By Benjamin Yount for Watchdog.org
As lawmakers in Madison wait for two judges to rule on Republican reform packages approved during a December extraordinary session, there is sense that the few days of chaos caused by a Dane County court’s decision could take a while to sort out.
“I don’t know what you do if this judge’s ruling stands,” state Rep. Jim Steineke said Monday. “Padlock the doors [at Fiserv Forum.]”
Steineke told Milwaukee radio station 1130 WISN-AM that if action taken during the December session is tossed, then all extraordinary sessions need to go as well.
Not that Steineke thinks it will come to that.
“The good news is, there is no way this judge’s ruling is going to stand,” Steineke said. “It is clear in the constitution and in state statute that we have the authority to come into this session. We set the schedule, in our own resolution, which is required by the constitution.”
Steineke said that resolution opened the entire year of 2018, from Jan. 1 to Dec 31, for session.
Lawmakers were waiting for a ruling from an appeals court judge late Monday afternoon on the original order that placed the Republican reforms on hold.
Meanwhile, a second Madison judge said he’d rule Tuesday on a question about the separation of powers. A number of liberal groups say lawmakers overstepped their bounds when they barred new Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul from withdrawing the state from the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also knows as Obamacare.
Evers ordered Wisconsin out of that challenge within hours of the ruling that froze the Republican reforms.
Steineke said the waiting has all but frozen legislative activity in Madison. He said almost no one wants to do anything until the cases are resolved.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for Watchdog.org.