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Many Wisconsin Republican appointees with expired terms still on state boards

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FILE - Fred Prehn at an August, 2021 Wisconsin DNR Board Meeting (Screenshot Wisconsin DNR YouTube)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Three members of the state board that oversees Wisconsin’s technical colleges and who were appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker have refused to step down, even though their terms ended more than a year ago.

Gov. Tony Evers has nominated six people to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, but none have been confirmed by the GOP-controlled state Senate. Three of the six nominated by Evers are serving on the board because Walker appointees stepped down at the end of their terms.

The other three are among dozens of Evers appointees that are waiting to serve on various state boards, including the UW System Board of Regents, but lack the Senate’s confirmation.

Terms on the technical college board expired in May 2021 for dairy farmer Becky Levzow, Vice President of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Kelly Tourdot and former Republican state Rep. Mary Williams.

Their approach is the same taken by Walker appointee Fred Prehn, of Wausau, who was encouraged by Republicans to keep his seat on the state Natural Resources Board to ensure GOP control, even though his term expired last year.

Evers appointed Prehn’s successor, a move that would have given his appointees a one-member majority on the board and his administration the power to shape environmental policy.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul sued to force Prehn off the board. The state Supreme Court’s four-justice conservative majority ruled that a vacancy must exist before a governor can fill it — and that a vacancy occurs only if the incumbent dies, resigns or is removed for misconduct.

The decision essentially prevents a governor from replacing the previous governor’s appointees without Senate confirmation.

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