Monday, December 31, 2007

Continued at our new location

R.I.P. RSB, WSC

On January 1, 2008 the Revisor of Statutes Bureau will cease to exist and the Legislative Reference Bureau will assume responsibility for the Revisor's duties.

and
The Wisconsin Sentencing Commission and its statutory provisions under [Wis. Stat.] §973.30 were eliminated in the State’s 2007-09 Biennium Budget. Neither the Commission nor any other agency will continue to collect and analyze sentencing guidelines worksheets. Sentencing courts are still required to consider the guidelines under §973.017 (2)(a), yet will not need to complete or submit guidelines worksheets. ...

(both via WisBlawg)

This Week in Liberal Judicial Activism: Week of December 31, 2007

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos.

Mr. Whelan was the featured speaker at our chapter's March 8th luncheon.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Professor challenges amendment banning gay marriage

Stacy Forster reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on a lawsuit pending in the Circuit Court for Dane County alleging the recent amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution is invalid.
The amendment [Wisconsin Constitution Article XIII, Section 13] reads: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard G. Niess dismissed all but one of the plaintiff's claims on the ground of lack of standing.
But, Niess said, [Plaintiff Bill] McConkey has the right to challenge the amendment on the grounds it wasn't properly presented to voters.

That issue will be argued in May.
McConkey and Lester Pines, a prominent Madison attorney representing him pro bono, have argued that the amendment wording covered two subjects - marriage and civil unions - that shouldn't have been mixed into one question.

They allege the amendment violated the provision of Article XII, Section 1 that
if more than one amendment be submitted, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against such amendments separately.

The first annotation to that section says,
It is within the discretion of the legislature to submit several distinct propositions to the electorate as one constitutional amendment if they relate to the same subject matter and are designed to accomplish one general purpose. Milwaukee Alliance v. Elections Board, 106 Wis. 2d 593, 317 N.W.2d 420 (1982).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bills enacted December 21, 2007, Act 42

Act 42 Regulation of cable television and video service providers, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Comments of the Speaker of the Assembly, Michael Huebsch, on proposed draft of the Redistricting Committee

The Wheeler Report posts his December 21, 2007 filing with the Wisconsin Supreme Court (No. 02-03) elaborating on his remarks (see this earlier post) on the Committee's report (see this earlier post) proposing procedures if there is a legislative impasse on redistricting after the next census.

Monday, December 24, 2007

This Week in Liberal Judicial Activism: Week of December 24, 2007

Ed Whelan at Bench Memos.

Mr. Whelan was the featured speaker at our chapter's March 8th luncheon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

State Bar supports limited-license proposal for in-house counsel

Jack Zemlicka reported in the Wisconsin Law Journal, December 17, 2007.
The endorsed proposal would allow non-resident attorneys in good standing with their native bar association to practice with a Wisconsin employer and be subject to a one-time licensure fee and an annual Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) assessment.

Open enrollment school district transfers may not be denied because of applicant's race

Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion (OAG-4-07) December 20, 2007 applying Parents Involved in Community Schools, et al. v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, et al., to Wis. Stat. sec. 118.51(7).
Van Hollen’s opinion analyzes the application of the statute and concludes that “the effect of section 118.51(7)(a) upon an otherwise eligible open enrollment applicant who resides in or applies to a school district eligible for Chapter 220 aid is to make the applicant’s racial classification the determining factor in whether the applicant will be permitted to transfer to fill an available space in the receiving district.” Applying Supreme Court precedent, the opinion reasons that the “transfer limitation in section 118.51(7)(a) has all the essential features of the Louisville school assignment policy invalidated in the Seattle School District No. 1 case.” Thus, the opinion concludes that “the portion of section 118.51(7)(a) that requires a school district eligible for Chapter 220 aid to reject an open enrollment application if the requested transfer into or out of the school district would increase the district’s racial imbalance is inconsistent with the equal protection guarantee of the United States Constitution.”

The opinion was requested by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Bills enacted December 17, 2007, Acts 40-41

Act 40 Payment of the costs of advanced placement examinations taken by certain pupils.

Act 41 The filing of certain forms related to tax incremental financing district number 6 in the city of Rhinelander.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Exigent circumstances

If police show up at a house with a battering ram, and nothing happens, have the police created exigent circumtances, or are exigent circumstances lacking altogether?

Prior case law in the Seventh Circuit says the former; a new decision says the latter.