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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Pier protection bill signed into law

Legislation I supported to protect the existing piers of waterfront property owners has been approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association that was part of a wide-ranging coalition that worked on the legislation reports Assembly Bill 297 will protect about 99% of current piers by grandfathering standards for those piers. Piers up to 8-feet wide and loading platforms or “decks” that are 200 square feet or less will be exempted as will decks between 200 and 300 square feet, as long as they are no wider than 10 feet.

A balance needed to be struck between the rights of waterfront property owners whose families have maintained piers for decades and the rights of the public to have access to Wisconsin’s wonderful waterways. Assembly Bill 297 provides that balance.

Owners of piers that will not be grandfathered should find the process of obtaining permits to keep their piers easier.

There are plenty of details to consider about the new law that went into effect April 14, 2008.

Conditions under previous law remain intact in the new law. A riparian owner is exempt from obtaining a permit for piers and wharves that meet all of the following requirements according to the Wisconsin Legislative Council:

  • Is not more than six feet wide.
  • Extends no farther than to a point where the water is three feet at its maximum depth or where there is adequate depth for mooring a boat, whichever is farther from the shoreline.
  • Has no more than two boat slips for the first 50 feet of the riparian owner’s shoreline footage and no more than one additional boat slip for each additional 50 feet of shoreline.
  • Is located in an area other than an area of special natural resource interest, as defined in the statutes.
  • Does not interfere with the riparian rights of other riparian owners.

The new law expands the exemption mentioned above for a pier (but not a wharf) to allow a loading platform at the end of the pier that is perpendicular to the pier, is located on either or both sides of the pier, and is no more than eight feet wide.

The exemptions apply to piers and wharves that were placed on the bed of a navigable water on or before February 6, 2004.

Piers and wharves that were in place on or before February 6, 2004 that do not meet the previously mentioned requirements are referred to as “grandfathered piers and wharves.”

The new law creates an exemption from obtaining a permit for certain grandfathered piers and wharves. These piers and wharves:  

  • May not be more than eight feet wide.

  • May have a platform at the end of the pier (not wharf) that is 200 square feet or less or, if it is from 200 to 300 square feet, is no more than 10 feet wide.

  • May not interfere with the riparian rights of any other riparian owner.

Read more

New fraud hotline operating

Audits, News you can use

Governor Doyle signed into a law a bill I co-sponsored that creates a toll−free telephone number to receive reports from Wisconsin citizens about fraud, waste, and mismanagement of tax funds.

The toll-free hotline is operated by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau and is now up and running.

Here is a Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel article, details from the Legislative Audit Bureau on how the fraud hotline works, and the history of Senate Bill 86 that contains links to Legislative Council memos and the enacted law

Move Over instruction now required in Wisconsin

News you can use

Wisconsin is raising awareness about its Move Over Law.

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is putting up information signs on the interstate.

Governor Doyle has signed a bill into law that I supported that will require instruction about the Move Over Law in driver education classes.

Here is a history of the bill that has a link to a Legislative Council memo and the enacted law. 

Please check out the DOT website for audio and video public service announcements that tell why the Move Over law is so important Wisconsin.

If those public service announcements aren’t convincing enough, maybe this emotional news piece from WISN-TV Channel 12 will get the message across.

All states beat deadline to comply with Real ID

Photo ID

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has declared that all 50 states are compliant with the Real ID driver’s license program. Maine was the last state to come on board in late March, beating the March 31, 2008 deadline. Had Maine refused to comply, the DHS would have ordered airport screeners to pat down all Maine residents before they could board airplanes.

After the Legislature approved Real ID in the 2005 legislative session that I supported, Governor Doyle signed the measure into law on March 10, 2006.

The DHS website says:

“REAL ID is a law and rule that establishes minimum standards for state-issued driver's licenses and personal identification cards. REAL ID compliant drivers licenses and ID cards will allow you to board a federally-regulated airplane, access a federal facility or a nuclear power plant.

The REAL ID Act of 2005, was passed by Congress to make it more difficult to fraudulently acquire a drivers license or ID card, as part of the effort to fight terrorism and reduce fraud.

REAL ID compliant licenses and ID cards must meet minimum standards which include

  • information and security features that must be incorporated into each card
  • proof of identity and U.S. citizenship or legal status of an applicant
  • verification of the source documents provided by an applicant
  • security standards for the offices that issue licenses and identification cards

Read more

Top tourism events

News you can use, Tourism

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has compiled a list of Wisconsin’s top events at state historic sites from May through December.

Here’s the list.

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