Changes afoot in Wisconsin: publication of laws fast-tracked?


First this note came from the SCFL facebook page 12:01 PM CST:
BREAKING NEWS! GOP legislators are moving to change the rules regarding publication of new laws. HEARINGS BEGIN IN 32 MINUTES!

At present, when the Governor signs a bill, the Secretary of State has 10 days to publish the new law, which then goes into effect.

The Governor wants to change the rule so that new laws go into effect the day after he signs them, published or not.

HEARINGS ARE IN ROOM 400 S.E. at 12:30 p.m.

Then this note 1:27PM CST:
Senate Bill 2 passed by 2/1 vote in the Judiciary and Labor Committee and now goes to the Senate.

If the Bill passes the Senate, it appears that the Secretary of State can no longer delay the Bill’s publication date, which means laws could go into effect on the day following passage.

Hearing information.

Link to the proposed bill.

With this sort of fast-tracking, I suppose we won’t see any more pesky checks and balances from the Secretary of State nor the judicial branch. I suppose that’s the point.

Let’s pause to remember what was up around March 11, 2011. The “bill” in question is Wisconsin Act 10:
La Follette said Walker has asked him to publish the bill on Monday, but that he will not do so.
“There’s too much happening…I think it would be prudent to wait a few days.”

Within that window of time Judge Sumi issued a preliminary injunction to halt publication of Wisconsin Act 10 until further order of the court. At least two lawsuits had been filed most notably over the WI GOP’s violation of the open meetings law. (Remember that 5 minute March 9th meeting last year with 1 hour and 50 minutes of notice?)

Typically a Wisconsin bill’s stop in La Follette’s office is a mere bureaucratic hoop to jump through. Suddenly that stop became a crucial act and an unbearable thorn in the side of the right wing.


  2 comments for “Changes afoot in Wisconsin: publication of laws fast-tracked?

  1. GeoffT
    January 24, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    “The Governor wants to change the rule so that new laws go into effect the day after he signs them, published or not.”

    The bill says that the LRB would only have to publish Acts electronically on or before the publication date, with the printed version being relegated to ‘best-effort’ status (“The bureau shall make printed copies available as soon as possible following publication of the act.”)

    This could fall afoul of Article IV Section 17(2) of the Constitution (“No law shall be enacted except by bill. No law shall be in force until published.” – ) There’s an AG opinion along with that that “Methods other than newspaper publication may be utilized to give public notice of general laws”. Since that opinion predates email and hasn’t been tested in court, it’s possible that the Constitution requires a hard copy to have been published for an Act to be in force while this bill attempts to lift that requirement.

  2. Karen
    January 24, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    The republicans are a revengeful bunch. You might as well dub this the “Fuck You Doug LaFollette Act”.

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