Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has canceled its oral arguments for most of March and April. New dates for oral arguments will be set at a later date, unless all parties stipulate to the court proceeding with a decision without oral arguments. As of right now, oral arguments are still on for April 20. Below are the cases of note that were scheduled to be heard.
April 20 – Veto Authority Cases
Still on the schedule as of right now are oral arguments on April 20 in two cases challenging the veto authority of the governor. Bartlett v. Evers challenges vetoes by Gov. Tony Evers in the 2019-21 state budget, and Wisconsin Small Business United, Inc. v. Brennan challenges vetoes by Gov. Scott Walker in the 2017-29 state budget.
April 1 (Canceled) – Federal Preemption of Weight Limits
On April 1, the court had been scheduled to hear Town of Delafield v. Central Transport Kriewaldt. The case will decide whether federal transportation law preempts the town’s seasonal weight restriction on certain roads. Federal law (U.S. Code Title 49 s. 31114(a) and Title 23 s. 658.19) requires towns provide “reasonable access” between the interstate and terminals. The court will determine whether Delafield’s seasonal weight limits provided reasonable access.
March 30 (Canceled) – Gambling Statutes
On March 30, the court had been scheduled to hear Quick Charge Kiosk, LLC v. Josh Kaul. The court will determine whether gaming and cell phone charging machines operated by Quick Charge violate certain Wisconsin gambling statutes.
The Quick Charge machines allow customers who insert a dollar in the machine to receive one minute of charging time and 100 credits to play the video chance game. After the charging time expires, customers can no longer play the game but can redeem their remaining credits for cash at the same rate for which they paid for the credits ($1 for 100 credits).
Some municipalities attempted to remove the Quick Charge machines because they believed the machines were illegal gambling devices. In this case, Quick Charge filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the machines are in compliance with Wisconsin’s gambling statutes. The state Department of Justice moved for summary judgment, asking the court to declare the machines unlawful.
The Supreme Court will examine whether or not the gambling statutes apply to this specific type of machine and to promotions run by Quick Charge.
March 18 (Canceled) – Administrative Rulemaking & Guidance Documents
On March 18, the court had been scheduled to hear Papa v. Department of Health Services. In this case, the court will determine whether a Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) policy in DHS’s Medicaid Provider Handbook has the “force of law” (Wis. Stat. § 227.01(13)) and should be promulgated as an administrative rule and subject to judicial review.
Medicaid-certified nurse Kathleen Papa and Professional Homecare Providers, Inc. (PHP) filed this lawsuit against DHS regarding Topic #66 in DHS’s Medicaid Provider Handbook. Topic #66 states that Medicaid providers must “meet all applicable program requirements” for reimbursement. If providers fail to meet all requirements, DHS can recoup payments from the providers. Papa and PHP argued that Topic #66 was an illegal unpromulgated administrative rule and that the policy exceeded DHS’s explicit statutory authority under Wis. Stat. Ch. 227.
The Supreme Court will review the Court of Appeals finding that Topic #66 was not an administrative rule, and thus Papa and PHP could not obtain a declaratory judgement via Wis. Stat. Ch. 227 judicial review of administrative rule proceedings. Additionally, the Supreme Court will review whether Topic #66 – if not a rule – is a guidance document also subject to judicial review under Ch. 227.