Senate Ends Legislative Session By Passing Bills Affecting Municipalities:
On April 1st, the legislative session ended. The Senate passed a number of bills in its last session that affect municipalities. Summaries of these bills are provided below along with a brief update on some bills that have been discussed in prior posts.
2013 Assembly Bill 613 modifies the duties of county clerks. Currently, clerks in counties with a population of more than 150,000 may appoint as many assistants as the county board authorizes. This bill expands this provision to all counties. The bill requires that if the board adopts a resolution finding the clerk incapable of discharging his or her duties, the board must appoint an acting clerk within 90 days of adopting the resolution. The bill instructs the clerk, under the direction of the county board chairperson or committee chairperson, to create the agenda for the county board meetings. Currently, the clerk is required to keep records of board and committee proceedings, orders for payment, receipts and disbursements, and treasurer reports in a book. The bill continues the requirement that these records be kept, but does not specify in what format or medium. The bill also expands to all counties, rather than only those with populations of 150,000 or more, the obligation of the clerk to notify a county commissioner of highways of the commissioner’s election within ten days of the election, and to notify the town officers of the levy and rate of tax for the county road and bridge fund.
The bill also requires the county clerk to transmit the names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and post office addresses of various municipal and local officials to the secretary of state annually. The bill repeals the obligation by the clerk to transmit certified copies of certain resolutions to the Department of Public Instruction, and also repeals the requirement that the clerk transmit certified copies of ordinances relating to village and town name or boundary changes to the secretary of state. Finally, the bill provides that in Milwaukee County, the clerk will serve as the executive director of the county board of election commissioners.
Tax Incremental Districts
2013 Assembly Bill 769 modifies the definition of project costs in the Tax Incremental Law. The bill includes parking structures supporting redevelopment activities as an exclusion to the definition of the “project costs” of constructing or expanding a facilities if the city generally finances similar facilities only with utility user fees.
2013 Assembly Bill 835 limits the security an approving authority may require as a condition of plat approval. Currently, as a condition of plat approval, an approving authority may require a surety bond or other form of security from the subdivider to ensure public improvements are made in a project or phase of a project. The bill allows the subdivider the option to decide whether to provide the security in the form of a performance bond or letter of credit. Upon substantial completion of the public improvements, the bill prohibits the approving authority from requiring a subdivider to maintain security in an amount more than the total cost of completion for any incomplete public improvements plus ten percent of the total cost of the completed public improvements. The bill also specifies the approving authority may not require the subdivider to maintain the security for more than 12 months after the public improvements are substantially completed. Substantial completion is defined in the bill as when the binder coat is installed on roads to be dedicated. When there are no dedicated roads, substantial completion is when 90 percent of the public improvements, by cost, are completed.
2013 Assembly Bill 410 provides a licensed manufactured home community that is a legal nonconforming use continues to be a legal nonconforming use even if homes are repaired or infrastructure within the community is replaced.
Authorized Emergency Vehicle Escorts
2013 Assembly Bill 539 expands the type of emergency vehicles that may escort other vehicles or vehicle processions. The law currently provides that police vehicles with activated warning lights may escort another vehicle or a vehicle procession, and are not required to stop for red lights or stop signs. All vehicles other than other authorized emergency vehicles with sirens activated must yield the right-of-way to the escorting police vehicles and the escorted vehicles. The bill allows other authorized emergency vehicles, including fire department vehicles and ambulances, to serve as escort vehicles in the same manner as police vehicles.
Note: These bills are not yet effective and are subject to veto.
Governor Walker exercised his partial veto power on 2013 Senate Bill 324 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 146), relating to absentee voting. He removed the language limitating in-person absentee voting to 45-hours per week. He also removed the provision that required the state to reimburse municipalities for the costs of hiring individuals to assist in receiving in-person absentee ballots. The remainder of the bill, which limits in-person absentee voting to weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. was not changed.
The Governor has also signed a number of bills discussed in prior posts:
2013 Assembly Bill 89 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 155) relating to election returns
2013 Assembly Bill 606 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 174) reducing the signature requirements for certain nomination papers
2013 Senate Bill 20 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 147) relaxing the residency requirements for election officials
2013 Senate Bill 377 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 148) relating to election report and information
2013 Assembly Bill 396 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 159) relating to special voting deputies at residential facilities and family homes
2013 Senate Bill 548 (now 2013 Wisconsin Act 149) transferring responsibility for sending notices to inactive electors to the Government Accountability Board