The Wisconsin Power Grab

So a little bit about what is going on in Wisconsin. It is a blatant political move to handcuff the new administration and it is disgusting. Much of it is in the weeds, meaning it may not get the attention it deserves. So what is in it?

  • Redundancy. Currently state agencies can be asked by the legislature to conduct a retrospective economic impact analysis of an admin rule. Under this law the legislature can ask for an independent analysis within 90 days of the agency’s analysis. It shows distrust in agencies.
  • Power grab. This bill subjects the Governor’s appointees to the Group Insurance Board to Senate confirmation.
  • More power grab. The bill increases the size of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) from 12 to 18 people; 10 of which are appointed by the legislature. This shifts control of the WEDC from the governor to the legislature.
  • Naked politics. The bill moves the presidential primary from April to March to suppress turnout in the supreme court race. This is also inefficient.
  • Undermining the Attorney General (AG). Currently when parties (like local government) allege a statute is unconstitutional it goes to the AG. Now it will go to the legislature.
  • More undermining. The AG will no longer be able to “compromise or discontinue” a DOJ action at the governor’s request, it instead is decided by the legislature. So the new AG will not be able to get Wisconsin out of all the cases the current AG signed us up for.
  • Undermining agencies. Agency compliance plans with federal law will not confer rule-making authority or empower agencies to promulgate rules.
  • Paperwork! Agencies will have to submit quarterly reports to the legislature listing “all expenditures for administrative supplies and services that are made at the discretion of or to be used by” high-level agency administrators.
  • More undermining. Currently the legislature can suspend administrative rules, but the suspension sunsets if a bill is not passed to that effect. Under this law the legislature can suspend rules multiple times, so essentially forever without passing a bill
  • More undermining. Limits the Governor’s ability to do provisional appointments
  • Guns at the Capitol. Because why not, if the new administration wants to ban firearms in the Capitol the legislature now must approve.
  • More undermining. Agencies and the Governor cannot pursue federal waivers unless the legislature passes legislation requesting the waiver.

There is more, but this gives you a taste of how obscene this legislation is. If any of this is anything more than a naked attempt to undermine the newly elected Governor and the Administrative arm of government the legislature can wait until January.


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