The status of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10
There's a lot of ground to cover here, so I apologize in advance for the wall of text.
The administration of Governor Walker today filed a petition with the State Supreme Court, seeking a supervisory writ to throw out the open meetings case over this bill currently being heard by Judge Sumi.
In early February, newly-elected Governor Scott Walker put forward a bill intended to address Wisconsin's looming budgetary issues. It included salary and benefit cuts for public-sector employees, as well as provisions that eliminated the right to collective bargaining for some, and made it significantly harder for others (by declaring the state would no longer withhold union dues, mandating annual re-certification of union representation, declaring that unions could not negotiate for anything other than salary, and capping salary increases at cost-of-living unless expressly approved via referendum). Things have gotten acrimonious, and after the Democratic members of the Senate fled the state to prevent a quorum (required for all bills addressing fiscal matters), the anti-union provisions were split out and passed as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. Unfortunately, in the course of passing it, the GOP may have violated Wisconsin's Open Meetings Law.
- Wisconsin Senate passes 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (the CBA provisions from Governor Walker's original bill). This is in violation of Wisconsin Law § 19.84, as insufficient notice was given. Specifically, notice went out after 4pm for a 6pm meeting.
- Wisconsin Assembly passes 2011 Wisconsin Act 10
- Governor Walker signs 2011 Wisconsin Act 10
- Judge Sumi issues a temporary restraining order (important quote: "I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10" - note that it does not mention either the Secretary of State or the LRB, though the LRB wasn't named as a party to the suit)
- Wisconsin's Legislative Reference Bureau publishes 2011 Wisconsin Act 10
The bill, as published by the LRB, would appear to indicate that it was part of the Special Session:
Wisconsin Law[/url]]19.84 Public notice.
(3) Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of the meeting.
I haven't heard it articulated yet, but I expect the loophole that they'll try to use to avoid being found in violation of § 19.84 will be the Senate rules regarding special sessions.
SENATE RULE 93. Special, extended or extraordinary sessions. Unless otherwise provided by the senate for a specific special, extended or extraordinary session, the rules of the senate adopted for the regular session shall, with the following modifications, apply to each special session called by the governor and to each extended or extraordinary session called by the senate and assembly organization committees or called by a joint resolution approved by both houses:
(1) No senate bill, senate joint resolution or senate resolution shall be considered unless it is germane to the subjects enumerated by the governor in the special session proclamation and is recommended for introduction by the committee on senate organization or the joint committee on employment relations.
(2) No notice of hearing before a committee shall be required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and no bulletin of committee hearings shall be published.
Section 2 provides that they don't have to give any notice. WI State law allows for a special session to run concurrently with a normal legislative session, and since Governor Walker did order a special session in January, this would superficially appear to be a defense.
Except that Section 1 of the same rule provides that special sessions may only consider resolutions enumerated in the proclamation declaring the special session.
Governor Walker's proclamation doesn't mention anything about unions or collective bargaining.
As I see it, there are three issues in play right now:
1) Was 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 passed in violation of § 19.84?
2) Does Judge Sumi have the authority to order that publication be halted pending a lawsuit over the possible violation of § 19.84?
3) Is release by the LRB a necessary and sufficient condition for 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 to become law?
There was a previous thread about the actions by Governor Walker and our state GOP here. That one got sent to fat camp. Let's keep this one focused on Wisconsin Supreme Court election - I'll create others for specific topics like the eventual efforts to recall Governor Walker when there's something new to discuss. There's already a thread about the State Senate recall efforts here, and one about the Supreme Court Election here.
Also: I'd like to plead for us all to make room for dissenting opinions and reasonable debate.