An appellate court reinstated a series of laws passed last year that limited the power of current Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. The new ruling comes after a Dane County court struck down the laws earlier this year.
The laws were passed in December during a lame-duck session and were signed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker 24 days before leaving office. Earlier this month, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess blocked the statutes, arguing lawmakers convened illegally when they passed them.
His ruling also vacated 82 Walker nominees and appointees to state boards and councils, asserting they were made during the “illegal” session.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals effectively eliminated that ruling Wednesday, however, by granting a GOP stay request. A stay stops or suspends proceedings or a trial temporarily or indefinitely, though it can be lifted.
Judge temporarily blocks Republican lame-duck legislation restricting power of governor, attorney generalDane County Judge Richard Niess issued a temporary injunction Thursday that will prevent the enforcement of December’s lame-duck legislation limiting Read…
But in a separate lawsuit earlier this week, Dane County judge Frank Remington invalidated the portions of the laws that directly affect Evers and Kaul.
Remington’s ruling stands despite the appellate court’s Wednesday stay ruling, which means those provisions impacting Evers and Kaul remain unenforceable.
Wisconsin’s lame-duck laws closely followed similar legislation vetoed by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, who was replaced by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in January.
In 2016, similar legislation was passed in North Carolina. Following the election of Democrat Roy Cooper, then-Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed Republican-approved legislation that stripped future governors of the power to appoint a majority to the State Board of Elections.
Both cases have drawn parallels to Wisconsin’s legislation, although Michigan’s bills never became law.
Legislature passes lame duck bills limiting executive powerIn a rare lame-duck session, the Wisconsin state Legislature passed a package of bills along party lines Wednesday morning limiting executive Read…
Wisconsin’s lame-duck legislation fulfilled multiple Republican priorities, including restricting early in-person voting to two weeks prior to an election. This disproportionally affects Democratic cities with early voting periods, some up to seven weeks, and particularly Madison and Milwaukee.
It also keeps the state’s job-creation agency out of Evers’ control until September 2019, limits his ability to enact administrative rules and prevents him from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
Lawsuits challenging the legislation include one filed by the League of Women Voters, among other plaintiffs, alleging the “extraordinary session” was unlawful under the Wisconsin Constitution. The lawsuit argues that because the session wasn’t explicitly allowed by the state’s Constitution, it and the legislation passed during it is illegal.
Another lawsuit, filed by the Service Employees International Union, along with additional labor organizations, argues the separation of powers protected by the Constitution was violated by the lame-duck laws, as they took too much power away from the governor in favor of the state Legislature.