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UPDATE: Wis. committee deletes DOJ solicitor general spot

UPDATED Thursday, May 23, 2013 --- 6:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's finance committee has deleted provisions in Gov. Scott Walker's budget that would create a solicitor general's office within the state Justice Department.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants the office to handle complicated cases and oversee appeals. Walker's 2013-15 executive budget devotes $960,500 in general purpose revenue to fund five positions in the office, including the solicitor general, three attorneys and a legal secretary.

A Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis notes the governor has the ability to appoint outside counsel to help DOJ attorneys and it's unclear whether the office would save the state any money. The analysis found the budget sets the office's attorney salaries at more than twice the starting rate of other state attorneys.

The Joint Finance Committee voted 16-0 to delete the provisions Thursday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 --- 4:41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is telling legislators he needs a new solicitor general position in the state Justice Department to help defend Gov. Scott Walker's policies.

Walker's executive budget includes $960,500 for a solicitor general's office. Both Walker and Van Hollen are Republicans.

Van Hollen justified the move to the Legislature's finance committee Tuesday, saying the office could help DOJ litigate complicated cases.

Democrats on the panel questioned why Van Hollen can't use the attorneys he already has. Van Hollen countered his lawyers are stretched thin and don't have the expertise needed to deal with all the court challenges Walker's policies have sparked. For example, he says it's hard to find DOJ attorneys who aren't in a union to handle challenges to Walker's contentious collective bargaining changes.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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