Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service March 2016

What's New - Kristina Martinez

Wisconsin State Law Library Tours

Despite the cold temperatures outside, the library has been bustling with visitors participating in library tours. A typical one-hour tour includes an overview of library services, introduction to digital sources, and a walking tour. It's also a great time to sign up for a library card. If you are interested in a tour, please send us an email to wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or call 608-266-1600 to make arrangements.

Clerk of Circuit Courts Conference

The Clerk of Circuit Courts Conference was held in the Wisconsin Dells on February 18th. Kristina Martinez, Outreach Services Librarian, represented the State Law Library with an informational table and ready reference services.

Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin Presentation

Attorney Robert Dreps from Godfreys & Kahn's Madison office and Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and Ernest-Ulrich Franzen, Associate Editorial Page Editor from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel led a discussion on "The Status of Open Records Laws in Wisconsin." The Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin hosted the speakers on February 23rd and Julie Tessmer, State Law Librarian, and Kristina Martinez, Outreach Services Librarian, attended.

Upcoming Classes

New Westlaw classes have been announced for Spring. And there is still time to sign up for the free March 10th class, "Drone Law - Present and Future." Class information and registration is on our website.

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Dane County Law Library Year in Review - Robert Lopez

2015 was an eventful year for the Dane County Law Library. We helped nearly 20,000 people in the library which was our highest total ever. We also responded to over 1,500 phone and/or email questions. Our Jail Information Service, whereby we provide reference materials to inmates in the Dane County Jails, received almost 2,700 requests.

The most significant event was that our name changed from the Dane County Legal Resource Center to the Dane County Law Library. Along with a new name came new signage, brochures, and our new logo.

Dane County Law Library logo

The Small Claims Assistance Program (SCAP), which I am pleased to coordinate, continued to fill the need for legal assistance for self-represented parties. The weekly clinic staffed by attorneys and paralegals assists pro se litigants one-on-one with money, return of property, and eviction actions. A second program, the Family Law Assistance Center (FLAC) geared toward family law, also assisted pro se litigants on a weekly basis.

Our strong partnership with the UW Law School's Family Court Clinic, Restraining Order Clinic, and Consumer Law/Foreclosure Answer Clinic was evident by their regular presence in the library and courthouse. These free clinics are staffed by 2nd and 3rd year law school students and have expanded both their days and hours for 2016. See the full schedule for 2016.

Every year in May, the American Bar Association sponsors Law Day, a celebration of the Rule of Law in our lives. The Law Library participated in courthouse-wide activities by hosting a free legal assistance program throughout the day. Dozens of attendees used the legal assistance programs that day.

We were pleased to be awarded a Worthy Causes Grant from the Dane County Bar Association for $400 to offset the costs of printing of our publication "Low Cost Legal Services in Dane County." This free handout contains contact information for 40+ groups in Dane County that provide legal assistance for low-income residents. With the grant, we were able to print 1,100 copies. Thank you to the Dane County Bar Association!

Finally, 2015 saw the departure our Library Associate Cameron Cook and in December, Emma Fechner was hired as the new Library Associate. As a member of the Law for the Public Committee from the DCBA, I will be part of a program that brings judges and attorneys to local high schools for the purpose of educating graduates about legal topics that will be important to them soon: landlord/tenant law, family law, etc. I am preparing to have the Library participate in Law Day, April 29th, by coordinating volunteer attorneys to staff the full day event and provide legal assistance to the public. Be on the lookout for event information in this newsletter.

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This Just In - Pete Boll

Updated! Federal Income Taxation of Estates, Trusts & Beneficiaries, 3rd ed., 2015 update, by M.Carr Ferguson and others
Wolters Kluwer/CCH, 2015
Call Number: KF 6584 .F473

This latest update provides step-by-step guidance for dealing with the problems of preparation of the decedent's final return, characterization of income in respect of a decedent, computation of distributable net income (DNI), the interaction of the system of taxation of trusts and estates and the passive activity rules, the grantor trust rules, and the rules relating to split interest charitable trusts. Recent cases and issues discussed include:

  • Frank Aragona Trust v. Commissioner 142 T.C. No. 9 (March 27, 2014). The Commissioner determined that various losses from a trust's real property activities were passive, because the trust, as such, was incapable of performing personal services and, as a result, was also incapable of qualifying under § 469(7) for the so-called "real estate professional exception."
  • On May 27, 2014, the IRS issued final regulations relating to the applicability of the 2-percent rule under § 67 to estates and trusts.

New Edition! Land Use Law, 6th edition, by Daniel Mandelker
LexisNexis 2015
Call Number: KF 5698 .M36

Now issued in a looseleaf format, this concise but comprehensive view of land use law presents legal essentials and incorporates developing judicial and legislative activity. The new 6th edition also features the authoritative analysis of Michael Allan Wolf, known to many readers as the General Editor of Powell on Real Property.

The 6th edition features analysis of:

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015)
    Establishing that "disparate impact claims" will be cognizable under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)
  • Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 135 S. Ct. 2218 (2015)
    A finding that a town's sign code imposed content-based restrictions on speech requiring strict judicial scrutiny

New book display

New Titles RSS Feed See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.


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WSLL Recommends: NCCUSL & National State Law Survey - Heidi Yelk

HeinOnline logo

Two exciting new databases have been purchased by the State Law Library, available through HeinOnline.

NCCUSL - National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

Before the Wisconsin State Legislature votes on a "uniform law," the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has spent at least two years discussing and refining language that is eventually offered to the states for consideration. The documents produced in this process - such as issue memos, drafts and final rules are all part of the online NCCUSL archive on HeinOnline. This valuable database includes access to the all acts, including new proposals, such as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (Dec. 2015) and long-standing laws, such as the Uniform Securities Act (1949).

National Survey of State Laws

Attorneys and researchers often need to compare laws across many states. The National Survey of State Laws reviews the most popular legal topics and provides statutory references and brief explanation of the law in each state. Topics include lemon law, minimum wage, adverse possession, divorce, and gun control to name a few. Access on HeinOnline includes prior editions, back to 1993.

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Odds 'n' Endings - Carol Hassler

Voter ID

Voter ID is required at the polls for the Spring 2016 election on April 5. Visit bringit.wi.gov to learn whether you have the right kind of photo ID, and how to get a free state ID card for voting.

Free state ID cards for voting are issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Learn more about getting a free ID card on their website, including how to request a card when you do not have a birth certificate.

As with any election, log in to myvote.wi.gov to see a sample ballot and find out details about your polling place. Don't forget to check your ID to see if it's acceptable and bring it with you to the polls!

Bring it to the ballot

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