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Across the Region: Milwaukee can’t enforce worker residency

Wisconsin

Court: Milwaukee can’t enforce worker residency

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee can no longer enforce a long-standing requirement that police, firefighters, teachers and other public workers live within city limits, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The court ruled 5-2 that Milwaukee’s residency rule is subject to a state law barring such restrictions. It’s a win for Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans who control the Legislature and passed the requirement three years ago, overcoming opposition from Milwaukee’s Democratic leaders and others who warned the change would devastate the city’s economy.

The ruling reverses a state appeals court decision that the residency requirement could not be superseded by the 2013 state law. Milwaukee has required its more than 7,000 employees to live within the city boundaries since 1938, but had put the restriction on hold pending the court fight.

Justice Michael Gableman, writing for the court’s conservative majority, wrote that state law takes precedent over the city’s residency requirement because it applied equally statewide.

“The Legislature has the power to legislate on matters of local affairs when its enactment uniformly affects every city or every village,” Gableman wrote.

The two dissenting justices — Ann Walsh Bradley and Shirley Abrahamson — disagreed, saying the state’s “home rule” amendment gives cities such as Milwaukee the power to self-govern, allowing them greater autonomy over local affairs.

 

North Dakota

Opponents to speak out against Marsy’s Law 

BISMARCK, N.D. — Some groups representing women and crime victims have joined North Dakota prosecutors to oppose a campaign aimed at incorporating victims’ rights in the state constitution.

North Dakotans will vote in November on a constitutional amendment that supporters believe will bolster the rights of crime victims in the state.

But opponents say changing the constitution to include the proposal will have unintended consequences. They say North Dakota already has laws that protect victims of violent crimes.

The law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her brother, Henry Nicholas, is bankrolling a national effort to expand the law into more states, including both Dakotas.

Records show the California businessman has given more than $1 million toward the effort in North Dakota.

 

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