Category Archives: Law

Madison School District Sued for Violating Open Records Law

The taxpayers are going to be on the hook for this obvious violation of the law.

Today, the Wisconsin Transparency Project, on behalf of an anonymous Madison resident using the pseudonym John Doe, sued the Madison Metropolitan School District in Dane County Circuit Court. The suit alleges that the District is unlawfully insisting that Doe identify themselves before it will turn over records.

Doe has filed a number of open record requests over the last four months with the District using the online public records database and portal muckrock.com. MuckRock allows its users to send anonymous requests through its website and use the website to receive, track, and share the records provided. Doe’s requests ran the gamut from routine weekly board updates to grant applications and annual School Improvement Plans. The district refused every request because of Doe’s unwillingness to be identified.

State law is perfectly clear that requesters may remain anonymous: “no request . . . may be refused because the person making the request is unwilling to be identified or to state the purpose of the request.” Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(i). The District claims Doe must identify themselves so it can decide whether releasing the records would pose a “safety concern,” but the law does not allow that excuse.

Government bodies are becoming increasingly opaque and refusing to comply with the law. Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s District Attorneys are failing to enforce the law. It would only take a few bureaucrats or elected officials being prosecuted and those records would be flying out the door.

Evers Administration Fails to Implement Law

Rogue administration.

Wisconsin officials faced an Oct. 1 deadline to put in place drug screening requirements for certain FoodShare recipients. But three weeks later, the state Department of Health Services has yet to implement them.

A DHS official didn’t indicate in a Monday email to the Cap Times that the department has a timeline for doing so.

It’s not uncommon for agencies to delay the implementation of certain changes. But DHS also has yet to submit a report or any updates to the Legislature’s budget committee on its plan to put in place the drug screening, testing and treatment requirements for certain non-disabled adults without children that are participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training program.

That requirement — as well as the Oct. 1 implementation deadline — was included in legislation approved under former Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. But a review of DHS reports to the Joint Finance Committee didn’t uncover any related to the FSET drug screening provisions, including any requests for a timeline extension to implement the requirements.

WILL Sues Election Commission for Violating State Law

This seems pretty cut and dry.

Background: To maintain accurate voter registration data, Wisconsin participates with 28 other states in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). ERIC flags “movers” – individuals who report an official government transaction from an address different than their voter registration address – to state election agencies.

The Wisconsin Election Commission first reviews the information on “movers” for accuracy and reliability. State law then provides specific direction to WEC on how to handle “movers” flagged by ERIC.

  • WEC is to send a notice to the mover at the address of their voter registration.
  • A voter has 30 days to affirm whether they still live at the address.
    • If the voter affirms they live at the address – by returning the postcard or completing a brief form online – nothing happens.
  • If the voter takes no action for 30 days, WEC is to change the voter’s registration status from eligible to ineligible.

But on June 11, 2019 the Wisconsin Election Commission decided, contrary to state law, that changes in eligibility for a voter flagged as a “mover” by ERIC will not occur for 12 to 24 months.

The timing by the Election Commission conveniently pushes out any correcting of the voter roll until after the next presidential election. Coincidence?

Thoughts from California

I spent a few days in Sacramento this week. I’ve been to California many times, but always on the coast – LA, San Fran, San Diego, etc. This was my first time in the interior. A few things struck me…

At the moment, the area is under a severe fire risk because it is dry and windy. As you may have heard, the power utility, PG&E, is cutting off power to large swaths of people to avoid setting any fires. Well, not really. In reality, they were just blamed for a previous fire and forced to pay a huge penalty. In order to avoid legal liability, PG&E is just shutting off the power. Can you blame them? The idiocy of California’s judicial system strikes again.

Meanwhile, people are inconvenienced and the risk of fires is actually increasing. I had to move a meeting a couple times to find a place with power. The locals who were attending had lost power at their houses, so they showed up with drained batteries. Generators are flying off the shelves. Instead of a stable, reliable power grid, the good people of northern California are sloshing gasoline around in small generators trying to keep their modern amenities functioning. It’s like a third world country in the heart of one of the most modern civilizations on the planet.

Speaking of stupid California rulings… the so-called Uber Law came up unprompted in conversations with two different companies. This was the California Supreme Court ruling, later codified into law, that said that subcontractors were essentially employees. This means that they are entitled to the benefits, workman’s comp, protections, etc. that regular employees have. One business owner I spoke with had used subcontractors in the tech industry in the past and had to pay some big payouts. Another small business owner in the insurance industry said that they can’t grow without using subcontractors, so they were looking to expand in Nevada instead of California. In trying to correct a perceived injustice with Gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft, California is killing off a common way that companies expand and fill spikes in demand.

At about 8 PM one evening, I got a call in my hotel room from the manager. She asked if they could send a contractor to my room in the morning. I was staying in a room for disabled folks and they had an urgent need to saw off the legs of the vanity in my bathroom to make it ADA compliant. Fine, I said, and they gave me 10,000 hotel points for my trouble. I spoke with the manager in the morning, and the urgency was created by the fact that they failed an inspection and had to fix the compliance issues immediately or face huge fines. The regulatory state strikes again. Instead of being reasonable and just waiting for a time when the rooms were empty, the hotel is paying a contractor for emergency services and handing out compensation to inconvenienced customers.

In order to get out of the way of the contractor, I took a drive. I had some conference calls to attend and had intended to take them in my room. Instead, I took the calls from the car and drove out into the farm country. It was a sight to see. The difference between Wisconsin farms and California farms is stark. California farms are massive. They have an industrial feel and the little villages of mobile homes for the migrant workers are everywhere. Long gone are the days of family-owned small farms. Wisconsin is heading this way. It must, in order to compete.

California is a strange place. You could pay me enough to live there, but it would take an enormous sum.

Madison Cop Haters Drive Out Police Chief

What a shame.

After serving more than five years as the head of the Madison Police Department, Police Chief Mike Koval announced his retirement Sunday morning in his daily blog.

Starting Monday, Koval will no longer be chief.

“I did my best to be a guardian to the community and a guardian to the ‘guardians’ (cops),” Koval said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community.”

Koval’s sudden announcement came as a shock even to those who knew it was coming. Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, said “probably around a year ago” Koval told him he was thinking of retiring this fall.

“I know it was coming, but it was still a shock when he called me this morning,” Skidmore said.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said Koval told her Sunday morning that Sunday would be his last day.

[…]

Skidmore said over the last couple of years, Koval has been “beaten bloody” by “cop haters.”

In his blog post, Koval said he was “eternally grateful” to constituents who have encouraged and supported of the police department. He said those supporters will “never know how important” their efforts were “to the morale of our Department.”

Koval also had a message for those who have spoke in opposition to local police.

“To the ‘haters,’ thanks to you as well — for through your unrelenting, unforgiving, desire to make the police the brunt of all of your scorn — I drew strength from your pervasive and persistent bullying,” Koval said.

I give massive credit to those willing to wear the badge in a place like Madison. It’s a dangerous business in any community, but imagine going to work every day, putting your life, health, and livelihood on the line, for people who generally hate your guts.

Who is going to patrol Madison’s streets when nobody wants to do the job anymore?

Governor Evers is considering tyranny

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Enjoy!

Not willing to concern himself with Constitutional constrictions or with concocting actual solutions to America’s crime problem, Governor Tony Evers announced two pieces of anti-civil rights legislation. The first bill is for Wisconsin to implement red-flag laws. The second bill is for universal background checks. Neither bill stands much chance in a legislature where civil rights are valued and protected, but it was what Evers said during the announcement that revealed his more tyrannical inclinations.

As for the bills that Evers proposed, this column detailed how red-flag laws are unworkable if we are still insistent on maintaining our 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights, and I hope that we still are insistent. So-called universal background checks are not necessarily constitutionally odious, but they impose a heavy regulatory burden on law-abiding citizens without actually doing anything about crime. The worst part about the imposition of universal background checks is that it allows politicians to claim that they are doing something when, in fact, they have done nothing except inconvenience a bunch of innocent people.

During the press conference announcing his proposals, Governor Evers was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to support a mandatory gun buyback program. Evers answered by saying that he would “consider it.” Only someone completely devoid of any respect for history and our civil rights would even consider such an oppressive idea.

The key word in mandatory gun buybacks is “mandatory.” We have had gun buybacks for years where misguided do-gooders and cynical politicians give people money for their old guns so that they can pretend to take guns out of the hands of criminals. Voluntary gun buybacks are useless in terms of crime prevention, but harmless.

“Mandatory” gun buybacks are exactly that. It is the government forcing citizens to surrender their firearms to the government, and if the citizens refuse, the government will use the full violent force of government to compel the citizens to comply. This force includes depriving citizens of property, liberty, and in the case of an armed confrontation, possibly life.

If you think that mandatory gun buybacks would stop at the “scary-looking gun du jour,” like the AR-15 or the AK-47, you have not paid attention to history or human nature. Once all of those are wrested from the hands of unwilling citizens, the despots will simply move onto the next target in the gun safe.

This is what Governor Evers casually said that he would consider. He would consider a full assault on our civil rights by having our government use its police power to confiscate firearms from law-abiding people. It is a disgraceful and tyrannical attitude from our governor.

Unfortunately, Governor Evers’ willingness to violate our civil rights is part of a growing trend in the radicalized Democratic Party. In the past, even liberal Democrats who supported more gun control laws would insist that they would never advocate taking away our guns. Now liberals like Governor Evers are quite willing to admit that they want to take away our guns.

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

After spending a career in private practice, Justice Kelly was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Walker after Justice David Prosser resigned from the court in 2016. In his almost three years on the court, Justice Kelly has honored his promises and honored his commitment to be a humble defender of the rule of law and our individual rights.

Governor Evers may consider assailing our rights and seizing our guns, but he and his fellow liberal travelers will never be able to do it as long as judicial conservatives sit on the Supreme Court. Electing Justice Kelly to a full term on the bench is our next chance to make our will known at the ballot box.

Governor Evers is considering tyranny

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Pick up a copy!

“Mandatory” gun buybacks are exactly that. It is the government forcing citizens to surrender their firearms to the government, and if the citizens refuse, the government will use the full violent force of government to compel the citizens to comply. This force includes depriving citizens of property, liberty, and in the case of an armed confrontation, possibly life.

If you think that mandatory gun buybacks would stop at the “scary-looking gun du jour,” like the AR-15 or the AK-47, you have not paid attention to history or human nature. Once all of those are wrested from the hands of unwilling citizens, the despots will simply move onto the next target in the gun safe.

[…]

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

WILL Sues On Behalf of Parents

Indeed. It’s stunning how arrogant the schools are to think that they, and not the parents, should guide kids through something as serious and life-altering as a gender transition. Perhaps if a kid isn’t mature enough to discuss something like this with their parents, then they shouldn’t be doing it.

A conservative legal group is challenging a Madison School District policy that the organization says could leave parents in the dark about whether their children are transitioning genders at school.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, or WILL, wants the district to repeal a “guidance document” for teachers and staff to follow when dealing with questions of students’ gender identity. The guide prohibits staff from revealing to parents if their child is transitioning genders unless the student gives permission.

“Our problem is with the systematic exclusion of families, even to the point of instructing district employees to actively deceive families,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel for the Milwaukee-based organization.

Topless and High in Colorado

It’s like all of Colorado is becoming a frat house from the 80s. I almost expect Trudeau to traipse across the screen in blackface at any minute.

Going topless has been effectively legalized in six states after a town decided it was not worth anymore money to fight an appeal.

Fort Collins in Colorado had already spent $300,000 defending the law and trying to stop women from taking their tops off in public.

They had been appealing a decision, which was upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in February, that the law amounted to unconstitutional discrimination.

As the Appeals court covers Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, women in these states can now effectively bare all without breaking the law, reports NBC News.

Fort Collins in Colorado has decided to stop fighting an appeal to ban women being able to go topless. The decision effectively means women in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma can bare all without breaking the law (file picture)

The ‘prohibition on public exposure of breasts by women and girls over 10 years old’ will be gone from the city code of Fort Collins as of this week.

I wonder how that will square with child porn laws. If a dude is walking down the street and a topless 14-year-old girl strolls past, is he now viewing child porn? What if he takes a picture – even if she’s in the background? Will the Google street view cars blur out the boobs or is that now sexist?

Federal Judge Upholds 1st Amendment

In what should have been the easiest ruling ever.

A federal judge in Green Bay ruled Friday that Northeast Wisconsin Technical College violated the First Amendment when officials ordered a student to stop handing out Valentine’s Day cards containing messages from the Bible, including “Jesus Loves You!” and “God is Love!”

Polly Olsen, 29, a Green Bay woman studying to become a paralegal, filed a lawsuit against the college a little more than a year ago and came to the attention of President Donald Trump, who invited her to the White House in March.

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Olsen was handing out cards with Bible messages to students and staff when a campus official told her she was violating school policy and took her to the security office. Olsen has said the cards were a family tradition started by her late mother.

“There can be no doubt that in handing out her homemade valentines to her fellow students, friends and staff at NWTC, Olsen was engaged in a constitutionally protected form of expression,” U.S. District Court Chief Judge William C. Griesbach wrote in his decision.

Griesbach ruled in favor of Olsen, awarded damages of $1 and ordered that NWTC not use a school policy in order to prevent other students from handing out similar cards or messages.

The NWTC policy in question is called “Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Public Assembly.”

It is infuriating that we have to even litigate things like this. The woman was handing out cards. If you received one and didn’t want it, throw it away. End of problem. The school did not need to insert itself into such a simple human interaction with its stupid and unconstitutional policy.

Republicans Sign Blanket Confidentiality Agreement

This is an interesting story.

Under Republican lame-duck laws limiting Kaul’s authority, he is required to seek approval from the Republican-controlled legislative budget committee to settle a number of lawsuits. But Republicans, up until their announcement on Thursday, had been unable to agree on a procedure for doing so.

Kaul on Tuesday told committee members they would each need to sign confidentiality agreements to review and approve the cases he brought to them. But all lawmakers objected to doing so for different reasons. The unprecedented saga this week has tested how the lame-duck laws will work in practice.

The blanket secrecy agreement is meant to ameliorate concerns from lawmakers over signing individual nondisclosure agreements.

“This action should resolve the Attorney General’s confidentiality concerns, and he should send over all of the relevant settlement information for review,” Darling and Nygren said in a statement. “The Committee stands ready to review and approve any settlements that are in the state’s interest.”

It’s unclear whether the agreement passes legal muster. Kaul in a statement said the department is assessing the proposed confidentiality agreement.

“We will continue attempting to reach agreement on this issue, as we began attempting to do more than six months ago,” Kaul said. “Our interest remains in ensuring that Wisconsinites are represented as effectively as possible and that the enforcement of our environmental, consumer protection, and other laws is not impeded by partisan gamesmanship.”

On the one hand, I understand Kaul’s concerns. He is litigating cases where his office is bound by confidentiality agreements and it is in the best interests of Wisconsin to keep things confidential until there is a resolution. By extending the circle to include legislators, he wants them to be bound by the same confidentiality requirements. This is particularly an issue because politicians are notoriously leaky – particularly when they believe there might be a political advantage in leaking.

On the other hand, the Attorney General works for the state and the legislature sets the rules. The legislature passed a law requiring the AG to include them and the AG, by forcing this requirement, is refusing to comply with the law. Kaul doesn’t have the legal authority tp refuse to comply with the law without a confidentiality agreement.

Federal Lawsuit Against Act 10 Thrown Out

Act 10. Still legal. Still right. Still working.

MADISON – A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit seeking to overturn former Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that sharply limited collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin.

The lawsuit over the law known as Act 10 was brought by two arms of the International Union of Operating Engineers after state and federal courts upheld the law in other cases. The union intends to file a new lawsuit, according to a motion filed by its attorneys.

Union officials filed the latest lawsuit in 2018, dropped it months later and revived it in May to name Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul as defendants.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman agreed to throw out the lawsuit after Kaul in July argued the court did not have jurisdiction because the case had previously been closed.

Attorneys for the union agreed with Kaul and didn’t object to the lawsuit’s dismissal, according to court records.

Taxpayers on Hook for $110,000 to Jailed Felon

Sigh… government screws up and it’s always the taxpayer left to pay the bill.

WAUSHARA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – A Wisconsin prison inmate is receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the state as the result of a federal lawsuit settlement over what’s been dubbed “The Rat Emoji Incident.”

Taxpayers are footing the bill for that $110,000 settlement. There may be more to come.The lawsuit stems from an incident at Redgranite Correctional Institution. Target 2 Investigates uncovered the story in January.A now-former corrections sergeant at the prison exposed the identity of five inmates who were acting as confidential informants in a high-profile undercover gang investigation by placing pictures or rats next to their names.

“To be honest with you, it was rage. Rage,” former prison gang investigator Jason Wilke says was his first reaction after learning criminal charges were never filed against the sergeant.

One of the inmates filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and the state decided to settle. He’s serving time for armed robbery, and getting a big payout from taxpayers.

10% Responsible for Genocide

What a fascinating case.

The Dutch supreme court has upheld a ruling that the Netherlands was partially responsible for 350 deaths in Bosnia’s Srebrenica massacre.

The court said the state had 10% liability, as this was the probability that its soldiers could have prevented the killings.

Bosnian Serb forces killed a total of 8,000 Muslim men in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

The Dutch had been guarding a UN safe zone when it was overrun.

It is rare for a state to be held responsible for failures in UN peacekeeping work, but the court emphasised that the Netherlands bore “very limited liability”.

[…]

The court ruled that if Dutch forces had given 350 men hiding in the UN compound the chance to stay, there was just a 10% chance they would not have fallen into the hands of the Serbs, and so the Dutch state should be liable for only that proportion of the damages suffered by the bereaved.

The ruling did not give details on how it calculated the 10% chance of survival.

The final verdict draws a line under years of legal battles between the Dutch state and the plaintiffs – a group of victims’ relatives known as the Mothers of Srebrenica.

The case was escalated to the highest court because the state wanted to be cleared of responsibility, while the Mothers of Srebrenica wanted it to be held accountable for all 8,000 deaths in the genocide.

An appeals court had previously set the liability at 30%, but the supreme court’s ruling has drastically reduced that figure.

This is the Dutch court system ruling that their own people were partially responsible for failing in a UN peacekeeping mission that resulted in a genocide. While noble, war is incredibly ugly and I question the rationale of lawyers assigning percentages of blame decades after it happened – particularly for a NOT doing something. These soldiers didn’t commit a war crime. They merely failed to act to prevent one when they might have been able to.

Attorney General Asks for Input

While I applaud the effort at transparency, why would he need to solicit comments from the public about opinions? I thought that the AG was supposed to offer legal opinions based on the law – not public opinion.

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today unveiled a new process and website for all Wisconsinites to provide information and perspectives on proposed Attorney General Opinion topics prior to the beginning of the Department of Justice drafting process. The new Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) webpage, doj.state.wi.us/OpinionRequests gives anyone the opportunity to weigh in on issues facing opinion review.

“With the changes announced today, we are making the AG opinion process transparent and open to input from the public,” said Attorney General Kaul.

With the new website, all commentary submitted will now be open to public review through the public records process. Public records requests can be made through the Department of Justice Office of Open Government by phone, mail or online. More information about making a public records request can be found here.

By statute, the Attorney General must, when asked, provide the legislature and designated Wisconsin state government officials with an opinion on legal questions. The Attorney General may also give formal legal opinions to district attorneys and county corporation counsel under certain circumstances. Wis. Stat. § 165.25(3) and 59.42(1)(c). Please see 77 Op. Att’y Gen. Preface (1988) for a more detailed explanation of the criteria for requesting a formal opinion.

Facebook Fined for Sharing Users’ Data Without Consent

Shocking… the Democrats voted to protect Big Tech.

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

[…]

The FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018, following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

Anonymous sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that the $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, which broke along party lines with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

Sources cited in other media also reported the same information.

 

Taylor Swift Protests Sale of Catalog

This is a good lesson in contracts, ownership, and private property rights.

Taylor Swift has described herself as “sad and grossed out” by Scooter Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine Records, which holds the rights to her entire catalog up through 2017’s “Reputation,” calling the deal “my worst case scenario.” Swift said she was shocked to first learn of the transfer of her work through news accounts Sunday morning. Braun declined Variety‘s requests for comment.

Swift posted her impassioned reaction in a Tumblr post, which reads:

“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.

[…]

“This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.

“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.

While Swift has the right to object to the sale, the fact is that she doesn’t own it. It’s not hers. She sold her music. And it’s not like she didn’t get any value for the sale. She received money, access to the industry, and help in her rise to fame and fortune. Could she have reached her current level of stardom without Big Machine Records? Maybe. But we know for sure the result of her relationship with BMR. And since BMR owns the music, they have every right to sell it or monetize it in any way they see fit.

Think of it this way… when an artist paints a painting or creates a sculpture and sells it, does the artist retain the right to control the art after it is sold? Of course not. Does the fact that it is art that the artist created on their bedroom floor when they were 15 change anything? Nope.

Swift may be upset, but it’s not like she didn’t get anything out of the deal.

Court Rules that DPI is Part of Government

Well, it took them a couple of tries, but they got it right.

Three years after ruling the Department of Public Instruction doesn’t have to submit proposed administrative rules to the guv for review, the state Supreme Court reversed course today and found the agency is subject to the requirement just like any other agency.

In a 4-2 decision, the court overturned that 2016 ruling. In doing so, the conservative majority found the Wisconsin Constitution gives the state superintendent the power to supervise public instruction.

But the Legislature grants the superintendent and DPI the power to promulgate rules. Therefore, the court ruled, lawmakers can set limits on that power.

“That the SPI also has the executive constitutional function to supervise public instruction does not transform the SPI’s legislatively delegated rulemaking power into a constitutional supervisory function,” Chief Justice Pat Roggensack wrote in the majority opinion that was joined by her fellow three conservatives.

State Supreme Court to Rule on DPI Superintendent’s Authority

This will be an interesting ruling.

MADISON, WIS. (AP) — The state Supreme Court is poised to release a ruling on whether the governor or the state schools superintendent controls Wisconsin school policy.

Republicans passed a law dubbed the REINS Act in 2017 that requires all state agencies to get the governor’s permission before writing regulations. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit with the high court last year arguing then-Superintendent Tony Evers was writing regulations without then-Gov. Scott Walker’s approval.

[…]

The court ruled in 2016 that the schools superintendent doesn’t have to abide by a 2011 law similar to the REINS Act that requires agencies to get the governor’s permission before writing regulations.

Supreme Court Affirms Constitution

Two thoughts… first, it’s hard to get excited over something that should be obvious to all. Second, it’s a travesty of justice that this was not a unanimous ruling. It just shows how hardcore partisan the liberals on the court have become and why the voters need to continue to correct for their bias.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court on Friday upheld lame-duck laws limiting the powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, handing Republican lawmakers a resounding victory.

The win was on procedural grounds only and the ruling isn’t the end of the legal challenges. Two other challenges to the laws themselves and not the process used to pass them are pending. One of those is in federal court, a move that Democrats hope gives them a better shot at sidestepping conservative judges.

Most of the laws — enacted just weeks before Republican Gov. Scott Walker left office after his November defeat — have been reinstated and are in effect while the legal challenges proceed.

A group of liberal-leaning organizations led by the League of Women Voters sued in January alleging the laws are invalid because legislators convened illegally to pass them in December. The groups maintained the Legislature’s session had ended months earlier and that the lame-duck floor session wasn’t part of the Legislature’s regular schedule.