Judge rules that bargaining law not in effect
In a stunning move at the end of business Wednesday, Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch released a statement saying the DOA would indeed continue to enforce Act 10, also known as the budget repair bill. This despite a court order just yesterday from Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi, who promised to rule by Friday on the legality of the bill’s passage.
Here is Huebsch’s statement:
“I have a legal obligation to execute all laws pertaining to my department that have been passed by both houses of the legislature, signed by the Governor, and published into law. The Department of Justice has concluded that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has met those requirements and is now effective law. My legal counsel agrees with the Department of Justice’s legal reasoning and conclusions. Accordingly, it is my duty to administer that law.
“On the other hand, Judge Sumi made clear in comments from the bench yesterday that she intended to prevent further implementation of Act 10 by anyone including, apparently, non-parties such as myself and the Department of Administration. Yet, the TRO she issued fails to state that Act 10 is not in effect. In fact, Judge Sumi declined a request to declare that Act 10 was not lawfully published. It is unclear how she can issue an order binding non-parties to a case who have not had their day in court.
“Because of the questions this TRO raises, its legal effect on my implementation of Act 10 is also unclear. DOA will continue to monitor court proceedings and work with legal counsel and the Department of Justice to determine an appropriate course of action.”
Foreshadowing of Huebsch’s decision can be found in another statement, released yesterday by the Dane Country Republican party in response to Sumi’s ruling.
Its text reads:
By Judge Sumi’s action today, it is apparent that she has forgotten those roles and she thinks that her job is to be a member of all three branches. The Republican Party of Dane County believes it is time for the judicial branch to stop being judicial activists. If they want to legislate the laws, they need to run for political office not judicial office.”
However early Thursday morning, Sumi ruled that the state law, which sharply curbs most collective bargaining rights from public employees, is not in effect.
In a two paragraph order, published at 8:15 this morning, Sumi’s ruling states:
“Based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29, 2011, evidentiary hearing, it is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published within the meaning of (state statutes), and is therefore not in effect.”
Despite his statements last night, Dept. of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said today that Gov. Scott Walker’s administration would comply with the ruling.
“While I believe the budget repair bill was legally published and is indeed law, given the most recent court action we will suspend the implementation of it at this time,” Huebsch said.
Home page photo courtesy “Hispanics for School Choice” via Flickr