December 6, 2015
Click here for the most recent version of the bill. It was drafted as a LRB P5 (marked preliminary draft) so that we can receive input from you. It will then be immediately converted to a LRB/1 as soon as we have reviewed and considered responses. It is the only bipartisan bill addressing the shoreland zoning changes and we believe has an excellent chance for passage and becoming law. It has been a real struggle to get where we are now and, when passed, will represent the achievement of our goal set last August. We are circulating it for your information. Suggestions for changes should be sent to us at: email@example.com.
While we want to provide an opportunity for comment, we all need to be conscious of the fact that a repeal of the shoreland portion of Act 55 will not happen in this Legislature Session. A return to county control of all of the aspects that were removed by the Act 55 budget amendment is also not possible at this time – it simply has no bipartisan support and therefore will not advance. It is a cruel truth for all of us, most particularly the passionate leaders of this movement who have worked so hard to get where we are, but that is the political reality.
Our bill will repair the greatest threat to our lakes, the loss of control over density, setback and minimum lot size. As you will see, it grandfathers all of our hard earned, relentlessly studied and scientifically based and informed decisions on how to manage these issues on a lake by lake basis.
Our work is not done. There are issues, such as residential lighting on lakes that have been left in a vacuum of regulation, a ripe field for conflict without ability for resolution. Much of what has been done and is proposed by this group of legislators with extreme ideas has been put in statute — what is sometimes referred to as being “cast in stone”. It is an unworkable way to manage our lakes, which have historically been managed by rulemaking to account for new ideas, new science and changing needs of an ever-changing environment. Rules can be changed to accommodate new information. Statutes are incredibly more difficult to change and that change is subject to political winds, not reason or science. We are attempting to mitigate the damage of a very bad change to our laws that were never debated or even publicized and had virtually no input from anyone before it became law. We need to change statutes as a result of Act 55. This bill draft is the first step in that process.
More radical and misguided legislation is proposed at this time and we must continue to make our voices heard.
This is a perilous time in our state and for our lakes, which are in the sights of legislators with extreme ideas and their advocates who seem to have no regard for the health of our lakes and are choosing to ignore years of scientific analysis and knowledge-based decisions on the best practice management for them.
We are still the last line of defense for the lakes of Wisconsin. Our bill will not be heard until January at the earliest and our work is ongoing and must continue until this legislative session ends on April 6, 2016 as well as in to the future. Additionally, we must lobby effectively against any new bills, which in some respects are worse that what has already become law. We have managed expenses to date but our cash is being depleted faster than it comes in now and we are again in need of new contributions. Please stay with us, bring your friends and neighbors, to help spread our message to other lakes and regions. We must continue to grow, raise funds and find support. If we fail, there is no one behind us to defend our lakes. We must not fail.
Thank you for both your past and future support working together to protect our lakes.
For WISCONSIN SHORELAND INITIATIVE
A. John Richter