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Judge won't rule until May on budget-repair challenge

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MADISON (WSAU) A judge in Madison will not decide until late May how open the State Capitol should be, and whether the Walker administration should be held in contempt for closing the Capitol last week. Peg Lautenschlager, an attorney for two public unions, filed new legal actions after Circuit Judge John Albert ruled 12 days ago that the Capitol should be as open as it was before the demonstrations on the union bargaining bill.

Lautenschlager wants the judge to end the new rules that require people to use only certain doors to enter the Capitol, and go through metal detectors. She also wants Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch held in contempt of Albert’s order after the Capitol doors were closed last Wednesday night when the Senate passed the union bargaining restrictions.

The building was also closed for four hours the next morning for a security sweep. Lautenschlager says she strongly disagrees with the administration’s claim that there’s a higher security need at the statehouse. She and Assistant Attorney General Steve Means are looking for a “special master” who would mediate access issues and determine if Albert’s previous order is being enforced. It’s quiet now, but concerns could rise again during hearings this spring on the proposed new state budget.

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