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Gov. Tony Evers calls lame-duck injunction a victory

Posted at 8:41 AM, Mar 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 11:07:33-04

MADISON (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers says a ruling blocking Wisconsin Republicans' lame-duck laws is a victory.

The GOP passed the laws in a December extraordinary session. The legislation limits Evers' and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul's powers.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess ordered a temporary injunction Thursday blocking the laws, ruling that extraordinary sessions are illegal because the state constitution doesn't provide for them. Republicans have vowed to appeal.

Evers issued a statement calling the ruling a victory for the people of Wisconsin. He accused Republican lawmakers of overplaying their hand by using an illegal process to accumulate more power for themselves. He says he hopes the state can move beyond this "disappointing chapter."

Republican legislative leaders are vowing to appeal the judge's ruling.

The injunction is part of a 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 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.