Legal Articles

The information you obtain on the League’s web site is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as and should not be construed as legal advice. Moreover, it is not a substitute for legal advice. While the League’s attorneys are a general resource for our member municipalities, we do not represent any municipalities. Please consult your municipal attorney for matters specifically pertaining to your municipality.

  1. FRSA Preempts Ordinance Prohibiting Trains from Obstructing RR Crossings

    The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to that act preempt a City of Weyauwega ordinance prohibiting any train from obstructing, for more than 10 minutes. . . . Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018
  2. Local Government Emergency Powers

    Is your municipality prepared to deal with an emergency? Recent disasters in communities across the state, like flooding and explosions, highlight the importance of being prepared to cope with local emergencies. Claire Silverman, the Municipality December 2018
  3. Municipal Publication Requirements

    This article provides a basic overview of municipal publication requirements and addresses common questions that arise with regard to those requirements. Claire Silverman, the Municipality November 2018
  4. Kenosha Program "Gets the Lead Out!"

    There has been a surge in public awareness of the risks of lead exposure in drinking water. Exposure to lead has been linked to adverse health effects in infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is potentially harmful to adults. St. Peter, Kobza and Walker Smith November 2018
  5. A Silent Revolution of Agency Review

    Municipalities frequently interact with state and federal agencies, and they sometimes need courts to review whether an agency decision is arbitrary, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law. Barry J. Blonien, the Municipality October 2018
  6. Supreme Court Review for States and Local Governments 2018

    The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) files Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Big Seven national organizations* representing state and local governments. Big Cases In South Dakota v. Wayfair** the Supreme Court ruled . . . Lisa Soronen the Municipality September 2018
  7. Removal of Officers: Governing Body Procedures and the Recall Procedure

    Can a governing body remove a member who repeatedly fails to show up for meetings? What about a member who always shows up but seems to focus all his or her energy on creating dissent? What about a member who reveals information discussed in closed . . . Claire Silverman, the Municipality August 2018
  8. Determining the Residency of Municipal Officers

    At the time they are elected, members of municipal governing bodies and other local elected officers must be resident electors of the municipality. Common council members representing aldermanic districts must not only reside within the city . . . Claire Silverman, the Municipality July 2018
  9. Special Assessments--A Common Way to Recover Costs of Public Improvements

    Several months ago a state legislator called me into his office to discuss a question he had received from a constituent. The constituent had called to complain about the city charging her a special assessment of over $1,000 for sidewalk and curb . . . Curt Witynski in July 2018 the Municipality
  10. Managing the Risks of Tax Increment Financing

    Tax increment financing (“TIF”) is a local economic development tool that can be an essential ingredient in making a development project happen. However, financing a development project can expose a municipality and its taxpayers to significant . . . Matthew Dregne, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP July 2018
  11. Act 243 Constrains Municipal Development Authority

    The Developers bill (2017 AB 770), so called because it was sought by the Wisconsin REALTORS and the Wisconsin Builders Associations and limits municipal powers to regulate development and recover the cost of serving new development, was signed . . . . Claire Silverman, the Municipality June 2018
  12. The Latest Landlords Legislation--A Description of Act 317

    The following description of municipally relevant provisions in Act 317, the Landlords' legislation, is lifted with minor changes from a memo prepared by Wisconsin Legislative Council Principal Attorney Scott Grosz. The League appreciates . . . Curt Witynski in the Municipality June 2018
  13. Board of Review

    Each year, spring brings a mix of showers and sunshine. Much like the weather, property taxes provide a healthy foundation for funding local government services. To ensure the effectiveness of this process, fair and equitable taxation is essential. Micheal Drea, April 2018 the Municipality
  14. Collecting Room Taxes from Airbnb and other Short-term Rentals

    Despite recent changes made to the room tax law designed to help municipalities receive room taxes from short-term rental properties advertising on Airbnb and other online services, the reality is that little has changed in Wisconsin. Curt Witynski, April 2018 the Municipality
  15. Municipal Regulation of "Click and Collect" Alcohol Sales

    “Click and Collect” describes a practice where consumers order online from a retailer’s website and then pick up their orders at a local store. The use of Click and Collect . . . Claire Silverman, the Municipality March 2018
  16. Public Records Law Application to Individual Local Officials

    Most public records requests are handled by municipal clerks, treasurers, administrators, or department heads, and involve records that are routinely created or kept by municipalities in the normal course of business. Claire Silverman, the Municipality January 2018
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