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GOP vows to appeal order blocking lame-duck laws

Posted: 12:14 PM, Mar 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 22:01:47Z
Gov. Tony Evers and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Republican legislative leaders are vowing to appeal a judge's ruling blocking lame-duck laws limiting the governor and attorney general's powers.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a temporary injunction Thursday blocking the laws.

The injunction is part of lawsuit a coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed in January. They argue that the Legislature passed the laws during an illegal extraordinary session. That's an unscheduled floor period that majority party leaders can call.

Niess found that the state constitution doesn't provide for such sessions. The Legislature's attorneys argue Niess' ruling leaves thousands of statutes passed during extraordinary session over the years vulnerable to legal challenges.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued a joint statement saying they'll appeal and Niess' ruling creates legal chaos. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke tweeted that he isn't surprised a Dane County judge has issued a partisan ruling.

Niess issued the temporary injunction blocking Wisconsin Republicans' contentious lame-duck laws limiting the powers of Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats.

Republicans passed the lame-duck laws during an all-night extraordinary session in December just weeks before Evers and Kaul took office. An extraordinary session is a previously unscheduled floor period initiated by majority party leaders.

A coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed a lawsuit in January arguing such sessions are illegal. They contend the Wisconsin Constitution allows legislators to convene only at such times as set out in a law passed at the beginning of each two-year session or at the governor's call.