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Wisconsin governor sues Republican legislators over withheld college pay raises

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Dive Temporary: 

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers filed a lawsuit in opposition to Republican state lawmakers this week that accused them of impeding authorities features, together with by unlawfully withholding pay raises for Universities of Wisconsin system staff. 
  • The criticism, filed in Wisconsin’s Supreme Courtroom on Tuesday, argues that a number of latest lawmakers’ actions try and bypass the traditional legislative course of to alter state legal guidelines. 
  • Evers, a Democrat, pointed to the Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Employment Relations, which voted earlier this month to exclude Universities of Wisconsin staff from already-approved pay raises for all state employees. The lawsuit goals to remove the committee’s potential to veto the pay changes, arguing that the facility violates the state’s separation of powers.

Dive Perception: 

The lawsuit represents an escalation within the battle over the state’s DEI spending. Republican Wisconsin state Rep. Robin Vos, who co-chairs the employment relations committee, has stated he would block the raises until the system minimize DEI jobs. 

In a Tuesday announcement, Evers accused the state’s employment relations committee of “holding hostage statutory pay raises” for the system’s roughly 43,000 staff by “demanding that UW first make coverage concessions to the Legislature not discovered or required in any regulation.”

In July, Evers signed Wisconsin’s two-year funds, which included 4% raises for state staff within the first 12 months and a pair of% raises within the second. Nevertheless, the Universities of Wisconsin system can not implement the raises with out approval from the state’s employment relations committee. 

That committee’s leaders blocked the raises throughout a gathering earlier this month. Throughout it, Vos, who can also be Meeting speaker, proposed solely permitting the raises to go ahead if the system handed the Legislature the facility to approve new college positions.

Republican lawmakers had tried to chop these positions in Wisconsin’s funds, however Evers vetoed the proposal. Nevertheless, the bundle did minimize $32 million from the Universities of Wisconsin funds — the quantity Republicans anticipated the system would spend on DEI initiatives over the subsequent two years. 

The criticism asks the court docket to declare the committee’s veto provision unconstitutional. 

“As soon as the Legislature handed the biennial funds invoice, the baton handed to the chief department to manage the pay changes therein,” the lawsuit argues. “However this legislative veto permits [the employment relations committee] to delay, approve, or reject UW’s pay changes for any motive.”

Vos didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Wednesday. A consultant for state Sen. Chris Kapenga, the opposite committee co-chair, stated he was unavailable to remark. 

The lawsuit additionally names legislators on two different committees that Evers accused of unlawfully obstructing authorities features. 

Wisconsin Senate Majority Chief Devin LeMahieu referred to as the lawsuit “frivolous” in a Tuesday assertion

“The Governor is working to decrease the voice of Wisconsinites by limiting the authority of the legislature and unduly strengthening his personal administration,” LeMahieu stated.



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