Wisconsin Supreme Court to take lame-duck lawsuit

April 16, 2019

MADISON The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to consider a legal challenge to Republican-backed laws passed in a lame-duck session last year that limited the powers of the state's newly elected governor and attorney general.

The high court said in an order late Monday that it would take over the case from a state appeals court, with oral arguments May 15.

The laws approved in December came after Democrats Tony Evers and Josh Kaul unseated Republicans in the midterm election. Among other things, they restricted how Evers and Kaul could maneuver in lawsuits without getting legislative approval first.

The League of Women Voters and other liberal-leaning groups challenge the lawsuits, and a Dane County judge agreed in March with an injunction blocking the laws. Republicans immediately appealed.

Walker joins government reform group as chairman

MADISON Former Gov. Scott Walker is joining the Wisconsin-based Institute for Reforming Government as an honorary chairman.

The group announced Walker's appointment on Monday, the latest in a series of positions Walker has taken since he lost re-election.

Walker is serving as fundraising chairman for the National Republican Redistricting Trust, a conservative group focused on redistricting after the 2020 Census. And he's also leading the national effort to call a constitutional convention to adopt a balanced budget amendment.

Walker has also joined a speaker's bureau and has filled in on a conservative talk radio show in Milwaukee since being defeated for re-election and leaving office in January.

The Institute for Reforming Government was formed in 2017 and says it is focused on simplifying government through tax reform, lessening regulation and creating efficiencies.

Republicans bar Walker from congressional caucus meeting

MADISON Former Gov. Scott Walker's fellow Republicans barred him from attending an event after his criticism of a GOP senator who opposed President Donald Trump's emergency border declaration annoyed U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

The congressman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the GOP's 5th District Congressional Caucus chairwoman rescinded Walker's invitation to a meeting last month. Sensenbrenner said she made the decision but he supported it.

Sensenbrenner said he's upset over comments Walker made on WISN-AM radio in February. Walker said he was "shocked" that U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, opposed the declaration.

Sensenbrenner also opposed the declaration. He said he didn't want to risk Walker criticizing him at the meeting.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson says Walker and Sensenbrenner have talked about the issue but declined further comment.

Evers creates task force to combat payroll fraud

MADISON Gov. Tony Evers is creating a task force to investigate ways to crack down on businesses that misclassify workers and conduct payroll fraud.

Evers signed an executive order Monday at a training site for carpenters in Madison creating the task force. He was surrounded by union workers for the signing.

Audits conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development between 2016 and 2019 found that more than 5,800 workers were misclassified, resulting in under-reported wages of nearly $70 million.

The task force is charged with coordinating the investigation and enforcement of worker misclassification issues across a variety of state agencies, including the departments of Justice, Revenue and Workforce Development.

The group is to report to the governor each year with its accomplishments and recommendations, including possible law changes.

Wisconsin withdraws from lawsuit challenging EPA plan

MADISON Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has successfully withdrawn Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging a federal rule regulating certain air pollutants, including mercury.

The states are challenging a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analysis that found regulation the pollutants would be reasonable because the costs of implementing new control technology wouldn't raise retail electricity costs beyond historical ranges.

Kaul announced Monday that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia approved his motion to dismiss Wisconsin from the action on Wednesday.

Earlier this month the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals approved Kaul's request to withdraw Wisconsin from another multistate lawsuit challenging federal health care reforms.


Associated Press