Wisconsin Judge Blocks Law Limiting Collective Bargaining

Wisconsin’s controversial new law that limits public employees’ collective bargaining power hit a temporary road block Friday when a judge blocked it from being enacted.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order against it while ruling that a legislative committee reviewing the law may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Law.

The ruling came Friday morning in response to a lawsuit brought by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

In the District Attorney’s suit he argues a group of state lawmakers violated Wisconsin law by not adequately providing public notice of a meeting held March 9 to discuss a bill that included the new restrictions on collective bargaining.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office issued a statement Friday afternoon that read: "This legislation is still working through the legal process.  We are confident the provisions of the budget repair bill will become law in the near future."

Walker, a Republican elected in November as many voters leaned toward fiscal conservatives, proposed the bill and became the public face of a national debate over the influence of public employee unions.

For weeks the passage of the bill was held up as Democrat lawmakers fled the state to avoid a vote, and protests clogged the state capitol building in Madison. Walker signed the bill on March 11.

Friday’s ruling bars Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, the last step before it can take effect. By Wisconsin law the bill will go into effect a day after it is published.