BY VARSHA VENKATESH
Josh Kaul, Wisconsin’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit on Monday. The lawsuit challenged a Republican-made law. This specific law limits his powers as Attorney General. This law was formulated and passed during the time that was in between Kaul’s election and the time he took office.
This legislation was passed during a ‘lame-duck session’ of the legislature in the year 2018.
Josh Kaul challenged portions of Act 369. The challenged portions which limit his ability to get financing retribution for employees and consumers, hold polluters accountable and address disputes between the state and vendors who have breached their contracts. The act mandates that the Attorney General needs to obtain approval from the legislature before entering into settlement agreements involving consumer protection and executive branch agencies.
Attorney General of Wisconsin stated that the provision of the extraordinary session of the legislature 2018 impedes the Wisconsin’s Department of Justice. He expressed that this law impedes the Justice Departments critical work. He says this impediment is happening by way of giving the state legislature a major role in the executive branch’s function. He also goes on say that this is a violation of the Wisconsin’s Constitution’s provision for separation of powers.
This is not the first time that the validity of Act 369 has been questioned in Wisconsin. A case questioning the validity of this Act reached the Supreme Court by way of the case SEIU v. Vos. The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously decided to uphold the laws related to the administrative rules. It also decided to uphold the laws giving legislators power over the changes to security at the Capitol building.
While the court upheld majority of the laws outlined, it struck down one measure passed in the same lame-duck session. This measure instilled more legislative approval requirements on the ‘guidance documents.’ This the court struck down as unconstitutional.
The presiding bench for this issues consisted of bipartisan alliance made up of four justices. Majority of the issues were agreed upon by majority opinion.
Several other laws passed during the lame-duck session were not addressed in the decision. These included several measures that require the approval of the legislature prior to seeking federal waivers to implement state laws. During the hearing the Supreme Court sent back the case to the lower court to enable more arguments to be heard about the other laws which were not addressed in that particular case.
Vos, said that the ruling by the Court reaffirms that every branch is equal to the other.