February 13, 2017          No. 7

2017-18, No.7
February 13, 2017

In this Issue:

Leading on Lead Bill Improved

Allowing Setbacks for Cell Towers

Web Publication Option in Governor's Budget

EPA Approves Statewide Phosphorus Discharge Variance

In the News

Join Us for League Lobby Day

Recently Introduced Legislation

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


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Sen. Cowles Improves his Bill Allowing Water Utilities to Create Financial Assistance Programs for Replacing Lead Service Laterals  

Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) responded to water utility and League feedback by adding helpful language to their Leading on Lead bill.  As reported last week, the bill, LRB-1934, makes it lawful for a water utility to provide financial assistance for the removal of private lead service lines. The League and other stakeholders, like MEG-Water, an association of large municipal water utilities, asked the authors to add language addressing the need for the PSC to consider the cost of funding a financial assistance program in rate cases.    

In response, the authors drafted a second version of the bill, which will be introduced soon, that includes the following sentence:  "If a water public utility provides financial assistance under this paragraph, the [Public Service] commission shall include in the determination of water rates the cost of providing that financial assistance."  

This change removes any reservations we had about the bill. The League strongly supports the Leading on Lead Act. 
Bill Allows Municipalities to Impose Setback Requirements on the Placement of Cell Towers in Residential Areas

Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) plans to introduce a bill, LRB-1806, authorizing a municipality to impose setback requirements on the placement of cell towers from the lot line of parcels of land subject to a zoning ordinance permitting residential use on the parcel. The setback requirement may not be a distance that is greater than the height of the proposed tower.  

The League strongly supports this legislation. Indeed, one of our legislative priorities for this session is to restore municipal powers to regulate the location of cell towers in residential neighborhoods. 

Action Step: Contact your state legislators and ask them to call Rep. Jim Ott's office and sign on to LRB-1806 as a co-sponsor.  

After contacting your State Legislators, please help us create a buzz on Twitter. Click here to tweet your support of this bill.  
A Closer Look at the Web Option for Publishing Legal Notices included in the Governor's Budget

Governor Walker's state budget proposal, AB 64, includes a provision allowing local governments to comply with any statutory publishing and mailing requirements by using electronic and web based methods for certain documents.  Specifically, the budget bill creates sec. 990 of the statutes, which allows for an electronic option for all units of government for any printing, publishing, or mailing that is statutorily required. 

However, the following documents are excluded from this electronic option: any election documents, facsimile ballot, referenda, notice of public hearing before a governmental body, and notice of meetings of private and public bodies required by law; and summons, order, citation, notice of sale, or other notice that is intended to inform a person that the person may or shall do an act or exercise a right within a designated period or by a designated date. Also exempted is any notice that must be sent by certified or registered mail. 

With regard to mailing requirements, the budget allows a municipality to mail a nonexempt document electronically. Regarding publishing of legal notices, the budget allows a municipality to publish nonexempt documents on its website. If a statute requires that the nonexempt document be published on the website and in another form, the budget allows the municipality to publish the document only on its website. The date on which the document is provided on the website is the date of publication.
EPA Approves Statewide Variance Option for Complying with Phosphorus Water Quality Regulations

Last week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency finally approved Wisconsin's statewide phosphorus discharge variance, which creates an alternative method for municipalities and their wastewater treatment plants to comply with the state's phosphorus water quality standards. The State Legislature approved the option two years ago.Wis. Stats. sec. 283.16 became effective in 2013 through the enactment of Act 378.

More information about the statewide phosphorus discharge variance is provided on DNR's website, here
In the News
Milwaukee Biz Blog: The Epic Value of TIF
"One of the few tools Wisconsin communities have to invest in their economic development is tax incremental financing ("TIF"). In many cases, communities will use TIF to fund the infrastructure necessary to grow their tax base and create jobs by fostering a partnership with a new business, or attracting an existing business to their borders. Read the full article here .
We Need Your Postive TIF Stories
We are teaming up with the Wisconsin Realtors Association, NAIOP and the Wisconsin Economic Development Association to gather positive TIF stories. Please email your TIF stories to league@lwm-info.org
Lobby Day This Wednesday, Feb. 15 
Elected Official or Staff? Join the Lobby Team & Advocate for Your Community
As an elected or appointed municipal official, you can advocate for your municipality by joining the League's Lobby Team. Sign up

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 political briefing webinars that will give you a look at what's going on behind the scenes. 
Recently Introduced Legislation  

(The following bills were recommended for introduction by the Legislative Council Study Committee on Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician Shortages. The League supports each these bills.)

SB 27 , Intravenous technician endorsement for emergency medical technicians.  
SB 28, Relating to licensure or certificate renewal for certain emergency medical s ervices personnel.

SB 29Relating to funding for first responder and emergency medical technician training and certification and making an appropriation.

SB 31Relating to revising the length-of-service awards program in the Department of Administration for volunteer emergency response personnel.

SB 32Relating to creating a refundable individual income tax credit for emergency responders and making an appropriation.  

SB 33Relating to creating an individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by an emergency responder and making an appropriation.
Public Hearings  

No hearings on municipal bills are scheduled for this week.