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Mon Mar 26, 2018, 06:53 PM

 

Scott Walker might be able to ignore a judge's order and stall special elections

I would like to preface this by saying for 8 years on blogs folks would say "What is wrong with you people in Wisconsin? You deserve what you get"....Do you see NOW what we live here every day...they lie cheat and steal and get away with it blatantly....This is our fucked up Koch state.

MADISON – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker might be able to ignore a judge's order and stall special elections for the Legislature, under a bill GOP leaders hope to rush through the statehouse.

But the bill's passage isn't secure in the state Senate, where at least two GOP senators are voicing concerns publicly and at least one more has shared them privately with fellow Republicans.

Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) said his constituents think special elections should be held for two legislative seats that have sat open since December. One of the two vacant seats is an Assembly district that lies within Olsen's Senate seat.

"Let's just say I've been getting a lot of calls and emails from my constituents," Olsen said.

GOP leaders are racing to hold a hearing Wednesday on the bill and a Senate floor vote on April 4 after a Dane County judge found Walker must call the elections by this Thursday. The legislation says it would overrule any election order from either Walker or a court.

If approved, this proposal would likely lead to a fresh legal challenge from Democrats and an uncertain outcome in court.

For now at least, Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) also "has concerns" about the plan, said his spokesman, Mike Mikalsen. Nass wants to read the bill and the judge's order and hear arguments from both sides, he said.

In a private meeting last week, state Senator Leah Vukmir of Brookfield — a GOP primary candidate for U.S. Senate — also criticized the idea, according to people who were there. Aides to Vukmir did not respond to questions Monday but Vukmir did vote to call senators back into session to take up the elections bill.

Republicans control the Senate 18-14. With all Democrats expected to vote against the measure, the opposition of two or more Republicans would doom the bill. GOP leaders say the special elections will cost money and accomplish little since the legislative session is almost over.

"This eliminates the need for multiple elections in a short timeline, saving taxpayer dollars and avoiding voter confusion," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said in a statement.

Fitzgerald did say, however, that he was open to modifying the bill to determine "how much discretion a governor should have."

Democrats say Walker could have called the special elections nearly three months ago.

"This is outrageous and as crooked as a bag of snakes," Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said in a statement. "The governor had every opportunity to call for a special that could have aligned with the spring 2018 election, so this is not about saving money."

Walker, Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) all committed Friday to changing the special elections law. The bill they released Monday would eliminate the requirement that Walker call such elections promptly and give the governor wide latitude to decide whether and when to do so.

The bill unveiled Monday would also bar holding special elections after the spring election in the year the legislative seat would ordinarily be filled. This year's spring election is next week, on April 3.

The bill makes an explicit effort to get around the order by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Josann Reynolds, a Walker appointee. The legislation says it would supersede "any other law, court order or order of the governor."

RELATED: Wisconsin GOP will aim to block judge's order to Gov. Scott Walker to call special election

RELATED: Judge orders Gov. Scott Walker to hold special elections for open legislative seats

“Governor Walker and legislative Republicans are so desperate to maintain their grip on power that they are changing laws to silence voters," Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) said in a statement.

For his part, Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said he needed to study the bill but didn't see value in holding special elections this spring when the two legislative seats will be up again in November.

"I think at this point it would be a waste of money," he said.

Arguments like his, however, ignore the fact that many constituents seek out their lawmakers even when they are not in session.

GOP senators are to discuss the proposal as a group in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

Former Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and former Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) stepped down in December to take jobs in Walker’s administration. In February, voters in those districts and a group affiliated with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit demanding special elections.

Holder, who was attorney general under Democratic President Barack Obama, has said he would litigate any effort to change the law and prevent the special elections. That raises the prospect of the fight climbing its way to the state Supreme Court.

University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas said the legal questions in the case were "not clear cut either way." He said that there was little in the way of legal precedents beyond some cases in federal court that were of limited relevance.

"I am not aware of any case law directly on point — in part no doubt because the issue rarely arises," he wrote in an email.

Douglas pointed out, however, that the Wisconsin Constitution is "useful for a plaintiff" because it states that the governor "shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the Legislature."'

Rick Esenberg, president of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said Walker had taken a “difficult” legal position by claiming he didn’t have to call a special election under existing law.

The bill lawmakers now want to take up would put Walker on stronger footing, even if it is likely to be challenged in court, Esenberg said.

Those challenging the legislation in court would likely argue that keeping the seats open for long periods would violate the voting rights or due process rights of those living in those districts, Esenberg said. But it may be difficult to persuade courts that that is the case when the two seats will be filled in the regular elections in November, he said.
To contact your legislators

If you want to contact your lawmakers, you can find them by going to legis.wisconsin.gov or calling (800) 362-9472.

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Reply Scott Walker might be able to ignore a judge's order and stall special elections (Original post)
jodymarie aimee Mar 2018 OP
ck4829 Mar 2018 #1
dameatball Mar 2018 #2
IADEMO2004 Mar 2018 #3
Angry Dragon Mar 2018 #4
Heartstrings Mar 2018 #5
AJT Mar 2018 #6
Blue Owl Mar 2018 #7

Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 06:54 PM

1. But we were told suspending elections will never happen in America

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 06:59 PM

2. Seems to me that this is pretty much what happened to Garland's nomination

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 07:04 PM

3. LOCK HIM UP

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 07:05 PM

4. Walker puts himself above the law............makes himself a TRAITOR

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 07:12 PM

5. Yes, for those of you condemning Wisconsin

it's not as simple as you might think, and no we don't "deserve what we get for electing republicans"....we're up against huge amounts of Koch money and gerrymandering and are working our asses off to overcome those obstacles. Then Walker comes along and on a whim changes the rules to suit himself and we have no say.

Pretty much screwed in this still beautiful state.....

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 07:59 PM

6. Isn't he in contempt of court?

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Response to jodymarie aimee (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 08:22 PM

7. No elections -- no democracy. Period.

n/t

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