May 15, 2017          No. 20

2017-18, No. 20
May 15, 2017

In this Issue:

Legislators Sign on to Dark Store and Walgreens Bills

JFC to Focus on Shared Revenue and Levy Limits this Week

Special Meeting Bill Advances

In the News

Recently Introduced Legislation

Public Hearings
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
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Over 50 Legislators Agree to Co-Sponsor League's Dark Store Bill  

As of Friday, 52 legislators from both parties had signed on as co-sponsors of LRB-0373, the dark store bill relating to property tax assessments based on comparable sales and market segments. Forty-nine legislators have signed onto LRB-0372, the bill reversing the Walgreens v. City of Madison decision.

The League thanks all municipal officials and staff who contacted their legislators urging them to sign on to these bills. Your efforts paid off.

The bills will  be formally introduced within the next week or so.

Legislative Council staff has written a memo analyzing both bills and examining whether they comply with the state constitution's uniformity clause.  Read the memo here.
Joint Finance Committee Takes Up Shared Revenue and Levy Limits this Week

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday, May 18, on state budget provisions relating to shared revenue and levy limits. 

The League is teaming up with the Counties Association to advocate for a shared revenue funding increase. None was included in the Governor's budget recommendation. 

We are also seeking to delete the negative adjustment to levy limits that is required whenever a local government's debt service payments on debt issued prior to 2005 are reduced over the prior year.  

In addition, the League is working with the Wisconsin Rural Water Association on a budget amendment relating to the public fire protection fee (also known as fire hydrant rental fees), which water utilities must charge to pay for the cost of utility infrastructure built to provide the high flows and pressures needed to fight fires. The amendment clarifies that a water utility's public fire protection fee is not "fire protection" under the levy limit law and therefore an increase in the utility fee does not necessitate a reduction in a community's allowable levy.     

The Joint Finance Committee meets on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Here are the full agendas for each day:

Tuesday, May 16
Thursday, May 18
Senate Passes League Bill on Special City Council Meetings   

Last week, the Senate passed SB 94 by voice vote. This League supported legislation modernizes the process by which a mayor may communicate to council members that a special meeting of the council has been called.  It allows mayors to
call a special meeting by notifying members in a manner likely to give each member notice of the meeting. The notice could be accomplished by text, e-mail, phone call or in writing. Current law mandates that the notice be provided in writing and personally delivered to the council member. 

The change was recommended by Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels. The League worked with Manitowoc's legislators, Sen. LeMahieu and Rep. Tittl, to draft and introduce the bill.  

The Assembly is also expected to take action on the bill soon. 
In the News

Legislation to Allow Municipal Officials to Serve as Election Officials Passes Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections
The bill has received bi-partisan support in the Legislature and is supported by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Towns Association.

"It makes good sense that those who have committed themselves to local public service as municipal officials also may be called upon to keep our elections running smoothly," said Rep. Subeck. "Today's vote by the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections puts us one step closer to returning municipal elected officials to their posts as some of our most knowledgeable and reliable poll workers," said Rep. Subeck. Read the article here...

Creative Economy Focus Of This Week In Wisconsin
This week is Celebrate Creative Economy Week in Wisconsin, and the leader of a top arts group says the benefits to Wisconsin's economy are many.
Arts Wisconsin and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are hosting the week's celebrations.
Anne Katz from Arts Wisconsin says they're trying to shine a flashlight on all the creativity happening around the state... Read the article here...
Recently Introduced Legislation  

SB 236/ AB 307, Increasing the competitive bidding threshold for non-road public construction contracts to $75,000. By Sen. Stroebel (R-Saukville) and Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

SB 238/ AB 310 , Funding for first responder and 
emergency medical technician training and certification.
 This bill allows ambulance service providers that receive aids from DHS to escrow 
unused moneys and use those moneys in a subsequent year for first responder training and examinations or emergency medical technician training and examinations at any level. By Rep. Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Sen. Harsdorf (R-River Falls). The League supports this bill
  Comment to the League about this bill .

SB 239 / AB 311Upgrading service levels for ambulances in rural areas.  This bill, allows a rural ambulance service provider to upgrade its service level to the highest level of license of any emergency medical technician staffing that 
ambulance if the medical director approves a proposal submitted to him or her by the rural ambulance service provider. The bill allows a rural ambulance service provider that upgrades its service to advertise only for the level of service the provider is able to provide 24 hours per day. By Rep. Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Sen. Harsdorf (R-River Falls). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

SB 245, Requiring a supermajority vote for bills overturning local government policies, ordinances, and regulations. By Sen. Carpenter (D-Milwaukee). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

AB 309, Creation of a Joint Committee on State Mandates and required funding of state mandates. By Rep. Jacque (R-DePere). The League supports this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.

AB 312, Plans for placement of a sexually violent person on supervised release. By Rep. Shankland (D-Stevens Point). The League is neutral on this bill. Comment to the League about this bill.
Public Hearings  

AB 226, Creating a state aid program for remediating contaminated private wells and failing septic systems. By Assembly 
Committee on Environment and Forestry on Tuesday, May 16, at 1:00 in room 328 Northwest, State Capitol. The League is neutral on this bill.  

AB 179, Remediation of contaminated land; creating a new method for the creation of environmental remediation tax incremental financing districts; and loans and repayment assistance by a political subdivision for certain brownfield revitalization projects. By Assembly  Committee on Environment and Forestry on Tuesday, May 16, at 1:00 in room 328 Northwest, State Capitol. The League supports this bill.

AB 275Relating to the prohibition against adults knowingly permitting or failing to take action to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol beverages by underage persons. By Assembly Committee on State Affairs on Wednesday, May 17, at 1:00 in room 415 Northwest, State Capitol. The League supports this bill.