Panel OKs first settlement under lame-duck laws

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

MADISON — The Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee has approved settling the first lawsuit under the GOP’s lame-duck statutes.

Republicans passed legislation in December that forces Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul to get committee approval before settling lawsuits. Kaul has refused to discuss any cases with the committee, saying settlement negotiations are confidential.

But Kaul asked the committee on Thursday to sign off on a settlement with the owners and operators of a Milwaukee mini-mart accused of selling synthetic cannabinoids. The state Justice Department and the defendants agreed to allow the settlement terms to become public in the case, clearing the way for committee consideration.

No one from the Justice Department appeared before the committee Thursday. Legislative Council Director Anne Sappenfield told the members the settlement was for $350,000 and includes an injunction barring the defendants from selling synthetic cannabinoids.

The committee approved the settlement unanimously. Democrats on the committee still complained that 18 more cases are waiting for settlement approval and the lame-duck laws have ground the legal process to a halt.

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