The Wisconsin Supreme Court gave legislative Republicans a victory in SEIU v. Vos, but Governor Tony Evers’ agencies will not have to seek public input on guidance documents that explain their regulatory authority and interpretations of state laws.

“Guidance docs are the ‘secret playbooks’ that say how state agencies will apply existing law,” explained Lucas Vebber, deputy counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), in a post on Twitter. “Bringing these out into the light of day {and} involving the public was a good government reform to make the activities of state regulators more transparent.”

But that law was struck down in an opinion authored by Justice Dan Kelly, a conservative. However, Kelly also said guidance documents do not have the force of law.

“That said, it is a good thing that the Court went out of its way to make clear that guidance documents are not law and bind no one,” said Vebber. “As Justice Kelly wrote in the majority opinion, ‘Functionally, and as a matter of law, they are entirely inert.'”

Despite the documents’ lack of legal standing, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce called on the Evers Administration to still preserve transparency by keeping the guidance documents public.

“The governor should follow precedent set by his predecessor and require his agencies to post guidance documents online, hold public hearings on such documents before they are finalized and cite their underlying authority for any regulatory requirements,” said Cory Fish, WMC General Counsel and Director of Tax, Transportation & Legal Affairs in a statement released Thursday. “Businesses and individuals deserve to know about and have input on the rules government is mandating them to follow.”

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