- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Since 2011, Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers have passed 128 measures restricting the authority of local government, according to the state’s nonpartisan budget agency.

The rundown comes in a May 16 memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and was released at the request of Assistant Assembly Minority Leader Katrina Shankland, a Stevens Point Democrat, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/255lBHL ) reported.

Shankland said 80 of the measures passed without Democrats’ support. She said Republicans “repeatedly used their majority in a blatant government overreach” for efforts such as restricting county shoreland zoning ordinances passed by county boards and banning municipal governments from passing container ordinances.

Tom Evenson, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said some of the measures that Shankland criticized led to lower taxes.

“Rep. Shankland considers tax relief a limit on local control,” he said in an email. “If Rep. Shankland believes we should be increasing taxes on Wisconsin citizens then we fundamentally disagree. We should be lowering the cost of living and doing business in Wisconsin, not increasing it.”

Evenson also said 2011 legislation by Walker that curtailed collective bargaining for most public employees “was arguably the greatest measure taken to empower local governments in at least a generation.”

The memo released Thursday lists all of the measures passed during the 2015-2016 legislative session. It also includes revenue limit restrictions passed during the 2011-2012 legislative session, a measure that prohibits local governments from enforcing a residency requirement for its public employees in 2013-2014, and in 2015-2016, easing restrictions on development on buildings or homes in a shoreland setback area and requiring all high school seniors to pass a civics test to graduate.

Republicans pointed out that some of the bills were co-sponsored or backed by Democrats, including Shankland, but Shankland aide Mike VanDenHeuvel said the minority leader is focusing her criticism on the fact that the majority of measures passed weren’t supported by Democrats.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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