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Gov. Evers (copy)

Immediately after a judge's ruling blocking enforcement of lame-duck laws enacted by Republicans in 2018, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers sought to withdraw Wisconsin from multi-state legal challenges to the federal health care law known as Obamacare.

MADISON — One day after a judge blocked enforcement of GOP lame-duck laws curtailing powers of Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, a state Senate committee is voting on whether to give broad authorization to hire any law firms "deemed necessary" for any matters related to the Senate or any challenge to state law.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, would approve all costs and terms of legal services for the Wisconsin Legislature under the motion circulated Friday morning by paper ballot.

The paper-ballot process allows legislative committees to vote on proposals without discussing them in hearings or other public settings.

The vote suggests lawmakers may give mounting legal costs to taxpayers in the wake of Thursday's ruling by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess.

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It blocked enforcement of the GOP lame-duck laws, which limited the Attorney General's ability to control the state's participation in lawsuits, targeted Evers' power to run the state's economic-development agency and limited early voting hours.

Republican lawmakers also were expected to appeal Niess' ruling soon, possibly on Friday. They also are expected to ask an appellate court to stay, or temporarily halt, Niess' order. 

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