Remove state barriers to local democracy to empower communities, McCabe proposes
May 15, 2018 - Wisconsin is at its best when neighbors and communities are free to shape their future together and empowered to look out for each other, which is why candidate for governor Mike McCabe is calling for the repeal of more than 130 state laws made in the last seven years taking away decision-making authority from local communities in Wisconsin.
“Local democracy has been commandeered by those currently in charge at the State Capitol. People at the local level have had governing power systematically taken away from them. Just since 2011, more than 130 laws have been made blocking local actions on just about every imaginable issue. Communities should be free to decide what’s best for them. State government should support their ability to govern themselves the way they could in 2010,” McCabe said.
State preemption laws limit or prohibit local decisions on subjects ranging from building codes and rental property inspection to school budgets and shoreline development. Elected representatives chosen by the people in local communities have had their hands tied with respect to the bidding process for local road projects, siting of animal feedlots and approval of mining projects or the construction of oil and gas pipelines. Communities are not allowed to set their own workplace standards for wages, benefits and working conditions. They can’t have a minimum wage higher than the state’s. They can’t establish their own sick leave policies. They can’t have residency requirements for local public employees. They can’t join with other communities to set up regional transit authorities. They aren’t free to put rules in place for sport shooting ranges. They don’t have a say on the weight of vehicles using their streets and roads. The list of recently imposed state restrictions goes on and on.
McCabe said the more than 130 laws infringing on local democracy made since 2011 should all be repealed, moving Wisconsin to a new, more democratic model of home rule for local communities. He also would target for repeal at least two other state laws taking away local decision-making authority that were made before 2011 – a 2003 law taking away the ability of communities to decide whether massive-scale industrial agricultural operations should be allowed to operate in their midst and a 2004 law banning communities from setting a local minimum wage above the level set by the state.
“The party in power at the Capitol always claimed to be for local control. Now they are controlling the locals. Instead of state politicians lording over communities and dictating what they can and can’t do, let the people at the local level decide for themselves,” McCabe said. “Local democracy needs to be restored.”
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