A judge has denied an emergency request to block a law that takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of Wisconsin’s public workers.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the legislation Friday morning, but it doesn’t take effect until the day after an official secretary of state notice is published in the Madison newspaper.
Democratic Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the publication. She argues the state Senate unconstitutionally passed the bill Wednesday.
Former Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Ed Garvey said the legal challenge has merit and it appears that Republicans simply ignored the state’s open meetings laws.
“If people intentionally violated the law, they should not benefit from it,” he said. “It seems to me a law that can be ignored is worse than no law at all.”
The former Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and Wisconsin governor also suggested that the dispute may not be resolved in court, because they are often reluctant to intervene in another branch of government.
However, Garvey also said voters could have an impact on resolution of the issue.
“There are the ongoing recall efforts of legislators and the April 5 election for Supreme Court justice,” he said. “It might just be tempting for people to put all their eggs in those electoral baskets.”
Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith declined to issue an emergency order blocking the law, saying Falk’s attorneys didn’t prove how publishing it would inflict irreparable harm on anyone. The judge scheduled a full hearing in the case for Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.