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Walker Administration Reverses Course, Will Comply with Restraining Order on Anti-Union Law

After initially defying a second court order to stop implementation of a Wisconsin law stripping most collective bargaining rights from public employees, I guess Scott Walker felt that the third order from Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi did the trick. The Walker Administration will actually stop implementation of the law.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s administration will comply with a judge’s order to put on hold temporarily a controversial law curbing the collective bargaining rights of state public employee unions, two state officials tell the Associated Press.

The move comes after Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the law had not been properly published and was not in effect, the Journal Sentinel reports.

I guess the Walker Administration finally figured out that there was an additional branch of government in Wisconsin. Here’s that third order from today, by the way, where Judge Sumi states clearly that the law “has not been published… and is therefore not in effect.”

So that ends one of the sorrier chapters in this saga. Now, Judge Sumi has to rule on the actual case at hand, namely whether the Republicans in the Legislature violated the open meetings law when they called a quickie conference committee to get the anti-union bill passed. In addition, there’s an appeal of the temporary restraining order, which is in the hands of the state Supreme Court. They have not yet decided to take action.

Waiting in the wings are additional court challenges to the law, including one which claims that there were fiscal elements included in the “non-fiscal” legislation, which would mean that it did not receive a quorum, since the Senate voted on it without Democrats present. And there is likely to be another challenge, on the grounds that the changes to municipal pensions violates “home rule” statutes.

The legal challenges, therefore, are ongoing and could take months. And in the meantime, you have battles at the ballot box, including next week’s for state Supreme Court, and a series of potential recall elections of state Senators. So this backlash to union-busting continues in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.

…I have immediate reaction from a Wisconsin labor source: “It’s a sad comment on this administration when their complying with the rule of law comes as a surprise”

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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