Daily Cardinal: Despite legality question, union law implemented

Critics argue Sec. of State must publish it first

March 29, 2011- 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. The changes affect the pay cycle that began Sunday, which workers will see in their April 21 paychecks.

"This is not the desire of me as DOA Secretary to go forward without clear direction," Huebsch said. "I believe we have clear direction."

Marquette University associate law professor Ed Fallone said in a legal blog the bill is not law because Wisconsin Statutes only give the secretary of state the power to publish the law, which he has not.

"At the moment, the law provides for one method of satisfying the constitutional requirement of publication: designation of a date by the Secretary of State and public dissemination via publication in the newspaper of record," Fallone said. "So long as this is the only method provided under the statutes, this is how publication must occur."

According to Madison City Attorney Michael May, if the courts decide the law hasn't taken effect, then they may have to undo all actions, including reimbursing workers, and potentially be held in contempt of court.


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