State Rep. Jimmy Anderson is asking Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to weigh in on his allegations that the Legislature's lame-duck session violated the state’s open meetings laws — and file a lawsuit if he finds it does.
The Fitchburg Democrat earlier this year submitted a verified complaint with Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne arguing Republican lawmakers illegally convened the Legislature in December, thus rendering the laws void.
Anderson, who's paralyzed from the chest down, is making the case that GOP lawmakers failed to give proper notice before scheduling a vote on the bills, causing him to miss the vote and deny his constituents their right to representation.
But in his request to Kaul, filed Thursday, Anderson wrote that Ozanne ignored the complaint he submitted, compelling him to take the issue to the AG’s office.
“While the outcome matters a great deal to me, it is more important that we establish appropriate standards for the Legislature when dealing with individuals with disabilities,” he wrote. “This is for the next generation of legislators so that they know their rights and that those in power know their responsibilities.”
In his request, Anderson wrote that after waiting hours for the Assembly session to start on Dec. 4 and not receiving a timeline for the vote from Assembly leadership, he eventually went home out of medical necessity stemming from his disability.
Ultimately, legislators voted early in the morning Dec. 5, but Anderson in the request argued he wasn't given proper notice to join the session. His votes were paired on two of the bills.
Anderson’s filing asks Kaul to issue advice on a number of topics: whether the open meetings laws were violated and if so, whether that violation infringes on the state constitution; and whether Ozanne was compelled to act on Anderson’s complaint after receiving it or if he’s “allowed to simply ignore” it.
Ozanne’s office didn't immediately return a request for comment.
Anderson also wrote if Kaul does decide open meetings laws were violated in the lame-duck session, "I would hope your office would move forward by filing a lawsuit."
Kaul spokeswoman Gillian Drummond said the Department of Justice has received and is reviewing Anderson's request.