New bills of interest to geospatial community Print
By Howard Veregin   
January 22, 2016

The current session of the Wisconsin Legislature has seen several bills introduced that will be of interest to the geospatial community. These bills pertain to drones, zoning, surveying, annexations, state agency land information plans, and DOT folded maps.

This posting briefly summarizes these bills and their current status. Various geospatial organizations in the state are evaluating these bills and in some cases providing testimony at public hearings. Further information can be obtained from the respective legislative committees of these organizations.

Senate Bill 498

Senate Bill 498 places restrictions on drone use in Wisconsin. The bill prohibits the operation of drones over a state correctional institution including any grounds of the institution, subject to a forfeiture of up to $5000 and seizure of any visual imagery or data acquired by the drone. The bill also allows a city, village, town, or county to enact an ordinance designating areas within which drone use is prohibited. Such an ordinance may not apply to drones operated by the state, a state agency, or a public safety agency, or if the operation of the drone is conducted with the permission of the property owner.

Status: Introduced 1/5/16 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety

More information here.

See also: Assembly Bill 670 -- Introduced 1/11/16 and referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public SafetyNew drone regulations introduced (Mapping Bulletin) 

Assembly Bill 563

Assembly Bill 563 is related to town and county zoning. It authorizes towns in populous counties to withdraw from county zoning and development plans, as long as the town then enacts a zoning ordinance, a comprehensive plan, and an official map. The bill also removes plat and certified survey map approval authority from a county, if the town in which the land is located has withdrawn from county zoning, subject to certain restrictions based on shoreland and floodplains. The bill provides for continuance of farmland preservation ordinances for towns that withdraw from county zoning. It also prohibits counties from enacting restrictions on land that is not shoreland or that is not within a floodplain.

Status: Introduced 12/4/15 and referred to the Committee on Housing and Real Estate; Public hearing held 12/10/15; Several amendements offered; Fiscal estimates received from DOA, DNR, and DATCP.

More information here.

See also: Senate Bill 479 -- Introduced 12/29/15 and referred to Committee on Insurance, Housing, and Trade; Public hearing held 1/5/16; Several amendements offered.

Senate Bill 568

Senate Bill 568 eliminates several boards, including several with a land-based focus: the Cemetery Board, which regulates cemeteries; and the Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists, and Soil Scientists, which regulates the practice of geologists, hydrologists, and soil scientists. The functions of these boards would be transfered to the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). The bill also eliminates the sections (architect section, landscape architect section, professional engineer section, designer section, and professional land surveyor section) of the Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers, and Professional Land Surveyors. It also reduces the size of the Board from 25 to 11. The bill also makes it easier to remove board members appointed to a board for a fixed term, and deletes annual meeting requirements.

Status: Introduced 1/13/16 and referred to Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection; Public hearing held 1/19/16.

More information here.

See also: Assembly Bill 726 -- Introduced 1/15/16 and referred to the Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations.

Senate Bill 569

Senate Bill 569 changes certain annexation notice requirements and also changes the responsibility to receive, file, and distribute certain documents from the Secretary of State to the Secretary of Administration. It reduces the number of copies that must be filed or distributed, and changes the filing requirements from "plats" to "scale maps". It also eliminates the exemption that counties with populations below 50,000 need to file annexations with the Department of Administration.

Status: Introduced 1/13/16 and referred to Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection; Public hearing held 1/19/16.

More information here.

See also: Assembly Bill 727 -- Introduced 1/15/16 and referred to the Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations.

Senate Bill 570

Senate Bill 570 eliminates the requirement for state agencies to submit a land information plan to the Department of Administration. The agencies currently subject to this requirement are the Department of Administration; the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; the Department of Safety and Professional Services; the Department of Health Services; the Department of Natural Resources; the Department of Tourism; the Department of Revenue; the Department of Transportation; the University of Wisconsin System; the Public Service Commission; and the State Historical Society.

Status: Introduced 1/13/16 and referred to Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection; Public hearing held 1/19/16.

More information here.

See also: Assembly Bill 728 -- Introduced 1/15/16 and referred to the Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations.

Senate Bill 343

Senate Bill 343 reduces the number of folded highway maps produced by the Department of Transportation that will be transmitted to the legislature, and authorizes legislators to reduce the number of maps that DOT is required to distribute to the legislator's office.

Status: Introduced 10/19/15 and referred to the Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection; Public hearing held 11/18/15; Fiscal estimate from DOT received; Passed by Senate 1/12/16 and messaged to Assembly.

More information here.

See also: Assembly Bill 466 -- Introduced 10/27/15 and referred to the Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations; Public hearing held 12/16/15.