Politics

Wisconsin judge blocks collective bargaining bill from taking effect

Though Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill last week to curtail collective bargaining rights for public sector union employees, the legal battle has only just begun.

Friday, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law from taking effect, at least for now. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued the ruling in a lawsuit that was filed by the county’s District Attorney, Ismael Ozanne.

The basis for Ozanne’s suit is that the legislative committee that broke the weeks-long deadlock over the bill broke state open-meetings law by assembling without posting a 24-hour notice.

In response to the ruling, Assistance Attorney General Steven Means said the state plans to appeal the decision, though he did not give any indication as to when that would happen. A spokesperson for the governor released a statement saying Walker is still confident the bill will become law in the near future.

The bill in question was proposed as part of the governor’s solution for filling a $137 million budget gap, and requires public sector union members to increase their health insurance and pension contributions. The proposal triggered massive protests and Democratic Senators fled the state in order to avoid a vote.

The bill was supposed to be published March 25. Now, that has been postponed in wake of the judge’s ruling.