2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
February 28, 2014 - Introduced by Senators Cowles,
T. Cullen, Gudex, Hansen,
Lasee, Lehman, Miller, Moulton, Shilling, Vinehout and Wirch,
cosponsored by Representatives
Bernier, Nerison, Strachota, Nygren,
Ballweg, A. Ott, Tauchen, Thiesfeldt, Petersen, Loudenbeck, Swearingen,
Wachs, Berceau, Bernard Schaber, Danou, Ringhand, Pridemore, Ripp,
Marklein, Billings, Jorgensen, Krug, Kleefisch, Bies, Kestell, Doyle,
Murphy, Tittl, Kulp, Brooks, Hesselbein, Ohnstad, Vruwink, Endsley,
Weatherston, T. Larson, Kolste, Kahl, Sargent, Tranel, Schraa, Jacque
and Jagler. Referred to Energy, Consumer Protection, and Government
1An Act to repeal
59.23 (2) (j) and 59.23 (2) (k); to amend
5.62 (4) (b), 7.20 (1), 2
7.21 (2), 59.23 (1) (a), 59.23 (1) (b), 59.23 (1) (c), 59.23 (2) (a), 59.23 (2) (b), 59.23 3
(2) (c), 59.23 (2) (e), 59.23 (2) (f), 59.23 (2) (h), 59.23 (2) (m) 2., 59.23 (2) (n), 59.23 4
(2) (q), 59.23 (2) (r), 59.23 (2) (s) and 889.04; and to create
59.23 (2) (cm), 59.23 5
(2) (de), 59.23 (2) (dg), 59.23 (2) (di), 59.23 (2) (i) and 59.23 (2) (nm) of the 6
statutes; relating to: modifying the duties of a county clerk; the counties in
7which a board of election commissioners is required; and staffing of a board of
8election commissioners in populous counties.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes a number of changes to the duties of a county clerk and specifies
some of the clerk's duties in the statute that lists the requirements of that office. The
bill does the following:
1. Specifies that full-time equivalent deputies of the clerk work exclusively in
the clerk's office and that deputies may be removed only by the clerk.
2. Specifies that the clerk may appoint as many assistants as the county board
authorizes. Currently, this provision applies only to counties with a population
3. Requires a county board to appoint an acting clerk within 90 days of the
board adopting a resolution finding that the clerk is incapable of discharging his or
her duties. Currently, the county board may appoint an acting clerk if the clerk is
incapable of discharging his or her duties.
4. Requires a clerk to create the agenda for board meetings, under the direction
of the county board chairperson or committee chairperson, and file in the clerk's
office copies of agendas and meetings of board and committee meetings.
5. Requires a clerk to keep records of board and committee proceedings, orders
for payments, receipts and disbursements of money, and reports of the treasurer
related to receipts and disbursements of the county, without specifying the form or
medium in which such records are kept. Currently, a clerk is required to keep such
records in a book.
6. Requires a clerk to notify a county commissioner of highways of the
commissioner's election within ten days of the election and notify town officers of the
levy and rate of tax for the county road and bridge fund. Currently, a clerk performed
such notifications only in counties with a population of less than 150,000.
Under current law, a clerk is required to transmit annually to the secretary of
state a typed or printed list showing the name and post-office address of certain
specified municipal officials. Under this bill, a clerk is required to transmit annually
to the secretary of state a list of the name, phone number, e-mail address, and
post-office address of these same municipal officials, other unspecified local officials,
and elective and appointive officials of any other local governmental unit that is
wholly or partly within the county. The bill also requires the clerk, secretary, or other
administrative officer of a local governmental unit to provide the county clerk any
information he or she needs to complete this requirement.
The bill also repeals a number of obsolete provisions of current law. The bill
repeals a requirement that a clerk transmit to the Department of Public Instruction
certified copies of certain resolutions relating to raising money for school purposes,
and repeals a requirement that a clerk transmit to the secretary of state a certified
copy of an ordinance enacted by a village or town that relates to a change of the
village's or town's name, the name of a newly organized town, or town boundary
changes that result from county board action.
Currently, in each county over 500,000 population, elections are administered
on the county level by a board of election commissioners instead of by the county
clerk. This bill provides that, in each county over 750,000 population, elections are
administered on the county level by a board of election commissioners instead of by
the county clerk.
Currently, counties, municipalities, and special purpose districts share
responsibility for administering elections in their jurisdictions. For purposes of
election administration, county clerks are responsible for county functions except
that, in counties having a population of more than 500,000 (Milwaukee County),
county election functions are delegated by law to a bipartisan board of election
commissioners. The board of election commissioners may hire an individual to serve
as its executive director, whose employment and removal is subject to civil service
standards. This bill provides that each county clerk is the chief election officer of the
county in which the clerk serves. The bill does not change the distribution of election
administration functions among governmental units. The bill also provides that, in
counties having a population of more than 750,000, the county clerk shall serve as
the executive director of the board of election commissioners. The change is effective
on the day on which the bill becomes law.
For further information see the local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
5.62 (4) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) The county board of election commissioners in counties having a 3
population of more than 500,000 750,000
shall prepare the official primary ballot. 4
The commissioners shall arrange the names of all candidates for each office whose 5
nomination papers are filed at the county level, using the same method as that used 6
by the government accountability board under s. 5.60 (1) (b).
7.20 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
A municipal board of election commissioners
and a county board of
shall be established in every city and county
over 500,000 10
population. A county board of election commissioners shall be established in every
11county over 750,000 population.
7.21 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
The county clerk shall serve as executive director of the
county board 14
of election commissioners may hire an executive director who. The clerk
perform whatever duties the board of election commissioners
assigns to him or her. 16The county board shall determine the salary of that executive director. Appointment
17and removal of that executive director shall be subject to civil service standards.
executive director of the city board of election commissioners shall be appointed 19
under s. 62.51.
59.23 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Every clerk shall appoint in writing one or more deputies and file 3
the appointment in the clerk's office. The deputy or deputies shall aid in the 4
performance of the duties of the clerk under the clerk's direction, and in case of the 5
absence or disability of the clerk or of a vacancy in the clerk's office, unless another 6
is appointed therefor as provided in par. (c), shall perform all of the duties of the clerk 7
during the absence or until the vacancy is filled. The board may, at any meeting its
8annual meeting or at any special meeting
, provide a salary for the deputy or deputies.
59.23 (1) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) In each county having a population exceeding 150,000 according
11to the last state or national census,
the clerk may also appoint the number of 12
assistants that the board authorizes and prescribes, and the assistants shall receive 13
salaries that the board provides and fixes.
59.23 (1) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
(c) If a clerk is incapable of discharging the duties of office the board 16may shall
appoint an acting clerk
, who shall within 90 days after the board adopts
17a resolution finding that the clerk is incapable of discharging the duties of the office.
18The acting clerk shall
serve until the disability is removed. If the board is not in 19
session at the time of the incapacity, the chairperson of the board may appoint an 20
acting clerk, whose term shall not extend beyond the next regular or special meeting 21
of the board. A person appointed as acting clerk or appointed to fill a vacancy in the 22
office of clerk, upon giving an official bond with sureties as required of a clerk, shall 23
perform all of the duties of the office; and thereupon the powers and duties of the 24
deputy of the last clerk shall cease.
59.23 (2) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Board proceedings.
Act as clerk of the board at all of the board's
2regular, special, limited term, and standing committee
; under the
3direction of the county board chairperson or committee chairperson, create the
4agenda for board meetings;
keep and record in a book therefor
true minutes of all the 5
proceedings of the board; in a format chosen by the clerk, including all committee
6meetings, either personally or through the clerk's appointee; file in the clerk's office
7copies of agendas and minutes of board meetings and committee meetings;
regular entries of the board's resolutions and decisions upon all questions; record the 9
vote of each supervisor on any question submitted to the board, if required by any 10
member present; publish ordinances as provided in s. 59.14 (1);
and perform all 11
duties prescribed by law or required by the board in connection with its meetings and 12
59.23 (2) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) Recording of proceedings.
Record at length in a book therefor
resolution adopted, order passed and ordinance enacted by the board.
59.23 (2) (c) of the statutes is amended to read:
(c) Orders for payment.
Sign all orders for the payment of money 18
directed by the board to be issued, and keep in a book therefor
a true and correct 19
account thereof of such orders
, and of the name of the person to whom each order is 20
issued; but he or she shall not sign or issue any county order except upon a recorded 21
vote or resolution of the board authorizing the same; and shall not sign or issue any 22
such order for the payment of the services of any clerk of court, district attorney or 23
sheriff until the person claiming the order files an affidavit stating that he or she has 24
paid into the county treasury all moneys due the county and personally collected or 25
received in an official capacity; and shall not sign or issue any order for the payment
of money for any purpose in excess of the funds appropriated for such purpose unless 2
first authorized by a resolution adopted by the county board under s. 65.90 (5).
59.23 (2) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
(cm) Apportionment of taxes.
Apportion taxes and carry out other 5
responsibilities as specified in s. 70.63 (1).
59.23 (2) (de) of the statutes is created to read:
To the extent authorized by the board, exercise the 8
authority under s. 59.52 (6).
59.23 (2) (dg) of the statutes is created to read:
Perform the responsibilities relating to dog licensing, 11
which are assigned to the clerk under ch. 174, and the dog fund specified in ch. 174.
59.23 (2) (di) of the statutes is created to read:
(di) Marriage licenses, domestic partnerships.
Administer the 14
program for issuing marriage licenses as provided in ch. 765 and the program for 15
forming and terminating domestic partnerships as provided in ch. 770.
59.23 (2) (e) of the statutes is amended to read:
(e) Reports of receipts and disbursements.
Record in a book therefor 18
the reports of the treasurer of the receipts and disbursements of the county.
59.23 (2) (f) of the statutes is amended to read: