A Dane County judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit from Attorney General Josh Kaul seeking to remove the head of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the state Department of Natural Resources.
Kaul, who filed the lawsuit in mid-April, sought to have the board’s chair, Frederick Prehn, removed from the body after his term expired on May 1. Prehn has stayed on in the role — meaning Republican appointees maintain a 4-3 majority on the board — citing a little-known law that allows members to keep their seats on the board if the state Senate has not confirmed their replacements.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ nominee to replace Prehn, Sandra Dee Naas, has not yet received a hearing in the Legislature’s upper chamber — something that is commonplace among the governor’s nominees, including several Cabinet secretaries.
Prehn, a Wausau dentist who was appointed to the board by former Gov. Scott Walker in May 2015, could, in theory, remain on the board for years under the current strategy.
I love some bare knuckle politics as much as the next guy, but there is also supposed to be a regular churn of appointed members. The current administration is entitled to replace board members as a matter of course. This isn’t like the Biden Administration’s ouster of board members before their terms were up. This is normal order. The Senate has the prerogative to approve or deny the governor’s candidate, but to just sit on their hands is to disrupt normal order. This plays both ways.