Lasee's Notes
 April 28, 2016

Lasee's Notes is a way for me to communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state and nation tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me, or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

A Private Property Rights Victory!

On Tuesday, Governor Walker signed my Private Property Rights Package, SB 459/AB 582, into law. You may remember, this was the private property rights battle that we worked so hard for during the course of the legislative session and I’m proud to share that we finally got this good-government reform across the finish line!

Governor Walker congratulating and thanking me as he incrementally (notice the 20 pens!) signs
SB 459 into law at De Keyser Construction in Humboldt, Wisconsin

At the bill signings, private property owners shared their thoughts on the bills as they became law:

“This bill will make it easier for people like me to remodel existing lakeshore homes. Doing so is better for the environment than allowing them to become rundown or replacing existing homes with new ones,” said Ed Hayward about his family’s longstanding cottage.

“Without Senator Lasee’s help, we might not have been successful in building our facility in Humboldt. The provisions in Senator Lasee’s package are going to make it easier for job creators to build businesses in Wisconsin,” said Kurt De Keyser, owner of De Keyser Construction.

Throughout the process, I’ve written about the Private Property Rights Package many times and don’t want to beat a dead horse; however, I want to share our victory with all of you that supported me! Let’s reflect on what we accomplished.


The DNR has a designation for Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) that they use for “special” and important waters in Wisconsin. These areas are subject to heightened regulations for anyone trying to do anything on private property near them.


Notice all the orange? Those were ALL of the water bodies in Madison and they were ALL “special”.
 It was the same blanket coverage across the state of nearly all of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes.

The DNR was a bit too “liberal” in their selection of waters that were “special” as you can see from the graphic above (taken from DNR’s website). If everything is special, nothing is special, and the DNR wastes resources that could otherwise be used to protect the truly special areas. In our new law, DNR won’t be able to run roughshod with increased regulations over every riparian property owner.

Boat Houses:

The regulations imposed by the DNR on boat house owners were nothing short of ridiculous.

DNR – “Hey! You held a wedding at your boathouse?! Well, then it’s no longer
considered a boathouse by our narrow interpretation and now has more regulations on it.
Oh…and here’s your citation and hefty fine.”

Yes, that actually happened and it’s not an isolated incident. There are plenty of other examples including owners being fined for having a lawn chair on their boat house’s flat roof or having a deck on it. An owner should be allowed to enjoy his or her own boat house if its use doesn’t negatively impact the environment. By the way, the fish love them…ask an angler!

Not everyone has a boat house. I get that. However, many property owners and all sportsman will likely have interactions with the DNR at some point and the DNR needs to recognize what’s actually important and why they exist. It’s not to give ticky-tack citations, it’s to protect the environment – we’ve refocused their efforts in our new law.

Artificial Waterbodies:

Ditches and storm-water retention ponds will no longer be considered “navigable waters” as they were by past DNR rule. Just because after a rain, there’s water running through a ditch, it does not mean it’s a “navigable waterway”; such a designation subjects all the adjacent land to, what? You guessed it, increased regulation.

Ditches and retention ponds are a good thing for the environment and prevent runoff pollution. We should be encouraging their use, not punishing landowners who have these good protections on their property.

DNR – “We know that this was a completely made-made pond on your own property, but we
found 1 cattail…it’s now a wetland! You can’t touch any of that pond you made yourself
and now we’re regulating all of the land around it as well.”


This is the sort of government overreach we’ve put behind us with the signing of my Private Property Rights Package on Tuesday. Truth be told, there’s a lot that we had to leave behind to get these commonsense reforms and others. While it’s frustrating to not get into statute things like classifying dry-land as dry-land and more straightforwardly allowing the dredging of invasive species along shorelines, we still accomplished a lot.

All in all, it was a very big win for private property rights and owners trying to use their land as they see fit while still protecting the environment. Government, by its nature, is incessantly encroaching on our personal liberties and unreasonably inserting itself into our daily lives. It’s been my life’s work to fight against this sort of government growth and overreach and am happy to share another victory with you!

Private property rights > unelected bureaucratic law.


As always, if you have any comments or thoughts regarding the subject of this
Lasee's Notes, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 316S- PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512