June 28, 2021 | Number 26
Governor Signs into Law Bill Creating Community-Oriented Policing House Grant Program
Last week, Governor Evers signed into law SB 124 as Act 51, creating a community-oriented policing house grant program to be administered by the Department of Justice for communities over 30,000 in population. The grants may be used to help establish and operate a house for police to reside within city neighborhoods. The Legislature has not yet funded the program. Sen. Wanggaard (R-Racine) authored the bill along with Rep. Spiro (R-Marshfield). The League supports this legislation.
The Governor also signed into law last week three other law enforcement bills introduced by Sen. Wanggaard.
SB-121, Prohibiting use of choke holds by law enforcement officers in use of force policies. (Act 48)
SB-122, Public access to policies regarding the use of force by law enforcement. (Act 49)
SB-123, Reporting of law enforcement use of force incidents. (Act 50)
Legislature Passes Several Bills Affecting Municipalities, Including two League Initiated Bills
Last week, both houses of the Legislature passed the following two League initiated bills which we have requested the Governor sign into law:
AB 56, Clarifying that personal property aid payments the state makes to a TIF district continue after the TIF district terminates, but transfer to the municipality and other taxing jurisdictions. The bill was amended to apply retroactively to TIF districts that had closed since 2018. The bill also, at DOR's request, clarifies that computer aid payments being made to a TIF district transfer to all other taxing jurisdictions when the district closes rather than transferring only to the municipality as current law provides. The computer aid part of the bill does not apply retroactively, but only to TIF districts that close after the bill takes affect. The League worked with Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard) and Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) to introduce AB 56. The bipartisan bill passed both houses by voice vote. The bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
SB 187, Allowing village board members to be employed by the village and receive an hourly wage, not to exceed $15,000 each year as a village employee. The bill mirrors a current law provision allowing town board members to be hired by the town and earn wages up to $15,000 annually. The league worked with Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) and Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) to introduce SB 187. Both chambers passed the bipartisan bill by voice vote. The bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
Also last week, both houses of the Legislature passed the following bills impacting municipalities. Each of these bills has been sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.
SB 119, Mandating Maintenance of Effort on Public Safety Spending. The bill, which applies only to communities that regularly employ and retain 30 or more law enforcement officers, paid fire department members, or emergency medical responders, reduces the amount of shared revenue a municipality receives if the municipality decreases its budget for hiring, training, and retaining law enforcement officers, paid fire department members, or emergency medical responders, as compared with the previous year’s budget. Sen. Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Rep. Spiros (R-Marshfield) introduced this bill, which both houses passed by near party line votes. The League opposes this bill and has asked the Governor to veto it. Read the League's veto letter here. Action Step: Municipal officials from communities affected by this bill are urged to ask the Governor to veto SB 119. Send your veto message, which could mirror the League's, to Jenni Dye, Governor Evers' policy director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AB 369, Local redistricting deadline extension. The bill adjusts the statutory deadlines by which counties and municipalities must accomplish various steps in the local redistricting process following the 2020 federal decennial census. The League joined with the Wisconsin Counties Association in developing this legislation to provide local governments with certainty as to when the process must be finalized given the uncertainty as to when the state will receive the 2020 census data from the US Census Bureau.
AB 374, Relating to the settlement of the multidistrict opiate litigation. Under the bill, if a municipality is not a party to the multidistrict opiate litigation on or before June 1, 2021, it may not maintain a claim to proceeds of a settlement of the multidistrict opiate litigation and may not maintain any claim or commence any action against a person that is a defendant in the multidistrict opiate litigation and that would be released in a settlement agreement of the multidistrict opiate litigation. The League has not lobbied in support or opposition of this bill. If your community is concerned about the bill, we recommend you contact the Governor's office and urge that he veto the bill. Send your email message to Jenni Dye, Governor Evers' Policy Director, email@example.com.
SB 91, Hydrologic restoration. The bill requires DNR to issue a new general permit relating to hydrologic restoration. The general permit must authorize wetland, stream, and floodplain restoration and management activities that will result in a net improvement in hydrologic connections, conditions, and functions. The League supports this bill, which was introduced by Sen. Cowles (R-Green Bay).
Legislature set to Pass GOP Authored State Budget and Repeal Personal Property Tax this Week
Tomorrow, the Assembly is expected to pass the version of the 2021-2022 state budget recommended by the Joint Committee on Finance. The Senate is expected to concur on Wednesday.
Both houses are also expected to pass SB 189/AB 191, repealing the personal property tax on businesses. The Substitute Amendment to the bill, incorporates the technical changes that the League, the Counties Association, and other local government stakeholders had recommended to the authors earlier in the year relating to taxation of buildings, fixtures and improvements on leased land as well as mobile homes. Each of the latter will be treated as real property subject to property taxes.
The state budget contains a $202 million appropriation for making payments to local governments in 2023 to hold them harmless for the lost revenue caused by repeal of the personal property tax.
The League has consistently taken the position that as long as the Legislature provides for a reimbursement program that is adequately funded, like computer aid, we would not oppose repealing the personal property tax. We feel the Legislature has done that in this instance. We have had discussions with Sen. Stroebel's staff, the main architect of the bill, about the unusual strategy being employed to avoid the Governor’s line item veto pen. Sen. Stroebel’s chief of staff has assured us that the goal is to create a permanent personal property aid program next session.
RECENTLY INTRODUCED LEGISLATION
AB 409, Battery or Threat to a Public officer
. Under current law, it is a Class I felony to cause bodily harm to a public officer in order to influence the action of the public officer or as a result of any official action taken by the public officer. This bill adds that it is also a Class I felony to threaten to cause bodily harm to the public officer or to cause or threaten to cause bodily harm to a family member of the public officer. By Representative Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) and Senator Feyen (R-Fond du lac). The League supports this bill.
, Prohibition of sex and race stereotyping in training provided to employees of local and state government and shared revenue penalty. Under the bill, a political subdivision or state agency is prohibited from requiring an employee to attend a training that teaches, advocates, acts upon, or promotes race or sex stereotyping.
Among the concepts that are prohibited from being taught under the bill are the following:
- that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex and
- that an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by other individuals of the same race or sex.
Also under this bill, if the Department of Revenue determines that a political subdivision has violated the sex and race stereotyping in training requirements and the political subdivision fails to come into compliance within 10 days of being notified of the violation, the political subdivision's shared revenue payment for the following year is reduced by 10 percent. By Senator Jacque (R-De Pere) and Representative Magnafici (R-Dresser). The League is opposed to this bill.
SB 432, Copies of Election Commission Complaints submitted to the Legislature. This bill requires the Elections Commission to provide a copy of the full text of any complaint received by the commission to the representative of the assembly of the assembly district and the senator of the senate district where the violation alleged in the complaint occurred, is occurring, or is proposed to occur and to the co-chairpersons of the legislative standing committees with jurisdiction over elections no later than 30 days after receiving the complaint. In addition, the commission must provide to the aforementioned persons documentation specifying how each such complaint was resolved no later than 30 days after the complaint was resolved. By Senator Wimberger (R-Green Bay) and Representative Behnke (R-Oconto). The League is reviewing this bill.
SB 434, Municipal Raze Orders for certain insured dwellings. The bill limits the authority of a municipality to issue a raze order for an insured dwelling that has incurred damage that is covered under the insurance policy (covered damage). Under the bill, no later than 30 days after real property has incurred damage, an insurer may provide certification to a municipality that the insurer reasonably believes the real property may qualify as an insured dwelling and that a claim has been filed and the insurer reasonably believes the claim may qualify as covered damage. If a municipality receives such a certification, it may not issue a raze order unless the municipality follows certain criteria. By Senators Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) and Represetative Magnafici (R-Dresser). The League is opposed to this bill.
PUBLIC HEARINGS THIS WEEK
No public hearings of municipal interest are currently scheduled for this week.
Floor Session: Both the Assembly and Senate will be in session this week. The Houses are meeting in extraordinary session to take up the state budget and a slate of additional bills including one to repeal the personal property tax (see above). The Assembly is scheduled to take the first action on the budget on Tuesday, June 29nd at a time to be determined. The Senate is planning to convene on June 30th at a time TBD. Watch live on Wisconsin Eye.
IN THE NEWS
(Paywalls may apply)
DNR to move forward with efforts to limit PFAS in ground, drinking water Read the article.
Local governments, water utilities join industry groups in effort to slow state PFAS regulations Read the article.
Property taxes in Wisconsin would drop by $100 on the typical home in December under Republican plan Read the article.
Legislature sends bill punishing cities for defunding police to governor's desk Read the article.
Madison TIF district closure will deliver $30 million windfall Read the article.
League's next Member Roundtable via Zoom
July 13, 2021, 12:00-1:00
Chief Executives Summer Workshop
August 19 & 20, 2021 – Hotel Retlaw, Fond du Lac
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2021 Municipal Attorneys Institute
August 30 – September 1, 2021
Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
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Local Government 101
For New & Experienced Local Officials and Staff
Sept. 10 in Waupaca in person (capped at 65)
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2021 Plumbing Inspectors Institute
September 15-17, 2021 Eau Claire
Municipal Assessors Institute 2021
Sept 28-30, 2021 in Oshkosh
Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center
Building Inspectors Institute
October 6-8, 2021
Lismore Hotel, Eau Claire
Police & Fire Commission Workshop
November 3, 2021 in Wisconsin Dells
Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Conference Center
The League's 123rd Annual Conference
Pre-conference Webinars October 12-14 Via Zoom
Annual Conference October 20-22
K-I Center, Green Bay