“Today we are filing a lawsuit and a request for a restraining order to halt the implementation of the harmful impacts of the Governor’s budget on the people who use the services of the Office of the Secretary of State,” Doug La Follette said.

The 2015/2017 Biennial Budget slashes the Office staff to just one and moves historic records to a remote location in the basement of the capitol; this would have a devastating impact on service and to the public wanting to find these important historical records that have been maintained by Wisconsin Secretaries of State since 1848.

The office processes 15,000 apostilles each year and if clients who want to adopt a child, transact international business, study abroad or ship a body overseas cannot receive the documents in a timely fashion they will be harmed. This is hardly a business friendly move to make as Wisconsin’s economy is already in poor shape.

La Follette stated that with only one staff person remaining it would be impossible to provide the needed service to these clients and would create unsustainable stress to the one remaining staff member. The staff person will get sick and has a right to vacation resulting in the office being closed with harmful impacts to many people.

The Office is the custodian of thousands of current and historical documents including: Statutes, laws of Wisconsin, Blue Books, and gubernatorial filings requiring application of the Great Seal (executive orders, proclamations, and pardons), boundary agreement filings, and charter ordinance filings, oaths of office, political action committee filings, special counsel contracts and state bond filings. The Constitution and statutes require these records be maintained by the Secretary of State and must be secure and available for public inspection.

And relocating of the Office of the Secretary of State into a space that is not easily accessible to the public would be a great inconvenience and create confusion to the dozens who come to the office each day and would violate state laws requiring accessibility to the public.

Further if the current staff are terminated, it would take months to recruit and train new employees [one current staff person speaks Spanish fluently which is not easy to replace].
In brief, allowing the provisions of the budget impacting the Sec of State’s office to go into effect will do great harm to many people for many years.

Therefore, we are asking for an injunction to prevent this immediate and long term harm to the public.

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