2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
March 8, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Hebl,
Wachs, Anderson, Berceau,
Bowen, Crowley, Kessler, Kolste, Mason, Pope, Sargent, Sinicki,
Spreitzer, Subeck and C. Taylor, cosponsored by Senators Vinehout,
Johnson, Miller, Hansen, L. Taylor and Risser. Referred to Committee on
1An Act to renumber and amend
757.19 (3); and to create
757.19 (2) (h) and 2
757.19 (3) (b) of the statutes; relating to: judicial disqualification based on
3campaign financial support.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill requires a supreme court justice and a judge in the court of appeals,
in circuit court, and in municipal court (judge) to disqualify himself or herself from
a civil or criminal action or proceeding (action) if, as a candidate for judicial office and
within the past four years, the judge received campaign financial support of $1,000
or more from a party to the action. The bill specifies that financial support includes
campaign contributions, independent contributions made on behalf of the judge, and
independent contributions made against the judge's opponent. In the event that a
judge must disqualify himself or herself under the condition established in the bill,
the judge may disclose the reason for disqualification and ask the parties and the
lawyers of the parties to consider whether to waive disqualification. If the party who
is opposed to the party who provided campaign financial support to the judge waives
disqualification, the judge may participate in the action.
Current law requires a judge to disqualify himself or herself from an action
under certain circumstances, including when a judge is related to any party or
counsel to the action, when a judge is a party or a material witness in the action, when
a judge has a significant financial or personal interest in the outcome of the action,
and when a judge determines that he or she cannot, or it appears he or she cannot,
act in an impartial manner.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
757.19 (2) (h) of the statutes is created to read:
(h) 1. In this paragraph:
a. “Campaign financial support" includes contributions to the judge's candidate 4
committee, independent expenditures made on behalf of the judge, and independent 5
expenditures made against the judge's opponent.
b. “Candidate" has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (1).
c. “Candidate committee” has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (2).
d. “Contribution" has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (8).
e. “Independent expenditure” has the meaning given in s. 11.0101 (16).
f. “Party" includes an immediate family member of a party, a party's business 11
or business partner or associate, an attorney or law firm representing a party, and 12
a partner or associate of the attorney or law firm representing a party.
2. When a judge has received, as a candidate for judicial office and within the 14
past 4 years, campaign financial support from a party to the action or proceeding in 15
an amount of $1,000 or more.
757.19 (3) of the statutes is renumbered 757.19 (3) (a) and amended 17
(a) Any Subject to par. (b), any
disqualification that may occur under 19
sub. (2) may be waived by agreement of all parties and the judge after full and 20
complete disclosure on the record of the factors creating such disqualification.
757.19 (3) (b) of the statutes is created to read:
(b) A judge who is required to disqualify himself or herself under sub. 2
(2) (h) may disclose on the record the basis of the judge's disqualification and may ask 3
the parties and their lawyers to consider, out of the presence of the judge, whether 4
to waive disqualification. If, following disclosure under sub. (2) (h), the party who 5
is opposed to the party that provided campaign financial support to the judge 6
determines that the judge should not be required to disqualify himself or herself, and 7
if the parties and the lawyers of the parties all agree, the parties may waive 8
disqualification of the judge, and the judge, if willing, may participate in the action 9
or proceeding. The agreement or waiver shall be incorporated into the record of the 10
action or proceeding.