Under s. 990.001 (5) (b) and the rule of strict construction of penal statutes, the legislature implied repeal of s. 940.29 (9), 1979 stats., when it repealed s. 146.32 (2), 1973 stats. State v. Christensen, 110 Wis. 2d 538
, 329 N.W.2d 382
When a contemporaneous report or other document from a non-legislative agency or private party forms a vital link in the chain of legislative history of a statute, it may be used to determine legislative intent. Ball v. District No. 4, Area Board, 117 Wis. 2d 529
, 345 N.W.2d 389
A court may consider titles of statutes to resolve doubt as to statutory meaning. In Interest of C.D.M. 125 Wis. 2d 170
, 370 N.W.2d 287
(Ct. App. 1985).
A reference in to a general federal law as amended necessarily references current federal law when the act named in the state statute had been repealed and the law rewritten in another act. When a reference is stated as part of a contingency, it does not constitute unlawful delegation of legislative authority to the U.S. Congress. Dane County Hospital & Home v. LIRC, 125 Wis. 2d 308
, 371 N.W.2d 815
(Ct. App. 1985).
An unconstitutional clause was severable under (11). Wis. Wine & Spirit Institute v. Ley, 141 Wis. 2d 958
, 416 N.W.2d 914
(Ct. App. 1987).
Subs. (4) (a) and (d) apply to statutes of limitations; the day upon which a cause of action accrues is not included in computing the period of limitation. Pufahl v. Williams, 179 Wis. 2d 104
, 506 N.W.2d 747
It is presumed that the legislature knows the case law in existence at the time it changes a statute. When a legislative act has been construed by an appellate court, the legislature is presumed to know that in the absence of the legislature explicitly changing the law, the court's interpretation will remain unchanged. Blazekovic v. City of Milwaukee, 225 Wis. 2d 837
, 593 N.W.2d 809
It is impermissible to apply rules of statutory construction to ascertain legislative intent when the legislation is clear on its face. Jones v. State, 226 Wis. 2d 565
, 594 N.W.2d 738
Procedural statues are to be liberally construed so as to permit a determination upon the merits of the controversy if possible. DOT v. Peterson, 226 Wis. 2d 623
, 594 N.W.2d 765
When statutory language is ambiguous, the scope, history, context, subject matter, and object of the statute will be examined to determine the intent of the legislature.. State v. Reitter, 227 Wis. 2d 213
, 595 N.W.2d 646
When an ambiguity exists regarding the specific party to be served, procedural statutes must be construed liberally to achieve determination of the merits of the controversy, if such construction is possible. McDonnough v. DWD, 227 Wis. 2d 271
, 595 N.W.2d 686
The purpose of legislative interpretation is to discern the intent of the legislature, first considering the language of the statute. If the statue clearly and unambiguously sets forth the legislative intent, the court does not look beyond the statute to find the statute's meaning. In construing a statute, all words and phrases should be construed according to common and approved usage unless a different definition is designated by statute. Resort to a dictionary may be made to ascertain the common and ordinary usage of an undefined term. Resort to a dictionary does not render a term ambiguous. State v. Curiel, 227 Wis. 2d 389
, 597 N.W.2d 697
If the potential for conflict between 2 statutes exists, they will be read to avoid the conflict if a reasonable construction so permits. Providence Catholic School v. Bristol School District No. 1, 231 Wis. 2d 159
, 605 N.W.2d 238
(Ct. App. 1999).
The rule of strict construction of penal statutes does not apply unless a statute is ambiguous, and the rule cannot be used to circumvent the purpose of the statute. The rule is not a rule of general or universal application. Sometimes a strict and sometimes a liberal construction is required, even in respect to a penal law because the purpose of all construction is to carry out the legislative purpose. State v. Kittlstad, 231 Wis. 2d 245
, 603 N.W.2d 732
(Ct. App. 1999).
If a statute contains a given provision, the omission of that provision from a similar statute concerning a related subject is significant in showing that a different intention existed. Outagamie County v. Town of Greenville, 2000 WI App 65, 233 Wis. 2d 566
, 608 N.W.2d 414
Although courts may not look to legislative history to show that an unambiguous statute is ambiguous, there is no rule that the history cannot be used to reinforce that a statute plain on its face is unambiguous. Seider v. O'Connell, 2000 WI 76, 236 Wis.2d 211, 612 N.W.2d 659
When words are associated, they generally should ordinarily be understood in the same general sense. State ex rel. Speener v. Gudmanson, 2000 WI 78, 234 Wis. 2d 461
, 610 N.W.2d 136
A required tax payment may be made on the next secular day when July 31 is on Saturday and office hours are unofficial. 60 Atty. Gen. 411.
Computing time in tort statutes of limitation. Ghiardi, 64 MLR 575 (1981).
Researching legislative intent in Wisconsin: A suggested procedure. Nispel. WBB April 1983.
Computing Time. Ghiardi. Wis. Law. March 1993.
Legislative History: The Philosophies of Justices Scalia and Breyer and the Use of Legislative History by the Wisconsin State Courts. Dortzbach. 80 MLR 161 (1997).
Construction of laws; words and phrases.
In the construction of Wisconsin laws the words and phrases which follow shall be construed as indicated unless such construction would produce a result inconsistent with the manifest intent of the legislature:
(1) General rule.
All words and phrases shall be construed according to common and approved usage; but technical words and phrases and others that have a peculiar meaning in the law shall be construed according to such meaning.
"Acquire," when used in connection with a grant of power to any person, includes the acquisition by purchase, grant, gift or bequest. It includes the power to condemn in the cases specified in s. 32.02
"Adult" means a person who has attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated any state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "adult" means a person who has attained the age of 17 years.
(4) Bequest and bequeath.
"Bequest" includes a devise; "bequeath" includes devise.
"Chiropractor" means a person holding a license issued by the chiropractic examining board.
(5g) Communicable disease.
"Communicable disease" means any disease that the department of health and family services determines, by rule, to be communicable in fact.
(5r) Controlled access highway.
"Controlled access highway" means a highway on which abutting property owners have no right or only a limited right of direct access and on which the type and location of all access connections are determined and controlled by the highway authorities.
(6) County board.
"County board" means the county board of supervisors.
"Executor," in statutes relating to probate proceedings, includes an administrator with the will annexed.
(7a) Express highway or expressway.
An express highway or expressway is a divided arterial highway for through traffic with "full" or "partial" control of access and generally with grade separations at intersections. "Full" control of access means that the authority to control access is exercised to give preference to through traffic by providing access connections with selected public roads only and by prohibiting crossings at grade or direct private driveway connections. "Partial" control of access means that the authority to control access is exercised to give preference to through traffic to a degree that, in addition to access connections with selected public roads, there may be some crossings at grade and some private driveway connections.
(7g) Fire chief.
"Fire chief" or "chief of a fire department" includes the chief of a department under s. 61.66
(7m) Fire department.
"Fire department" includes a department under s. 61.66
(7r) Fire fighter.
"Fire fighter" includes a person serving under s. 61.66
"Folio" means 100 words or figures. Any fraction of a folio shall be paid for as a full folio.
"Following," when used by way of reference to any statute section, means the section next following that in which the reference is made.
"Freeway" means a highway with full control of access and with all crossroads separated in grade from the pavements for through traffic.
(10) Grantor and grantee.
"Grantor" includes every person from or by whom any freehold estate or interest passes in or by any deed; and "grantee" includes every person to whom any such estate or interest passes in like manner.
(11) Heretofore and hereafter.
"Heretofore" means any time previous to the day on which the statute containing it takes effect; "hereafter" means the time after the statute containing such word takes effect.
"Highway" includes all public ways and thoroughfares and all bridges upon the same.
The word "homestead" means the dwelling and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, but not less than one-fourth acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres.
Any amendment of a homestead statute shall not affect liens of creditors attaching nor rights of devisees or heirs of persons dying prior to the effective date of the amendment.
(14) Homestead exemption.
"Exempt homestead" means the dwelling, including a building, condominium, mobile home, house trailer or cooperative, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for its use as a home, but not less than 0.25 acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres, within the limitation as to value under s. 815.20
, except as to liens attaching or rights of devisees or heirs of persons dying before the effective date of any increase of that limitation as to value.
"Inhabitant" means a resident.
(16) Insane persons.
"Insane persons" include every idiot, non compos, lunatic and distracted person.
"Issue," as applied to descent of estate, includes all the lawful descendants of the ancestor.
"Judge" does not include a municipal judge, except as provided in ch. 755
"Land" includes lands, tenements and hereditaments and all rights thereto and interests therein.
(19) Legacy, legatee.
"Legacy" includes a devise; "legatee" includes a devisee.
(19g) Licensed practical nurse.
"Licensed practical nurse" includes a licensed practical/vocational nurse who is licensed in a party state, as defined in s. 441.50 (2) (j)
(19m) Marital child.
"Marital child" means either of the following:
A child who is conceived or born while his or her parents are lawfully intermarried.
A nonmarital child who is adopted or whose parents subsequently intermarry under s. 767.60
"Minor" means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated a state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "minor" does not include a person who has attained the age of 17 years.
"Month" means a calendar month unless otherwise expressed.
"Municipality" includes cities and villages; it may be construed to include towns.
"Nighttime," used in any statute, ordinance, indictment or information, means the time between one hour after sunset on one day and one hour before sunrise on the following day; and the time of sunset and sunrise shall be ascertained according to the mean solar time of the ninetieth meridian west from Greenwich, commonly known as central time, as given in any almanac.
(23m) Nonmarital child.
"Nonmarital child" means a child who is neither conceived nor born while his or her parents are lawfully intermarried, who is not adopted and whose parents do not subsequently intermarry under s. 767.60
"Nurse", "nurse licensed under ch. 441
" and any reference to an individual who is registered or licensed under ch. 441
include a registered nurse or licensed practical/vocational nurse who is licensed in a party state, as defined in s. 441.50 (2) (j)
"Oath" includes affirmation in all cases where by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath. If any oath or affirmation is required to be taken such oath or affirmation shall be taken before and administered by some officer authorized by the laws of this state to administer oaths, at the place where the same is required to be taken or administered, unless otherwise expressly directed, and, when necessary, duly certified by such officer. If an oath is administered it shall end with the words "so help me God". In actions and proceedings in the courts, a person may take an oath or affirmation in communication with the administering officer by telephone or audiovisual means.
"Officers" when applied to corporations include directors and trustees.
(25g) Optical disk.
"Optical disk" means a rotating circular plate on which information or images are placed in storage, and which is recorded and read by laser beams focused on the plate.
(25r) Optical imaging.
"Optical imaging" means transferring to a format employing an optical disk.
"Person" includes all partnerships, associations and bodies politic or corporate.
(27) Personal property.
"Personal property" includes money, goods, chattels, things in action, evidences of debt and energy.
(28) Physician, surgeon or osteopath.
"Physician," "surgeon" or "osteopath" means a person holding a license or certificate of registration from the medical examining board.
(28g) Police chief.
"Police chief" or "chief of a police department" includes the chief of a department under s. 61.66
(28m) Police department.
"Police department" includes a department under s. 61.66
(28r) Police officer.
"Police officer" includes a person serving under s. 61.66
"Population" means that shown by the most recent regular or special federal census.
"Preceding," when used by way of reference to any statute section, means the section next preceding that in which the reference is made.
"Promulgate", when used in connection with a rule, as defined under s. 227.01 (13)
, means to repeal; renumber; consolidate, renumber and amend; renumber and amend; amend; repeal and recreate; or create.
"Property" includes real and personal property.
"Publication" in a newspaper of any notice or other matter indicated to be for a stated number of weeks means one insertion each week, unless specifically stated to be for more than one day in each week.
"Qualified", when applied to any person elected or appointed to office, means that such person has done those things which the person was by law required to do before entering upon the duties of the person's office.
(34) Railroad corporation.
"Railroad corporation" and "railroad company" include any person managing, maintaining, operating or in possession of a railroad, whether as owner, contractor, lessee, mortgagee, trustee, assignee or receiver.
(35) Real estate or real property.
"Real estate" or "real property" includes lands, tenements and hereditaments and all rights thereto and interests therein.
If any instrument is required to be recorded by any officer or in any office it must be recorded in a suitable book kept for that purpose unless otherwise expressly directed.
(36m) Registered nurse.
"Registered nurse" includes a registered nurse who is licensed in a party state, as defined in s. 441.50 (2) (j)
Except for the sealing of instruments by persons required to have and use official seals, "seal" includes the word "seal", the letters "L S" and a scroll or other device intended to represent a seal, if any is affixed in the proper place for a seal, as well as an impression of a seal on the instrument. An instrument executed in the corporate name, by the proper officers of a corporation, under any seal is sealed even though the corporate seal is not used. If the seal of any court or public officer is required to be affixed to any paper issuing from such court or officer "seal" includes an impression of such official seal made upon the paper alone.
If the signature of any person is required by law it shall always be the handwriting of such person or, if the person is unable to write, the person's mark or the person's name written by some other person at the person's request and in the person's presence, or, subject to any applicable requirements under subch. II of ch. 137
, the electronic signature of the person.
"State," when applied to states of the United States, includes the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the several territories organized by Congress.
"Sworn" includes "affirmed" in all cases where by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath.
"Town" may be construed to include cities, villages, wards or districts.
(43) Town board.
"Town board" means the town board of supervisors.