It’s never really over in Wisconsin, is it? Dane County Judge throws out collective bargaining reform law
And the wheel keeps turning in Wisconsin. The long, strange trip is not over.
First it was Dane County Judge Sumi who interjected herself into the legislative process by striking down the collective bargaining reform law, only to be overturned by the State Supreme Court which rejected challenges to the process used to pass it
Now a different Dane County judge has struck the law down again (decision here), this time on the ground that state employees have a constitutional right to collectively bargain, and has reinstated the law as if the legislature never passed the reforms.
Gov. Scott Walker’s law repealing most collective bargaining for local and school employees was struck down by a Dane County judge Friday, yet another dramatic twist in a year and a half saga that likely sets up another showdown in the Supreme Court.
The law remains largely in force for state workers, though a federal judge struck down part of that section of the law as well earlier this year. But for city, county, and school workers the decision by Dane County Judge Juan Colas returns the law to its status before Walker signed his law in March 2011.
Colas ruled that the law violated workers’ constitutional rights by making denying to union workers certain powers available to their nonunion counterparts. The decision could still be overturned on appeal – the Supreme Court has already restored the law once in June 2011 after it was blocked by a different Dane County judge earlier that year.
“The decision essentially creates the (2011) status quo for municipal employees and school district employees because it declared that the essential provisions of Act 10 to be unconstitutional,” said Lester Pines, an attorney for the Madison teachers and city of Milwaukee employees who are plaintiffs.
Walker vowed to fight on, again via JSOnline:
In a statement, Walker criticized Colas and said that he was confident that the state would ultimately win on an appeal.
“The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5th. Now, they are ready to move on. Sadly, a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backward and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the Legislature and the governor,” Walker said in a statement.