2019-2020 Legislative Session

Divided Government Begins

As an advocate for the legal rights of all Wisconsin citizens, the Wisconsin Association for Justice works with the legislature and other governmental bodies to preserve our civil justice system and ensure everyone has the ability to seek justice - including preserving the Constitutional right to a civil jury trial.

New legislators were installed January 7, 2019. The terms of Governor Evers, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Attorney General Josh Kaul began the same day. WAJ will begin lobbying legislators and the administration as legislation begins to circulate in the Capitol.

If you would like to help, please contact your area legislators and make sure they protect the legal rights of Wisconsin consumers.  Here is the link to contact your legislators. Please let us know when you reach out so that we may make the most of the relationships you have in your community.

List of Bills Monitored by WAJ During the 2019-20 Session

This page will be updated with information on WAJ's core legislative priorities. We will strive to include information on bills affecting civil justice as they are introduced and debated. 

As the legislative session progresses, please visit the Wisconsin Ethics Commission's (formerly the GAB) Eye on Lobbying Website to see the full list of bills on which WAJ has taken a position. The website lists all bills on which WAJ has taken a position and on which WAJ has lobbied legislators. 

If you need more information about WAJ's legislative activity, please contact Jim Rogers: jim@wisjustice.org


March 11, 2019

Assembly Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Bill Allowing Service by Email (Opt-In) and Bill allowing Personal Service for Notice of Claims Against the State.

On Thursday, March 14, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will hear two bills of interest to WAJ members.

The first, AB-58, changes the requirements for serving the Attorney General with a notice of a claim against the state under Wis. Stat. § 893.82. Under current law, parties must strictly comply with the statute and are required to serve the Attorney General by certified mail to their office at the Capitol.

In 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held in Sorenson v. Batchelder, 2016 WI 34, 368 Wis. 2d 140, 885 N.W.2d 362 certified mail was the only acceptable form of service based on the language in the statute. This bill will allow a party to serve the state with notice of a claim either by personal service or by certified mail to the Attorney General at their office in the Capitol or at the Department of Justice.

AB-58 has bipartisan support and was introduced by Representative Ron Tusler (R-Harrison). The State Bar of Wisconsin also supports this bill.

The second bill, AB-59, allows the service of pleadings and other documents by electronic mail, if a party consents to receive documents in this format. Under the bill, service is considered complete upon transmission, except if the sender receives notification or indication that the message was not delivered. 

AB-59 also features a bipartisan list of co-sponsors and was also introduced by Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison).

WAJ supports both bills.


February 22, 2019

Two Pending Supreme Court Rule Petitions May Impact Your Practice.

Petition 19-02 creates a pilot program to move to 100% electronic filing for the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

Homepage for petition 19-02.

View the petition text here.

View the supporting memorandum here.

Interim rule for Appellate e-filing under pilot program.

Based on the rule and supporting documentation, the Court plans to identify a list of frequent users of the system, focused on entities like the DOJ, the State Public Defender’s office, and some large law firms to serve as the population for this test run.

Written comments are due by March 20. Those who wish to have individual input may submit comments to the Court by following the directions contained in the rule and the supporting memorandum.

A public hearing on this rule change is slated for April 8 in the Supreme Court chamber.


Petition 19-01, is of importance to the everyday function and practice in our circuit courts.

Homepage for petition 19-01.

View the petition text here.

Amendment to petition text, dated February 22.

View the supporting memorandum here.

The proposed rule, in this case prepared at the behest of the Judicial Conference, seeks to get ahead of a current and continuing shortage in available court reporters by altering the statutes (rules) that govern how circuit courts make and maintain the record of court proceedings.

The biggest change is that it allows audio recording in lieu of a court reporter. As with court reporters, the new rules would not necessarily order a written transcript unless required or requested. Without taking a position on the proposal, changes of this magnitude introduce new variables and the potential for technical error as well as increasing the frequency of disputes between parties as to the accuracy of transcripts produced from audio recordings.

Written comments are due by March 20. Those who wish to have individual input may submit comments to the Court by following the directions contained in the rule and the supporting memorandum.



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