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September 2016 Archives

Welsh Wins Important Rulings for Medicaid Providers

On September 27, 2016, the Waukesha County Circuit Court ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services may lawfully recoup past payments to Medicaid providers only if the Department cannot verify that the services were provided or if the Department determines that the amount paid was inaccurate or inappropriate for the services.

Packard Helps Same Sex Couples Win Ruling Guaranteeing Two-Parent Birth Certificates

More than two years after marriage equality came to the State of Wisconsin, in September 2016, the Honorable Judge Barbara Crabb of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the State of Wisconsin must issue birth certificates reflecting both same-sex spouses as parents of their children born to one of the spouses since Crabb's marriage equality ruling on June 6, 2014. This victory was achieved by the attorneys at Lambda Legal and cooperating local attorneys, including Tamara Packard. The Court has also issued an injunction, which describes the steps families should follow to obtain two-parent birth certificates.

Crawford Prevails in Public Records Dispute in Dane County Circuit Court

On September 12, 2016, Susan Crawford prevailed in a public records dispute in the Dane County Circuit Court on behalf of Madison Teachers, Inc. (MTI). The circuit court ruled that James Scott, Chairman of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, violated the public records law by refusing to release to MTI a record of the public school employees who had voted as of the midpoint of the union's annual recertification election in 2015. The court found that Chairman Scott's rationale for withholding the records due to the potential for "voter coercion" was pretextual, and did not overcome the strong presumption in favor of openness recognized under Wisconsin law. The decision was an important win for open government and public sector labor unions. Under 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, public sector unions must be recertified annually by a vote of at least 51% of all employees in the bargaining unit, not just the employees who cast a ballot. Employees who do not cast a ballot before the close of the election are treated the same as if they voted against the union. Receiving the voter lists during the election thus will help unions to focus their get-out-the-vote efforts on employees who have not yet cast a ballot. Given that the recertification elections are now conducted electronically, receiving timely voter lists is the only means for unions to monitor voter turnout. An appeal is expected.

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