MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge was considering Friday whether to block enactment of a law taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of Wisconsin’s public workers.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the legislation Friday morning, but it does not take effect until the day after an official notice from the secretary of state is published in the Madison newspaper. A lawsuit filed by Democratic Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk attempts to stop the publication on the grounds that the bill unconstitutionally passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette said the governor asked him to publish the official notice Monday, but he wanted to talk with Walker before taking that step.

“It doesn’t strike me as prudent to do anything when there’s a possible court action,” said La Follette, who opposed the bill. “It’s been rushed enough already.”

La Follette said his typical practice is to wait the 10 business days he’s allowed under state law before publishing a law.

Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith was hearing arguments in the lawsuit Friday afternoon. It was not clear when a decision would be issued.

The lawsuit contends the Senate did not have the legally required quorum of 20 senators when it passed the bill. Only 19 Republican senators were there when the vote was taken on a stripped-down version of the bill that did not include spending items. Had the spending items been included, at least 20 senators would have had to be present. That number couldn’t be reached because all 14 Democrats had fled the state three weeks before in order to block the vote.

Prior to the Senate taking up the bill, a special committee was convened to remove the fiscal items so a vote could take place. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he ran the move by the Legislature’s bill drafters, attorneys and fiscal bureau and all three said it was legal.

But the lawsuit points out that Walker and Republican lawmakers had repeatedly said every part of the bill had a fiscal impact, including the collective bargaining pieces that remained intact.

Falk argues in the lawsuit that fiscal items remained in the bill and for that reason the vote should be invalidated. She also argues that the special committee meeting to remove the fiscal items was in violation of the state open meetings law because it convened with less than two hours’ notice.

State law generally requires 24 hours’ notice unless there’s an emergency. Senate Clerk Rob Marchant has said the meeting was legally called under rules of the Senate that have no time requirement.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (60)
  1. mark from says:

    I’m sure the ACLU will jump on this band wagon, they have been defending evil from 1931 YOU GO WALKER! JOB WELL DONE! Now lets bring it to Minnesota!!!

    1. Aaron says:

      Ever heard of this thing called the constitution? Obviously not.
      You are a communist. Go somewhere your dictator-esque rhetoric will be appreciated….Perhaps China?

      1. chad says:

        Nope Aaron – I believe you may be the communist. All you people invoke the constitution when it is convenient or fits your agenda.

      2. Lower Middle Class man says:

        Show me where Unions or collective barganing appears in the Constitution – You fool!!!

    2. PSS says:

      KEEP YOU REBUBLICAN ASS OUT OF MINNESOTA marky or you may just get your whimpy butt kicked by a TRUE BLUE AMERICAN

    3. query says:

      ithink lil hitler &hiis koch paid off croneys are right in the right here we ar are barely making a living and walker is just trying to protect us from ourselves we’re poor and stupid the rich always take care us

  2. Liz says:

    Let’s hope that they get somewhere with this lawsuit, REPEAL THEM ALL!

    1. Justin Ulrich says:

      It would be in the 1st and 9th amendments. It is our right to assemble and petition for our rights, and the government has no constitutional power to strip us of our rights as written in the 9th.

      Furthermore there are several articles (IV and IX I believe that pertain particularly to this situation)

      So by the wording of the US constitution itself, stripping people of their right to assemble is unconstitutional, stripping away their rights to do so as they see fit is also unconstitutional. They have been and continue to be peaceful in the protesting and gathering as well as their continued fight for their/our rights to a fair workplace. So there is no grounds what so ever for the government to take up action against them.

      1. Lower Middle Class man says:

        Nothing in this is preventing people from assembleing. It always amazes me how people can take a part of the constitution and twist the wording to fit their situation. All of you people are free to assemble all you want – your are now just not free to force the tax payers to pay not only your wage but your benefits and retirement as well

  3. Eileen Voeltz says:

    From Kathleen Falk’s mouth to God’s ear.

    1. Justin Ulrich says:

      I will also note that Walker’s statement that this bill is indeed a fiscal bill, invalidates the bill by WI constitution. He made the statement verifying this and did the damage himself. A quorum would have been required, not to mention they broke the law for having the open meeting without the required notice and restricting access to the capitol building.

  4. Esme says:

    The Repubs caused this fiscal mess by refusing to raise taxes on the rich for decades. Now they want to balance their budgets on the backs of the middle class. Same old Repub values. Come next election cycle these hypocrites will be out so fast it will make their tiny heads spin! I can’t wait! They destroyed their own chances of re-election. Perfect!!

    1. Lower Middle Class man says:

      They were elected this last time for this same reason – If anything they will be even stronger next election because of it. – You do realize that Union workers make up less than 8% of the working population right – And most of them are in the private sector.

      1. Sue says:

        You are wrong Lower Middle Class man, if anything the repubs have just killed any chances of keeping the majority in the next election because when you look at the polls on this and the fact that Gov. repulse Walker he never campaigned on this issue and now all of a sudden he wants to take away their rights all he wants to do is break up the unions for his friend Koch and it has nothing to do with money because property tax will still go up and layoffs will still happen you wait and see he is a one term Gov. and I can guarantee that the dems will be the majority in MN next election because people are tired of the repubs and their I’m not willing to compromise attitude.

      2. Justin Ulrich says:

        You do realize that this bill is not just an attack on the union workers right? Have you read it yet?
        EVERYONES benefits costs and contributions WILL increase. EVERYONES health care costs WILL increase. Our rights to have a fair opportunity for work WILL be flush down the toilet, do some research on the actual effect of RIGHT TO WORK, pay is less, worker’s rights are stripped. Without unions to have your back you will be nothing more than slaves diving to the bottom to see who can get paid the least.

      3. Lower Middle Class man says:


        The people are really tired of the republicans – Would those people be the one’s who just voted the republicans into a majority just a short time ago???

    2. mark from says:

      The WI Republicans were voted in by the people not the unions. The people were sick and tired of the spending that was going on in WI. Don’t blame the Republicans with a spin, it shows your ignorance of the subject

    3. guy that remembers says:

      Well stated esme. when Clinton was president he made the rich pay their share & where’d that get us……oh i dunno actual budget surplus & prosperity like never before seen in my lifetime. born 1963. Remember how bad those days were everyone. Yeah that really sucked huh??

  5. Brddog says:

    Here is a real dumb question. After all this is all done and settled how much will this cost the state and employees loosing benefit rights? Who pays it? and ah..I thought the great gov. of WI was trying to save money,from what he says. So who actually wins here. How abouyt a response from the republican side, a honest one for a change.

    1. Lower Middle Class man says:

      How will forcing the employees who are effected by this to pay a bigger portion of their own benefits and retirement cost the state ANYTHING. It is because of people like BRDDOG who has a IQ of about that of a Bird dog that makes democrates look like fools.

      1. Justin Ulrich says:

        Again did you read the bill? His increases for benefit contributions are not limited to the public unions, they will go into effect for every worker in this state.

        How about you go out and do just a little bit of research and argue with facts instead of opinions and blatant lies you have been told?

      2. David says:

        Justin thats just stupid how can the gov. force me to contribute more to my own retirement when I’m not a public sector employee you fool.

      3. Lower Middle Class man says:


        What am I missing here. Are you saying that the Gov. can tell the private employeers that they now have to force their employees to pay more of their benefits and retirement? Private employeers decide how much of their employee’s benefits they choose to pay and how much they require their employees to pay. If a private employeer wants to pay all of his/her employees benefits they can. What are you drinking ??????

      4. Lower Middle Class man says:


        Where are you? I’m still waiting on you to explain this to me and everyone else

  6. Jake says:

    I didn’t think Democrats spoke with God anymore. They got tired of having to explain their defense of aborting viable fetuses on demand to him.

    1. Melpa says:

      Yeah, God loves republicans…you know the ones that would rather see disabled, old, poor children & veterans eat cat food than care for them. I am sure he is just loving your hypocratic “fight for life” of a fetus that you follow up with total disregard of the human once it is born.

      1. Jake says:

        What kind of monster are you, Melpa? How can you possibly advocate killing the disabled, old, poor children and veterans?

  7. Herb says:

    Way to draw a target on your forehead missedthemark@MN taxwasters. You have been defending greed and disregard for you fellow man in these forums long as I can remember, so don’tcome off like you or your party of greed cares one iota for anyone other than those who can put $$$$$ in your pocket. Serve the people of Wisconsin? You serve only yourselves and your God(money) That is why Wisconsin is in the RED. Your hero gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy on the backs of those who actually work.There is no problem if the wealthy pay into the system of infra structure and social service that is responsible for generating their wealth, instead you and your ilk have your hands out for more tax breaks sponsored by the poor

    1. mark from says:

      Herb, Ask yourself if you ever got a job from a poor person. And the next time you make a comment blaming Republicans for what happened in WI, read your history, it was the Democrats who controlled both houses. I myself would like to see a flat tax 25% across the board, no deductions, all people pay the same

      1. BUZZCUT says:

        Are corporations people? If not, you can avoid your proposal of 25% across the board tax by forming a corporation. Also, you could avoid paying your propsoal by forming a foreign corporation that does business in the U.S.

        If you have resources, you can avoid paying any taxes with a little thinking. Life isn’t as simple as it appears. Laws will always tilted those with more access to law makers.

      2. mark from says:

        @BUZZCUT You missed my point, let me dumb it down for you. It would be a start for a flat tax.

    2. Lower Middle Class man says:


      You are another Democrat who is a low IQ fool. Currently the top 1% of wage earners pay almost 38% of all taxes paid each year. The top 20% pay over 80% – With the lowest 30 % paying NOTHING!!!!

      1. Sue says:

        I don’t know what kind of drugs you are on Lower Middle Class man or where you are getting your numbers but they are not even close to that. The middle class people are paying a average of 25 % and the top 1% are paying lower than that, that is why Gov Dayton wants to raise that number so the top 1% start paying their share and pay around 28% because they can afford it but the middle class can’t, you moron.

      2. mark from says:

        Lower Class man Well Said Sir

      3. David says:

        where the heck are you getting your numbers sue?? LMCM is right

      4. Lower Middle Class man says:

        Sue lets do some simple math here using you #’s. If the middle class is paying 25% and the lower class is paying 0% my math says that = 25%. 100%-25% = 75%. Who do you think is paying that 75%. I guess I now know why Democrates have a average IQ of well below that of Republicans.

      5. Lower Middle Class man says:


        Where did you go? Are you still trying to do the math on this one????

  8. Esme says:

    I don’t think the Repubs ever spoke with God. They don’t want to support and educate all of these unwanted children once they are born. They have slashed every social program for kids and the poor you can think of. Maybe they want to build more prisons, because that is what it will come to when all of these unwanted kids grow up.

  9. Jake says:


    The rate of tax on the rich is not really material. Either way, I still pay a lot of state tax, and the average teacher’s compensation is more than my private sector compensation. I also have longer hours, no tenure in my field of choice, and year-round employment. I support teachers being fairly compensated, but I do not support them being paid more than us working, middle-class, private sector workers.

  10. OK says:

    They need to do a Qaddafi style beat downs on protesters

  11. Jake says:


    So the new standard of when life is defended is whether there is a social program available to them? That can’t possibly be your point. Otherwise, I fear you’ll be grabbing a machete and heading to playgrounds in poor neighborhoods.

  12. Victim Du Jour says:

    “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospil of envy” -Sir Winston Churchill

    1. mark from says:

      Well said Victim Du Jour

  13. Esme says:

    My point, Jake, as you well know, is that as soon as the “fetus” is born, Repubs lose all interest in it and won’t support it or help in any way. You know this yourself. My 17 year old daughter said the other day that it really makes no sense for Repubs to favor no abortion, because most if not all of those future voters will not be voting Repub, that is for sure. Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom.

    You’re off topic, anyway. I can’t stand people like you who throw out abortion at every opportunity to get a reaction. Grow up!

    1. Jake says:

      @Esme, it is ridiculous and hopefully below you to assume that all Republicans (and presumably, all people who oppose abortion of viable fetuses) are against supporting underprivileged children. In my experience it appears to be quite the opposite. Even assuming that a number of “pro-life” folks are not as supportive as you’d like of governmental early-childhood programs, that doesn’t mean they don’t provide support to impoverished youth.

      I know many folks who give their own time and financial resources to faith-based and secular organizations that work with infants and children. For you to discredit the efforts of these people is disrespectful.

      But you still miss the main point. Replace “fetus” with six-month-old child, a developmentally challenged person, or an elderly person in bad shape. Does the fact that their is a dearth of public resources available to improve their quality of life (or won’t vote for you) mean they should be euthanized? Of course not. The issue is whether a viable fetus has a life interest to be protected by the state (just like the six-month-old, developmentally challenged, or elderly person, or you or I do). if so, they should be protected like the rest of us. How to best provide for the social development of infants and children is a separate debate.

      I cannot argue with your logic that killing poor people would save a lot of money. Nonetheless, I don’t support making a program to do so legal.

  14. Esme says:

    Having worked for many years as a Registered Nurse both in a union-ized hospital and one that was not, there really was no difference in pay or benefits. People have the wrong idea that public or union workers are paid more. Not true. Most of the bargaining rights for nurses were used to help us keep the working hours down to a doable level. I’d like to see these whiny Repubs work two or three 16 hour shifts in a row. The problem is that it’s not humanly possible to provide good care for patients when you are so tired you have to keep walking to keep your eyes open. The only reason more patients have not died under this system is because nurses do their damndest to see it does not happen. With no bargaining rights these long shifts will become more common. Maybe when one of these idiot Repubs has to face the death of a loved one due to an overworked dead tired nurse they will realize how wrong they are. But I doubt it. They will find a way to pass the blame to someone else as usual.

    1. Melpa says:

      well put. I applaud and thank you for being a nurse.

    2. mark from says:

      Esme!!! On the average Union Nurses get 15% higher wage and 20% more in benefits, don’t spin a lie

      1. Jake says:

        @Mark and Esme

        There is nothing wrong with union nurses making more than non-union nurses in the private sector. The market ultimately decides. The problem is when government employees unionize, disproportionately control the political apparatus, and extract far better compensation than the private sector folks who foot the bill. In other words:

        Private Sector Unions = Good (generally, when subject to market forces)
        Public Employee Unions = Fraught with Problems

  15. Esme says:

    To Mark from, the tax cuts for the rich were implemented during the Bush years. Get your facts straight, if you are able.

    1. mark from says:

      Esme I was talking about the State of WI, not the Federal level. But let me ask you a question. Last year when the nurse strike was going on, and the nurses were talking how important the patients were. Why, when the nurses got their money did the strike end? Makes me wonder

    2. Jake says:

      @Esme Really? Is that appropriate discourse?

  16. sam says:

    Meh… Wisconsin is still broke. This wasn’t anything more than a power grab by an all republican government in Wisconsin. The little they will save by this will not solve the budget issues.

  17. Justin Ulrich says:

    Also for everyone’s pure opposition to unions, you don’t have to join a union to work as a teacher or any other unionized field. There are already laws built into the US constitution to prevent anyone from being forced to unionize. So you could be a “private” teacher, they just understand the usefulness of having a collective voice and collective pension.

    I still have yet to see anyone in support of this that has brought any semblance of facts to support their argument for stripping union workers of their rights.

    1. mark from says:

      @Justin Ulrich You are right, a person does not have to join a Union, but, if they don’t they still have to pay non voting dues

  18. David says:

    Thank God, yes God for Governor Walker finally the unions take one on the chin after sticking it to the taxpayer for such a long time. When a union contributes millions to a democratic governors campaign and that governor in tern get elected and turns around and sits down with that same union to “negotiate” wages there is an obvious conflict of interest there that does not benefit the taxpayer . If you dont think that the union head says “give me what I want or we will endorse another candidate” your crazy. Also if collective bargaining is a “right” then why aren’t federal workers allowed to collectively bargain??? And if the people of wisc. dont support this bill then why is Obummer so hesitant to speak out against what just happened, I’ll tell you why because he knows how the people of wisc feel

  19. Lower Middle Class man says:

    I love how people say ” what we need to do is raise the tax on the rich” Ya lets raise the tax on the people who already pay the most. Lets tax the people who start business and hire and pay not only those employees pay but part of their benefits and retirement – Then they can say ” The hell with it ” Close their businesses and put those employees out of work. YA. Thats real SMART!!!!!

  20. Get Real says:

    Lower middle class man:

    How many rich people fund payroll with their PERSONAL income?
    If they do, they are stupid. Payrolls are funded by the company or corporation they head.

    The CEO of United Health made $150 million last year. I guarantee you that he didn’t reach in his pocket to pay a single employee.

    1. mark from says:

      @Get Real Do you even have any idea how a business is run? Just wondering after reading your remarks, I highly doubt it

  21. Worker bee says:

    Nice to see all of you worker bees are turning against each other–that is just what the elites and corporations who run this country want. All of us divided against each other so we can be conquered–or, if you prefer, raped and pillaged until all the wealth belongs to the top 1%. Who pays the most taxes? Try reading and get some facts. Government statistics bear out the facts that the rich pay very little in taxes because of plenty of loopholes in our tax code plus policies implemented by the Bush Administration. Walker’s law is meant to destroy unions and thus contributions to the Democratic party, so that the Republicans can grab more governor positions in the next election. It has NEVER been about saving money–just a political smoke screen. You’re all biting into the poisoned apple of divisive politics.

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