Assembly passes tenant/landlord, court injunction bills Thursday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Assembly passes tenant/landlord, court injunction bills Thursday


MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Assembly approved several bills Thursday that could directly affect our area if passed into law.

The first has to do with local judges. Right now judges have the power to rule certain bills are unconstitutional. It happened with Act 10 and the voter ID law, now some Republican lawmakers don't want it to ever happen again.

"It could certainly cut both ways versus conservative ideologies or liberal ideologies, but what we're saying is we need to have some sort of certainty in the timeline process," the bill's author, Rep. David Craig said Thursday.

Opponents say this bill throws off the checks and balances of state government. "It's an infringement on the power of the courts," Madison Attorney Lester Pines told WKOW.

Pines represented a Madison teachers union in their lawsuit against Act 10. Dane County Judge Juan Colas' ruling kept the law from going into effect. That power would be stripped with this bill, laws could remain in effect until an appeals court decides.

"This is an attack on the Dane County judiciary, it's a continued attack by the governor and the legislature," Pines said. He also said he'll take every step necessary to make sure the law never goes into effect.

Another bill causing some controversy Thursday gives landlords more power over their tenants. The changes concern Madison's Tenant Resource Center.

"They will speed up the eviction process so that the hearing date, the trial date and the return dates have to be scheduled much faster," Housing Resource Specialist Anders Zanichkowsky said.

The bills supporters say right now the eviction process takes too long. The new provisions would allow landlords get rid of evicted tenants' property faster. It also cuts law enforcement out of the eviction process.

"We're very concerned that especially without the presence of law enforcement, that is like adding fire to a powdered keg," Zanichkowsky said.

In a city that the Center says is 50% tenants, most renters just want a fair deal. "It could throw off the balance between tenant and landlord. Obviously, you want a good balance of power between the two, you can't have one walking over the other," Madison renter Erik Jessen said.

The state Assembly also approved a bill that gives veterans priority when they register for UW-System schools. Another bill that passed would invest millions of state and private dollars into start up companies. The bills will now head to the Senate.

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