Judge mulls dismissing county's case against bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Judge mulls dismissing county's case against collective bargaining bill

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County judge Maryann Sumi said she would rule whether to dismiss the county's challenge to the controversial collective bargaining bill by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, attorney general J.B. Van Hollen has yet to hear whether the state supreme court will step in and dismiss a parallel challenge brought against the bill by Dane County district attorney Ishmael Ozanne.

Special counsel for Republican senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald and other lawmakers argued the county's attempt to temporarily stop collective bargaining changes is premature,  because the bill is not yet law. Attorneys also said the county cannot sue the state. 

But county corporation counsel Marcia MacKenzie cited an exception to the prohibition against one unit of government suing another when a matter of "great public concern" is present.

In Ozanne's case, Sumi has already temporarily stopped any publication of the bill by the secretary of state, which stops it from having the force of law.  

Van Hollen's request for the supreme court to hasten any decision to review the case is based on the legislative immunity Fitzgerald and the others enjoy from civil court matters while the legislature is in session. Van Hollen said Fitzgerald and the other lawmakers would be forced to consider waiving their right to immunity, or be faced with no avenue to fight in court against the bill's halt, if the matter is not dismissed.

Sumi agreed to halt the bill in the Ozanne case because she believed lawmakers violated the state's open meetings law by giving the public inadequate notice of a key committee hearing on the bill. 

Governor Walker's bill would eliminate most collective bargaining for public employees, with the exception of police officers and firefighters. Walker says the measure will help close the state's budget shortfall.

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