Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

What’s happening with the already merged boards of elections, ethics? Nothing, yet

With last week’s state Supreme Court ruling striking down the law combining the Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission, the big question is what’s going on with the already merged agencies?

The answer is nothing. Yet.

The Supreme Court opinion, released Friday, invalidates Senate Bill 68, which abolished the Board of Elections and Ethics Commission and combined their functions under one agency. The law has been in place since April and does not provide for an interim board.

The opinion was made along party lines, with the majority justices, registered Democrats, agreeing to invalidate the law and the three justices who are registered Republicans dissenting.

Pat Gannon, spokesman for what is now the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, said changes to bring the agency back to what it was before SB68 have not yet occurred.

“The three-judge panel still has to issue an order in the case to spell out the practical implications in more detail,” he said in an email Monday.

The Supreme Court in its Friday opinion ordered the case be reconsidered by the three-judge panel from a lower court for further proceedings not to be inconsistent with its decision. The lower court is expected to get the case Feb. 15, unless jurisdiction is transferred earlier.

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