Latest: Decision on blocking lame-duck laws within 24 hours

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on challenges to Wisconsin Republicans’ lame-duck laws limiting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers (all times local):

12:45 a.m.

A judge says he’ll issue a decision on whether to block laws Republicans passed during a lame-duck legislative session within 24 hours.

Five unions filed a lawsuit in Dane County in February arguing the laws violate the separation of powers. Judge Frank Remington heard hours of oral arguments Monday. At the conclusion of the hearing he said he will issue a written decision on whether to order a preliminary injunction blocking the laws or portions of them by the end of business Tuesday.

Remington wouldn’t say how he would rule but did say the order will deny Republican legislators’ request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Another Dane County judge has blocked the laws in their entirety in a separate lawsuit last week. The 3rd District Court of Appeals is considering whether to stay that order.

The laws limit Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers. Republicans passed the statutes in December, just weeks before Evers and Kaul took office.


11:25 a.m.

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers says he is moving ahead “as quickly as possible” to fill vacancies after a judge’s ruling last week struck down 82 appointments Republicans made during a lame-duck legislative session.

Evers told reporters Monday that he doesn’t know how quickly he can fill the positions, but some of the posts may go to people who previously held them. One opening is on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and another is on the Public Service Commission.

Evers says his office is reviewing what possible action he can take, but that he doesn’t anticipate doing anything Monday.

Republicans have asked a state appeals court to put the ruling striking down the lame-duck laws on hold.


9:15 a.m.

An attorney for a group of unions says Republican-backed laws that limit the powers of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul are an egregious attempt to steal power from the executive branch.

A hearing was held Monday in a lawsuit filed by the unions, which argue that the laws violate separation of government powers. The laws were quickly passed in December, before Evers and Kaul — both Democrats — took office.

The unions’ attorney told the judge that a handful of GOP legislators essentially took power away from the executive branch. He called the actions “an egregious attempt” at political gain.

The Legislature’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case.

A different judge temporarily blocked the laws last week in a separate lawsuit filed by a coalition of liberal-leaning groups.


8:05 a.m.

A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in another lawsuit challenging Republican-backed laws limiting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s powers.

Five unions sued in February, alleging the laws violate the separation of powers doctrine because they transfer power from the executive branch to legislators. Judge Frank Remington is set to hear oral arguments at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The lawsuit is one of four challenging the laws.

The state Democratic Party and liberal group One Wisconsin Now have each filed a lawsuit in federal court. A coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed a third action in Dane County. Judge Richard Niess ruled in that case last week that the Legislature convened illegally when it passed the laws in December.

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