Teachers react to possibility of lifting residency requirements

CREATED May 10, 2013

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MADISON - The effort to allow city workers to live wherever they want is moving forward. Late Thursday night, the state's joint finance committee approved a measure that would prevent cities, like Milwaukee, from forcing municipal workers to live within city limits.

If passed, the measure would allow police officers and firefighters to live outside the city, as long as they stay within 15 miles.

The measure is now part of the state budget, but needs approval from the full legislature, and a signature from Gov. Scott Walker.

In Milwaukee alone, this measure affects thousands of workers.

Some people are still trying to grasp the decision lawmakers made, especially teachers and how this applies to them. Some parents feel this is the right move.

“I get to live where I want, why shouldn't they?” asked parent Jimmielee Albring.

The Legislative Joint Finance Committee apparently feels the same way. They voted 12 to 4 Thursday night to lift the residency requirement that has been in place on MPS teachers and city employees for 75 years.

Mayor Tom Barrett is against lifting the requirement.

“I just think you should be able to live where you want,” said Carrie Perez.

Perez is a teacher's aide for a private school, and says many of the teachers she works with don't live in the city.

The Milwaukee Teacher's Education Association’s union president said in a statement: "Our organization will be looking at the residency decision and its implications for our members and our community."

The measure must now pass the full assembly, as well as the senate, and then it would need a signature from the governor.

Mayor Tom Barrett says he will continue to fight, even if he needs to take it to U.S. Supreme Court.