Patti Wenzel

State agency publishes collective bargaining bill; is it now law?

By - Mar 25th, 2011 05:57 pm
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Scott Walker signs the amended bill into 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.

On March 18, after Judge Sumi issued the order restraining LaFollette from publishing the act until a full hearing could be held on issues pertaining to the violation of open meeting laws by the conference committee on March 9, LaFollette sent a letter [link courtesy Madison Isthmus] to the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Mike Barman asking him to not proceed with publishing the bill until he provided the agency with a new date.

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.”

0 thoughts on “UPDATE: State agency publishes collective bargaining bill; is it now law?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    in the January 17,2011 New Yorker Magazine, is a superb article about the Constitution of the United States. (“The Commandments”/Jill LePore. For those of you concerned about our current situation, you should be able to find it at

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Sen. Chris Larson that this will add fuel to the recall movement. I expect a new state senate before the first of the next year, with recall of Scott Walker to follow quickly thereafter.

    As the old Chinese curse goes: “May you live in interesting times!”

  3. Anonymous says:

    John, First, the current challenges in court are laughable both on merit and questionable rulings. Second, if thinking there is a growing recall movement for Republicans and Walker, time and votes will show how AstroTurf this really is. Do not forget recalls work both ways. Likely voters polls do not provide stats to cherry pick from that support the liberal fantasy. Ask people to raise there taxes instead, for any number of the “losses” to public employees that resulted from collective bargaining being removed, I have to say good luck! When you figure 20 states and the whole Federal gov’t. does not have collective bargaining. It is very safe to state that the vast majority of public employees do not have what WI public employees had. Other important numbers like sustainability of the current benefit package and comparison to private sector all fail to help this movement you speak of.
    Sumi should have recused herself from the case rather than play politics which she clearly did. Her son has direct dependency for income with the plaintiff, and her inability to see the influence connection on her part shows how partisan her ruling was in the first place.
    All is not lost because when the WI Supreme court hears this case, Cheif Justice Shirley Abrahamson will have to remove herself! Because of the large campaign contributions she took from unions there is no way to remain on the case.
    Any way you dice this it is over, rub the sleepers out of your eyes and wake up. It is a new day in WI and thank God we are living in interesting times!

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