The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau published the controversial union-busting law that is still to be decided on its legality by the state Supreme Court. Of course, laws and legal procedures are merely seen as suggestions by Walker, the Fitzgeralds and the Koch Brothers.
“This is another sign that the governor and Legislature are in a desperate power grab to take away the voice of teachers, support staff, nurses, home health care workers and other public employees,” said Mary Bell, president of the statewide teachers’ union. “These tactics are not in the Wisconsin tradition of open government and do not represent the will of the people.”
Marty Beil, executive director of the state’s largest public employee union, said he didn’t think the action meant the law was going to take effect.
“The problem is they’re (Republicans) the dictator here so we have to go into a court of law and reaffirm it,” he said. “This is Scott Fitzgerald and Scott Walker’s gulag here. It’s craziness. These guys are off the wall. They’re drunk with some kind of power or misconception of reality.”
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, called the action an “illegal backdoor maneuver.”
“This is a dark day for Wisconsin and a travesty to our democracy,” he said.
Even in the statement by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, the legality of the law is in question. Department of Justice Communications Officer Bill Cosh issued this statement:
The Wisconsin Department of Justice learned this afternoon that the Legislative Reference Bureau published Act 10. As noted in the published act, section 35.095 imposes a mandatory, ministerial duty on the legislative reference bureau to “publish every act … Within 10 working days of enactment.” In the same statute, the date of enactment is defined as the approval of a bill by the governor. No action by the Secretary of State is required by this section for the legislative reference bureau to publish an Act. The Secretary of State did not direct the publication of Act 10 by the legislative reference bureau and he is not in violation of the TRO issued by the Dane County Circuit Court.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice will evaluate how the lawful publication of Act 10 affects pending litigation. We have no further comment at this time. We will keep you apprised of any further developments in the pending litigation.
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“I think the courts are going to step in again and say, ‘No, you have to follow the letter of the law. And again they broke it. Again they stepped over the public. Again they broke the law, and I think it’s pretty shameless of Walker and the Republicans,” State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) told 12 News.
Ultimately, the law’s fate likely will be up to the state Supreme Court to decide. A state appeals court earlier in the week asked the Supreme Court to take up one of several lawsuits challenging its approval.
The latest chaos began Friday after the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law at 3:15 p.m.
Bureau director Steve Miller said the action doesn’t mean the law takes effect Saturday. He says that won’t actually happen until Secretary of State Doug La Follette orders the law published in a newspaper, and a judge ordered last week that La Follette not do anything.
“It’s not implementation at all,” Miller said. “It’s simply a matter of forwarding an official copy to the secretary of state.”
La Follette, however, said he didn’t know what the action means – but he’s not doing anything given the court order.
“I think we’re going to have to get some legal opinion on this,” he said.
A judge last week issued a temporary restraining order blocking any further implementation of the law while the court considers the lawsuits. The order specifically blocked La Follette from publishing the law.
Scott Grosz, a staff attorney for the nonpartisan Legislative Council, agreed with Miller and said the action meets certain obligations under the law, but nothing can happen until La Follette acts.
“And at this time the secretary’s actions remain subject to the temporary restraining order,” Grosz said in a memo to Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who said he went to the Reference Bureau with the idea, insisted the action means the law takes effect Saturday.