Opponents consider lawsuits if lame-duck legislation becomes law

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MADISON (WKOW) — As Wisconsin waits to see whether Gov. Scott Walker will sign controversial, lame-duck session bills into law, opponents are already hinting at upcoming lawsuits.

Analeise Eicher, program director for One Wisconsin Now, said the liberal advocacy organization is willing to take any legal action necessary against the policies passed in the session.

“We will be going through whatever Gov. Walker signs, section by section, line by line, word by word to see and to make sure that people’s rights are not being violated,” she said.

Eicher said her organization must wait to see if Gov. Walker signs the bills before they can say for sure whether or not they’ll sue and what a lawsuit could look like. She hinted provisions limiting early voting could be potential targets.

“We see that as a direct attack on the right of legal voters to vote,” she said.

One of the bills currently on Walker’s desk would limit early voting to two weeks. Back in 2016, One Wisconsin Now won a lawsuit against a similar issue.

Court rulings on One Wisconsin Institute v. Mark Thomsen et al., struck down rules limiting the number of early voting locations in a city.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he and fellow Republicans expect another challenge but this time, he believes the outcome will be different.

“We have already vetted these with legal experts who have shown they are clearly constitutional,” he said. “They have every right to go to court. I’ll be very curious to see what happens if we go to court, but I’m very confident these are constitutional.”

Eicher said if it does come to a lawsuit, she believes their precedent will win out.

“It really is up to lawyers and up to the courts to decide but as it was noted when the Republicans were reviewing these provisions, they were warned that our lawsuit, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, that expanded early voting hours and locations is the law,” she said.

Eicher said early voting is not the only issue that could face legal retaliation. She said they will also consider the legality of the proposal allowing lawmakers to appoint their own counsel instead of the attorney general as well as some of the laws that limit the governor’s executive powers.

Jessie Slater

Jessie Slater

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