A divided state Supreme Court has reinstated most of the provisions of a set of lame-duck laws, enacted late last year by Wisconsin Republicans, and canceled a trial for one of the lawsuits that was scheduled in Dane County court this week.
The suit, which was brought by five unions, argues the December extraordinary session unlawfully limited the powers of incoming Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats.
The court's ruling Tuesday means the laws approved under the December extraordinary session are again enforceable, save for a portion governing "guidance documents," which instruct individuals or entities how to comply with state agency rules.
The decision showed that part would remain on hold because state agencies had been under the impression they wouldn't need to identify the documents, submit them to a public review process and get them published in the Administrative Register by July 1. Reinstating that provision, according to the ruling, would "create harm to the general public."
The move came after a Dane County judge at the end of March issued a temporary injunction on parts of the laws, including language that required Kaul to get approval from the Legislature in order to settle cases and more — portions that are now no longer enjoined.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald applauded the ruling in a statement as "a win for the people of Wisconsin."
"The Supreme Court correctly decided the statutes enacted by the Legislature should remain in effect," the Juneau Republican said. "We are confident that the constitutionality of these laws will be upheld when the Court hears the full case in the coming months.”
A spokeswoman for Evers didn't immediately comment on the action.
The trial in the case was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.
The state Supreme Court last month heard oral arguments in a separate lame-duck lawsuit, which was brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and others.