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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Judge Blocks Laws Limiting Power of New WI Governor

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Friday, March 22, 2019   

MADISON, Wis. – A judge has given Democratic Gov. Tony Evers back his powers after striking down lame-duck laws passed by Republicans in what many viewed as an effort to restrict his control.

Soon after Evers won the governorship, GOP lawmakers passed the lame-duck laws during a December extraordinary session that curtailed an array of Evers' and Democratic Attorney Josh Kaul's power. One of them included prohibiting Evers from withdrawing the state from lawsuits without legislative approval.

A coalition of groups sued in January, arguing the Legislature can't meet that way. Erin Grunze, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, says part of their claim was that lawmakers could convene only at times laid out in a law they pass at the beginning of each two-year session or at the governor's call.

"We celebrate it as a victory for the people of Wisconsin,” says Grunze. “We think that it looks to undo those bills and their intentions, which were to take away powers and essentially curb the voters' will."

Republican legislative leaders vowed to appeal and predicted the ruling ultimately would be overturned. Evers called the ruling a victory and used his restored powers to pull the state out of a multistate challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans also used the lame-duck session to confirm 82 of former Republican Governor Scott Walker's appointments. This meant Evers couldn't immediately replace them when he took office.

Grunze says the judge's ruling restores fairness in the process.

"We're not looking for a partisan fight,” says Grunze. “We want fair, representative government and we didn't think that this extraordinary session was representative or fair to the voters of Wisconsin."

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess' ruling is just one of four actions challenging the lame-duck laws.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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