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Milwaukee to fight constitutionality of new civic employee residency laws

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. | Photo: TODAY'S TMJ4

Milwaukee to fight constitutionality of new civic employee residency laws

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Jul 2, 2013

MILWAUKEE - The Mayor of Milwaukee and the Common Council have decided to fight a new state law loosening residency requirements for City of Milwaukee employees.

Mayor Barrett signed a Common Council resolution which says that all city government leaders should enforce what it calls the City Charter, which includes a rule that police, teachers and other workers for the city must live in Milwaukee.

The state legislature loosened that requirement, allowing workers to live as far away as 15 miles from their city if they previously had such a requirement.

According to a joint statement from Mayor Barrett and Aldermen Willie Hines and Michael Murphy, their resolution upholds the state constitution.

"It is our belief that the Wisconsin State Constitution supersedes the language prohibiting residency requirements that was enacted in 2013 Wisconsin Act 20," said the three men in the statement.

"The constitutional “Home Rule” provision was adopted by referendum of the people of this state in 1924, and Milwaukee’s charter ordinance governing residency was adopted in 1938. After 75 years of being determined by the local elected officials that govern individual municipalities, residency policy cannot have suddenly become an issue of statewide concern."