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Legislative: Let Local Government Work


WTA routinely informs legislators and agency officials at the state and federal levels about the town perspective on proposed legislation and administrative rules impacting town government and town residents. This includes appearances before legislative committees and participation in statewide panels studying local government issues. See the WTA Policy Goals below for general statements on WTA positions on these issues of statewide significance.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the WTA Legislative Update outline as of June 24, 2015.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the WTA Legislative Priorities for the 2015-2016 session.

CLICK HERE for a brochure on the Urban Towns Committee and its importance to WTA.

CLICK HERE for a link to the Government Accountability Board, Ethics Division, "Eye on Lobbying" page.  Here you can search by organization, specific bill, and more to view officially registered positions and submitted testimony by both WTA and others.

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CLICK HERE for a copy of the WTA Legislative Update as of 5/6/14 recapping the 2013-2014 session.


Find Your State Legislators:

On the Wisconsin Legislature's website you can use the "Find My Legislators" feature to find your local state legislators.


State Budget & Spring Legislative Session Wrapping Up

(6/12/15) Much of the work on the 2015-17 State Budget Bill, AB 21/SB 21, is already finished. For towns, the main concern left is the transportation portion of the budget. The Joint Finance Committee will probably meet in the near future to complete its work, then the legislative houses must approve the bills and then it must go to the Governor for signing.

The legislature's spring session is also nearly complete for stand-alone bills. There will be a break in summer and later a fall session as well. One of the last hearings of the spring session will feature a bill that WTA supports, AB 199/SB 137, regarding legal notices on websites.

Current law allows most towns and villages to notice some things to the public by either publishing in a newspaper or posting a document in three public places within the jurisdiction as designated by the governing body. AB 199/SB 137 would act to allow towns and villages to leap forward towards modernity by creating a third option, to provide notice by posting on an official website and in one designated posting place. This would be an option, not a mandate, as there certainly is not good internet connectivity in many rural areas of the state. (This bill is limited to only allowing the new option for matters where posting places are already allowed, therefore not altering the requirements of some statutes mandating newspaper use or the open meetings law.)

AB 199/SB 137 came at the request of WTA's membership. Recognizing the popularity of websites where feasible, the reduction of qualifying newspapers to the point that some entire counties no longer have one published, and the fact that outdoor posting boards can be inconvenient both for local officials and their citizens alike, these bills have largely been received as a win-win.

The Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs will hold a hearing on AB 199 on Tuesday June 16 at 11:30 a.m. in room 400 NE of the capitol building in Madison. These hearings are open to the public and are sometimes televised on Wisconsin Eye. The senate version of the bill, SB 137, has already been passed.


NATaT Legislative Update

(7/7/15) WTA posts weekly legislative updates from the National Association of Towns and Townships. Please click on the following link to see the latest update of national issues affecting Wisconsin towns for the Week of July 6. Also, see these past issues:

     Week of June 29
     Week of June 8
     Week of May 11
    
Week of May 4
     Week of April 13
     Week of April 6
     Week of March 30
     Week of March 16
     Week of March 3

     Week of February 23
     Week of February 17
     Week of February 9
     Week of February 2
     Week of January 26

     Week of January 20
     Week of January 12
     Week of January 5
     Week of December 22
     Week of December 15
     Week of December 8
    
Week of December 1
     Week of November 17
     Week of November 3
     Week of October 27
     Week of October 20
     Week of October 14
     Week of October 6
     Week of September 29
     Week of September 22
     Week of September 15

     Week of September 8    
     Week of August 4

     Week of July 28
     Week of July 14
     Week of July 7
     Week of June 30
      Week of June 23


2013 WTA Capitol Day

WTA held it's 2013 Capitol Day event in Madison on Tuesday April 30th. Special thanks to the town officers who came to support town government. The afternoon workshop featured presentations on the collaboration of government services and stromwater requirements. Click below to view the slides for the presentations.


New PILT Analysis

(2/5/13) This MEMORANDUM provides information regarding the current distribution of national forest income payments, or Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT), to towns and an estimate of the impact of, alternatively, providing these payments to school disctricts in Wisconsin.

WTA Board of Directors Action Regarding Wind Power
(1/23/13) The Wisconsin Towns Association has expressed concern since PSC 128 was released about two years ago that the setback distances from non-participating residences to large industrial wind turbines of only 1,250 feet is too little. In addition, a recently released report including work by four separate acoustical consultants has recommended that additional study be conducted on an “urgent priority basis” regarding the possibility of any human health effects from low frequency sound and infrasound generated by large industrial wind turbines. Wisconsin Towns Association is not opposed to alternative energy, including wind turbines. However, serious health concerns have been raised by individuals and supported by this report that warrant further study. We are urging the PSC to stop permitting the installation of large industrial wind turbines until such studies can be completed. Please click on each of the below items for viewing:


Fiscal Cliff Deal Analyzed for Towns

(1/3/13) Please CLICK HERE to see a summary from the National Association of Towns & Townships (NATaT) analyzing the recent bill signed to avoid the "fiscal cliff."


Sample Resolution in Support of Constitutional
Amendment on Transportation Financing

Please CLICK HERE for a sample resolution to pass in support of a state constitutional amendment on providing a fair share of transportation funding for local highways.


Final Retroreflectivity Sign Rules Announced

The Federal Highway Administration has now released the awaited changes to highway sign retroreflectivity rules. The updated rules are official in effect as of June 13, 2012. CLICK HERE for the final rules, or CLICK HERE for a copy of a forthcoming WTA article summarizing those changes.


Town Road Improvement-Discretionary (TRID) Program Awards Announced

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the 2012 Town Road Improvement-Discretionary (TRID, formerly TRIP-D) selected projects. CLICK HERE for the DOT news release. There are 58 town road projects amounting to over $11,500,000 in matching state aid. These projects are intended to provide assistance to local governments for long-term road improvements designed to protect public safety and to account for large-scale agricultural, forestry and industrial impacts on local roads. CLICK HERE for a direct link to the list of selected projects.


WTA Policy Goals

Functional Consolidation:  By working together, local governments can improve service quality and efficiency.

Annexation:  Annexations should be governed by reasonable standards that promote fairness and cooperation.

Land Use:  Encourage sound land use planning by giving every Wisconsin resident an equal voice in shaping their own communities.

Transportation:  Protect our investment in Wisconsin's state/local road system by adequately funding improvement and maintenance activities.

Aid Formulas:  Adjust state aid distribution formulas to direct more assistance to communities with the greatest financial need.

Home Rule:  Amend the Wisconsin Constitution to give regulatory home rule to towns, but preserve the pure democracy of the town meeting.