Capitol Buzz
December 16, 2020
Share League's Legislative Agenda with your Legislators

Many municipal officials are connecting with their state legislators in advance of the 2021-2022 legislative session commencing on January 4. The next month or two is a good time to communicate with your state legislators about your community's needs and challenges and to recommend policy changes beneficial to municipalities.

The League's legislative agenda can serve as a resource in having those conversations about shared revenue, general transportation aids, payment for municipal services, levy limits and related issues.

The League's legislative agenda is posted on our website here:

Contact Curt Witynski if you have questions or need more information about how to contact your state legislators or the League's legislative agenda. He can be reached at (608) 267-3294, witynski@lwm-info.org
Routes to Recovery Update -- DOA Reallocates Unclaimed Funds

We have received calls and emails from several communities wondering if there has been an update from the Department of Administration (DOA) regarding whether the state was able to transfer unused Routes to Recovery dollars to other communities that had submitted costs exceeding their original allotments. We ran that question by Dawn Vick at DOA yesterday and received the following response: 
“There was roughly $12.3 million left in unused funds. We reallocated those funds to municipalities that submitted expenses over their allocated amounts. Those payments will go out at the end of the week. Municipalities can log in and look at their allocation history – there they will see a transfer from the State. That is the payment that is over the allocated amount.”

Several communities have informed us that they have indeed received payments exceeding their initial allotment. 

  • Brookfield received $69,000 over their initial allocation. The city had submitted $560,000 in additional expenses. 
  • Madison received $501,000 after submitting $3.3 million in additional COVID costs under the program.  
  • Waukesha received $124,000 more than their original allocation after submitting about $7 million more in additional expenses.
  • Franklin was awarded an additional $62,109 under the Route to Recovery grant after submitting an additional $364,000 in expenses.  
Rural Prosperity Commission Recommends State Unleash Full Power of Municipalities

Today, the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity released its final report, which recommends, among other things, that the state:

"Unleash the full power of communities to innovate and act by updating state laws that restrict local agency. For example, rules that make it difficult or even prohibit communities from setting their own local tax rates or from providing broadband to residents should be revised. The state should be setting the floor, not the ceiling, for local governments in Wisconsin.” 

Wisconsin PFAS Action Council Releases PFAS Action Plan

The Department of Natural Resources today announced the release of a statewide PFAS Action Plan created to address growing public health and environmental concerns regarding PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Wisconsin.   

The PFAS Action Plan was developed by WisPAC, a group of nearly 20 state agencies and the University of Wisconsin System, to guide the state’s effort in addressing environmental contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), leverage resources, personnel, and expertise from across a multitude of state agencies and other entities toward addressing environmental and public health concerns that are or may be posed by PFAS.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

The PFAS Action Plan includes priority action items identified through input from state agencies, a citizen and a local government advisory group, and the public. Each item contains an overview of what would be required to carry it out, including budgetary, legislative and staffing needs. Action items are categorized into eight themes: standard setting, sampling, pollution prevention, education and communication, research and knowledge, phase-out, future investments and historic discharges.

In total, there are 25 action items laid out in the plan. Some highlights include recommendations to:
  • Establish science-based PFAS standards for environmental media such as soil, groundwater and biosolids.
  • Develop PFAS risk communication infrastructure including the construction of a website, improved public engagement, partnerships within the community and inter-agency collaboration.
  • Streamline processes associated with the delivery of safe drinking water supplies to communities impacted by PFAS contamination.