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Milwaukee aldermen to decide on challenging, ignoring state-imposed residency rules

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Milwaukee aldermen will decide Tuesday whether the city will challenge and-or ignore state-imposed limits on its residency law for public employees.

The new state budget that took effect Monday only gives communities the authority to make their police and firefighters live within 15 miles of the places they serve.

Mayor Tom Barrett says he’s confident that in the end, Milwaukee will keep its previous 75-year-old mandate that all municipal employees live in the city.

The Common Council has two related measures up Tuesday. One would order a lawsuit against the state. The other would simply ignore the state provision and continue the residency rule.

Critics say that measure could result in numerous lawsuits from employees, if the courts eventually uphold the state’s new limits.

Mayor Barrett says the state budget mandate violates home rule powers granted by the state Constitution since 1924. Alderman Nik Kovac says Milwaukee has had no problem filling its public employee jobs. He says the residency rule limits would, “weaken the city’s tax base and devastate local neighborhoods.”

Governor Scott Walker says public employees should have the right to decide where to live, just like the rest of us.