The New Municipal Law Alert is Now Available.

A new edition of the Municipal Law Alert is now available online. This month’s articles discuss the repeal of the Prevailing Wage law and an update on the Implements of Husbandry law.

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Prevailing Wage Law Repealed Effective January 1, 2017

Wisconsin’s more than 80-year-old Prevailing Wage law has been eliminated for cities, villages and towns (and some other local governmental units), effective January 1, 2017. Although complicated in many ways, the gist of the existing prevailing wage law is that it requires a minimum wage scale that must be paid to workers on publicly funded construction projects with total estimated costs that equal or exceed certain thresholds. The current thresholds are $48,000 for single trade projects, $100,000 for  multiple trade projects, and $234,000 for towns of any size, and for cities and villages with populations under 2,500.

During the 2015 and 2016 calendar years, the prevailing wage laws remain in effect. The legislation included a statement that this repeal was a matter of statewide concern, and that municipalities are prohibited from enacting local prevailing wage laws.

The repeal of the prevailing wage law was part of the annual budget, a copy of which can be found here.

In addition, according to the Department of Workforce  Development, projects which are under contract or for which the  local government has issued a request for bids prior to January 1, 2017, will remain subject to the prevailing wage law for the life of the project. See the following DWD webpages for details:

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Implements of Husbandry Law Update

Last year, the Wisconsin Towns Association prepared model ordinances for towns to use if they wanted to enact an ordinance under the new Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law, 2013 Wisconsin Act 377.  After the original IOH law was enacted, certain questions  and issues arose, and this past year the legislature enacted 2015 Wisconsin Act 15, which significantly modified certain areas of the IOH law.  An overview of the changes can be read on the Wisconsin  Department of Transportation website.

In response to these changes, the Wisconsin Towns Association has drafted new model ordinances. The Association recommends that any town that enacted an IOH ordinance using one of the original model ordinances, adopt the updated ordinance. The updated model ordinances can be found on the Wisconsin Towns Association website.

Note:  2015 Act 15 changed the deadline for towns to enact IOH ordinances from January 15 to November 30 of the prior year. So, if you want to enact an updated ordinance to be effective in 2016, you must act by November 30, 2015.

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