Walker Not Fazed By Milwaukee’s Challenge To New Residency Rules In Budget


Gov. Scott Walker says he thinks the state budget’s weakening of residency requirements will survive a new challenge from Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s mayor and Common Council have issued a directive to city officials, telling them to keep enforcing a longstanding residency requirement for most city employees, including police and firefighters. The Milwaukee leaders argue that a home rule provision in the state Constitution trumps new state budget language weakening residency laws in more than 100 Wisconsin communities.

Walker says he’s not a lawyer, but he’s says he’s confident the budget language will prevail. He calls Milwaukee’s move partly political.

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Walker: “There are plenty of examples of great cities similar in size to Milwaukee all across America that do not have a residency requirement. That’s because they understand that the way you attract people and keep the people you have is not by putting up a wall to keep them from leaving. It’s by ensuring you have a great city.”

Walker contends the state budget helps Milwaukee in many ways, including in education. But Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, says Walker’s budget takes swipe after swipe at Milwaukee.

Richards: “Even turning away money to help us with our foreclosure crisis that was directed to the city of Milwaukee as the result of a national settlement. He took money away for our community policing services, and he took money away for the downtown streetcar that we’re building.”

Richards, an attorney, thinks the home rule provision gives local governments the ability to set residency laws. Richards says he expects the Walker administration to try to get a state judge to weigh in soon on Milwaukee’s action.