Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wisconsin Anti-Union Law Struck Down By Judge

Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the controversial bill stripping some unions of collective bargaining rights violated state law. The state’s open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of any meeting. Though that notice can be shortened to two hours if “good cause” was shown, the Republicans failed to sufficiently do so.

Lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law in passing the collective bargaining legislation this spring, and therefore, the bill is null and void, ruled Dane County District Judge Maryann Sumi today.

“It is not the court’s duty to determine whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is good public policy or bad public policy; that is the business of the legislature,” according to the ruling. “It is this court’s responsibility, however, to apply the rule of law to the facts before it.”

Sumi ruled that lawmakers failed to give enough notice for the Joint Committee on Conference meeting held March 9, during which lawmakers settled on the final version of the collective bargaining bill. The bill requires most public union employees to contribute more to their health care and pension plans and limits their collective-bargaining powers to salary negotiations.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on June 6 to determine whether it will consider the case, but Republicans claim they will simply re-vote on the issue if necessary. Either way this ruling helps the recall effort because Democrats can claim Republicans violated state law and abused their legislative power.

And when the "activist judge" cries come out in full force, remember she was appointed in 1998 by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

ETA: Gov. Scott Walker has confirmed Republicans will do whatever they need to in order to pass this law. You can read all about it here.

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