Wis. Judge Declares Union Law Not In Effect

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge ruled Thursday the state’s divisive new collective bargaining law had not taken effect, and officials in Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration say he plans to comply with the ruling and to halt preparations to begin deducting money from public workers’ paychecks.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued her declaration a day after Walker’s aides said they believed the law was processed correctly and that they would continue efforts to enact it, despite the judge’s warning to halt such efforts.

Two Walker administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the governor hadn’t publicly announced his plans said he would announce later Thursday that he would comply with Sumi’s ruling.

The law would require most public sector workers to contribute more to their health care and pensions, changes that amount to an average 8 percent pay cut. The measure also strips them of their right to collectively bargain any work conditions except wages.

Walker signed the proposal into law earlier this month after weeks of large pro-union protests in and around the state Capitol, prompting Democrats to file several lawsuits challenging its legitimacy.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed a lawsuit alleging Republican legislative leaders violated the state’s open meetings law in the run-up to a vote on the plan. Sumi issued an order blocking Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, typically the last step before it can take effect while she considers the case.

But Republicans convinced another state office to publish the law online on Friday and declared the law took effect the following day. The state Department of Administration has begun preparations to start taking the deductions out of state workers’ paychecks.

Sumi issued another restraining order on Tuesday after a day of testimony that reiterated her initial order. She warned anyone who violated it would face sanctions.

But state Justice Department attorneys and DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch said they didn’t believe that order applied to the Walker administration since it wasn’t named as a defendant in Ozanne’s lawsuit. They continued work to implement the bill.

Early Thursday morning Sumi added the non-effect declaration to her restraining order clarifying that the law has not been published and is therefore not in effect. She is expected to take more testimony at a hearing on Friday.

Ozanne said Thursday that Sumi’s ruling speaks for itself. Justice Department spokesman Bill Cosh had no immediate comment.

A spokesman for Republican Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he had nothing new to say beyond his previous statement that he didn’t believe the judge had the authority to interject herself into the affairs of the Legislature given the separation of powers.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald had no immediate comment.

The Legislature was scheduled to be in session Tuesday to pass other parts of Walker’s plan to balance the current year’s budget that faces a $137 million shortfall. There were no immediate plans to take up the collective bargaining piece again. The judge has said lawmakers could avoid the legal fight by passing it a second time, but legislative leaders have said they are confident it was done correctly the first time and it will prevail in court.

The law would require that about $30 million be saved by the state by July 1 through increased pension and health care contributions. If enactment of the law is delayed, the deductions from state workers would have to increase in order to get those savings by that time.

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

  • Eva

    Awesome….Now lets get ridd of the Walker crowd already. Send the Koch Brothers back to where they came from, and put somebody in there that is interested in making things right equally and fairly across the board. don’t give tax breaks to corporate sponsors on the backs of hard working ordinary citizens.

    • Phid

      “Hard working ordinary citizens”? How do you know they are “hard working ordinary citizens”? How much do those union bosses make again?

      • MsM

        Do you sir do the job of the public workers? IF not the same question is put back to you.

    • Steve

      Awesome Now get rid of the Unions and Collective bargaining. Pay your share. Home School your children and do not buy union made cars.

      • MsM

        You do realize that you have drank some bad kool-aide? Public workers pay taxes and pay for their pensions. Your PRIVATE company deducts money from your wages for 401K’s then spends your money and you lose it because of BAD MANAGEMENT by big business and you give your supposed investment to CEO bonus’ that is YOUR choice. Next time you need your road plowed, go do it yourself or hire a private company to do it…next time you want to have fairness in child support – do not ask the non-existant public employee to advocate for you.

  • KIDS

    I love all the idiotic brainless college kids who have nothing better to do than to cheer on this madness…though they know not what it means. I hope they fail out of college and have to become teachers, that would be just.

    • TG

      You know if they fail out of college they can’t teacher right??? Then they become angry business men who never got an education and hate the world and govt..

      See other people can make really bad generalizations too!!

      • d

        I thought you were talking about Governor Walker. Silly me

      • Kim M Hunter

        Teachers have to go to college AND graduate before they could even think about becoming teachers. The dictator Gov of Wi says he wants the best and the brightest. Really? How is he going to get those people when all he does is rant about how terrible all of the teachers are? All public workers too. Does everybody forget the fact that the Gov of WI is a public worker?? What does that say about him? Teachers will finally get a pension at the end of their working years and will receive about $20,000.00 annually. Does that mean rich to most of the people of WI?? I doubt it. Kim M. Hunter

    • Zeke

      @ kids. It takes a college degree to be a teacher. They would not have it if they failed. You are correct in the process used by the Republicans is madness.

    • Shelley

      You say teacher like it’s a bad thing? Actually, those college students are probably more well versed in politics than the average citizen who listens to only one side. College broadens your mind to at least listen to others….you don’t have to agree, but you learn to respect differences. Something sorely lacking from both right and left these days.

      • Lisa Gonyea


        What gives you the idea they get more than one view in college? Madison…one of the most Liberal cities in the county, believe me ..they are getting one view only. Perhaps age and some independent thought may mke them wiser.

        • TG

          It isnt a “liberal college” because things are taught that way.. Its because of the make up of the student body.. And no one said anything about Madison.. Maybe they are talking about the other colleges too?

        • Michael B.

          Colleges deal in facts, data, and research. Too bad for you those things have a liberal bias. Conservatives deal with gut feelings of anger, greed, and jealousy. That’s what we have private christian colleges for.

          • MsM

            @Michael B
            Well said……my young friends are tired of hearing the same old b.s. from those that could not make it in college whine about “liberal”. I am hoping that some day they open a dictionary – or even better yet, look the word up online to find the real meaning of the word “liberal” then look up the word ‘conservative”. They will find that neither word is a swear word nor is either word to be feared…they are two words that a spin doctor hired by the GOP has villified by attempting to place a “spin” on the words to make them SEEM profane and ugly. It is a 1950’s tactic that the GOP still clings to in hope of gaining all the power in the USA and put those dang middle-class and poor people, back in the cotton fields and in shacks where they belong ya know.

    • tiredandretired

      Fail out of college and become teachers? That is not possible, unless Walker gets his way. You see, he has proposed that teachers in charter schools need not be licensed. Sound like good education policy? Of course not!

      • Dave

        Because parents that homeschool must be licensed? ……

      • MsM

        Walker and his friends are still ticked off that they had to do their own homework and could not pass college exams – so the way to deal with the people who have a brain – convince others they make more money than they should and create a class warfare. Point the finger the people who have the solution so you can pay back your greedy campaign buddy friends is Walker’s only goal..that and try to prove to the people that he went to high school with that he really wasn’t a idiotic dork.

    • how About Them Apples

      ….and then we have extremists like you.

      • MsM

        @KIDS those are the very people that will decide which nursing home you belong in – the nursing homes that Walker and his cult are driving into the ground..the under-staffed nursing homes with failing mechanical systems, poor facilties for bathing and basic human needs. Now that would be JUSTICE!!!!

    • Mark

      Sorry, but my guess is that any teacher could run intellectual laps around your sorry butt. For every bad one, there are at least four that would give their lives for their students. I know I would.

      ps: I got to where I am because of my master’s degree, and my close attention to the latest peer-reviewed research.

  • Try Again

    Time to call for a vote, and make all the Dems flee for Illinois again =-)

    Just delaying the inevitable.

    • TG

      They don’t need to call another vote.. the bill already passed.
      The issue at hand is that the republicans did not follow the proper procedure for implimenting the law.

      I guess for those Tea Party folk who are all about getting out the corrupt and having things “done right” this is probably not really what they were talking about though huh?

      Keep in mind, i’m a Dem, and i fully realize that the “people of Wi. have spoken” and elected the Rep. to the majority and they intern passed the law.. Thats fine and dandy, but please follow the proper procedures to impliment it..

  • Fred

    8 percent pay cut on health and pension benefits or 8 percent on total pay and benefits? That’s the difference between 400 dollars a year or 4000. Why is that not made clear?

    • stratman

      If I recall it was the 8% of their annual salary would contribute to their health & pension benefits

  • Pat R

    A spokesman for Republican Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he had nothing new to say beyond his previous statement that he didn’t believe the judge had the authority to interject herself into the affairs of the Legislature given the separation of powers.

    Does this guy know that the reason there is a judical branch is to prevent the legislative branch from running rough shot over everything. Yes the judge has all the authority in this country backing her. It is part of our constitution. Sucks when the republicans have to play by the rules, especially when they get their hands slapped for over stepping their boundries.

    • Sammy Tyler

      Pat R

      Your response is terribly flawed. I feel sorry for you.

      • TG

        The Judicial branch has the following responsibilities under the Checks and Balances in Separation of Powers… It seems they do have the authority to stop this from taking affect if the process through which it is being implimented does not follow the proper process.

        Determines which laws Congress intended to apply to any given case
        Determines whether a law is unconstitutional
        Determines how Congress meant the law to apply to disputes
        Determines how a law acts to determine the disposition of prisoners
        Determines how a law acts to compel testimony and the production of evidence
        Determines how laws should be interpreted to assure uniform policies in a top-down fashion via the appeals process, but gives discretion in individual cases to low-level judges. (The amount of discretion depends upon the standard of review, determined by the type of case in question.)
        Polices its own members
        Judges remain subject to impeachment and removal by Congress

        • Erik

          This decision ensures the law will be enacted according to the correct procedures. It will not change the outcome.

      • Worker bee

        Pat R. Your comment is right on. Walker needs to retake his 9th grade Civics class. As for Sammy Tyler, you can join Walker going back to that civics class. Your ignorance is showing….

        • Sammy Tyler

          Worker bee

          I know you love Walker in secret.

      • TG

        Why is it flawed? Arent the republican’s barking about the same issue with Obama “taking us to war” with out congressional approval? The president afterall is the executive branch and he is “just doing his job based on separation of powers” and the legislative branch shouldn’t be able to step in and say anything…. Right?

    • MsM

      @Pat R

      You are absolutely correct. Our country was set up to have the 3 executive branches to stop the very thing that is happening in WI from happening. What you have right now in WI is a dictatorship based on the Communists idiology. Reeks don’t it.

      • stratman


  • great

    This is great. It just accelerates the demise of the dems and their cohorts. Keep it up.

    • Joanne

      If the only strong party left is the Republican Party, and that party starts doing things you don’t like, where do you turn? We need a two party system in this country. That is what makes democracy work and what makes it great. Germany had only one strong party too (the Nazi party) and look what happened: it started out great and turned into a horror story. Want that to happen here?

      • TG

        I don’t know that I would say the Dem Party isn’t strong. Keep in mind just two years ago they took over the fedearal house, senate and pres overwhelmingly.. Things go in cycles and that is healthy for the country.. Eventually the Dems will win back power and then people will say the same stuff about them. I’m a moderate Dem and I think there are a lot of good ideas coming from the Repubs right now.. Certainly not all of them, but some… Things will turn eventually and then there will be good ideas from the Dems too. Again.. not all of them, but some..

        • Shelley

          Maybe since moderates are really the majority, we can form our own party. Reps and Dems each have around 35% (maybe less) apiece and they both lie to the independent middle at election time. Reps used to be moderates, but then that’s back in the days when people respected one another as well.

          • TG

            While I think it would be a great idea it probably wouldnt work. The two party system is to strongly rooted. Few Dems would vote moderate because they would be afraid that it would take votes away from a Dem Candidate running agains a rep. and the Republicans would likely vote the same way. People are too afraid of loosing to vote in a way that would actually make a difference and it is very unfortunate.

            • Walker

              OMG Shelly and Tom posted reasonable thoughts and actions. What is the connection. Moderates who are willing to listen to ideas from both viewpoints. Makes for better problem solving. Something that is sorely lacking from both extremes.

              • Walker

                Oops sorry TJ not Tom

              • TG

                Lets not get ahead of ourselves here!!

  • TG

    Thats the spirit! name calling and assuming that because she doesn’t agree with the republican ideology that she is a hag and should retire… Not to mention being paid off… I’m sure walker isn’t in anyones pocket (KOCH!!!)

    • MsM

      @TG now that there is funny stuff…spot on- but right on the money. Do these posters for the Greediest of People party realize that judges are appointed, they are attorneys who have came up through the ranks and surprise, surprise, may have been appointed by a re-pub governor? Maybe they did not receive a very good edgiecation (tongue in cheek). :)

  • stratman

    Sounds like the judge is just delaying the inevitable

  • Ambrose


    I love the black cat poster. Very dramatic lol.

  • Victim Du Jour

    Yeah, if the Judge is getting the same work benefits as the Union people, we know why she is favoring the Union over an elected Republic.

    • Gordon

      If the judges continue not to fall in line with the Republican wishes they will get the same treatment from the Republicans as the teachers do. The Union the judge is favoring is the State of Wisconsin laws as set forth by previous legislators.

  • stratman

    Unfortunate for the unions that so much attention is on WI, a far more debilitating bill is about to be signed by Gov Kasich in Ohio. I’m sure few Americans are even aware of this.

  • just saying

    I think this is just for the benefit the dems to give them a little hope. Remember, many of these voting legislature members are attorneys who know the law. This judge will be found to be incorrect and the law will go ahead as it should. The decision makers voted the way the people (majority) wanted. That is it….plain and simple.

  • MNTom

    Fire them all, then hire back teachers there were unemployed before this all started without no union. End of story.

  • MNTom

    How much money did she get from Obuma

    • Michael B.

      Bribery is purely a republican tactic. She just knows what’s right.

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