Public Hearing on Payment of Personal Property Aid after TIF Closure Bill

Tomorrow, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on AB 56, a League initiated bill making it clear that personal property aid payments being made to a TIF district transfer to the municipality and other taxing jurisdictions after the district closes. DOR interprets current law to say that the payments discontinue once a TIF district closes. The bill also, at DOR's request, clarifies that computer aid payments being made to a TIF district transfer to all of the other taxing jurisdictions when the district closes. Under current law, computer aid payments transfer to the municipality only. The bill treats computer aid and personal property aid payments made to a TID exactly the same once a district closes.

The Assembly passed a similar bill last session and the Senate was poised to vote on it last March but the Senate cancelled its last regular floor day and declined to meet again for regular business because of COVID.

The League thanks Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard) and Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) for re-introducing the bill.

Senate Passes Bill Allowing Communities to Post Meeting Minutes on the Web

Earlier this month, the Senate passed SB 55, a bill the League supports that was introduced by Senator Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Rep. Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) allowing municipalities to post meeting minutes on the municipality's website instead of paying for newspaper publication in the official newspaper.
The bill makes a narrow change to state law governing the publication of meeting minutes. Currently, all 1,250 towns and most of the 414 villages in the state already have the option of posting meeting minutes in a public place and on the community’s website in lieu of newspaper publication. SB 55 extends this option to cities, counties, and school districts.

The Senate passed SB 55 by a vote of 20-12, despite the Wisconsin Newspapers Association strongly opposing the bill. The Assembly declined to advance a similar bill last session due to opposition by the Wisconsin Newspapers Association.

Senate Passes Bill Allowing PTSD Worker's Compensation Claims by Public Safety Officers

On February 16, the Senate unanimously passed SB 11 making changes to the conditions of liability for worker's compensation benefits for a law enforcement officer or a professional fire fighter who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill provides that if a public safety officer is diagnosed with PTSD by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and the mental injury that resulted in that diagnosis is not accompanied by a physical injury, that public safety officer can bring a claim for worker's compensation benefits if the conditions of liability are proven by a preponderance of the evidence and the mental injury is not the result of a good-faith employment action by the person's employer. Under the bill, such an injured public safety employee is not required to demonstrate a diagnosis based on unusual stress of greater dimensions than the day-to-day emotional strain and tension experienced by all employees as required under case law. The bill also limits liability for treatment for a mental injury that is compensable under the bill's provisions to no more than 32 weeks after the injury is first reported. The League is neutral on this bill.

The Assembly has not yet voted on SB 11.

Both houses passed similar legislation last session, but COVID arrived before the Senate could concur in minor amendments made by the Assembly.