Milwaukee's City Charter previously required all city employees to live within city limits. But, in 2013, the Wisconsin state legislature passed a law prohibiting local governments from imposing residency requirements as a condition to employment. The statute contains an exception that allows local governments to require law enforcement, fire, and emergency personnel to live within 15 miles of the local government employer. When Milwaukee refused to follow the statute, the police association filed suit against the City, arguing it could not enforce the residency requirement, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in the association's favor.
After the City lost this first lawsuit, it amended its City Charter to conform to the state law and to require only public safety personnel to live within 15 miles of the City limits. The police association again filed suit against the City, this time to claim that the affected employees have a vested right to live outside of the City, and that the City's amendment to its Charter violated the employees due process rights. This time, the court ruled against the police association, finding that the City Charter amendment simply followed state statute. The court rejected the claim that employees have a "vested right" to live wherever they want, and upheld the City Charter amendment requiring public safety personnel to live within 15 miles of the City limits.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf