Friday, September 30, 2005

Bankruptcy Court Pro Se Resource Page

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has developed a resource page especially for those filing without an attorney's assistance. In addition, there are several new and enhanced web pages on the home page.

Limits on Property Tax Levies

State law now limits municipal and county property tax levies
"The state budget signed into law as Act 25 includes property tax levy limits prohibiting municipalities and counties from increasing their total property tax levy by more than a specified percentage for each of the next two years. The law allows levies to increase by either two percent or the percentage change in the municipality's or county's equalized value due to net new construction, whichever is greater. The Department of Revenue (DOR) has posted 2004-05 net new construction values for each Wisconsin municipality and county on its website at These figures will be used to determine levy limits for next year.

Please note that the levy limits are based on the total municipal or county levy, not separately to the level of library funding provided by a municipality or county. An individual department or service could receive a higher appropriation, as long as the total increase for the municipality or county does not exceed the total levy limit.

Amounts levied for debt service are generally exempt from the levy limits. In addition, levies can be increased above the allowable limits if the amount is approved by referendum. The DOR has a FAQ page on the levy limits at"

Source: Channel Weekly (Vol. 8, No. 3 -- Sept. 15, 2005)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wis receives funding to improve criminal records

From the E-lawlibrary blog comes news that 21 states have been awarded $26 million in funding from the Dept. of Justice to enhance or improve their state criminal records. Wisconsin received $562,733 according to the DOJ's press release.

From the release: "These awards will improve the accuracy of criminal history records and ensure that qualified persons are placed in positions of trust and other sensitive areas," said Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "Improving linkage of records between state and federal agencies additionally improves the nation's ability to immediately identify persons prohibited from purchasing a firearm."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Citizen's Guide to FOIA requests

From the ResourceShelf's DocuTicker comes news of this Citizen's Guide on Using the Freedom of Information:
"This Guide is intended to serve as a general introduction to the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. It offers neither a comprehensive explanation of the details of these acts nor an analysis of case law. The Guide will enable those who are unfamiliar with the laws to understand the process and to make a request. In addition, the complete text of each law is included in an appendix."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Spotlight on: CR/TR info on COC website

I'd like to highlight a couple new resources on the Criminal and Traffic Court sections of the Clerk of Courts website. In addition to the resources already there, we've added links to forms and information in Spanish, including the Plea Questionnaire/Waiver of Rights form. Also added are FAQ about Payment Plans and new Payment Plan options.

Friday, September 23, 2005

FCAP featured in local news

The Capital Times featured the Family Court Assistance Project in a 9-22-05 article. The Project, discussed in length on the UW-Law School's website, has recently resumed regular hours at the courthouse. Call 262-2301 for more information about the program.

"Report a Problem" Feature added to Madison web

The City of Madison has added a "Report a Problem" feature to their website. Citizens will be able to report everything from trash and recycling problems to identifying sidewalk and pothole concerns. This site is for non-emergency issues only and users can expect a response in 3-5 working days.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Banned Books Week event

MADISON, WI - The American Civil Liberties Union is teaming up with the Dane County Legal Resource Center (DCLRC) to observe Banned Books Week, which runs the last week of September. On Wednesday, September 28th they will host bilingual readings of the Bill of Rights and a brief presentation planned for the lunch hour on the steps of the Dane County Courthouse at 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. (Rain location: Room 315 (DCLRC) inside the Courthouse) In addition, free copies of the Bill of Rights will be available to all.

According to the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week is now a 23 year-old United States tradition. Initiated in 1982, the event is intended to remind US citizens not to take their rights for granted. Echoing the sentiments of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, ALA states that Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express ones opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.

ACLU Madison Area Community Advocate, Dianne Riley encourages everyone to turn out, particularly those working in the downtown area who can easily take a few moments to join us in reflecting on the instances that have tested our right to express ideas. In the abstract, freedom of speech and press sounds like a good idea, but people dont often realize how tenuous that freedom is…at least not until they see the examples of books that have been challenged.

For more information on Banned Books Week, see

Please share this information with others so the event is widely publicized. Call the Dane Co Legal Resource Center if you have any questions, (608) 266-6316.

New Resource: Uncovering Local Legal Resources

I am pleased to announce the following article is now available in the September 21, 2005 issue of Wisconsin Law Journal: "Unmined Gold: Finding Wisconsin Local Legal Resources."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Colleges that have Closed or Changed Names

Completing historical research and come across a name of a college but can't find any reference to its current location, website, statistics? Perhaps the college has closed or changed its name. This list has compiled the colleges that have closed or the name has been changed due to a merger or for other reasons.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Constitution Day 2005

Constitution Day 2005 is Sept. 17. Here are some interesting resources to help you celebrate and learn more:

Schools Required to Teach about Constitution Day

What is Constitution Day?

From Constitution Day

Celebrate Constitution Day!

Constitution Day across the country

Thursday, September 15, 2005

How WI Lawyers can help Hurricane victims

The State Bar has created a page on their website listing ways Wisconsin lawyers can help with hurrican relief. On the page is a statement by the Bar president, help for lawyers displaced by the hurricane, and resources to help lawyers offer legal services to evacuees. Visit the page.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

If you can imagine it...

Here is the latest image of the new courthouse from the outside. Note the windows closest to the corner on the lowest level are where the library will be (corner of Wilson and Hamilton Streets). The address will be 215 S. Hamilton Street. (Photo courtesy Connie Von Der Heide)

Legal Research Tip 19: Small Claims Strategies

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

If you haven't checked out the legal topics on recently, please do. They provide easy-to-understand explanations of common legal terms and procedures. For example, here is a link to their thorough examination of small claims strategies and commonly asked questions.

For the lay person, Nolo provides useful information with less legal jargon. For the professional, Nolo provides a good place to start on topics that are not so familiar, and not necessarily Wisconsin-specific. Keep in mind that Nolo is a general site, but has some state-specific information as well. Doublecheck with your local law library to make sure the information you read on Nolo is true for your state.

Internet Tips 19

Welcome to the next issue of "Internet Tips"! There are three sections to this email: a beginner's tip, an advanced tip, and a useful internet link. Enjoy!

Beginner's Tip: From Inter-Alia blog: Computer Tip of the Day
"You can never have enough keyboard shortcuts, can you?
Here are some shortcuts you might not know about:
Windows Key + E = Open Windows Explorer to My Computer
Windows Key + R = Open the Run dialog box
Ctrl+Shift+Esc = Open Windows Task Manager
Shift+Delete = Delete with using the Recycle Bin
F2 = select a file or a folder, and F2 will let you rename it quickly."

Advanced Tip: Burning CD's
Do you burn a lot of CD's? Then you'll want to check out these tips from

Useful Internet Link: Looking for blogs on your favorite topic? Try Google's new Blog Search at:

Friday, September 09, 2005

Finding Jobs in the Court

Interested in working in the Third Branch of government? Here are a few places that list job openings:

WI Circuit Courts: Many circuit court jobs are county employment. Check the county's job postings for openings. Dane County's job openings are on their website.

WI Court System: The System has an employment page on their website where openings are listed. Other states also have judicial system websites with listings.

Federal Courts: There are searchable listings on the US Courts website.

National Center for State Courts: The Center has an employment page where openings are listed.

More listings are on "Who Has Court Jobs?" as well.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

State Laws Relating to Same-Sex Relationships

From the Family Law Prof Blog:
"The Human Rights Campaign has developed a series of color-coded maps of the United States that give a "snapshot" of state laws relating to same-sex relationships. Featured maps include: Statewide Marriage Laws, Relationship Recognition, and Second-Parent/Stepparent Adoption Laws. By the Human Rights Campaign." Link to Website

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New from the LRB

Discover the role of political parties in WI government with this new 2-page information sheet from the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Also new is this info sheet on bicameralism and this Budget Brief on recent state tax law changes.

New Divorce Lawyer Website

From Kansas Family and Divorce Lawyer blog:
eJustice Group Unveils New Divorce Lawyer Source Website
Newly remodeled divorce lawyer Website launched.

(PRWEB) September 01, 2005 -- eJustice Group has announced the re-launch of its Divorce Lawyer Source Website, featuring new resources for consumers.

In addition to a complete redesign of the site, Divorce Lawyer Source features a zip code search to help enable consumers to locate a divorce or family law attorney with greater ease. By simply typing in a United States zip code, consumers are able to get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer in their area. Because divorce laws vary from state to state, and laws change within those states, it can be difficult to determine what laws affect splitting couples.

Divorce Lawyer Source was created as a tool for consumers to find comprehensive information about divorce laws, including child custody, alimony, division of assets and other topics. Consumers are also able to access regularly updated breaking news stories about divorce law and find information about available resources for individuals and families going through and coping with a divorce.

The new Website can be found here:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dane Co Courthouses

There's a new page on the Clerk of Courts website that shows images of Dane Co Courthouses past and present.