Governor Evers walks back comments on ACA lawsuit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers is walking back comments he made in his first State of the State address related to withdrawing Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit seeking repeal of the federal health care law.

Evers said Tuesday that he was "directing" Attorney General Josh Kaul to withdraw from the lawsuit.

But the governor's spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said Wednesday that Evers "has not directed the attorney general to take any specific course of action, he has simply withdrawn his authority for this lawsuit."

The letter Evers sent Kaul only says that the governor is withdrawing the authority previously given to Kaul's predecessor to join the lawsuit.

A state law passed by Republicans in last month's lame-duck session gives Republican lawmakers the authority to withdraw from the lawsuit, not EverS or Kaul.

ORIGINAL REPORT

A new legal analysis from an attorney who works for the Wisconsin Legislature says Gov. Tony Evers can't order the attorney general to withdraw from a lawsuit seeking repeal of the federal health care law.

The memo from a Legislative Reference Bureau attorney was sent Wednesday to Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. It comes a day after Evers announced in his State of the State speech that he was directing Attorney General Josh Kaul to get out of the lawsuit.

A law passed by Republicans in last month's lame-duck session gives that authority to the GOP-controlled Joint Committee on Finance.

The memo affirms that only that committee, and not the governor, can discontinue a lawsuit.

Fitzgerald says "current law is very clear" and any action Kaul takes must follow the law.

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