Judge orders emergency hearing on elections

Judge orders emergency hearing on elections

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is defending his proposal to eliminate requirements for prompt special elections to fill legislative vacancies.

Walker told WTMJ-AM Wednesday night that he considers the special elections a waste of tax dollars because regular elections are held in the fall.

WORT has followed the story this week, bringing daily updates to our listeners.

Republican legislative leaders responded by announcing Friday that they would reconvene the Senate and Assembly to pass a bill that would change special election laws.

Both Legislators retired in December of last year, almost a year before the next election. Though now, Vos says the legislature will change the law in order to overrule the court. He says voters need predictable election dates.

The extraordinary session in which this bill is scheduled will begin in the State Senate on April 4 with a public hearing on the measure this Wednesday. They argued that they're being disenfranchised by not having lawmakers in place to address constituent concerns and do other work, in addition to being in place to vote in case the Legislature returns for special sessions.

Walker decided not to ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to delay a court order to schedule those elections.

Both the Dane County judge and an appeals court judge shut down the former argument, ordering Walker to comply by today's deadline.

According to Shilling, the motivation for Walker and the Republicans to delay the elections is political.

Democrats had accused Walker of refusing to call the special elections out of fear Republicans would lose the seats.

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The judge criticized Governor Walker.

"Those voters are going to be deprived of their voice to be heard in a redistricting special session and I think that's absolutely important", Kessler says. In an earlier court filing the DOJ indicated Walker planned to call the special elections for June 12 if his appeal was unsuccessful, but there was no official statement about the date of the elections late Wednesday.

Fitzgerald said people would still have representation since Assembly and Senate districts overlap.

The move has drawn criticism with some Democrats calling it "legislative gymnastics" as well as 'crooked as a bag of snakes'.

The state Department of Justice on Wednesday asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Waukesha to give Walker until April 6 to call the elections.

On Tuesday another Dane County judge, Richard Niess, denied Walker's request for a stay in Reynolds' order.

Reynolds was a Walker appointee and was the first judge to reject the Governor's plan.

"Representative government and the election of our representatives are never 'unnecessary, ' never a 'waste of taxpayer resources, ' and the calling of the special elections are. his 'obligation, '" Presiding Judge Paul F. Reilly wrote.

The Walker Administration warned the Wisconsin Supreme Court that they would likely file an appeal.

When media outlets, public-interest groups and Democrats in the legislature objected to Walker's plan to leave nearly 250,000 Wisconsinites unrepresented for the better part of a year - and suggested, quite appropriately, that he was blocking elections in which his Republican allies might face defeat - the governor dismissed the complaints.

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