By Scott Bellile/Kris Leonhardt
NEW LONDON/MARSHFIELD – Marshfield resident and school board member Mary Carney is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers.
The Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) sued Evers on behalf of several taxpayers, including Carney, who serve on school boards or teach in public schools.
WILL’s lawsuit claims that Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) are not following the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS Act. The act was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in August.
Joining Carney as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Chris Martinson, New London; Kristi Koschkee, Pleasant Prairie; and Amy Rosno, Burlington. Martinson serves on the New London School Board, while Koschkee and Rosno are educators.
All four are participating as taxpaying citizens and are not representing their school districts.
During the Dec. 13 Marshfield School Board meeting, President Marlene Stueland read a statement clarifying the districts nonparticipation in the lawsuit and their lack of awareness that it was in action.
“The purpose of providing my statement was to make certain that the community understands that it is not the Marshfield School Board members that filed this lawsuit,” said Stueland. “I have subsequently learned that there is one school board member that is part of the named individuals for the filing. I also wanted it to be known that the school district is not investing any funds in this, nor do they have any reason to pursue such litigation.
“None of the board members, no one from administration knew about this filing of this lawsuit prior to (a Nov. 22 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) article being published.”
Stueland stated that there would be further action coming from the board regarding this.
“I will be asking to meet with the board members to follow up with district legal counsel to investigate whether or not this board member that is a part of the lawsuit has violated any district board policies,” she said.
Carney has not yet accepted an offer from this publication to comment on this story.
Purpose of the REINS Act
The REINS Act gives the Wisconsin State Legislature more oversight over state agencies when they make rules. According to the bill’s text, the act makes four changes to the rule-making process:
- Requires a state agency to submit its scope statements for a proposed rule to the Wisconsin Department of Administration, which will determine if that state agency has the authority to write the new rule before it is drafted.
- Allows the legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules to request independent economic impact analyses for proposed rules.
- Requires state agencies to hold public hearings and comment periods on proposed rules if the aforementioned Joint Committee sees the need.
- Requires that any new regulation whose implementation and compliance is expected to cost at least $10 million over a two-year period be approved in the form of a bill passed by the state legislature.