lame-duck laws

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds GOP's Lame-Duck Laws

Jun 21, 2019
RICHARD HURD, FLICKR

Wisconsin's conservative-controlled Supreme Court on Friday upheld lame-duck laws limiting the powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, handing Republican lawmakers a resounding victory.

The victory was on procedural grounds only and the ruling isn't the end of the legal challenges. Two other challenges to the laws themselves and not the process used to pass them are pending. One of those is in federal court, a move that Democrats hope gives them a better shot at sidestepping conservative judges.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated most of the legislation passed by majority Republicans during a lame-duck legislative session aimed at capping the powers of their Democratic rivals.

The high court also blocked a trial that had been scheduled to start Wednesday on a lawsuit challenging one of the laws passed during the session, which came after a midterm election in which Republicans lost the governor and attorney general races.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in one of the challenges to laws the Republican-controlled Legislature passed in December's lame-duck session. The laws were designed to limit the powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

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A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday restored 82 appointees of then-Gov. Scott Walker who were confirmed during a lame-duck legislative session, handing a victory to Republicans and defeat to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

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Updated on April 9 at 4:52 p.m. CT

An appeals court on Tuesday sided with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in declining to reinstate 15 people appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. State lawmakers had been holding off on confirming Evers’ appointments because of the dispute over whether the governor had the power to make the appointments. Republican lawmakers have said they expect the matter to end up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Original Story March 27

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A second Dane County judge has blocked a portion of Republican-backed laws limiting Gov. Tony Evers' and Attorney General Josh Kaul's powers. Judge Frank Remington Tuesday overturned language that requires Kaul to get legislative approval before settling cases. 

His order stems from a lawsuit brought by unions that argued the laws violate the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. Remington let stand portions of the laws that give the Legislature the right to intervene in cases.  

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Many state agencies and boards are trying to figure out their next move now that Gov. Tony Evers has withdrawn 82 appointments waiting for confirmation by the Wisconsin State Senate.

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Updated March 22:

A judge in Madison Thursday issued a temporary injunction blocking lame-duck laws that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed in December, which are designed to limit the powers of new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. In issuing his decision, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess said the Legislature did not have the legal authority to meet to pass the laws.

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The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has filed a federal lawsuit against legislation limiting the powers of Wisconsin’s governor and attorney general. Wisconsin Democrats say the only reason Republicans, who control both the state Senate and the Assembly, passed legislation taking away powers traditionally reserved for the governor and attorney general is because the GOP lost.

Martha Laning chairs the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She says Wisconsin’s new laws make it hard to believe in the Democratic process.

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Wisconsin labor unions have filed the third lawsuit against legislation signed by former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker before leaving office that limits the power of the new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

No one stumped harder for Evers in the race against Republican Walker than Wisconsin labor unions, according to Neal Bisno. He’s executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union.

Chuck Quirmbach

A federal judge on Thursday struck down early-voting restrictions Wisconsin Republicans adopted in a December lame-duck legislative session, saying the limits are clearly similar to restrictions he blocked two years ago.

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Several Democratic-leaning groups in Wisconsin are challenging bills Republicans passed in December that limit the powers of the state's new Democratic governor and attorney general. The groups argue it was illegal for lawmakers to call themselves into session to take up the bills.

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Republican state lawmakers recently advanced bills that would strip power from both the incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

For one, the new bills would require a legislative committee rather than the attorney general to sign off on withdrawing from lawsuits. This would prevent Kaul from withdrawing from a national lawsuit that’s seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

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Republicans in Madison were successful early Wednesday approving bills to limit the powers of the next governor, Democrat Tony Evers, and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

During a heated debate about the sweeping plan, Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz told GOP lawmakers that history would not be kind to them if they approved the bills.

“Do not pretend that anything we have done in this body today is remotely normal or remotely OK. If you vote for this, shame on you, you will go down in history as a disgrace," Hintz said.

ALTHOUSE

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has approved a sweeping package of bills that weaken the powers of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

The state Assembly approved the measures Wednesday morning. The state Senate did the same, less than three hours earlier, after lawmakers worked through most of the night. Now, the bills go to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled his support.

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