Municipal Bills...Where are they now?

The Legislature's fall floor period concluded last week. The League has a number of bills that we are keeping a close eye on between now and the next floor period in January. The Legislature will continue to work on bills, hold public hearings, and conduct committee votes between now and January 18th, when the winter floor period begins. The bills high on the League's list to monitor include the following:

  • AB 608, Mandating Certain Municipal Zoning Practices Relating to Multifamily and Workforce Housing Projects. The Assembly passed an amended version of AB 608 on October 27. The League continues to oppose the amended version of AB 608. While the bill was forwarded to the Senate, Senate leadership has not yet referred the bill to a Senate Committee. Moreover, the bill has no Senate co-sponsors. We will keep an eye on this bill and make certain all Senators are aware of our continued opposition. Read the Legislative Council memo describing the bill and the amendment to the bill, here.

  • AB 610/SB 630, Prohibiting Certain Property Tax Assessment Practices. The Assembly passed an amended version of AB 610 on October 26. The League continues to oppose the amended version of AB 610 because it prohibits assessors from using the income approach for determining the fair market value of properties for property tax purposes. Both AB 610 and SB 630 have been referred to the Senate Housing, Commerce and Trade Committee. The Committee Chair, Senator Jagler, understands that the League has significant concerns with the bill. For the time being the committee is not in a hurry to hold a public hearing. We will continue to work with all Senators on the reasons for our concerns and why the bill should not advance. Read the Legislative Council memo describing the bill and the amendments to the bill, here.

  • AB 399/SB 396, Interest on Claims of Excessive Assessment and for Recovery of Unlawful Property Taxes. The Assembly passed this League initiated bill by voice vote on October 26. Both AB 399 and SB 396 have been referred to the Senate Financial Institutions and Revenue Committee chaired by Senator Kooyenga (R-Brookfield). Several organizations have registered in favor of this legislation, including the Realtors Association and the Towns Association. We continue to work with Senator Kooyenga's office to schedule a public hearing in the Senate Committee. For more information on this League initiative read our testimony here

Infrastructure Bill Impact In Wisconsin

On Saturday, November 6th, the House passed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal sending the legislation to the Oval Office. The President will sign the $1.2 trillion bill into law today, Monday, November 15th. The impending modernization of the nations infrastructure includes investments over five years touching on everything from bridges and roads to the nation's broadband, water, and energy systems. For more information on how the Infrastructure bill will impact Wisconsin see the following White House analysis.

ARPA Updates

NEW League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Wisconsin Towns Association Joint ARPA FAQ provides answers to specific questions our associations have been receiving over the past several months. Stay tuned for more information from Treasury on reporting and compliance for NEU's. We will bring that information to you as soon as it is available. Check the League's ARPA website for the latest information.

On October 19, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011), which would provide additional flexibility for the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The legislation, now before the U.S. House for a vote, would provide flexibility in Recovery Fund expenditure in the following ways:

  • Allows local government to allocate up to $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds for the provision of general government services or $10 million (or 30 percent) of a community's ARPA award for activities authorized under existing federal surface transportation laws or a Community Development Block Grant project
  • Allow ARPA Recovery Funds to provide emergency relief from natural disasters and their negative economic impacts.

Last week, leading organizations that represent state and local governments including The National League of Cities, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, The Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, and The National Association of Counties sent a letter to the bipartisan House leadership urging action on S. 3011. The flexibility in the legislation will allow municipalities to continue to mitigate, respond, and recover from this unprecedented national pandemic.

PFAS/Water Opportunities

1.The League’s Urban Alliance invites you to a webinar on December 2, from 11:30-1:00, featuring a discussion with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on remediation, redevelopment, and PFAS. Department experts will lay out the process and considerations for municipalities to understand DNR expectations for sampling, cleaning up and redeveloping a PFAS-contaminated site. DNR will discuss the importance of identifying PFAS contamination in your municipal water and waste systems, and opportunities for funding support on the state and federal level. DNR will also discuss state and federal funds that may be available in the near future to address concerns with PFAS in firefighting foam. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your PFAS questions and concerns addressed by DNR staff. Please invite your staff to participate in this Zoom meeting.Speakers include:
Darsi Foss, Environmental Management Division Administrator
Christine Haag, Remediation and Redevelopment Bureau Director, Environmental Management Division
Mimi Johnson, Office of Emerging Contaminants Director, Environmental Management Division

2. Join the League December 7th-9th for three webinars focusing on Municipal Water Issues. View the Agenda, Municipal Speakers and Register on our website for this timely series which includes lunch and learn (12:00-1:30 pm) discussions on the following relevant municipal issues:
Tuesday - Best Practices for Managing Small Water Utilities
Wednesday - Municipal Experiences with PFAS – Approaches, Practices, and Lessons Learned 
Thursday - Managing Increased Flooding Events

The fee for all three sessions is $50.