UnNews:Wisconsin judge blocks anti-union law

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19 March 2011

Michigan capitol

The 80,000 "Wisconsin citizens" who had clogged the Capitol have moved on and are now holding a rave inside the one in Lansing, Michigan.

MADISON, Wisconsin -- Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued a restraining order on Friday freezing the recent Republican bill that curtailed many rights of public-employee unions.

Last month, all 14 Democratic Senators fled to Rockford, Illinois for three weeks, denying the "quorum" needed to pass the state budget in which the controversial change was placed. Three weeks, however, is enough time for even Republicans to figure out to take it out of the budget and pass it separately.

But the Wisconsin open-meetings law requires that all laws be posted for 24 hours, "two hours in case of emergency." Judge Sumi ruled that "wanting it real bad" might not be an emergency and posting a notice on the lunchroom refrigerator might not count. She also noted that the intervals needed to be extended to reflect the extra commute time from Rockford.

Gov. Walker's victory may have made him forget that, apart from the legislature, Wisconsin is swarming with Democrats, including County DA Ismael Ozanne, who was the one who said "sue me" to Sumi, and Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, whom the judge ordered not to officially publish the law "for a long time," a conclusion LaFollette had already reached on his own.

Judge Sumi warned both sides in the case not to expect a prompt final decision, because she would be out-of-state next week--reportedly at a popular tourist motel in Rockford. Both sides agree that one week is not long enough for Republicans to figure out that it would only take one day to pass the law again legally.

Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, said the ruling "was a good move for democracy," as it is any time you can tie the elected majority up in court.

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