Last Friday, I provided an update on the Dane County Circuit Court Judge who blocked legislation passed in December’s extraordinary session. His ruling also vacated 82 citizen appointees that were confirmed by the State Senate to volunteer on various State of Wisconsin authorities, boards, councils, and commissions.
Late Friday afternoon, Governor Evers withdrew all 82 appointments. Among them were two of my constituents. I want to give special thanks to Dale Mayo and Susan Perry for their willingness to serve the State of Wisconsin.
Dale served as the Northern Area Representative on the Snowmobile Recreational Council. Dale has served on this Council since July of 2012, and up until last Friday was serving as the Vice-Chairman.
Susan served as the Domestic Abuse Knowledge Representative on the Council on Domestic Abuse. Due to her personal story, Susan has been a strong citizen advocate on the Council to help advise policymakers.
After the Circuit Court’s ruling, the Legislature asked an appeals court for an emergency stay of the Dane County judge’s ruling. I am hopeful that the Court of Appeals will grant the stay and restore the 82 appointments.
Beyond punishing the 82 appointees, the Dane County Judge has opened the door for legal challenges to decades worth of laws passed in extraordinary session. The Legislature first adopted a joint rule permitting the Extraordinary Session during the 1977 session, and the first extraordinary session occurred in January of 1980. Since then, there have been hundreds of laws passed by both parties, and some of the highlights include:
- The two-strike laws for child sex offenders
- GPS tracking for certain child sex offenders
- Funding for the Milwaukee Bucks arena
- Law protecting against prenatal substance abuse
- Four-year terms for district attorneys and sheriffs
- Creating a council on domestic abuse
These laws could potentially be challenged using the Judge’s precedent if it is upheld. The confusion caused by this ruling and the Governor’s decision to rescind the appointees is having real-life impacts. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission which is in charge of regulating utilities had to cancel their meeting last Friday, and the Council on Domestic Abuse had two-thirds of its members removed by the Governor. The citizen volunteers are still sitting in limbo waiting to see what the Appeals Court will say. The court has set a deadline of 4 PM today for all sides to file their briefs before making a decision.