Another lawsuit has been filed, against legislation passed late last year by a lame duck session of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature. The suit was filed Monday in Dane County by AFT-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, the Service Employees International Union Local 1, and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, challenging the constitutionality of laws enacted by the legislature in extraordinary session following the November 2018 election in an attempt to limit Governor Tony Evers’ power before he assumed office.
The suit alleges that these laws violate the state constitution’s separation of powers laws and grant unprecedented authority to the Legislature that traditionally belongs to the governor. The unions filing the suit maintain that the lame-duck proposals are an illegitimate, illegal and partisan attempt by politicians to prevent the governor from acting as the chief executive of the state, simply because they don’t agree with his politics. Similar efforts to thwart the democratic process have been attempted-and ultimately overturned-in other states, most recently in North Carolina in 2014.
“We will not let power-hungry politicians in Wisconsin run roughshod over the will of the people,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in a press release. “This case is about restoring justice for the people of Wisconsin and for the office of the governor, and it’s about preserving the integrity of our democracy. Elections matter. If you don’t like the outcome, you don’t get to ignore it and legislate a different power structure that the majority of people didn’t actually vote for.”
“We’ve said repeatedly that the lame-duck session was a hasty and cynical attempt by Republicans to override the will of the people, and that the governor expected legal challenges. He will be consulting with legal counsel to determine an appropriate course of action,” said Evers’ spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff.
The lawsuit is the third filed in response to the lame duck actions which limited access to early voting in Wisconsin and prohibited Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul using authority that was available previous governors and AGs. State Senator Janet Bewley (D-Mason) is also a plaintiff.
Defendants named in the suit include Republican legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.