Representative-Elect's official residence is basement - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Representative-Elect's official residence is basement

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Janesville Republican Joe Knilans is poised to be sworn-in as the State Assembly's representative to the 44th Assembly district, with his official residence his brother's basement.

State law says for someone to be sworn-in as a state representative, ten days of residence in the district are required.

Knilans' home is in the 45th Assembly district.  

"I'm doing what I can to sell it,"   Knilans told WKOW27 News, noting Janesville's tough housing market in the continuing wake of the departure of General Motors from the city.

Knilans said he's leased basement space from his brother, Michael Knilans, a Janesville city council candidate who lives in the 44th district.

But Knilans said he does know if he will live there even part-time.   Knilans has been living with his wife and children in their Alpine Drive home in the 45th.

The incumbent Knilans defeated, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) was criticized for living outside the district at times due to a pending divorce.   Sheridan's absence met legal muster as a temporary absence.

But Government Accountability Board spokesperson Reed Magney said the exception to residency invoked in Sheridan's case is not available to someone who has yet to serve.

Magney said whether Knilans' living arrangement is acceptable residency is a matter for assembly leadership.   Both Assembly chief clerk Patrick Fuller and incoming Assembly speaker Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) have yet to respond to calls seeking comment.

Online reporting by Tony Galli.

tgalli@wkowtv.com

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