August 8, 2023

Education Advocacy Update: Redistricting Lawsuits and More

Education Advocacy Update: Redistricting Lawsuits and More Featured Image

Redistricting Lawsuits Filed

A coalition led by progressive law firms and Democratic voters marked the first day of a Wisconsin Supreme Court liberal majority by filing a lawsuit with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the state’s Republican-drawn legislative maps. Two additional lawsuits were filed shortly thereafter challenging the maps.

The first lawsuit argues the state’s current legislative district lines, drawn originally by Republicans in 2011 and updated in 2021, violate the Wisconsin Constitution. It asks the court to declare them invalid and eventually decide on new maps. Should plaintiffs succeed, every state senator would have to run for election under new districts in 2024, effectively resetting a chamber where Republicans currently hold a veto-proof two-thirds majority that gives them the power to impose their legislative will on Democrats.

The additional lawsuits were filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and three voting rights groups.

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Judge Janet Protasiewicz Takes Supreme Court Seat

Janet Protasiewicz has begun her 10-year term, marking the first time liberals have had control of the Supreme Court in 15 years. During her investiture ceremony, she repeated her commitment to protecting our freedom, fairness and the state Constitution. “Every one of our decisions will have real-life, far-reaching consequences for the many people in this state,” she said. “Many deal with our most basic rights that are outlined in our constitutions. Decisions this Court will be making will impact some of the most important aspects of our daily lives. We need to make sure the public has confidence in our decisions.”

Along with redistricting, the Court will likely see petitions to take up other critical cases in the future, including voter and worker rights. WEAC is reviewing all options with regard to Act 10 and the restoration of collective bargaining rights in coalition with other unions. “We are proud that the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and Madison Teachers Incorporated stand with us in developing strategy for moving forward together,” Wirtz-Olsen said.

It’s unclear how much the Court will take on in this session. The next Court election is in 2025, when the term of liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley expires.

New Law Allows School Board Members to Volunteer as Bus Drivers

Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill into law allowing school board members to serve as volunteer school bus drivers. Read More

Bill Circulating Would Repeal School Referendum Penalties

A bill circulating for co-sponsorship seeks to repeal school referendum penalties which would prevent 19 districts from receiving the $325 revenue limit per pupil adjustment and an $11,000 low revenue adjustment because they experienced a failed operating referendum and have base revenue per pupil of less than $10,675. School districts are urging quick action due to timelines required to set their levies.

Disability Pride Month

A bill circulating would designate July as Disability Pride Month in Wisconsin. WEAC supports inclusive public schools and opportunities for special needs students and educators. We celebrate their unique contributions and partner frequently to advance our shared vision in our schools and communities.