November 28, 2017
A GOP legislative plan that would make it easier for people to sell substandard lots and generally use their land for things that it was not zoned for was signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
The measure, Assembly Bill 479, was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Wisconsin family that was unable to sell land it owned on the St. Croix River near Hudson because it was a substandard lot. The bill was introduced GOP Sen. Tom Tiffany, of Hazelhurst, and Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake.
The new law makes it easier for the family and other landowners with substandard lots, which is land that met zoning requirements when it was parceled but no longer does, to sell them or to get variances or permits from local governments to use them.
The bill was backed by construction, business, real estate, and rightwing ideological interests led by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Builders Association, Wisconsin Realtors Association, and Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
Business, real estate and construction interests contributed more than $4.3 million to current Republican lawmakers, who comfortably control both houses of the legislature, between January 2011 and June 2017. During the same time, Walker accepted more than $10.6 million from those same special interests.
In addition to the direct campaign contributions, WMC, Americans for Prosperity and the realtors group have spent more than $36 million since January 2010 on outside electioneering activities to help GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates win office.
Their election spending, including $18.6 million by WMC, $5.7 million by Americans for Prosperity, and $1.2 million by the realtors group paid for negative broadcast ads and mailings, among other things.
WMC spent an estimated $100,000 to help Tiffany win his 2012 election to the Senate.