“These new laws will improve life and business in rural Wisconsin,” Marklein said. “We created an incentive for investing in rural broadband, streamlined the process when natural disasters strike our small communities, extended an exemption for ag truck driver hours, updated laws related to ATVs and more.”
ACT 126 – AB 310 – Referendum levy limit exemption – this bill came from legislation we passed in 2014 at the request of Green County. The county sought to hold a referendum to exceed its levy limit, however they were unable to do so because of the net new construction information that was required. 2013 Act 310 fixed this problem for Green County, but not for other local units of government in the state. This bill simply offers all local units of government to use its best estimate of its net new construction numbers, based on the most current data available to it, to write its ballot question.
ACT 128 – Assembly Bill (AB) 344 – the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Property Tax – provides an exemption from telephone company property tax, a state levy, for the infrastructure used to provide broadband service to a rural area, which is an area that is located outside a federal metropolitan area or is located in a municipality with a population under 14,000 residents.
ACT 159 – Senate Bill (SB) 369 – Disaster Assistance Streamlining – this bill was initiated by the experiences of the Village of Glendale in Monroe county, following the floods they experienced over the last two years. This bill streamlines the reimbursement process from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to local units of government and modernizes document transmission and payment processes. It requires Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to provide training to all local units of government and complete its due diligence to ensure all governments have created an account to be eligible for reimbursement by June 30, 2021.
ACT 167 – SB 387 – Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit (MAC) Crop Insurance – this bill addresses an unintended consequence in the manner for calculating the MAC as it relates to crop insurance, the federal program designed to offset losses to damaged and/or unplanted crops.
ACT 174 – SB 669 – Agricultural Truck Driver Hours of Service Exception – Commercial truck drivers are subject to hours-of-service regulations that limit the number of hours they may consecutively drive. However, there is a limited exception for drivers who are hauling agricultural commodities such as milk, grain, livestock, or farm supplies within a 150-mile radius. Wisconsin currently allows unlimited driving from March 15 to December 15 each year for planting and harvesting. However, as we experienced in 2019-20, the harvest season extended well past December 15. This bill would make the exception for short-haul trips within a 150-mile radius year round.
ACT 175 – SB 637 – Non-conforming structures in a flood plain – This bill adopts the Federal guidelines when a homeowner seeks to flood proof their home in a flood plain. The bill restores local control over important property decisions about whether to allow homeowners to utilize additional flood proofing options and about whether to allow remodeling of existing, federally-compliant structures.
ACT 181 – SB 351 – Temporary Storage Rule – Many construction contractors, especially those near the state line, have building materials shipped to their home location, stored temporarily, and then transported across the state line for use in a construction project in another state. Unfortunately, due to Wisconsin’s current tax structure, these temporarily stored materials are assessed Wisconsin sales and use tax. This taxation puts Wisconsin companies at no less than a 5% disadvantage when bidding for projects in tax-free areas in other states compared to companies located in the same state as the project.
This bill will allow construction companies to receive a Wisconsin sales and use tax exemption for tangible personal property that is first shipped to Wisconsin, stored in Wisconsin for less than 120 days, and then used in the fulfillment of real property construction in a tax-free area in another state, such as non-profits, school districts, or Enterprise Zones. It was initiated by local companies, like Precision Drive Controls (PDC) in Monroe, WI.
ACT 183 – SB 583 – ATV/UTV Statutory Updates – ATVs and UTVs are becoming increasingly popular. This bill updates state statues to address the continuing growth of registration numbers and provides solutions necessary to better manage the registration program into the future. It includes safety provisions related to lighting, and after-market accessories that may be added to ATVs and UTVs. The proposal also increases the per mile funding available for summer and winter trail maintenance, and allows funds from the ATV segregated account to be used for trail mapping.