Government

On February 16, 2021, Governor Tony Evers unveiled his 2021-23 biennial budget proposal to a joint session of the Legislature. The Governor’s budget proposal recommended $91 billion in operating expenditures over the two-year budget cycle, which represents a 9.7 percent ($4.043 billion) increase over the prior two-year budget. The majority of the increased expenditures proposed by the Governor are devoted to K-12 school aids, which he stated will result in the fulfillment of the state’s promise to provide two-thirds funding for public school expenditures, which began under Governor Tommy Thompson. Other notable provisions in the Governor’s proposed budget include increased…
As public interest attorneys, we recognize the problems for which our clients seek our help are often just one part of a much bigger issue or issues. For example, a client who seeks help with divorce, custody, and placement may also need help obtaining a restraining order and/or applying for public benefits if their household income has changed. As a section, PILS endeavors to provide training and resources to our members so we can, when appropriate, approach our client representation in a holistic way. This is particularly true when the resource is one of which a PILS member may not…
On January 29, 2021 OSHA released guidance to help employers and employees identify risks related to exposure to and contracting of COVID-19 at work. This guidance is intended to apply to most workplace settings, but specifically does not apply to healthcare or emergency response settings/workplaces. The guidance contains recommendations that are advisory in nature and informational in content, as well as reiterating mandatory safety and health standards. It does not create new obligations or new standards to help employers comply with their obligations to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. Information for Workers OSHA reminds workers and employees of…
Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) recently issued Emergency Order #13, to go into effect at 12:01am on February 10, 2021, replacing Emergency Order #12, which expires at the same time. Citing a reduction in the 7-day case average and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 countywide, PHMDC is, generally, loosening restrictions. In its introductory remarks in Order #13, PHMDC notes that their “conscious, stepwise reopening” has likely contributed to Dane County “having one of the lowest case rates in the state despite it being a population center.” PHMDC notes that as of February 7, a…
Some interesting developments in Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic occurred on February 4, 2021. Specifically, the existence of an official state of emergency changed multiple times. What was the situation as of the morning of February 4? As of Thursday morning, a state of emergency existed in Wisconsin, which had been issued by Governor Evers under Section 323.10 of the Wisconsin Statutes. This allows the Governor to declare a state of emergency lasting up to 60 days. While under a state of emergency, the Governor has certain powers, such as the ability to “issue such orders as he or…
As we enter a new year, many of us, myself included, are hopeful for a better 2021. And in having hope for 2021, we also bear the pain and grief of 2020. Grief and loss are not new concepts for 2020. However, in 2020, grief and our ability to address, confront, and manage it changed. Because of COVID-19, we have been denied many of our usual rituals and support systems to address grief. These include in-person funeral or other celebrations of life, gathering in person with friends and family, or meeting in person with a therapist, chaplain, or trusted friend.…
February 6, 2020:Yay! Gift card to my favorite store, “Rad Stuff, Ltd.” OMG, thank you for the best birthday present ever! I can’t wait to go there! February 7, 2021: Oh, yeah I got a gift card to Rad for my birthday last year, I’m going to finally use it! Expires February 6, 2020? Ugh, that sucks. Oh well, guess I’ll toss it. BUT WAIT!!!! The federal government is looking out for consumers! Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act In 2009, Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act or (“CARD Act”) into action. CARD prohibits expiration…
On Sunday, December 27, President Trump signed into law a general government funding and appropriations bill that included several Coronavirus Response and Relief provisions. The COVID-19 provisions address continued unemployment benefits, provide funding for schools and day cares to operate safely, extend the CDC eviction moratorium, fund another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP), and modify some of the rules regarding PPP forgiveness. Stimulus Payments Individuals making less than $75,000 per year, based on their 2019 tax return, will receive $600. Just as with the previous stimulus payment, the benefit decreases $5 for every $100 earned over the $75,000.…
As pure and abstract as we’d like the operation of justice to be, we all know the practice of law is embedded within an inherently unequal society, and that our work is exacerbated by and perpetuates severe systemic, institutional, and interpersonal inequity. Conversations around power, inequality, and oppression can sometimes be difficult and uncomfortable, but they are valuable and necessary, in order to examine the theories of social interaction and change that underlies our work. The Interactions of Status, Rank, and Power I recently participated in community lawyering training offered by the Shriver Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. One…
Stafford Rosenbaum LLP’s election and political law attorneys have had a 2020 filled with noteworthy cases. The new practice group was launched this year, co-chaired by Attorneys Jeff Mandell and Doug Poland, and has been even busier in the last quarter of the year with cases involving presidential post-election results challenges. Stafford Rosenbaum represents Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on post-election matters, which has involved researching and advising on vote recounts and matters surrounding them. There are now seven lawsuits challenging the presidential election results, two in which Stafford Rosenbaum LLP has been heavily involved that were filed as original…
Effective this morning, Dane County Public Health has issued Emergency Order #11, in response to an improvement in COVID numbers in Dane County. As the order omits mandatory school closure, the Public Health Department also released guidance for schools considering reopening in person instruction. What has changed under Emergency Order #11? Mass Gatherings Citing a decline in the 7-day average in the amount of positive cases in Dane County, as well as a  decline in the odds that any one person in a group of 10, 15 or 25 people would test positive for COVID-19, the Public Health Department…
At the end of last week, the Court of Appeals recommended for publication an opinion resulting from a permissive interlocutory appeal sought by Stafford Rosenbaum on behalf of the City of Monroe.  Stafford sought the appeal after the trial court denied the City’s motion for summary judgment asserting absolute and governmental immunity in response to a slip and fall complaint.  As explained below, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment in favor of the City dismissing the complaint. See Knoke v. City of Monroe et. al., No. 2019AP2003 (Wis. Ct. App. Dec. 3,…
At the end of last week, the Court of Appeals recommended for publication an opinion resulting from a permissive interlocutory appeal sought by Stafford Rosenbaum on behalf of the City of Monroe.  Stafford sought the appeal after the trial court denied the City’s motion for summary judgment asserting absolute and governmental immunity in response to a slip and fall complaint.  As explained below, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment in favor of the City dismissing the complaint. See Knoke v. City of Monroe et. al., No. 2019AP2003 (Wis. Ct. App. Dec. 3,…
In response to a continued increase in the number of COVID cases, Dane County, through Public Health Madison & Dane County, has issued Emergency Order #10, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 16, 2020.  The order keeps all restrictions and other primary aspects of the previous order in place, including keeping the county in Phase 2 of Forward Dane, with most businesses allowed to operate at 50% capacity, and restaurants at 25% capacity. The biggest changes in this order are the following: (1) Indoor Mass Gatherings are prohibited. (2)…
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently found that a continuing trespass does not create a new “event” each day that it remains on the property.  See Ebert v. Village of Gresham, 2020 WL 6278316, ¶¶ 2, 13.  Because a new event is not created each day, a claimant must file a notice of injury within 120 days after the happening of the event giving rise to the claim pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 893.80.  Id.  The court also held that only special circumstances like those in Gillen v. City of Neenah, where a specific statute conflicted with the…
Approximately 37,000 people in Wisconsin who were previously deemed ineligible for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) may now be entitled to one.1 A recent ruling in a class-action lawsuit means that people in jail or prison cannot be denied a stimulus payment based solely on their incarceration status.2 It’s important to understand who is affected by this court order and what steps, if any, they need to take in order to receive their payment. The deadline was Oct. 30, 2020, for those filing by mail, but those filing online may do so by Nov. 21, 2020. About the…