Dane County Judge Blocks GOP Lame-Duck Laws

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess on Thursday issued a temporary injunction to block the lame-duck laws after he found the Republican-controlled Legislature did not lawfully meet to pass them.

The League of Women Voters, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities and three Wisconsin voters in January in their lawsuit alleged Republicans had convened an illegal legislative session and the laws should be voided.

Niess in his ruling sided with those groups and barred anyone from enforcing the laws that were passed during a 24-hour floor period in December by Republican lawmakers over the objection of Democratic lawmakers, Evers and Kaul.

“The bottom line in this case is that the Legislature did not lawfully meet during its December 2018 ‘Extraordinary Session,’ ” therefore violating the state Constitution, Niess wrote.

Minutes after the judge issued his ruling, Republican legislative leaders who wrote the laws promised to appeal it.

“Today’s ruling only creates chaos and will surely raise questions about items passed during previous extraordinary sessions, including stronger laws against child sexual predators and drunk drivers,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester said in a statement.