The Lake Michigan shoreline at the Clay Bluffs Cedar Gorge natural area

Is Legislature Illegally Grabbing Executive Power?

Lawsuit charges Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature for violating the Wisconsin Constitution and intruding into executive powers.

Urban Milwaukee outlines Gov. Evers’ recent lawsuit, which calls out three legislative committees that have vetoed decisions by executive branch agencies or put them on hold for long periods of time, including moving forward with conservation projects approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Evers lists 27 Knowles-Nelson Stewardship projects approved by the DNR that were vetoed by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

The crux of the issue is Act 369, which was passed in a lame duck session during the last days of Scott Walker’s administration and gave several legislative committees the power to veto executive branch decision-making. Evers argues that the Wisconsin State Legislature violates the Wisconsin Constitution’s separation of powers through these legislative vetoes that allow a few committee members to obstruct basic executive branch functions.

Other legislative committees cited in the lawsuit are the Joint Committee on Employment Relations for refusing to release approved pay raises for UW System employees and the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules for blocking updates to the state’s commercial building standards and ethics standards for licensed professionals.

Featured image by Aaron Volkening, 2022.

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