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Bill would limit legal challenges to state laws

MADISON (WRN)   A proposal that could limit the ability of lower courts to block state laws is on its way to the state Senate. The bill approved by the Assembly Thursday on a 59-39 vote would put circuit court orders overturning a state law on hold, if the ruling is appealed by the state within ten days. An injunction would not take effect then until a higher court reviews the decision.

State Representative David Craig (R-Big Bend) says the change is needed to keep a circuit court judge elected by the people of just one county from stopping a law the majority of the Legislature voted for and the governor signed.

Critics contend the bill is being pushed because of Dane County court decisions against Republican-backed laws, such as the governor’s collective bargaining changes and voter ID. Craig says it just allows a higher court to weigh in before a law is stopped from taking effect.

During debate in the Assembly Thursday, questions were also raised about the constitutionality of the law. State Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) warned that, if passed, the law itself is likely headed directly to court.

It remains unclear when the Senate might consider the bill.