Budget repair law published despite court order - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Budget repair law published despite court order


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- The controversial budget repair bill is published by a state agency but there's still controversy over whether that means the law will take effect Saturday.

Late Friday afternoon, in a surprise move, the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau published the law stripping collective bargaining rights from most public employees.

Wisconsin officials and lawmakers can't seem to agree on whether or not publication by the LRB means the law will take effect as early as Saturday. But, the head of the Legislative Reference Bureau, Steve Miller, says their publication Friday is not the final step.

Governor Scott Walker signed the law taking away collective bargaining rights, two weeks ago, on March 11th. But, the law can't go into effect until it's published by Secretary of State Doug La Follette.

The controversial bill was indefinitely put on hold last Friday when Dane County Judge Maryanne Sumi ordered a temporary restraining order blocking the publication of the law.

But, despite that court order, the bill was published late Friday afternoon, not by the Secretary of State, but the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says, "The Legislative Reference Bureau not only has the authority but it's obligated to publish bills as designated on the 10th day."

Publishing a law is typically the last step and allows it to be enforced the next day.

Fitzgerald says, "My opinion is it's law. I think that's the Attorney Generals opinion as well. It's law."


But Democrats say in their conversations with the Legislative Council and the head of the LRB Doug La Follette still needs to publish the law in a newspaper.

This is an email conversation between Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca and a staff attorney with the Wisconsin Legislative Council. The staff attorney says, "It is my understanding that the LRB did not intend for its action to independently determine the effectiveness of Wisconsin Act 10 and further action by the Secretary of State is required in order for Act 10 to take effect."


Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D- Middleton) says, "We did talk to the legislative reference bureau late this afternoon and they're not sure if that makes it law or not. They were just following a directive by the majority leader who some people are thinking is abusing his power and ordering a non-partisan state agency to get involved in a very partisan issue."

Erpenbach also went back to Judge Sumi's temporary restraining order saying that is still out there, still relevant and this attempt to publish the law completely violates that.

Sen. Erpenbach says, "There is a court order that needs to be addressed first before anything can move forward. The Secretary of State can't move forward, the non-partisan state agency should not be able to move forward either."

The Department of Justice sent out a statement saying action by the Secretary of State is not required for the LRB to publish an act and they in fact say Wisconsin statute requires the LRB to publish every act within 10 working days.

On behalf of Governor Walker's office, DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch sent out a statement that their administration will carry out the law as required.

Dane County District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne says his office is still working on what to do next.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair law has been published by the Legislative Reference Bureau, even though a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking publication by the secretary of state.

The action was noted on the Legislatures home page just before 5 p.m. Friday. It's not immediately clear whether the publication has the force of law. But if the publication is legal, the law takes effect Saturday.

A judge last week issued a temporary restraining order blocking Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law.

But the Reference Bureau says it is required to publish every new law within 10 working days after it's signed by the governor.

Gov. Scott Walker signed the measure taking away collective bargaining rights on March 11.

Walker's office says the administration will carry out the law as required.

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