WED AM Update: Supreme Court orders restoration of 82 lame-duck appointments Evers sought to rescind

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— A split state Supreme Court has ordered the immediate restoration of 82 appointments that Gov. Tony Evers sought to rescind.

A Dane County judge had overturned their confirmations from the December lame-duck session.

But the court ruled 4-3 the Dane County judge had improperly failed to stay his decision after overturning the confirmations and other acts during the extraordinary session.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who has been critical of Evers’ moves on the appointments, hailed the decision.

“Governor Evers’ actions targeted public servants who are dedicated to working on behalf of Wisconsin citizens,” said Fitzgerald R-Juneau. “I’m glad to see that the Supreme Court has ended this unnecessary constitutional crisis and enforced the return of these individuals to their rightful positions.”

An Evers spokeswoman, meanwhile, maintained the administration was “confident that the Court will ultimately rule against the legislature’s unconstitutional attempt to override the will of the people.”

The appointees who were restored include PSC Commissioner Ellen Nowak, who said she intends to seek back pay and reimbursement for health care costs she incurred since Evers moved to push her out of the regulatory agency.

“I’m very pleased with the decision and look forward to returning to the PSC,” she wrote in a text message to

— The court’s order was the latest legal twist in a pair of Dane County rulings that impacted the actions of GOP lawmakers in the waning days of Gov. Scott Walker’s administration and before Evers took office.

But yesterday’s ruling only deals with the question of whether the appointments should be restored while the Dane County ruling is appealed and not the merits of the case.

One day after the March 21 Dane County ruling, Evers sought to rescind the 82 appointments as the Legislature appealed the decision. The 3rd District Court of Appeals then issued a stay March 27, but Evers argued that decision didn’t impact his actions on the appointments.

The Legislature asked the appeals court to clarify its ruling, and on April 9, the judges ruled GOP lawmakers had failed to show any authority for an appellate court to overturn an action taken while an injunction was in place. The judges also found lawmakers had not shown that a stay could be applied retroactively, “and we are aware of none.”

But the high court’s four conservatives — Justices Pat Roggensack, Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly and Annette Ziegler — cited a rule that allows appeals and circuit courts to grant various forms of temporary relief “to preserve the existing state of affairs” while an appeal is pending.

In this case, the justices wrote, that “has to mean the state of affairs in effect prior to the circuit court’s injunction.” Otherwise, the appellate courts would be powerless to undo actions taken before they could act on a request for stay.

“This would lead to an absurd result,” the majority wrote, adding it would encourage parties to “rush around taking all sorts of actions” before an appellate court could consider a stay.

The justices also ruled the circuit court had improperly ignored the harm of refusing to stay an injunction preventing enforcement of a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the guv. They called it “an irreparable harm of the first magnitude.”

— Writing for the minority, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley criticized the decision for relying on a rule that the parties hadn’t cited in their briefs.

The majority corrected the “deficiency in the Legislature’s motion by finding relief under a stone that the Legislature did not lift.” Joined by Justices Shirley Abrahamson and Rebecca Dallet, she wrote that “blindsides the parties and fails to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard on the basis the court finds dispositive.”

Ann Walsh Bradley also wrote the majority places “an inordinate amount of weight on the harm that results from enjoining an enacted law while completely ignoring the harm that comes from leaving a potentially unconstitutional law in place.”

Read the order:

— Roggensack has been re-elected chief justice, a post she’s held since voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the court to elect who fills that role.

Roggensack’s new two-year begins today.

The statement from the court didn’t provide details of the vote.

See the release:

— Dem Tip McGuire says he’s hoping to see the same teamwork that helped fuel his victory in the 64th AD present when he officially is seated in the Assembly.

McGuire beat Republican Mark Stalker to succeed former Dem state Rep. Peter Barca, who resigned to join the Evers administration.

A tally of unofficial results from Kenosha and Racine counties show McGuire won 62 percent of the vote to Stalker’s nearly 38 percent.

McGuire, addressing attendees at his election night party in Kenosha, thanked his supporters and volunteers, saying no campaign “is a solo enterprise.”

“It’s always teamwork, just like our society, just like government, just like how we make this all work,” he said, according to a video posted to his Facebook page. “And so we have teamwork right now and hopefully we’ll have teamwork moving forward as we try to accomplish the things that we talked about in this campaign: affordable health care, good schools and family-supporting jobs.”

Meanwhile, Stalker praised McGuire and his campaign as “very organized,” adding he “ran a great race and got the people out on kind of a miserable day to go vote.”

Stalker also acknowledged running a race in the Dem-leaning district was an “uphill battle,” though he also credited his staff for working hard and putting in “a strong effort.”

“At least we didn’t have just one name (on the ballot) when we went in to vote, so I got that going for us,” he told

McGuire, a former Barca aide, earlier this month won a three-way primary for the seat, and his victory restores Dems’ 36-63 minority in the chamber.

McGuire had both money and the district’s political leanings in his favor.

He outraised Stalker $125,042 to $16,952 between Jan. 1 and April 15.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers won 55.9 percent of the vote in the district in November, while U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, took 61.4 percent.

But Hillary Clinton took 52.5 percent there in 2016 as Dem enthusiasm waned in that election. After many credited a jazzed up GOP base for helping conservative Brian Hagedorn win this spring’s Supreme Court race even as he was outspent, some believed Dems dedicated resources to the Assembly race to avoid the possibility of a similar upset. Others argued the amount of resources going into the race was overkill.

See the Kenosha County results:

See Racine County:

— Gov. Tony Evers will travel to eastern Wisconsin this morning for a public bill signing at the Neenah City City Council Chambers. He will then return to Madison for a noon Rotary Club event at the Park Hotel.

— Prominent Wisconsin GOP legislative leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. this evening for a fundraiser in support of the state Republican Party.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, Majority Leader Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, and Joint Finance Co-Chairs Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette will travel to the nation’s capital to host a reception with all six Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.

— The Senate Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committee will exec on four bills and hold a public hearing on an additional measure.

The panel will vote on SB 12 and AB 10, which would eliminate tax deductions for businesses that move out of state or country. They will also consider SB 35, which would provide a grant to reimburse farmers for purchasing rollover protections for tractors, as well as SB 54, which would authorize the Department of Revenue to disclose the tax liability of a retailer’s business or inventory its successor.

The committee will also hold a public hearing on SB 186, which requires the UW Board of Regents to create a Dairy Innovation Hub and provides $7.9 million in funding per year.

See the notices:

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Evers Signs First Bill Into Law
Law Replaces ‘Mental Retardation’ With ‘Intellectual Disability’ In State Rules … “Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and dignity and empathy and respect every day, and that includes making sure our laws and codes that govern our state reflect those values,” Evers said. … Fifteen-year-old Abigail Kaiser, a Madison resident with Down syndrome, introduced the governor at the bill signing … “People with disabilities deserve opportunities to have real jobs,” she said. Rehash Evers scooping GOP lawmakers using an EO to accomplish their bill.

WI Guv blasts Trump’s baby execution comments
… “To say that doctors in the state of Wisconsin are executing babies is just a blasphemy,” Evers said at a Milwaukee Press Club event in response to questions from reporters. “It doesn’t happen. … That is just a horrific thing to say. … The president is the president,” Evers said of Trump. “He’s going to do this kind of crap as long as he is president.” … [CDC] recorded 143 instances nationwide in which live births were caused by an attempted abortion between 2003 and 2014, an average of just 13 a year across the entire country. … [DHS] doesn’t track such births because Wisconsin bans non-emergency abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, well before [Roe v. Wade ruling crucible of 24-28 weeks.] … has no data on how many of those babies survived [emergency] abortion. National GOP push for “born alive” bills, vetoed in NC and blocked by Dems in US Senate.

Evers Says He Has Clarity On Foxconn Project
… Chairman Terry Gou was reportedly at the White House Tuesday discussing the company’s Wisconsin manufacturing project with President Donald Trump. … Evers said he didn’t mind that he wasn’t extended an initiation. “Terry Gou might be talking to Donald Trump about how to win a presidential election [Gou reportedly running for prez of Taiwan], that’s a discussion that’s way above my pay grade. … Whether the company creates 1,000 jobs or 100,000 jobs, it’s still more jobs than we had before,” Evers said Tuesday, speaking to a group of journalists at the Milwaukee Press Club. Guv urged Vos and Fitzgerald to set aside the rhetoric, “They were here when the thing was created. I understand the skittishness about things being changed. Well they did, by golly, and it’s not me that changed them. Foxconn changed their business plan, which I do respect. We all care about Foxconn,” concerned about tax investments made by Racine County and Mt. Pleasant, “I want to protect local taxpayers and local officials. I can’t stand here and say Foxconn won’t use all of that land. I’m not saying I’m concerned about that, but I want to make sure the state is vigilant about that issue so local taxpayers are not on the hook.” Evers, whose daughter is an OB-GYN, said Trump’s false statements about abortion in GB rally are a distraction from the serious maternal health issues, “If Republicans are so damn interested in making sure that moms and babies are well, they should really get behind my Medicaid expansion bill.” Evers has vowed to veto the “born alive” bill.

President Trump’s Foxconn Promise, So Far Unfulfilled
… last summer, the agreement with Foxconn started to crack. [Foxconn shrunk the factory, Walker lost election] … Then, over the winter, another shocker — the company said it might not build a manufacturing plant after all. Trump hurriedly intervened, and within days he got Foxconn to recommit to building the facility, he says. … new Democratic governor, Tony Evers, says he doubts Foxconn will ever create the 13,000 jobs that were promised by 2032. … “It’s a smaller footprint. It’s a different type of job,” Evers told news reporters in Milwaukee last week. “But we’ll see. I mean, if they create 1,000 jobs, that’s 1,000 jobs we didn’t have.” … “So, I think we need to take a deep breath and say tax credits are important. But we don’t make decision solely based on tax credits,” Yeung told reporters. [Gou reportedly going to White House. Foxconn construction ramping up.] A lot of the ground is bare. Foxconn has put up only one building, what it calls a multipurpose structure. Earth movers, sometimes in groups of three or four, are hauling around piles of dirt. … [Co. Exec.] Delagrave says he is happy with the pace of construction. “Look, you can see the transformation happening. And, it’s really … I think a great thing for us, ” he said. But some residents here [Jeff Loken] remain skeptical that the jobs will ever come. … uncertainty among Wisconsin business leaders … [MMAC’s] Sheehy says it’s time for some real benchmarks to be met. … [at Trump rally in GB, spokeswoman said] she doesn’t know why the state’s governor isn’t more “optimistic and hopeful” … encouraged him to work with the president and company to “make sure those jobs come here.” But with up to $3 billion in state tax credits on the table, officials and residents across Wisconsin are still looking for the jobs that money was supposed to lure.

WI Supreme Court restores all 82 Scott Walker appointees
… “The 82 appointees shall immediately be allowed to perform the duties of their respective positions in the same manner as they were performing those duties,” the court said. … The 4-3 order … three liberal members dissented … affects 15 of the appointees Evers had not reappointed after a lower court said it was legal for him to essentially fire them. … could create confusion if Evers were to appoint replacements, the court said. Evers had not named any replacements as of Tuesday. … three dissenting justices said the majority ignored the harm of allowing potentially unconstitutional laws to remain in effect. … Fitzgerald said in a statement. “I’m glad to see that the Supreme Court has ended this unnecessary constitutional crisis and enforced the return of these individuals to their rightful positions.”

[WPF] Report: Gov. Tony Evers’ Marijuana Proposal Goes Further Than Other States
… “Instead of seeing this as a path toward full legalization, we’re perhaps getting the worst of both worlds,” [WPF’s] Henken said. “We are, for all intents and purposes, legalizing possession of small amounts, but we are not creating the mechanism under which Wisconsin could actually benefit from a revenue perspective from being able to tax the sale of marijuana.” … faces long odds in the state Legislature. … [Vos, Fitzgerald] oppose it. … Evers has also argued his plan would help combat racial inequities in the criminal justice system. … [federal, non-profit reports] in recent years have outlined Wisconsin’s disproportionately high incarceration rate of African-Americans and other individuals … of color for offenses including marijuana possession

‘Day Without Latinxs’ to rally thousands at Capitol in favor of immigrant driver permits
[‘Latinx’ is a gender-neutral term preferred by rally sponsor Voces de la Frontera] … Thousands of people [bussed from 17 WI cities] to march Wednesday in Madison in support of Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. … part of the nationwide Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants, held each May 1 … [Voces’ Neumann-Ortiz touts] More than 150 Wisconsin businesses pledged they will close Wednesday in solidarity … [Evers, Mayor Rhodes-Conway] said Tuesday they believed the provision for driver’s licenses in the state budget was a common-sense reform. “They want to make sure they have a chance to get to work, they want to make sure they’re not ending up being deported because they’re driving illegally,” Evers said … thinks the Legislature will remove the driver’s license provision from his proposed budget, but he hopes to introduce a separate bill for licenses if that happens. … “I think we’re ready to jump off that cliff.” “Like Gov. Evers, I support your efforts to secure a state driver’s license,” Rhodes-Conway said. “It makes our roads safer, and it makes our community safer, when people can drop off their children at school and drive to their place of work without fear.” … Neumann-Ortiz said she appreciates the support of Madison police for the rally and for the driver’s license policy. Chief Michael Koval previously advocated for the measure and will speak at the rally Wednesday. Rehash Evers campaign statement. Rally was last held in Madison in 2016, in Waukesha 2018, Milwaukee 2017.

Roggensack re-elected as Wisconsin Supreme Court chief
… The result was public, but the vote was done in secret and the breakdown was not announced. … Roggensack replaced Justice Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice in 2015 after voters approved a constitutional amendment giving justices the power to elect the chief justice. … Roggensack [in her second term] says in a statement that she is honored to continue serving as chief justice. … also serves as the administrative head of Wisconsin’s judicial system.

UW-Madison dean’s handling of sexual harassment case under scrutiny in provost search
… position of provost requires “experience in dealing with grievances, complaints and crises,” according to the job description. … Two women [Jacobs accusers Christoph, Reynolds] questioned dean John Karl Scholz at his finalist presentation Tuesday afternoon about how he responded to complaints regarding Harvey Jacobs, a former UW-Madison professor whom students and staff accused of inappropriately touching, staring and commenting as part of a pattern going back years. … Jacobs retired in May amid a university investigation into his behavior. He categorically denied all allegations substantiated by an investigator in a 2018 report. … Within days of the State Journal’s [Fall 2017] report, Scholz acknowledged a failure to provide a safe environment for victims to come forward. Confronted by the professor’s accusers Tuesday, Scholz said that he uses every tool available as dean to address these problems … “Having said that, it’s not enough. … The challenge is every administrator operates in an environment constrained by policies and procedures, by legal requirements, by HR norms and by precedent.” … Scholz declined to address specifics of the case on Tuesday, as well as a follow-up question by Christoph … and whether he reached out to any of the women making allegations. … Scholz thanked the women during the presentation for their questions and for their courage … tried to talk to them afterward but they declined, saying he had years before the presentation to do so. … declined to talk to a reporter at the event. The other two finalists for provost are women: Cornell’s Ritter and MSU’s Croson.


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– 10 a.m.: PSC hearing.

– 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions executive session on SB 12 and AB 10, relating to eliminating deductions for moving expenses for businesses that move out of the state or out of the United States, and other bills.

– 12:15 p.m. – 1:10 p.m.: Madison Rotary Club event with Gov. Tony Evers. Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.

– 2 p.m.: PSC hearing.

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