Currently Active Legislation
Act 15 was signed into law on April 29. Introduced by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi). This is a follow-up to last year’s IOH legislation. Some of the Act’s key provisions are:
* Better clarifies that a single IOH or a combination of IOH being towed by a farm truck, farm truck tractor or motor truck is legal and the IOH being towed do not lose IOH status.
* Specifies that towed harvesting equipment is an IOH and carries “Category B” status like other towed planting, tillage and cultivating equipment.
* Instead of relying on legal interpretation, this clarifies in statute that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on highways.
* Specifies that “grain cart” carries Category C status because it is substantially similar in use and purpose to other farm wagons or farm trailers.
* Clarifies that an Agricultural Commercial Motor Vehicle (Ag-CMV) off-loading manure when field conditions do not permit direct manure application to the field remains an Ag-CMV.
* Similar to the Category B status given to planting, cultivating, tillage and harvesting IOH, this bill gives that same status (including no-fee permit alternate route approval) to certain Ag-CMVs.
* Clarifies that weight limit exceptions for potato harvesters apply to both self-propelled and towed potato harvesters.
* Instead of a January 15 deadline for local maintaining authorities (MA) to pass a resolution/ordinance to implement or amend their “local option”, the bill moves it to November 30 and also requires those MAs to submit it to WisDOT by January 20 to be posted on the agency’s website.
* To alleviate the potential issuance of hundreds, if not thousands, of no-fee permits across the state, this bill authorizes an IOH or Ag-CMV being operated in compliance with a permit to cross any highway that intersects with a highway under the jurisdiction of the MA that issued the permit.
* To help incentivize the use of trailers to better distribute weight load, the bill expands the increased weight limit for IOH and Ag-CMV to also apply to two-vehicle combinations transporting by trailer or semitrailer an IOH or Ag-CMV from farm-to-field, from field-to-field, or from farm-to-farm.
* The bill provides the same length and height restrictions for transporting IOH by trailer or semitrailer as if the IOH were being operated on the roadway.
* The IOH law inadvertently deleted a portion of a statute that allowed “wide” IOH to “be moved, towed or hauled over the highways without a special permit issued under s. 348.27(14).” Senate Bill 83 corrects that and allows IOH of any width to be transported by trailer or semitrailer, without a permit, at times other than hours of darkness, subject to certain lighting and marking requirements.
Assembly Bill 113 passed the Assembly by a vote of 99-0 on April 14 and passed the Senate by a voice vote on April 21. Governor Walker signed the bill into law on April 29.
Frac Sand on Neighboring Property
Senate Bill 98 (Senator Vinehout-D) and Assembly Bill 152 (Representative Danou-D) have been introduced. SB 98 and AB 152 require an owner selling residential real property or vacant land to disclose either on the real estate condition report or the vacant land disclosure report if the owner has notice or knowledge of a contract or an option to contract for frac sand mining on a neighboring property. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Frac Sand Exploration
Senate Bill 99 (Senator Vinehout-D) and Assembly Bill 149 (Representative Danou-D) have been introduced. SB 99 and AB 149 authorize counties to issue licenses for frac sand exploration. A person applying for a frac sand exploration license must submit a bond to ensure that exploratory drillholes will be properly filled and have proof of liability coverage for personal and property damage. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Frac Sand Zoning
Senate Bill 100 (Senator Vinehout-D) and Assembly Bill 150 (Representative Danou-D) have been introduced. SB 100 and AB 150 require that a zoning ordinance related to agriculture use, list frac sand mining as a conditional use and a zoning ordinance related to residential use, list frac sand mining as a prohibited use. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Frac Sand Notification
Senate Bill 101 (Senator Vinehout-D) and Assembly Bill 151 (Representative Danou-D) have been introduced. SB 101 and AB 151 require a political subdivision to publish a Class 2 notice at least 30 days before a meeting to take action on a frac sand mining application. In addition, the political subdivision must also send written notice of the meeting by first class mail at least 30 days before the meeting to the owner or occupant of any land that is located within one mile of the proposed mine. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Shoreland Zoning / Farmland Preservation
Senate Bill 113 (Senator Gudex-R) and Assembly Bill 165 (Representative Jacque-R) have been introduced. The State Supreme Court ruling of Hegwood vs Town of Eagle Zoning Board of Appeals would prohibit farmland under township zoning in shoreland zoning areas from being eligible to participate in the farmland preservation program and thus not able to receive the per acre tax credit. SB 113 and AB 165 clarifies the ruling to ensure that agricultural zoning by townships is allowed in shoreland zoning areas. WFBF has registered support for both SB 113 and AB 165.
Assembly Bill 168 (Representative Jarchow-R) has been introduced. Current law requires the DNR to promulgate rules that prohibit feeding deer for hunting or viewing purposes in counties where a positive test for Chronic Wasting Disease or Bovine Tuberculosis has been confirmed in any captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal and in neighboring counties if county boundary is within 10 miles of the detect location. AB 168 would limit the probation of feeding deer to 36 months in the county where the detect occurred and to 24 months in neighboring counties. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Veterinarian Examining Board
Assembly Bill 163 (Representative Ballweg-R) has been introduced. AB 163 consolidates the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The Veterinarian Examining Board is currently attached to the DSPS. A provision in AB 163 would transfer the Veterinarian Examining Board to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. WFBF supports this provision.
Senate Bill 48 has been introduced by Senator Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie). SB 48 would have the Natural Resources Board appoint the Secretary of the DNR, rather than have the DNR Secretary be appointed by the Governor. The WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Groundwater and High Capacity Wells
Senate Bill 72 from Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) and Assembly Bill 105 from Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) have been introduced. SB 72 and AB 105 establish standards and a process for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to designate areas in the state as groundwater management areas (GMAs). In GMAs, the DNR must adopt a groundwater management plan to protect surface and groundwater. SB 72 and AB 105 also would require the DNR to conduct an environmental review of any high capacity well application that may have a significant adverse impact on waters of the state. SB 72 and AB 105 would raise the annual high capacity well fee from $125 per year to $250 per year. WFBF is monitoring SB 72 and AB 105. Please note that these bills have been have been introduced by members of the minority party. It is anticipated that groundwater legislation will also be introduced by members of the majority party.
Senate Bill 24 has been introduced by Senator Marklein. It allows for the purposes of computing depreciation, depletion, or amortization and deductions under section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code, a taxpayer may use the law in effect on January 1, 2013 for Wisconsin income tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. WFBF has registered in support of Senate Bill 24. A companion bill (Assembly Bill 48) has been introduced by Representative Kooyenga in the State Assembly.
Speed Limit Increase
Act 19 was signed into law May 20, 2015. The bill was introduced by Senator LeMahieu and Representative Tittl. Act 19 increases the speed limit on freeways and expressways from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour.
Senate Bill 23 and Assembly Bill 25 have been introduced by Senator Lasee and Representative Craig. These companion bills prohibit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from adopting an administrative rule or enforcing a federal regulation for residential or commercial wood stoves that is more stringent than the federal standards in effect on December 31, 2014. The Federal Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations to limit air pollution from sources that cause or contribute significantly to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. In 1988, the EPA established new regulations for certain wood burning stoves used for residential heating. The DNR adopted these standards in Wisconsin in 1990. In 2014, the EPA proposed more stringent standards for residential wood burning stoves. Senate Bill 23 and Assembly Bill 25 would prohibit the DNR from adopting these standards in Wisconsin. WFBF is monitoring this legislation.
Tax Incremental Districts for Towns
Assembly Bill 45 has been introduced by Representative Jacque to allow towns that have the authority to create a Tax Incremental District (TID) to join a Multijurisdictional Tax Incremental District (MJTID). Current law allows cities and villages to jointly create a MJTID, while towns are prohibited from participating. A TID is the land located within a Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) district created by local governments. A TIF district allows the additional property taxes generated by new development or redevelopment to help pay for public works infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.
Companion bills, Senate Bill 33 from Senator Bewley, and Assembly Bill 63 from Representative Billings, would allow a school district, technical college district or public library board to partner with an eligible applicant (telecommunications utility, city, village, town, or county) to apply to the Public Service Commission for a broadband expansion grant. WFBF is monitoring the legislation.