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News Summary

GOP irks municipal officials by curbing local control

Publication Date: 11/5/2013
  • Author:Matthew DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal
  • Publication:Fond du Lac Reporter

Since consolidating control of state government in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature have enacted a series of laws that upend a bedrock of their party's conservatism: the principle of local control.

The GOP has wrested away from local governments control of cell phone tower siting, shoreland zoning restrictions, landlord-tenant regulations, public employee residency requirements, family medical leave rules for private companies and large soft drink bans, among other things...

Thompson noted that the recent trend began when Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrat-controlled Legislature required municipalities to maintain funding levels for public safety employees. They also passed a statewide public smoking ban some local officials opposed. But the trend has accelerated under Republican leadership...

Republicans have long promoted themselves as the party of decentralized government and local control. The traditional Republican philosophy has been that communities ought to define their own identity, said UW-Madison political science professor emeritus Dennis Dresang.

"But boy, recently, that's really the door," Dresang said. "What we see from the tea party types and the radical right types is, 'I've got an idea, I've got an agenda, and it really ought to apply across the board.'" Republicans have long promoted themselves as the party of decentralized government and local control. The traditional Republican philosophy has been that communities ought to define their own identity, said UW-Madison political science professor emeritus Dennis Dresang...