Only One Agency Complies with Law

Appropriately, it’s the Ethics Commission.

Ahead of an approaching July 1 deadline and in the midst of legal uncertainty surrounding the Wisconsin Legislature’s lame-duck laws, just eight out of an estimated thousands of guidance documents across the state’s agencies have been submitted for publication as required.

Those eight guidance documents, which instruct individuals or entities how to comply with state agency rules, all came from the state Ethics Commission, a body that oversees campaign finance and lobbying laws, among other things.

The December laws, in addition to targeting the authority of the incoming governor and attorney general, required each guidance document to receive a public hearing and undergo certification by agency heads. The documents also have to be reviewed by the Legislative Reference Bureau and placed in the Administrative Register under the laws.

But provisions surrounding guidance documents and other parts of the laws are still on hold stemming from a suit brought by five different unions that alleges the changes unlawfully limited incoming Gov. Tony Evers’ and AG Josh Kaul’s powers.

The state Supreme Court has taken over an appeal that was filed in that case, and it’s poised to rule on a second case from the League of Women Voters that also challenged the constitutionality of the laws.

As the state awaits decisions in those cases, many agencies have adopted a wait-and-see approach in terms of implementing the guidance document provisions of the laws.

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