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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wisconsin State Stops Collecting Union Dues- To The Courts They All Go

Quick background, although if were interested enough to click the link, you know the basics, so I will make this short.

Governor Scott Walker proposed a budget repair bill for Wisconsin who is in the red, in that bill Public Employee Unions would no longer be able to have the state collecting their dues for them to be handed over, public employees would have to contribute more towards their health and pensions, but less than regular employees have to contribute.

Democratic politicians who are in the minority ran away from home to prevent passage of the bill, Unions protested, everything came to a standstill until Republicans stripped out appropriations from the bill so they no longer need a quorum just a majority and passed the bill, so did the House and the Governor signed it.

To the courts they all went. Opponents to stop the new law from being implemented, Proponents to argue the law was passed legally. Initially a judge ordered specific players not publish the law, so the Legislative Reference Bureau published it instead (They were not named in the order).

Today both sides go to court as announcements come out that as of Sunday, the state will stop collecting Union dues on behalf of the Unions and the employees will be having the new charges for their health and pension benefits taken out.

Not being an attorney I will leave the explanation to Associate Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School, William A. Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection:

Critics of Gov. Walker's move cite an opinion from the Legislative Council, essentially the staff attorneys at the Wisconsin legislature, who opine that the bill has not yet become law.

As pointed out by Kevin Binversie at Lakeshore Laments, it is quite ironic for opponents of the bill to rely on the opinions of the Legislative Council, since it was the Legislative Council which also opined that the actions of the Republican state Senators in passing the bill complied with Senate Rules.

If the Legislative Council was right that the bill passage complied with Senate Rules, and since legislative Rules trump the Open Meetings Law, then the bill should survive court challenges and there should be no injunction, temporary or otherwise.

Tomorrow will be interesting, as Judge Sumi grapples with the mess created by a precipitous Temporary Restraining Order.

With the law now in effect and paychecks getting an increase since union dues are not being withheld, Democrats are the party arguing for a reduction in state worker paychecks.

There are a couple Twitter members following this closely and reporting from the courtroom, one of which is News Reporter for WISC-TV in Madison, WI, Jessica Arp, and you can keep updated on where things are going in the courtroom at her Twitter feed.

More to come I am sure....