Capitol Report: April 3

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Delay April 7 Election

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the City of Green Bay to postpone the April 7 election, stating that the city and its mayor were not the proper parties to bring forth the lawsuit.

The City of Green Bay’s suit against the State of Wisconsin claimed that “local governments are finding it functionally impossible to comply with both the Wisconsin Election Commission’s established procedures for administering the election and the directives of health officials to maintain social distancing.”

Gov. Tony Evers has signaled that he does not intend to cancel or postpone the April 7 election.

Evers Seeks to Extend Emergency Powers

In light of the expected continuation of health concerns related to the coronavirus, Gov. Tony Evers has released a draft resolution that, if approved by the Legislature, would extend his emergency powers. 

Evers declared a state of public-health emergency March 12. In Wisconsin, if the governor declares a state of emergency, he or she retains greater powers and has less oversight from the Legislature to execute protections against the emergency for 60 days from the start of the emergency declaration. The resolution, if adopted by the Legislature, would extend these powers indefinitely. 

LRB 5928

Municipal meetings during emergency periods

Sen. André Jacque is proposing a bill that would create flexibility for municipal meetings during emergencies such as the coronavirus epidemic by allowing municipalities to use any means of communication that allows identification of its members, participation by its members and, to the extent feasible, monitoring by the public. It is unclear whether this bill will get to the floor this year, considering that the Legislature’s regular session ended March 26. The Legislature may hold an extraordinary session, however, to take up bills related to the coronavirus epidemic.