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Why the Wis. Dem Lawsuit Won’t Go Anywhere


Here’s a quick rundown of why the Dane County DA’s complaint trying to overturn the new collective-bargaining law is bogus. (And yes, this gets pretty arcane.)

Here’s the complaint.

Basically, the DA is arguing that the wrong set of rules is applicable. He’s trying to apply the joint legislative rule noticing requirements to the conference committee meeting. If that were the case, the bill would generally need 24 hours’ notice, or more than two hours’ notice if it was an emergency. (The DA argues the bill was given less than two hours, but even this is bogus, as explained by the chief clerk — he said he sent notice to each legislative office at about 4:08 for the 6:00 meeting, but that the bill was officially noticed well before that.)

What the DA doesn’t mention is that the bill in question is a special session bill, which gives it a completely different status than a regular bill. Senate Rule 93 essentially says that with special session bills, the senate rules apply with some special stipulations (my bold):

Senate Rule 93. Special or extraordinary sessions. Unless otherwise provided by the senate for a specific special or extraordinary session , the rules of the senate adopted for the biennial session , with the following modifications, apply to each special session called by the governor and to each extraordinary session called by the senate and assembly organization committees or called by a joint resolution approved by both houses:

Senate Rule 93 (2)  (2) A notice of a committee meeting is not required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and a bulletin of committee hearings may not be published.

So, as we’ve mentioned before, not even two hours was required — Scott Fitzgerald decided to offer it as a courtesy.

The rest of the DA’s complaint throws the kitchen sink of lefty complaints in there — that the capitol doors were closed, etc. But it’s all extremely weak sauce.

— Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.


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