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Judge blocks Wisconsin lame-duck laws

NOW: Judge blocks Wisconsin lame-duck laws

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Madison judge has issued a temporary injunction block Wisconsin Republicans' contentious lame-duck laws limiting Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul's powers.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued the injunction Thursday morning. He refused the Legislature's request to stay the effect of the order.

Republicans passed the lame-duck laws during an all-night extraordinary session in December just weeks before Evers and Kaul took office. An extraordinary session is a previously unscheduled floor period initiated by majority party leaders.

A coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed a lawsuit in January arguing such sessions are illegal. They contend the Wisconsin Constitution allows legislators to convene only at such times as set out in a law passed at the beginning of each two-year session or at the governor's call.

Governor Evers released this statement after the ruling calling it a "victory for the people of Wisconsin."

"Today's ruling is a victory for the people of Wisconsin and for preserving the Wisconsin Constitution. The Legislature overplayed its hand by using an unlawful process to accumulate more power for itself and override the will of the people, despite the outcome of last November's election. I look forward to putting this disappointing chapter behind us so we can move forward together to put the needs of the people of Wisconsin first."

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senator Scott Fitzgerald released the following statements saying Thursday's ruling "only creates chaos" and saying they will appeal. 

“For decades the Legislature has used extraordinary sessions that have been widely supported by members of both parties. The most recent extraordinary session was held for Governor Evers’ Budget Address. Today’s ruling only creates chaos and will surely raise questions about items passed during previous extraordinary sessions, including stronger laws against child sexual predators and drunk drivers. We will appeal this ruling.” 
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