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There are several legal issues raised by the Budget Repair bill fiasco, including:

The conference committee was convened in violation of Wisconsin Open Meetings law because 24 hours notice was not given. Even if the Republicans could come up with a valid reason for waiving the 24-notice requirement, they are still required to give at least a 2-hour notice, which was not given.

The conference committee was convened without a Senate Democrat present, in violation of its own standing rules.

The severed budget bill violates the principle of Home Rule (a constitutionally protected right under our state constitution) as well as Due Process and contract interference clauses in both the state and federal constitutions.

However, the biggest legal problems surrounding the severed bill have to do with the constitutionality of the bill itself...

1. The severed budget repair bill contains provisions that have a fiscal impact on the state. These provisions were not legally voted on last night by the Senate in the absence of the 3/5 quorum required by Article VIII, Section 8 of the Wisconsin State Constitution. The fiscal provisions included in the severed bill are:

a. Changes to the health insurance and pension systems of Wisconsin public employees.


b. A provision allowing for the sale of state-owned power plants to private interests (through a no-bid scheme, by the way).

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