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Janus v AFSCME

U.S. Supreme Court to Address First Amendment Rights of Censured Board Member

On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a Petition for Certiorari review in Wilson v. Houston Community College System. The issue before the Court is whether a Board’s resolution to censure a Board member violated the First Amendment. This issue is before the U.S. Supreme Court after a decision by the U.S. Court of…

CDC Relaxes In-School Masking Guidelines For Vaccinated Students And Staff

On Friday July 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its guidance on mask-wearing within K-12 schools, advising that vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings. In anticipation of the 2021-2022 school year, the CDC published new guidelines, highlighting the need for flexible, context-specific decision-making…

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Dept. of Education’s Proposed Rule Prompts Debate about Critical Race Theory in Schools

As the 2020-21 school year drew to a close, public and private schools across the state began receiving an influx of inquiries from parents, community members, and the media regarding the issue of “critical race theory” and curriculum.  Public school districts have received various public records requests from citizens and organizations regarding any such curriculum…

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Supreme Court Rules in Student Free Speech Case

On June 23, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., finding in favor of the student plaintiff (B.L.) in a highly anticipated school speech case. The Supreme Court held that, though public schools may have a special interest in regulating certain off-campus student speech, the interests offered…

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U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance Interpreting Title IX To Cover Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Notice of Interpretation of Title IX,  which prohibits sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal financial assistance. The  guidance does not address specific LGBTQ+ student issues that schools have been navigating in recent  years, such as names/pronouns, restroom/locker room access, and parent rights. It…

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Dane County Order Closing Schools

Today, on June 11, 2021, in the matter of James v. Heinrich, 2021 WI 58, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that that local health officers do not have the statutory power to close schools under Wisconsin Statute § 252.03. Additionally, because the schools involved in the case were private religious institutions, the Court held that…

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Contract signing

Wisconsin Supreme Court Declares State’s Mask Mandate is Unlawful

Today, March 31, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision held that Governor Evers exceeded the emergency powers provided to him under Wis. Stat. § 323.10 in issuing a state-wide mask mandate. The Court ruled, “…Executive Orders #82 and #90 – both of which declare a public health emergency in response to COVID-19…

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Governor Evers Takes Action on Open Enrollment Bill

On Friday, March 26, 2021, Governor Evers signed Senate Bill 109, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 18, related to open enrollment. This Legal Update will discuss how open enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is affected by the Governor’s actions. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have been offering a virtual learning option…

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Tax Credits for Voluntary Employer-Paid Sick and Family Leave Expanded and Extended through September 30th Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan of 2021 into law. After several modifications by the House and Senate, the final version of the American Rescue Plan includes an extension of the tax credits for employer-paid sick leave and family leave through September 30, 2021. In general, this extends the…

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DOL Issues New Rule for Determining Independent Contractor Status

DOL Issues New Rule for Determining Independent Contractor Status

*On May 5, 2021 the Department of Labor issued a new Final Rule that withdrew this Rule. The Rule was never made effective before it was withdrawn. This withdrawal was expected with the change in administration. Employers should continue to rely on the previous “totality of the circumstances” economic realities test that has been used…

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