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Senate leader says he won’t confirm Gov. Tony Evers’ cabinet amid court fight over...

Tony Evers' cabinet because of a dispute over whether 15 appointees of Gov. "I think some of those cabinet members are going to be in trouble," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said of Evers' top advisers. Fitzgerald said the GOP stance was a reaction to the court fight over a different set of appointees made by Evers' Republican predecessor. “The political theatrics from Republican leaders are getting old," said a statement from Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse. In one case, a Dane County judge last month ruled all actions taken during the session were invalid. In response, Evers rescinded the 82 appointments made by Walker. Evers has since reinstated 67 of the 82 Walker appointees, erasing doubts about whether they hold those positions. He contends those jobs are vacant, while Fitzgerald and other Republicans say they continue to be held by the Walker appointees. People are pretty upset about Ellen and about Georgia.” Fitzgerald said he wanted to see how the court cases play out before determining how to handle the confirmation of Evers' cabinet. RELATED: Lame-duck scorecard: Where the cases stand in the fight over GOP laws limiting Wisconsin governor He said he expected some of the cases to eventually be resolved by the state Supreme Court — and was glad conservative Judge Brian Hagedorn won a seat last week on the high court.

In divided Wisconsin, the governor and legislative leaders are barely talking

Democrats say Republicans spoiled chances for bipartisanship with a lame-duck session that peeled power away from Democratic Gov. No," Evers said. As we get further down the line in the budget-making, I’m sure we’ll meet more often.” Fitzgerald said lawsuits challenging the laws Republican legislators passed to limit Evers' power are hampering progress. RELATED: Lame-duck scorecard: Where the cases stand in the fight over GOP laws limiting Wisconsin governor "I think we’re still trying to figure out who to talk to, how to talk to them, and when to talk to them," Fitzgerald said in a statement. If they talked regularly, Evers might be able to persuade Republicans to adopt some of his budget plans, Vos said. Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said Evers is not interested in political strategy but in addressing public policies. Evers." "Is this something that could be done without legislation?" "I’m happy with the relationship we’ve been able to build with Speaker Vos and the Assembly — we’ll continue to work together and hopefully the governor will decide to engage," Fitzgerald said. Hintz said it's also up to Republicans to be willing to negotiate with a Democratic governor.

Tony Evers reverses course on withdrawing from Affordable Care Act lawsuit

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers Wednesday walked back a vow he made to withdraw the state from the Affordable Care Act lawsuit less than 24 hours after making the commitment in his first State of the State address. “The governor has not directed the attorney general to take any specific course of action, he has simply withdrawn his authority for this lawsuit,” Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in a statement. Evers’ reversal comes after the release Wednesday of a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau that splashed cold water on the governor’s plans to withdraw Wisconsin from an ongoing multi-state lawsuit seeking to invalidate the ACA. The memo, sent to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, states there is no legal way for the new governor to fulfill his campaign promise to withdraw the state from the suit. “It is only the Joint Committee on Finance that has the authority to approve any compromise or discontinuance of an action in which the attorney general’s participation was requested.” Evers in Tuesday’s State of the State address clearly stated he would seek to end the state’s participation in the lawsuit. Evers’ proposal drew immediate ire from Republicans, who described the potential move as an illegal action. “This was the story statewide today and now after it’s found to be illegal they are saying they never said it?” he wrote on Twitter. Evers used different wording in a letter to Kaul, stating, “I am immediately withdrawing the authority previously provided under (state law) for Wisconsin to participate in litigation over the Affordable Care Act.” Under previous law, Evers would have had the authority to withdraw the state from the suit. A Kaul spokeswoman did not respond to a request seeking comment on whether Kaul is still reviewing options to get out of the lawsuit.

Scott Fitzgerald casts doubt on Tony Evers transportation secretary pick

Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ pick for transportation secretary is in limbo after Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Friday he has serious concerns about the appointment. Within hours of Evers announcing Craig Thompson, the director of an influential transportation advocacy group, as his selection, Fitzgerald, whose GOP-controlled chamber must confirm all Cabinet appointments, flashed a warning Thompson may be the wrong person for the job. “Gov.-elect Evers has made a wise choice in this selection of a bipartisan consensus builder to tackle the significant transportation challenges facing Wisconsin,” he said in a statement. Other industry and government groups, such as the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, Public Works Association and Operating Engineers, offered their full support of the nomination, referencing Thompson’s leadership in the field and understanding of the critical role of infrastructure to the state. Fitzgerald’s comments came after Evers announced four new agency appointments Friday in Madison as his Cabinet takes shape less than three weeks before inauguration. In addition to Thompson, Evers named Brad Pfaff as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Rebecca Cameron Valcq as head of the Public Service Commission; and Mark Afable as Commissioner of Insurance. During a news conference Friday, Thompson said all options are on the table as transportation funding solutions, declining to offer specifics. Those concerns were echoed by consumer advocacy group Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, or WISPIRG. On Wednesday, Evers announced four other Cabinet appointments in Milwaukee. They are: Preston Cole, a member of the state’s Natural Resources Board and a Milwaukee city official, as Department of Natural Resources secretary; Joel Brennan, CEO of Milwaukee’s Discovery World science and technology museum, as Department of Administration secretary; Kevin Carr, a U.S. marshal, as Department of Corrections secretary; and Sara Meaney, chief marketing officer for Milwaukee Film, as Department of Tourism secretary.

Scott Walker signs all three lame-duck bills into law

Scott Walker signed all three sweeping lame-duck bills into law in Green Bay on Friday, concluding an eleventh-hour effort by Republican legislators to roll back some of the next governor’s authority. Walker, who has faced national scrutiny and calls from Democrats and some Republicans to reject the legislative package entirely, said during the bill signing he was approving the three bills in full, without line-item vetoes. “The overwhelming executive authority that I as governor have today will remain constant with the next governor,” Walker said in front of a faulty Venn diagram trying to show how Evers and Walker would continue to have the same powers to introduce budgets and veto bills, among other powers. However, the diagram didn’t explain key changes included in the bills that limit Evers’ power over economic development, lawsuits and administrative rules. +2 Walker’s signature on the bills provides a victory to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who championed the controversial package that will strip some powers from the governor and attorney general, and limit early voting to two weeks before an election. Vos in a statement lauded Walker’s signature on the legislation as an acknowledgment of “the importance of the legislature as a co-equal branch of government.” Evers, along with other Democrats and some Republicans, including former Gov. For example, lawmakers originally proposed to allow the Legislature to override the attorney general by appointing its own counsel in cases where state law was challenged. One of the most contentious measures in the package will take away Evers’ authority to allow the state to drop out of ongoing lawsuits and give the Republican-controlled Legislature the right to join ongoing litigation without the permission of the attorney general. Republicans have argued the measure would provide consistency in early voting statewide, because municipalities have had more freedom in choosing when to allow in-person absentee voting. The liberal group One Wisconsin Now, which has challenged previous Republican-led restrictions on early voting, is planning swift legal action to address the early voting measures in the lame-duck legislation.