Local control is under attack again. There is a bill on the fast track in the Wisconsin legislature that seeks to remove powers from towns, villages, cities, and counties, and place those powers in state agencies.
LRB-3146/1 is called the "Regulatory Certainty Act." It abolishes local authority to regulate land use having to do with water quality and quantity, expansion of mines and other large industrial operations, and other related air and water issues. Currently, towns have authority to protect the public health and general welfare of their residents. This bill would take that power away from towns and place it in the state bureaucracy. It also limits the ability of local governments to negotiate reimbursements for damage done to roads by heavy truck use.
Unfortunately, this bill and its companion, LRB-3408/1, are on a fast track and might even be out of committee before you read this letter. They are being ushered through the legislative process by the party in power in Madison, the party of big business and big money. Ironically, it is the same party that claims to want to preserve smaller government and local control. That party's actions do not match its stated philosophy.
There is one way to prevent further deterioration of our local government home rule tradition in Wisconsin. Next time, vote for the party of the people. Next time, vote Democrat.