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Local government leaders urge no vote on ending residency requirement


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Local government leaders showed up at the State Capitol today, to urge their lawmakers not to repeal municipal residency requirements.

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on whether the new state budget should put an end to long-standing requirements that local public employees live in the communities they serve.

Two Rivers City Manager Greg Buckley said small cities like his rely more heavily on off-duty police, fire-fighters, and public works employees when emergencies break out.

He said it keeps staffing and spending as low as possible and quote, “It’s how we’ve held our services together.”

Governor Scott Walker and other Republicans say local public workers should have the freedom to decide where they want to live.

Milwaukee police and fire unions despise their residency law so much, they endorsed the Republican Walker for governor in his last two elections against Milwaukee’s mayor, Democrat Tom Barrett.

Opponents of the repeal say Walker is paying back the unions for their support.

The governor has denied it, but Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he wondered how sincere Walker is toward public employees after he virtually eliminated most of their collective bargaining privileges in 2011.