Gov. Walker faces lawsuit for leaving two vacant seats in legisl - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker faces lawsuit for leaving two vacant seats in legislature

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker is facing a lawsuit after a group says he failed to fill two vacant seats in the legislature for over a year. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee filed suit Monday in Dane County Circuit Court.

Seats in the 1st Senate District and the 42nd Assembly District have been vacated since last December after Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) was appointed by Walker for administrative positions.

The group claims Walker’s refusal to hold a special election to fill these seats is against the law. Governor Walker argues the seats should be filled during the November election to help save the state money. The lawsuit claims "Any vacancy in the office of state senator or representative to the assembly occurring before the 2nd Tuesday in May in the year in which a regular election is held to fill that seat shall be filled as promptly as possible by special election."

Democrats argue Walker doesn't want to hold another special election after his party lost a seat in a Senate race where Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow.

“We don't have any idea on what's coming, there could be a special session or something may happen this summer and we should have someone to hold that seat to vote,” said Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) “Honestly I don't know what the majority party is afraid of to calling an election."

Walker’s administration argues this statue doesn't apply to him because both seats were up for election in 2018, and they resigned in 2017. The administration also says hosting special elections are too costly and the legislature will be adjourned before these seats could be filled. Democrats argue there was plenty of time to act.

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