Wisconsin Republicans have decided that a judicial restraining order blocking the budget repair bill from becoming law does not actually block the budget repair bill from becoming law. They are going to ignore the courts and govern without them.
This is so shocking I am going to quote from JS Online at great length:
In a stunning twist, controversial legislation limiting collective bargaining for public workers was published on Friday despite a judge's hold on the measure, sparking a dispute over whether it takes effect Saturday.
The legislation was published Friday to the Legislature's website with a footnote that acknowledges the restraining order by a Dane County judge. But the posting says state law "requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment."
The measure sparked massive protests at the Capitol and lawsuits by opponents because it would eliminate the ability of most public workers to bargain over anything but wages.
The restraining order was issued against Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette. But the bill was published by the reference bureau, which was not named in the restraining order.
Laws normally take effect a day after they are published, and a top GOP lawmaker said that meant it will become law Saturday. But the nonpartisan legislative official who published the law disagreed.
"I think this is a ministerial act that forwards it to the secretary of state," said Stephen Miller, director of the Legislative Reference Bureau. "I don't think this act makes it become effective. My understanding is that the secretary of state has to publish it in the (official state) newspaper for it to become effective."
Walker signed the bill March 11. Under state law, it must be published within 10 working days, which was Friday.
The law has not been printed in the Wisconsin State Journal, the official state newspaper, as other laws are. Late Friday, State Journal publisher Bill Johnston said in an email that the notice for the law had been scheduled to run but had been canceled. He did not elaborate.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) claimed it didn't matter that it hasn't appeared in the paper.
"It's published," Fitzgerald said. "It's law. That's what I contend."
Wisconsin Republicans are not only ignoring the courts, but they are even ignoring the interpretation of the agency they are trying to use to circumvent the courts. They are simply going to govern as though the budget repair bill is law, no matter what anyone says.
Every time you think that Wisconsin Republicans cannot get more brazen and dictatorial, they prove you wrong. They are simply disregarding the courts, and intend to govern as though there is no judicial system in this country. They are literally aiming to create a state without judges, public services, or workers' rights. And they will probably claim they are doing it in the name of Liberty.
For more discussion, see Jud Lounsbury and Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse's diaries. ( -- Barbara Morrill)