Darkstore and other Bills Affecting Municipalities are Dead for this Session
With the Assembly not planning to meet again for general business purposes this session, it is safe to say that the following bills the Assembly has not passed are dead and will need to be reintroduced when the 2021-2022 Legislature convenes next January:

AB 146/ SB 130, Darkstore/Walgreens Fix. The League thanks the following legislators for introducing our darkstore bill this session: Rep. Brooks (R-Saukville), Rep. Steffen (R-Howard), Sen. Stroebel (R-Saukville), and Sen. Roth (R-Appleton). Please take a look at the long list of the bill's co-sponsors here and be sure to thank your legislator if she or he is on the list. Midway through the session it became clear that leadership would not allow the darkstore bill to advance without us agreeing to significant changes. We were not interested in passing a compromise bill placing municipalities in a worse position than current law. Consequently, we told the bill's authors that we would focus our attention on continuing to win in court rather than pursue a legislative solution this session.

SB 96, SB 97, SB 98, Dark Store Study Committee Bills.

SB 560 / AB 623, Limiting Municipal TIF powers, including capping cash grants to developers at 20% of total TIF project costs.

AB 285 , Increasing the competitive bidding threshold for public construction projects from $25,000 to $50,000.

AB 283/ SB 282 , Requiring a referendum to enact a local vehicle registration fee.

SB 71/ AB 64, Providing state aid to local governments to cover the cost of conducting special elections to fill vacancies in state or federal offices.

SB 105/ AB 90, Exempting local governments from the Fair Dealership Act.

SB 365/ AB 450, Prohibiting local governments from excluding from consideration certain plastic piping materials for public construction contracts.

AB 87 / SB 92, Allowing municipalities to impose residency requirements on city or village managers.

SB 612/ AB 670, Increasing the minimum retirement age under the Wisconsin Retirement System from 55 to 59.5.

AB 843/ SB 772 , Bipartisan PFAS Legislation.
Governor Signs Emergency Detention Transport Bill into Law
Last week, Governor Evers signed AB 633 into law as Act 105, allowing law enforcement agencies to contract with another law enforcement agency, ambulance service provider, or a third-party vendor to transport an individual for emergency detention. The League supports this legislation.
Bill Cleaning up Process for Filling Vacancies in Municipal Elective Offices Sent to the Governor
Last week, the Governor was sent SB 108, a bill the League worked with Rep. Brooks (R-Saukville) to draft and which the Assembly passed unanimously on February 20th. The Senate passed the bill on November 5, 2019. The bill makes the process for filling vacancies in elective city and village office clearer and easier to follow. It eliminates confusing dates in current law while retaining the flexibility local governing bodies need for determining how best to fill a vacancy, whether by appointment for remainder of the term, by appointment until a special election can be held, or left vacant until the next regularly scheduled election.

We anticipate the Governor will sign the bill into law soon.
Governor Vetoes Tax Package that Included Expansion of Personal Property Tax Exemption
Last week, Governor Evers vetoed the GOP tax relief package, SB 821, which included a provision exempting manufacturing machinery, tools, and patterns from the personal property tax and reimbursing local taxing jurisdictions for the lost revenue.
DOR and League Hosting a Webinar on MyDORGov - March 5
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities are hosting a webinar on My DOR Government Account (MyDORGov) for City and Village officials. DOR will provide a refresher on how to get started, discuss the latest enhancements, and much more.

March 5, 2020 from 10-11:00 a.m.
Registration Required. Space is limited. Register here.

Webinar topics
• Getting started/accessing the system
• Updating your contact information
• Managing your own access (requesting an office/access)
• Managing others to file on your behalf (approving, denying and removing access)
• Resetting your account – multiple email addresses
• Form specific review
• Q&A

Don’t see a topic listed above? Send additional topics to otas@wisconsin.gov View the Flyer that includes the registration link.

Wausau Walgreens is latest case of dark store tax loophole, costing residents over $120,000 in past 5 years
But when these stores pay fewer taxes, critics say, the burden shifts onto homeowners and small businesses, threatening school districts and other local services. A 2017 analysis of dark store cases by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin found retailers at the time were trying to cut their taxes by more than $700 million. 

Cities and towns across Wisconsin have spoken out against the loophole in recent years. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities has tracked over 70 resolutions from cities and villages across the state in favor of closing the loophole. Read the article... Comment on this story on the League's LinkedIn page...

Ethnic cheese, building a workforce and changing a rural economy
Scharfman also employs 10 people to serve as drivers to shuttle workers to and from work in cars and vans. About 75 employees, one-third of his workforce, use the service. They live in communities such as Fond du Lac, Watertown, Waupun and Beaver Dam.

The newest program at Specialty Cheese focuses on child care. Scharfman just started advertising that he will provide free child care at the Beaver Dam YMCA for new employees for their first 90 days of employment and then pay half of the costs thereafter. He’s considering building a child care facility next to his cheese plant.

“Rural America is the Detroit of 2008,” Scharfman said. “As a model for revitalizing rural America, this company says that there is a hidden workforce in rural America.” Read the article... Comment on this article on the League's Facebook page...

What Are The Struggles For Recruiting Police Officers In Wisconsin?
Palmer said agencies around Wisconsin are trying a lot of different things to improve recruitment.

They’re experimenting with 10- to 12-hour shifts to give officers more time away from the job and relaxing policies that restricted beards and tattoos. They’re also using social media more to connect — more so than other states, Palmer said. 

"Clearly there’s a concerted effort to reach a younger demographic," Palmer said. Read the article... Comment on this story on the League's LinkedIn page...

'No Mow May': Appleton debates suspension of lawn-care rules to encourage pollinator-friendly habitat
The resolution says that after May 31, the city shall not issue citations for excessive vegetation growth for a grace period of two weeks, effectively postponing enforcement to June 15.

The Municipal Services Committee debated the "No Mow May" concept Monday before sending it back to city staff to answer a number of questions, including how the abundance of lawn clippings in June would be handled and whether the initiative would be a strain on city resources. Read the article...

The new town square
Public libraries in the digital age are more relevant than ever
“We are such a growing community and people who are moving here for our good schools, our good food scene, are now demanding better resources,” adds Carpenter, who served seven years on the village board and is now in her first term as village president.

Carpenter says budget restraints meant the current library, which is outdated and cramped, never fully met the needs of the village, even in its early years. This time around, the community is putting its money where its mouth is. The village of 10,000 has earmarked $6 million for the new facility and large donors have pledged $1 million in private funds; the capital campaign launched Feb. 14 is aiming to bring in another $4 million in smaller donations. Read the article...

Spring Green residents to vote on animal breeding referendum, with conflict over nearby facility still fresh
The referendum specifically addresses raising cats and dogs in the village to sell them for research or experimentation, or doing that research within the village, a practice that currently doesn’t exist there. Voters will decide if this kind of animal testing within village limits should be considered a public nuisance “offending public morals and decency,” according to the referendum.

Rebekah Klemm, founder of Dane4Dogs, the organization that helped get the referendum on the ballot at the request of a village resident, said the vote on animal testing will make it clear that “residents don’t want this.” Read the article...

WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson on the League's Local Perspective From weight limitations, to favorite potholes, to rail and ports, bikes and buses, from the DMV and Real ID to the State Patrol, Jerry Deschane, talks with WisDOT Secretary Thompson about all things transportation. Watch it on the League's YouTube Channel here... Comment on the League's Facebook page here... Thanks to FACTv in Fitchburg for hosting us!

Your REAL ID & DMV Stats - LocalGovMatters 2.0
In accordance with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, if you plan to fly within the United States, visit a military base or any other federal buildings, the Department of Homeland Security will require identification that is REAL ID compliant (or show another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport) beginning October 1, 2020. The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues these REAL ID compliant products.

We talk with Kristina Boardman, Administrator of the Wisconsin DMV and learn more about the history of REAL ID, why it is important and what citizens need to do to get their REAL ID by October 1, 2020 Listen here and subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

Revitalizing Wisconsin's Downtowns - LocalGovMatters 2.0 Podcast
Errin Welty, Downtown Development Program Manager with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). As our guest says, downtowns are not competing with the town next door anymore, they’re competing with a couch and Netflix. Listen here and subscribe on your favorite platform...

Since the 2019-2020 legislative session is nearly over and no bills introduced at this time will have a chance of passing both houses, no newly introduced bills will be reported in the remaining issues of the Legislative Bulletin for this session.

AB 521, Authorizing Milwaukee County to impose an additional 1 percent sales tax and use the revenue for residential property tax relief, public health infrastructure, and for distribution to cities and villages in the county. By Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, on Thursday, March 5 at 10:00 in room 412 East, State Capitol. The League supports this bill. (Note: This hearing is for information purposes only since the Assembly has adjourned for the session). The League supports this bill.