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Walker budget axes Wisconsin’s independent employment review agency

February 10, 2017

Wisconsin state capitolCalling it an “unnecessary layer of government,” Governor Walker’s 2017-2019 biennial budget proposal calls for the complete elimination of Wisconsin’s Labor & Industry Review Commission (LIRC). LIRC has existed in its current form since 1977.

As an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the State of Wisconsin, LIRC was established to provide a fair and impartial review of state Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions involving unemployment insurance, worker's compensation, fair employment and public accommodation cases. LIRC is comprised of three Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor for staggered six-year terms and subject to Senate approval.

LIRC reviews thousands of ALJ decisions each year and its decisions are appealable to Wisconsin’s circuit courts.

Under the Governor’s budget proposal, LIRC’s responsibilities would be shifted to individual Division Administrators in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. A complete copy of the Governor’s budget proposal is available here.

Significantly, the Governor’s budget proposal is merely the beginning of the state budget process. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will next develop its own version of the state budget. We will continue to monitor the status of this proposal as the Legislature works to finalize a budget later this summer.

To learn more about potential developments impacting your workplace, please join us for our 28th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar in Madison (Feb. 14), Green Bay (Feb. 22) or Milwaukee (March 2), Wisconsin.

This blog was reprinted in the National Law Review on Feb. 15, 2017, which can be viewed here.

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