- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on attorneys Republican lawmakers plan to hire for redistricting appeal (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Assembly Republicans have followed their Senate counterparts and voted to hire two law firms to represent them in an ongoing legal fight over district boundaries.

The Assembly’s organization committee voted 5-3 Thursday to hire law firms Kirkland and Ellis and Bell Giftos St. John. All five committee Republicans voted for the hire. The Senate’s organization committee approved hiring the firms minutes earlier.

A panel of federal judges has ordered the Legislature to redraw district boundaries after finding the lines unfairly consolidate GOP power. Attorney General Brad Schimel plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers say they want to hire outside counsel to write a friend-of-the-court brief calling for reversing the ruling.



The ballots don’t mention how much the firms might cost or cap payments.

___

4:30 p.m.

A panel of federal judges has ordered the Legislature to redraw the boundaries after finding the lines unfairly consolidate GOP power. Attorney General Brad Schimel plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers say they want to hire outside counsel to write a friend-of-the-court brief for them calling for reversing the ruling.

The Assembly’s organization committee was circulating a paper ballot Thursday querying members on hiring the firms as well.

The ballots don’t mention how much the firms might cost or cap how much the Legislature would pay them.

___

2:45 p.m.

There is no estimate for how much Republican legislative leaders want to pay for a pair of law firms to represent them in an ongoing legal fight over the drawing of district boundaries.

The ballot circulated Thursday to approve the hiring of the law firms includes no estimated cost or limit. Taxpayers have already had to foot the bill for more than $2 million in legal fees for defense of the maps.

The ballot being voted on Thursday is to hire the law firms Kirkland and Ellis and Bell Giftos St. John, where former deputy attorney general Kevin St. John works.

The law firms are being hired to write a friend-of-the-court brief on their behalf when Attorney General Brad Schimel asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an order requiring the Legislature to redraw the boundaries.

9:44 a.m.

Republican legislators plan to vote on whether to hire attorneys to represent them in the legal fight over district boundaries.

The state Assembly and Senate organizational committees plan to circulate a paper ballot Thursday afternoon asking members for permission to hire legal counsel.

Myranda Tanck is a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. She says Republicans want to hire law firms to write a friend-of-the-court brief on their behalf when Attorney General Brad Schimel asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an order requiring the Legislature to redraw the boundaries. She said the names of the firms will be released once the ballot circulates and a cost estimate hasn’t been finalized.

A three-judge panel ordered lawmakers to redraw the boundaries in January because the districts unfairly consolidate GOP power.

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