Wisconsin State Journal: Judge bars further implementation of collective bargaining law, threatens sanctions

March 29, 2011- If it wasn't clear last time, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi made it clear on Tuesday: Any further implementation of Gov. Scott Walker's law limiting public employee unions is barred, and anyone who violates her order risks sanctions.

Sumi made her ruling at the end of a day of testimony in the open meetings lawsuit brought by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. The hearing is scheduled to conclude on Friday.

"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," Sumi said.

Her statement appeared to be a warning to state agencies, such as the state Department of Administration, that have begin implementing the union bill despite a temporary restraining order that Sumi issued on March 18 and the unsettled question about whether publication of the law by the Legislative Reference Bureau on Friday was enough to implement the law.

"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was, ‘the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is enjoined,' " Sumi said. "That's what I now want to make crystal clear."

State Department of Justice Executive Assistant Steven Means said afterward that state agencies like DOA are not parties to the lawsuit and are not subject to Sumi's restraining order. But he stopped short of saying what advice DOJ will give DOA in light of the order.

Sumi declined to rule Tuesday on an order that would have declared that the law had not been legally published.

"The Department of Administration is still evaluating the judge's order," DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch said in a statement. "We will continue to confer with our legal counsel and have more information about how to move forward in the near future."

Walker's office did not issue a statement.

FULL STORY HERE:


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