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Friday, March 25, 2011

Wisconsin collective bargain rights law published, despite court order, Sen. Peter Barca issue press statement

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(Madison, WI)-Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau published a controversial law on Friday, March 25th that makes changes to much-deputed collective bargaining rights law, that caused weeks of protest at the state building in Madison, WI. The move comes despite a temporary restraining order issued by a Dane County judge last week that barred final action to make the law official.

A statement released by Wisconsin's Department of Justice department contends that Act 10 was legally published and did not violate the restraining order. DOJ says Wisconsin's Democrat Secretary of State Doug La Follette did not order the move, and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau was operating under its mandatory duty to publish the measure.

La Follette delayed publishing the bill signed two weeks ago by Republican Governor Scott Walker as long as legally possible, which would have been Friday. La Follette has also waived his immunity from civil action in a lawsuit that resulted in the restraining order.
The Dane County District Attorney brought forward the complaint, saying a Republican controlled conference committee that advanced the budget repair bill violated the open meetings law, invalidating further legislative approval of the bill, a charge first brought up on March 10th by Wisconsin Democrat state Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca. The case is currently awaiting a possible appeal before the state Supreme Court.
Assembly Minority Leader Barca put out a press release late this evening, clarifying that only the Secretary of State in Wisconsin has the authority to publish the law. The statement released, stated the following:
“In conversations this evening with Legislative Council attorneys, I was informed that it is their opinion, as well as the opinion of the Legislative Reference Bureau director, that Act 10 will not take effect based on the actions taken by the Legislative Reference Bureau late this afternoon. 
“This bill has been under a cloud of suspicion since day one. Today’s actions and statements are only perpetuating the problem. The people of Wisconsin expected that because of the court injunction, Act 10 will not be able to take effect. 
“Official publication by the Secretary of State is required for this act to go into effect. The Secretary of State, the only Constitutional officer with the power to publish law, is prohibited by court order from publishing this Act. 
“I can only hope that the confusion resulting from today’s actions and comments does not harm the many communities and people who will be impacted if this does becomes law.  The statements by the administration and legislative leaders only add to the confusion.  We can only hope that their misstatements were not intentional or malicious.”
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