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Sunday, August 14, 2022
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin held a press conference Wednesday to publicly oppose the state legislature’s restrictions on municipalities.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin held a press conference Wednesday to publicly oppose the state legislature’s restrictions on municipalities.

Soglin condemns state preemption of local government

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin criticized the state legislature for its preemption of local governments’ authority during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Soglin specifically outlined ride-sharing, firearms and online rentals. The press conference comes after the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a memo stating lawmakers have enacted 99 provisions that represent unfunded mandates or restrict the decision-making power of local governments over the last three legislative terms.

“It’s time that we have some respect for local government and stop this trend,” Soglin said, “of greater and greater preemption or in some instances changing the way state laws are administered.”

Soglin started by addressing the inability of municipalities to pass firearms control. He specifically referenced last week’s homicide by shooting.

“An area where we are preempted by state law and that has to do with firearms,” he said. “Last week we had the sad, tragic death of one of our residents in a situation that clearly ought to be covered by a waiting period, a cooling off period, in regards to the purchase of a firearm.”

The Republican legislature removed a law that required a 48-hour waiting period when buying a firearm. The Madison Police Department said Christopher T. O’Kroley confessed last week to shooting Caroline E. Nosal. They added he also probably bought the gun the day before.

He then added that the legislature’s 2015 ride-sharing law, which replaced local laws, also preempted local government. He claimed the app Uber came into Madison “thumbing their noses at local ordinances and even state statutes.”

He said that online rental was also experiencing state preemption. Assembly Bill 583 would disallow local governments from restricting or preventing citizens from renting out their homes, which passed Tuesday.

Madison has regulated websites that provide an online short-term renting platform, such as Airbnb, since 2013.

“Preemption in regards to online rentals, which threatens our zoning code and the integrity of our neighborhoods,” Soglin said. “It really is going to create problems for individual families and neighborhoods.”

Assembly Resolution 24, which was introduced Tuesday, would require the Committee on Assembly Organization to appoint a committee to review the desirability of imposing restrictions on local governments. The committee would have to be appointed by Monday.

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