Local Ballot Initiative / Referendums

edited February 2018 in Laws & Issues

Local government in Wisconsin consists of 72 counties, 595 cities and villages, and 1255 towns.

Cities and villages have a state set initiative process in Wis. Stat. § 9.20 that may be used to propose and vote on regular ordinances or charter ordinances.

However, court decisions have limited the subject matter available for initiative. An ordinance initiated under Wis. Stat. § 9.20:

1) must be legislative as opposed to administrative or executive in nature;
2) cannot repeal (or conflict with) an existing ordinance;
3) may not exceed the legislative powers conferred upon the governing municipal body; and
4) may not modify statutorily prescribed procedures or standards (which includes zoning). The restriction on conflicting with existing ordinances limits the initiative power compared with other states

Source: https://ballotpedia.org/Laws_governing_local_ballot_measures_in_Wisconsin

I found this booklet on the above site of use also: https://ballotpedia.org/Local_Ballot_Initiatives:_Cover

There are no explicit constitutional provisions for local initiative. However, Wisconsin Constitution, Article XI, Section 3 grants home rule power to cities and villages.

Wis. Stat. Section 9.20 authorizes initiative. See law: Wis. Stat. § 9.20
Wis. Stat. Section 61.342 states that section 9.20 is applicable to villages. See law: Wis. Stat. § 61.342



  • edited February 2018

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