Senate and Assembly Pass Municipal Bills
Both the Senate and the Assembly met on the floor last week and passed several bills impacting municipalities.

Municipal Bills Passed by Senate:

SB-108  Updating Process for filling Municipal Elective Office Vacancies. Streamlines and cleans up statute governing filling of vacancies in elective offices in cities and villages. The League helped draft this bill. The bill is available for the Assembly to schedule for a floor vote.

SB-214  Municipal Court Powers and Procedures. Makes numerous changes to municipal ordinance enforcement and court procedures. The League supports this bill. This bill is available for the Assembly to schedule for a floor vote.

SB 319 The transportation facilities economic assistance and development program . specifies that both jobs created and jobs retained resulting from the improvement or economic development project may be used in setting the grant ceiling. The League supports this bill. The bill was placed on the Assembly's November 12 calendar.

SB 369 Disaster Assistance Streamlining. Streamlines the reimbursement process for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to local governments and modernizes the communications and payment processes. The League supports this bill. This bill has not yet received a public hearing in the Assembly.

AB-471  911 Grants. Establishing a framework for issuing Next Generation 911 grants once the grant program is funded. The League opposes this bill because it limits grants to one PSAP per county. This bill will be sent to the Governor on December 5. The Governor may veto it or sign it into law. We have urged him to veto it.

Municipal Bills passed by the Assembly:

AB-527  Suicide by Firearm Prevention Grants. Creates and funds a grant program related to preventing suicide by firearms. The League supports this bill. This bill has not yet received a hearing in the Senate.

AB-530  Suicide Prevention Grants  Grants for suicide prevention programming and making an appropriation. The League supports this bill. This bill has not yet received a hearing in the Senate.
Advisory Committee on PFAS meets Thursday, November 14
The first meeting of the Wisconsin PFAS Advisory Committee (WisPAC) will take place November 14 from 1:00-3:00 PM at DNR's office building in Madison, GEF 2, in room G09 (ground floor).

The Wisconsin PFAS Advisory Committee (WisPAC) is composed of state agencies charged with developing and coordinating statewide initiatives to address the growing PFAS health and environmental concern. It was established via Governor Evers’ Executive Order #40

DNR has created a Wisconsin PFAS Advisory Committee web page where meeting materials will be posted prior to the meeting.

Also, time will be a set aside at the end of the November 14 meeting for questions or input from the public.
Senate Committee Recommends Passage of bill Recommended by Dark Store Study Committee
On November 1, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue, and Financial Institutions voted 7-2 to recommend passage of SB 96, one of three bills recommended by the Legislative Council study committee on Property Tax Assessment Practices (the dark store study committee). The League supports this bill, which makes changes to the timing and process for appealing assessments.
League Lobby Day a Success Despite Snow Storm
Last Wednesday, 30 hearty municipal officials participated in the League's lobby day despite the snow storm that hit that morning. Thank you to those that attended. Your advocacy efforts will help League bills advance this session.

For anyone unable to make it last week but still interested in talking with their legislators about the League's bills, we have posted the lobby day memos on our web site here.

Also, be sure to check out the League's Lobby Team Photo Album on Facebook here. You can also comment on the video of Waunakee Village Administrator Todd Schmidt making a snow angel on the Capitol lawn at Lobby Day.
How State Law Limits Local Governments' Ability To Raise Revenue
Interview with Jerry Deschane, the League's Executive Director on Wisconsin Public Radio's Central time. Listen here...

In an interview with The Wheeler Report, Kaul said, “One of the issues I’ve heard most about from law enforcement across the state is the emergency detention issue. The reason is that the system we have in place right now is really burdensome on law enforcement agencies. Read the interview here...

As salt prices climb, Wisconsin looks to brine for a cheaper, better solution
Wisconsin used 9.4 million gallons of brine during the 2018-19 winter, compared to 4 million during the 2015-16 winter season.

The use of brine, combined with education and training, last year saved about 108 million pounds of salt, worth close to $4 million, Hunt said. Read the story here...

Municipalities across Wisconsin, including Beloit, are still dealing with pending lawsuits over property tax assessment challenges by large companies with no end in sight.

Known as the so-called "dark store loophole," businesses across the state have challenged, sometimes annually, seeking to have their property assessments by municipalities of active properties valued as if they were vacant properties since 2008 following a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling.

Earlier this week the Beloit City Council approved a settlement with Staples Contract and Commercial, Inc. after Staples challenged the city on its assessment of the warehouse and distribution center at 3140 Colley Road. The Staples settlement isn't the first, and may not be the last with the city settling multiple disputes since 2016, according to court records. Read the article...

2019 Meagle Award Finalist: City of River Falls, Wisconsin (ELGL Best Places to Work Award) The City’s Passport Program launched in 2016. Since then, new (and old) employees have been invited to visit ten different departments throughout the City over a five to eight-week period. In the past three years, 47 new and current employees have gone on over 300 department visits. 

Participants see how different departments interact and are dependent on each other, which promotes cohesiveness. They have the chance to experience new things: getting their fingerprints taken at the PD, playing Pickleball, riding in a plow truck, and seeing how the hydroelectric dams work. After each dept visit, employees get a stamp or sticker to put into their “passport.” Once completed, participants are invited to lunch with the city adm.  Read the blog post...

No bills affecting municipalities were introduced last week.

No public hearings on municipal bills are scheduled for this week.
Did you attend the League's 121st Annual Conference in Green Bay?
Help us make the 122nd Conference, Oct. 7-9, 2020 in La Crosse even better!