Judge: Decision on blocking lame-duck laws within 24 hours

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A judge says he'll issue a decision on whether to block laws Republicans passed during a lame-duck legislative session within 24 hours.

Five unions filed a lawsuit in Dane County in February arguing the laws violate the separation of powers. Judge Frank Remington heard hours of oral arguments Monday. At the conclusion of the hearing he said he will issue a written decision on whether to order a preliminary injunction blocking the laws or portions of them by the end of business Tuesday.

Remington wouldn't say how he would rule but did say the order will deny Republican legislators' request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Another Dane County judge has blocked the laws in their entirety in a separate lawsuit last week. The 3rd District Court of Appeals is considering whether to stay that order.

The laws limit Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul's powers. Republicans passed the statutes in December, just weeks before Evers and Kaul took office.

Evers says he is moving ahead "as quickly as possible" to fill vacancies after a judge's ruling last week struck down 82 appointments Republicans made during a lame-duck legislative session.

Evers told reporters Monday that he doesn't know how quickly he can fill the positions, but some of the posts may go to people who previously held them. One opening is on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and another is on the Public Service Commission.

Evers' attorneys released a brief in opposition to the legislatures emergency motion to stay the temporary iniunction pending interlocutory appeal.

Republicans have asked a state appeals court to put the ruling striking down the lame-duck laws on hold.