Archive for the ‘Highways, Roads, etc.’ Category

New Improved Car Boot Law Proposed

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

A new law allowing municipalities greater power to use immobilization devices, often called “car boots” for parking ticket scofflaws has been recommended for passage by committee, and is now available to be scheduled for a full Senate vote. 2009 Senate Bill 297 would permit a municipality to immobilize a car if the owner has three or more outstanding parking tickets which are at least 28 days old. In order to get his car back, the owner would have to pay the outstanding fees, as well as costs associated with the immobilization, and any subsequent towing and impoundment. Municipalities could eventually sell the car in an attempt to recover their costs under certain circumstances. (This assumes the car has any value – and if it did wouldn’t you think the owner would reclaim it?). This law is similar to 2007 Assembly Bill 618 which failed to pass in 2008. I’ll keep this blog updated if the Senate votes on the bill and we get any closer to a law. You can check out the bill and the legislative analysis at:
http://www.legis.state.wi.uw/2009/data/SB-297.pdf

Plain Language trumps in January appellate court decision re highway discontinuance (recommended for publication).

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

In Dawson v. the Town of Cedarburg,2009AP120, the Dawsons had applied to the Towns of Jackson (Washington County) and Cedarburg (Ozaukee County) to discontinue a road.  The two town boards met in a joint session, with five members of the Jackson Town Board in attendance, and three members of the Cedarburg Town Board in attendance.  The vote, along town board lines, was 5 to 3 to discontinue the highway as the Dawsons wished.  The Town of Cedarburg appealed.  In an opinion issued January 6, 2010, in an apparent issue of first impression, the court was faced with the following language in Wis. Stat. 82.21(2): “…the governing bodies of the municipalities, acting together, shall proceed under ss. 82.10 to 82.13.”  Cedarburg contended that this meant each town board must approve the discontinuance, rather than a simple majority of both boards.  The court focused on the words “acting together,” and based on an analogous but unrelated statute and a Minnesota case that they found helpful, decided that “acting together” is plain on its face and requires a majority of both boards, not separate approval by each board.