State Watch

Wisconsin Dem governor removes 82 Scott Walker appointees added during lame-duck session

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Friday removed 82 appointments made by his predecessor, Gov. Scott Walker (R), during last year's lame-duck legislative session.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Evers's decision comes just a day after Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess invalidated the confirmation of Walker's appointments during a December overnight session.

Niess said Thursday that he was voiding all appointments and legislation passed during the December session, stating that lawmakers convened the session in a way that violated the state's constitution, according to the news outlet.

"These seats are now considered vacant, but we are committed to working as quickly as possible to fill them and minimize the disruption to the important work done by these boards, committees and councils," Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel.

The Republican-led state Senate will not be able to reconfirm Walker's appointments following the ruling.

"We absolutely believe that these nominees were nominated and confirmed legally and will continue to serve in those positions once the constitutionality of the extraordinary [legislative] session is upheld," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said in a statement, calling the move "irresponsible."

Evers, according to the paper, is using the judge's decision to counter Walker's attempts to limit his powers upon taking office.

The lame-duck laws were passed after Evers and state Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) were elected but before they took office, severely limiting their power.

Evers announced Thursday that Wisconsin would no longer be a part of a multistate lawsuit seeking the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The two had been prevented from getting out of the lawsuit because of one lame-duck measure.

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