The Blueprint: Electronic Building Permit Process Revisions Draft Now Available


ALSO: Getting to Know the Candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court 2019 • BLAR Fund in Action Information Added to Website • Governor Evers’ Announces Taskforce to Address Transportation • From NAHB: Affordability Tops the Agenda in the Year Ahead

Electronic Building Permit Process Revisions Draft Now Available

Republican Attorney General Association Has Schimel Up 3

One of the provisions in our advocacy agenda that was approved by the Board of Directors in October stated “look for ways to have a more uniform application for one-two family building permits and require either a paper or electronic building permit but not both when applying for a permit (and that a printed copy of the online form must be accepted by a local municipality).”

With the help of Assembly Housing and Real Estate Chair John Jagler (R-Watertown), we were able to start working on this bill draft in December.  After a couple of revisions, you can take a look at the current draft by clicking here.

If you have any input on the current draft please just let me know via email (

In order to try to iron out any issues with this draft, we have also shared this proposal and are waiting for feedback from the Wisconsin League of Municipalities.  We worked with The League on the original proposal a few years ago.  The League would likely be the only major advocacy group that would have any issues with this concept, and if they don’t have any objections or we can make changes to the draft prior to it being introduced, it would make passage much easier.

Finally, we also hope to have a diverse, bipartisan group of lawmakers working on and introducing this legislation.

Again, please let Brad know if you have any thoughts on the enclosed draft.

Getting to Know the Candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court 2019

With the 2018 general election not too far in the rearview mirror, we are now in the midst of a race for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring.  With only two candidates handing in the required signature, all eyes are on the April 2, 2019 general election.

This week during out Board of Directors meeting on Friday, February 8, we will be joined by Judge Brian Hagedorn who is one of the candidates running for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

We also wanted to provide some information on Judge Lisa Neubauer who is also running to replace Shirley Abrahamson as a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

According to her website, Judge Neubauer was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2014. She was the Presiding Judge in her district of the Court of Appeals from 2009 through 2015. The Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed her to serve as the Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 2015, and reappointed her in May 2018.

Judge Neubauer also has decades of experience as a Wisconsin litigation attorney prior to becoming a judge. She was a partner at Foley and Lardner LLP and chair of the firm’s Insurance Dispute Resolution Practice Group. She co-chaired the firm’s national recruiting committee. Judge Neubauer also served as a law clerk for Barbara Crabb, then-Chief Judge of the United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin.

A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School with honors, Judge Neubauer received her degree in 1987. She is a member of the Order of Coif. In 1979, Judge Neubauer received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in political science.

While our races for Wisconsin Supreme Court are technically nonpartisan. they have become very partisan and very expensive over the past decade.  Research along with early press reporting indicate that those on the judicial left likely will support Neubauer and those on the judicial right will support Hagendorn in this important race for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

BLAR Fund in Action Information Added to Website

In order to provide additional information to members concerning the use of the BLAR Funds (Builder Legal Action and Research Fund), additional information has been added to list what cases the WBA decided to participate in via amicus briefs.

The BLAR Fund was established by the WBA Board of Directors back in 1993, and has been used in a variety of ways over the years to advance policies and fight back against others involving housing and land development in Wisconsin. 

The WBA is often asked to join cases important to housing and land development via amicus briefs. Amicus briefs are a way for associations like the WBA to present our side on a case, and they are entered into the record and read by the judges deciding cases.  In an effort to provide more transparency and give members a better idea of how these funds are spent, you can check out the latest briefs here.

The BLAR Fund website also provides additional information on the history of the fund, how it can be used, and information on how local associations can apply for funds to aid members on cases that could have a statewide effect on housing and development issues.

Governor Evers’ Announces Taskforce to Address Transportation

During the deep freeze last week, Governor Tony Evers announced the formation of a “Transportation Stakeholder Task Force,” which was touted as “a group comprised of experts who understand and represent the comprehensive needs of Wisconsin's transportation system.”

This is one of the first steps Governor Evers has proposed to address an issue that he talked a lot about on the campaign trail, improving our roads and the overall transportation network in Wisconsin.  Independent groups also made this a big issue during the campaign as well. (Remember the ads talking about “Scott holes?”)

Members of the taskforce announced this week include:

  • Tom Bressner, Wisconsin Agribusiness Association

  • Donna Brown-Martin, Milwaukee County Department of Transportation

  • Andrew Davis, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

  • County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County

  • Jerry Deschane, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

  • Carrie Diamond, Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc.

  • Dan Fedderly, Wisconsin County Highway Association

  • Dean Haen, Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association

  • Mayor Tim Hanna, City of Appleton

  • Senator Dave Hansen, Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs

  • Jim Holte, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

  • Sheldon Johnson, Northwest Regional Planning Commission

  • Tracy Johnson, Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin

  • Robb Kahl, Construction Business Group

  • Chris Klein, American Council of Engineering Companies

  • Jeff Knight, Association of Wisconsin Tourism Attractions

  • Mike Koles, Wisconsin Towns Association

  • Representative Debra Kolste, Assembly Committee on Transportation

  • Representative Bob Kulp, Assembly Committee on Transportation

  • Ken Lucht, Wisconsin & Southern Railroad

  • Senator Howard Marklein, Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs

  • Ashwat Narayanan, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

  • Mark O'Connell, Wisconsin Counties Association

  • John Parkyn, Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers

  • Senator Jerry Petrowski, Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs

  • Doug Rebout, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

  • Steve Rhode, Schneider National

  • Patrick Sake, City Brewery

  • Henry Schienebeck, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association

  • Dave Schlabowske, Wisconsin Bike Fed

  • John Schmitt, Wisconsin Laborers District Council

  • Abe Weber, Wisconsin Airport Managers Association

  • Jeremy Wesso, Menominee County

  • Curt Witynski, League of Wisconsin Municipalities

"The topic of addressing the current and future needs of Wisconsin's transportation system affects all of Wisconsin's residents and businesses," said Governor Evers. "A comprehensive, long-term solution to the state's transportation needs is critically important for the future of our state's economy and our quality of life."

Affordability Tops the Agenda in the Year Ahead

From NAHB: Addressing housing affordability concerns will be a top issue for NAHB in 2019 and we will be working with Congress and the administration to achieve this goal.

Builders in the field report there is a strong demand for new homes but that prospective buyers have become increasingly gun shy due to rising mortgage rates in recent months coupled with the aggregate run-up in pricing.

A vibrant housing market is critical to a strong economy. Rising home costs threaten the ongoing housing and economic recovery.

Federal policymakers need to address this issue by taking appropriate steps to ease needless regulatory burdens that will help stabilize residential market conditions.

Working with a New Congress - As the 116th Congress convenes today, Democrats are in control of the House for the first time since 2010 while Republicans have expanded their majority in the Senate.

Going forward, NAHB looks to find common ground with the new Congress. We will continue to focus on:

  • Lowering the cost of regulation.

  • Reforming the nation’s housing finance system to ensure that single-family and multifamily housing credit remains readily available and affordable.

  • Promoting job training programs that will help ensure an ample supply of well-trained workers to build the nation’s homes.

  • Pursuing immigration policies that complement ongoing vocational training efforts and help fill labor gaps while protecting the nation’s borders.

  • Refining tax policy and enhancing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

  • Creating a national flood insurance program that is predictable and affordable.

  • Enabling a supply of softwood lumber sufficient to meet demand.

  • Improving and streamlining the federal permitting process.

The next two years give NAHB an opportunity to forge a new bipartisan coalition among housing advocates in the House and Senate to drive housing affordability, both ownership and rental, to the top of the national agenda. For further analysis on how the new Congress could affect housing, visit summary.

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