Wisconsin Judge Overturns No-Call Fine Amount

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A county judge in Wisconsin ruled that a state agency overstepped its bounds when it increased fines for the state no-call list to $10,000 per violation, the Wisconsin Realtors Association said yesterday.

The judge in the Dane County court rolled the fine back to $100 in a ruling issued June 29. The state no-call list itself remains intact after the ruling.

The Wisconsin legislature passed the state's no-call statute in 2001, but then-Gov. Scott McCallum vetoed a part of the law that called for a $10,000-per-violation fine. The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection stuck with the $10,000 fine, citing existing general trade practice laws to justify the amount.

Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi's ruling overturns that administrative decision. However, the Realtors Association, which had opposed the administrative decision, said it did not expect the legal fight over the fine amount to be over.

"In no uncertain terms, the court reminded us the legislature makes the laws in this state -- not state agencies," the association said in a statement. "We expect the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to appeal this decision because it restrains their authority not only on these rules, but on other rules as well."

The association called on the department to refrain from filing an appeal and work with businesses in rewriting the state's no-call rules.


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