Home Rule

Home Rule
The Wisconsin Constitution provision known as “constitutional home rule” means that if a policy is entirely a matter of a city or village’s local affairs and government, a city or village is authorized to regulate that matter, and the Legislature is prohibited from enacting a law that would preempt the local regulation of that matter. However, if a matter is exclusively of statewide concern, or a legislative enactment applies uniformly to every city or village, the Legislature may prohibit a city or village from enacting an ordinance on the matter and may regulate the matter through state laws.

This Wisconsin Legislative Council Memorandum (PDF) describes a city or village’s power to enact a charter ordinance under its constitutional home rule authority. Read a presentation (PDF) by Mike Morse at the Municipal Attorney's Institute.