Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstates law stripping public workers of collective bargaining rights
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget repair bill” after a Dane County judge blocked the law from being implemented in May.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the state’s Supreme Court ruled that a Senate committee did not violate Wisconsin’s open meetings law when they hastily passed legislation to strip public workers of nearly all collective bargaining rights.
“We conclude that the Legislature did not violate the Wisconsin Constitution by the process it used,” the state’s high court concluded.
Fourteen Democratic state senators fled Wisconsin in mid-February to prevent a vote on the budget repair bill. There are currently 19 Republican senators, but the Wisconsin Senate needs a minimum of 20 members present to debate and vote on fiscal legislation.
While the 14 Democratic senators remained in Illinois, Republican state senators created a conference committee and removed all elements of the bill that would require a three-fifths quorum. The Wisconsin Legislature then passed the proposal to limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights.
The Dane County district attorney alleged the committee violated the open meetings law because it did not give 24 hours’ notice before the meeting, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled (PDF) Tuesday that the committee was not subject to the law.