income information to the assessor. 
This bill allows a person who has refused a written request to view the person's property to appear before the board of review to contest the property's 
assessed value and, ultimately, to file a claim for an excessive assessment. The bill also provides that the assessor may not increase the value of a person's property based on the person's refusal to allow entry to the assessor. In addition, the bill requires an assessor to provide written notice to each owner of residential property regarding the property owner's right to refuse entry to his or her residence for property tax assessment purposes. Finally, the bill allows a person who has not complied with a request to provide income information to the  assessor to file a claim for an excessive assessment even though the person is 
prohibited from appearing before the board of review. Sen. Craig (
R-Big Bend). The League opposes this bill.   Comment to the League on this bill.

SB 160 , Sales of surplus items by the state or a political subdivision to employees.   This bill creates exceptions to the general prohibition that the state or a political subdivision may not sell any item to an employee of the state or political subdivision. Sales that fall under the exceptions are a sale of an item at a price regularly available to the public and a sale of a surplus or discarded item that is no longer needed if similar items are publicly available for sale from the state or political subdivision. This bill requires the Department of Administration to post a list of Internet sites that the state or political subdivision may use for online auctions or offers.  By Sen. Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) The League supports this bill. Comment to the League on this bill
Public Hearings  

SB 94, Allowing Mayors to use e-mail, texting and and other methods to inform Council members of Special Meetings. By Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government, Wednesday, April 12 at 10:00 in room 3oo Southeast, State Capitol. The League supports this bill and worked with the authors to have it introduced.