MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - A Wisconsin judge is blocking a controversial new state law that strips most public workers' collective bargaining rights.
Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi says she thinks the Democrats may prevail with their open meeting argument. She's issued a temporary restraining order, blocking Secretary of State Doug LaFollette from publishing the law on March 25th.
Opponents of the budget-repair bill say a committee meeting last Wednesday was held without the required 2-hours advance notice. The Clerk of the State Senate had earlier said the two-hour requirement wasn't necessary because the legislature was in special, not regular, session. Demoncrats also argued that the public wasn't allowed to attend the committee meeting or the State Senate session that followed because public access to the Capitol was restricted.
The Walker administration announced as of 1pm they'd filed an appeal to get the restratining order lifted. It's possible there could be an emergency hearing this afternoon or Monday. Judge Sumi hasn't scheduled a full hearing on the case until March 29.
State Senate Democrats left Wisconsin last month in an effort to prevent a vote on Governor Scott Walker's budget bill that included the union rights provision.
Senate Republicans separated the union question from the budget bill to speed up a vote.
It's not clear if Governor Walker and the legislature will try to pass a similar bill again.