2003 - 2004 LEGISLATURE
February 13, 2003 - Introduced by Representatives Black, Boyle, Sherman,
Berceau, Cullen, Sinicki, Miller, Young, Turner, Huber, Balow,
Pope-Roberts, Plouff, Krug, Lassa, Travis, Richards, Pocan, Coggs, Shilling
and J. Lehman, cosponsored by Senators Wirch, Carpenter, Risser, Decker,
Hansen, Chvala, Erpenbach and M. Meyer. Referred to Committee on
1An Act to amend
814.245 (2) (d); and to create
18.13 (4g), 165.07, 165.075 and 2
165.076 of the statutes; relating to: creating an Office of Public Intervenor in
3the Department of Justice.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill recreates an Office of Public Intervenor attached to the Department
of Justice (DOJ), with the same duties and authority that existed before 1995
Wisconsin Act 27
. That act transferred the Office of Public Intervenor from DOJ to
the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), eliminated the public intervenor's
authority to formally commence or intervene in lawsuits, and substituted an
eight-member board (consisting of four members nominated by the governor and
approved by the senate and four members each appointed by the majority and
minority leaders of the senate and assembly) for the seven-to-nine-member
advisory committee (consisting of members appointed by the attorney general). The
Office of Public Intervenor and its board were eliminated by 1997 Wisconsin Act 27
The bill requires the attorney general to appoint an assistant attorney general
to serve as the public intervenor. The bill authorizes the public intervenor to do all
of the following:
1. Formally commence or intervene in proceedings before any court whenever
such intervention is necessary to protect the public rights in water and other natural
resources of this state, and requires the public intervenor to intervene in such
matters when requested to do so by a division administrator in DNR.
2. Act as an interested party in actions in which he or she intervenes, with full
power to present evidence, subpoena witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, file briefs,
and do any other acts appropriate for a party to the proceedings.
3. Appeal administrative rulings to the courts.
The bill requires DNR personnel to notify the public intervenor of all
administrative proceedings under the environmental protection chapters and to
make such investigations, studies, and reports to assist the public intervenor either
before or during such formal intervention.
The bill also requires the attorney general to appoint a Public Intervenor
Advisory Council consisting of seven to nine members who have a background in or
demonstrated experience or records relating to environmental protection or natural
resource conservation. In addition, at least one member must have working
knowledge of business and at least one member must have knowledge of agriculture.
The advisory committee must hold open, publicized meetings and must advise the
public intervenor consistent with his or her duties.
The bill authorizes 2.0 attorney positions in DOJ for the purposes of the public
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB46, s. 1
18.13 (4g) of the statutes is created to read:
18.13 (4g) Public intervenor.
Notwithstanding s. 165.075, the public 3
intervenor does not have authority to initiate any action or proceeding concerning 4
the issuance of obligations by the building commission under this chapter.
AB46, s. 2
165.07 of the statutes is created to read:
6165.07 Assistant attorney general — public intervenor. (1)
The attorney 7
general shall designate an assistant attorney general on the attorney general's staff 8
as public intervenor. The head of each agency responsible for proceedings under chs. 9
30, 31, 281 to 285, and 289 to 299, except s. 281.48, shall give notice of those 10
proceedings to the public intervenor, to the administrators of divisions primarily 11
assigned the departmental functions under chs. 29, 281, 285, and 289 to 299, except 12
s. 281.48, and to the natural areas preservation council.
The public intervenor shall formally intervene in proceedings described in 2
sub. (1) when requested to do so by an administrator of a division primarily assigned 3
the departmental functions under chs. 29, 281, 285, or 289 to 299, except s. 281.48. 4
The public intervenor may, on the public intervenor's own initiative or upon request 5
of any committee of the legislature, formally intervene in proceedings described in 6
sub. (1) whenever that intervention is needed for the protection of public rights in 7
water and other natural resources, as provided in chs. 30 and 31 and defined by the 8
Personnel of the department of natural resources shall, upon the request 10
of the public intervenor, make such investigations, studies, and reports as the public 11
intervenor may request in connection with proceedings described in sub. (1), either 12
before or after formal intervention. Personnel of state agencies shall, at the public 13
intervenor's request, provide information, serve as witnesses in proceedings 14
described in sub. (1), and otherwise cooperate in the carrying out of the public 15
intervenor's intervention functions. The public intervenor shall formally intervene 16
by filing a statement to that effect with the examiner or other person immediately 17
in charge of the proceeding. Upon that filing, the public intervenor shall be 18
considered a party in interest with full power to present evidence, subpoena and 19
cross-examine witnesses, submit proof, file briefs, or do any other acts appropriate 20
for a party to the proceedings.
The public intervenor may appeal from administrative rulings to the courts. 22
In all administrative proceedings and judicial review proceedings, the public 23
intervenor shall be identified as "public intervenor." This section does not preclude 24
or prevent any division of the department of natural resources, or any other
department or independent agency, from appearing by its staff as a party in any 2
AB46, s. 3
165.075 of the statutes is created to read:
4165.075 Assistant attorney general; public intervenor; authority.
carrying out his or her duty to protect public rights in water and other natural 6
resources, the public intervenor has the authority to initiate actions and proceedings 7
before any agency or court in order to raise issues, including issues concerning 8
constitutionality, present evidence and testimony, and make arguments.
AB46, s. 4
165.076 of the statutes is created to read:
10165.076 Assistant attorney general; public intervenor; advisory
The attorney general shall appoint a public intervenor advisory 12
committee under s. 15.04 (1) (c). The public intervenor advisory committee shall 13
consist of not less than 7 nor more than 9 members. The attorney general may only 14
appoint members who have backgrounds in or demonstrated experience or records 15
relating to environmental protection or natural resource conservation. The attorney 16
general shall appoint at least one member who has working knowledge in business 17
and at least one member who has working knowledge in agriculture. The public 18
intervenor advisory committee shall advise the public intervenor consistent with his 19
or her duty to protect public rights in water and other natural resources. The public 20
intervenor advisory committee shall conduct meetings consistent with subch. V of 21
ch. 19 and shall permit public participation and public comment on public intervenor 22
AB46, s. 5
814.245 (2) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
(d) "State agency" does not include the public intervenor or
(1) The authorized FTE positions for the department of justice are increased 3
by 2.0 GPR positions to be funded from the appropriation under section 20.455 (1) 4
(a) of the statutes for the public intervenor.
(1) This act takes effect on July 1, 2003, on the day after publication of the 7
2003-05 biennial budget act, or on the day after publication, whichever is latest.