Wisconsin bills hope to improve sheriff property sales

MILWAKUEE, Wis. (AP) - Two proposed bills in Wisconsin would change how sheriff's sales of foreclosed properties are conducted.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that one bill would ban landlords who owe back taxes and building code fines from the auctions. Firms who are owned or linked to those owing back taxes or fines would also be banned.

Bidders would be required to file a sworn statement to show that they don't owe delinquent property taxes or court-ordered fines for building code violations.

The second bill would allow the sales to be conducted online instead of in courthouses or other government buildings.

Democratic Sen. LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee says first-time purchasers may be intimated by the in-person auction.

Republican Rep. Terry Katsma says more competition could increase the price paid for properties.