A Wisconsin circuit judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order that for now blocks enforcement of Wisconsin’s recently passed anti-worker law that prohibits the state’s public employees from bargaining collectively. Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the Wisconsin Senate committee that held hearings last week on a substitute bill that became the anti-collective bargaining law signed by Gov. Scott Walker a few days later violated the state’s Open Meeting laws. The committee did not give the two-hour public notice of the hearing required by state law.
For now, Wisconsin’s secretary of state Doug La Follette cannot publish the new law, and it can’t be enforced until it is published. State officials said that they would appeal the judge’s ruling as soon as possible, perhaps as early as Monday.
Wisconsin lawmakers could take up the anti-worker bill again, hold legal committee hearings, and vote again on the measure, but as of yet, no decision has been made on how the legislature will proceed. More information is available here, here, and here.
Judge Sumi last month, refused a request for a temporary restraining order aimed at making teachers in the Madison public schools return to work during the height of action against Gov. Walker’s anti-worker bill. The Madison school district asked for the order, alleging that teachers who had called in sick and gone to the Capitol to protest Gov. Walker’s action were engaging in a strike, which shut down Madison public schools for four days.
The teachers’ union argued that the teachers weren’t striking; they were merely exercising their free speech rights to make their voices heard in a political issue that involved their jobs and livelihood. Judge Sumi, ruled that the school district did not present sufficient evidence demonstrating that the teachers were on strike. The point became moot when the union told members to return to work.