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Fight over settling state lawsuits shows just how dysfunctional things are in Madison

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What a mess in Madison. The two political parties can’t seem to agree not only on the rules of the game, but just what game they are playing. The mess started when the Republican-controlled legislature passed new laws requiring the new democratic Attorney General to get their permission before signing off on the settlement of any lawsuits involving the state. Attorney General Josh Kaul met with legislative leaders to discuss possible settlements in lawsuits. But first he asked them to sign confidentiality agreements not to discuss the settlement, as is common. If anything leaked, the settlement could be off. But they refused, and talks broke down, which could lead to Wisconsin losing out in millions in money from the settlement of these lawsuits. Then days later legislative leaders hired a private lawyer, at taxpayer expense, to sign the non-disclosure agreement on their behalf. That makes no sense. Why pay a private lawyer $290 an hour to review an agreement those we elected to office could have signed themselves? These are the same lawmakers who slashed money from the Governor’s budget saying the state couldn’t afford to pay more for things like special education. But somehow when it comes to covering their backsides, they have plenty of money for legal expenses.

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