Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Press Release

Near West Side Partners Join Gov. Walker As He Signs AB628 into Law

Legislation will save taxpayer resources, reduce crime and promote economic development

By - Mar 22nd, 2016 03:40 pm

Milwaukee – At a signing event today, hosted at Aurora Health Care, Near West Side Partners, along with representatives of its anchor institutions, joined Governor Scott Walker as he signed Assembly Bill 628 into law. This legislation will help save taxpayer resources, reduce crime and promote economic development in Milwaukee.

“On behalf of Near West Side Partners, we want to recognize Representatives Evan Goyke and Jim Ott and Senator Alberta Darling and Nikiya Harris Dodd, and the other co-sponsors for introducing this important legislation,” said Keith Stanley, Executive Director of Near West Side Partners, Inc. “We greatly appreciate Governor Walker’s support of this bill, which will meet a critical need in Milwaukee’s Near West Side and many other neighborhoods around the City.”

One of the biggest impediments to economic development in the Near West Side has been several chronic nuisance properties that have served as magnets for criminal activity. One of the biggest offenders has been tobacco retail shops that hide behind a loophole in the law to remain in business, despite creating significant negative impacts on their neighborhood, promoting criminal activity and consuming tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of taxpayer resources.

“Under previous law, poorly managed retail businesses have been able to hide behind their tobacco license to keep the business afloat – despite becoming a drain on police resources and contributing to crime and disorder in the community,” said Stanley. “The legislation the governor signed today closes this loophole, saving police resources, improving safety and promoting economic development in our neighborhoods.”

Modeled after the law governing alcohol licenses, AB628 provides local control for the City of Milwaukee to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the license of a tobacco products retailer if the business is knowingly permitting criminal behavior, facilitating drug sales and or permitting or promoting other specified public nuisances on its property. The proposed legislation does not limit the number of tobacco licenses.

“We are excited to see AB628 signed into law today; it is a sensible, pro-business legislation that levels the playing field for responsible operators,” said Stanley.

Stanley was joined by representatives from each of the five anchor institutions in the Near West Side – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, Miller Coors and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation – who all attended the signing event today to show their support.

Near West Side Partners, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor, through collaborative efforts to promote commercial corridor development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses.  Near West Side Partners, Inc. is an organization of businesses and civic leaders from throughout the Near West Side, including the organization’s five anchor institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.

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