Wisconsin Geospatial News

Bills affect address confidentiality and adverse possession

This week several readers passed along information on bills being considered by the Wisconsin Legislature that have some bearing on land information.

Senate Bill 488

Senate Bill 488 protects the confidentiality of addresses for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. The bill creates a program under the Department of Justice (DOJ), whereby participants submit their actual address to the DOJ and receive an assigned address to use for all personal and official purposes. The bill requires the DOJ, as well as municipal and local governmental clerks and election officials, to keep the person’s actual address confidential except in certain legal circumstances. Such local government clerks include county clerks, clerks of court, municipal clerks, and registers of deeds, and their deputies and assistants. The bill states, “If a program participant submits a written request to a local clerk that he or she keep the program participant’s actual address private, the local clerk may not disclose any record in his or her possession which would reveal the program participant’s actual address, except pursuant to a court order.”

More information is available here.

This bill has been passed by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety and in the Assembly has been assigned the Committee on Judiciary.

Senate Bill 314

Senate Bill 314 deals with the elimination of adverse possession for property belonging to the state or a political subdivision. Adverse possession is a long-standing legal doctrine whereby an individual in possession of a piece of property owned by someone else may gain title to the land. Current Wisconsin law on adverse possession is complicated. Under current law, a person may obtain title to property belonging to the state or a political subdivision as long as certain legal requirements are met. Senate Bill 314 prohibits adverse possession for property belonging to the state or a city, village, town, county, school district, sewerage commission, sewerage district or any other unit of government within the state.

More information is available here.

This bill has passed (with amendements) through the Senate and has been passed by the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate.