A judge in Wisconsin has reiterated that the budget repair bill stripping collective bargaining rights for state workers is not currently law. Wisconsin reporter Jessica Arp on Twitter:
New order adds in any further implementation, to issue declaration that act has not been published, says act is not in effect.
Even though the same judge had already issued a temporary retraining order preventing the law from going into effect on March 18th, this reiteration of the restraining order was necessary because last Friday Wisconsin Republicans believed they had found a loophole and, as such, were acting as though the law was in effect.
Despite controversy over the budget repair bill's legal status, the Department of Administration began instituting the law Monday by withholding contributions for pensions and health care from wages and restoring money previously taken for union dues.
DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch said he believes the law has legally taken effect.
This time around, the judge not only made it clear that the law was not in effect, but that continuing to act as though it was in effect would carry serious consequences for members of Scott Walker's administration.:
"Now that I've made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin," [Judge] Sumi said.
Hopefully this is clear enough for Wisconsin Republicans.
On our end, we need to remember that this is just a temporary restraining order. The judge wants more testimony before ruling on whether the way the bill was passed violated Wisconsin's open meeting law.
Further, the judge has noted that Republicans could solve this problem simply by re-passing the bill after giving 24 hours notice. As near as I can tell, the only reason they have not already done that, and thus allowed the budget repair bill to take effect, is because it would require them to admit they did something wrong. These days, Republicans in Wisconsin seem to consider such admissions of error, even small ones, to be the worst crimes they could possibly commit.
For more discussion of the unfolding judicial action in Wisconsin, check out the rec list diary by KingofSpades.