AG Schimel Issues Formal Opinion on the Authority of Municipalities to Require Permits for Overweight Vehicles

Feb 23 2018

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion today to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald concerning whether Wisconsin municipalities are prohibited from regulating, by either a permit or a license, vehicles exceeding statutory weight or length limitations that have been issued a permit by the Department of Transportation to transport recyclable scrap. Attorney General Schimel concluded that municipalities are prohibited from issuing such licenses or permits. Under Wisconsin law, local traffic regulations cannot be contrary to or inconsistent with chapters 341 to 348, and 350 of the Wisconsin Statutes or must be expressly authorized by state statute. Municipalities have no authority to require licenses or permits of scrap hauling vehicles because such regulation would be contrary to Wis. Stat. § 349.03(2), which prohibits local registration of vehicles and prevents municipalities from excluding vehicles from “the free use of all highways.” It would also be inconsistent with the state system for permitting scrap haulers in Wis. Stat. § 348.27(9r) and is not expressly authorized by any other statute.


A copy of the formal opinion is attached.


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