State agency publishes collective bargaining bill; is it now law?
The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau published Wisconsin Act 10, or the budget repair bill, late Friday afternoon. The bill was signed by Gov. Scott Walker on March 11, but had been under a temporary restraining order placed by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi stopping Secretary of State Doug LaFollette from publishing it as planned today.
Representatives from the LRB said they are only following State Statute Section 35.09(3)(a), which directs the agency to “publish every act and every portion of an act which is enacted by the legislature over the governor’s partial veto within 10 working days after its date of enactment.
State Statute Section 35.09(3)(b) has similar language, but is directed toward the secretary of state.
It is unclear if the act now becomes law, since section 35.09(1)(b) states the “date of publication means the date designated by the secretary of state.
A memo between Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and the Legislative Council released Friday evening, it is noted that LRB Chief Steve Miller explained that the effectiveness of Act 10 is based on the publication of the act by the Secretary of State, not the LRB. He said the LRB published the Act this afternoon to satisfy a statutory publication requirement that is separate from the duty of LaFollette.
Miller contends Act 10 will need to have a separate, additional publication by Secretary of State Lafollette before the bill will go into effect.
If and when Wisconsin Act 10 does become law, it would restrict collective bargaining rights only to the subject of wages (with raises limited to the consumer price index increase), removing bargaining on health and pension contributions and plans, vacation, sick leave and other areas that had been part of bargaining for over 50 years.
The collective bargaining changes have been the central “tool” for Gov. Walker’s 2011-13 biennial budget proposal. He said that the cuts in state aid to municipalities and school districts could be offset by the savings realized by changing health and pension benefits and work rules.
The Department of Justice, which has been arguing against the TRO issued by Sumi, issued a statement following the publication of the bill by the LRB.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice will evaluate how the lawful publication of Act 10 affects pending litigation,” wrote DOJ Communications Director Bill Cosh. He added since LaFollette hadn’t directed the publication of the act, he is not in violation of the TRO issued last week.
Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), one of the 14 Democrats who fled to Illinois to slow the passage of the budget repair bill, said this will just strengthen the Republican recall movement.
“Walker and the Republican are shameless,” he said. “Again, they step over the public and break laws to take worker’s rights.”