Hold everything. That Wisconsin law limiting the collective bargaining rights of public workers -- the one that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol in Madison -- has been blocked from taking effect by a county judge.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order Friday barring the Wisconsin secretary of state from publishing the law -- which would allow it to go into effect, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reported. Sumi said she wanted time to consider a legal challenge, arguing that a legislative committee violated the state's open meetings law when it pushed the bill
though on a Republican Party-line vote last week.
"It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the [law]," she said.
The ruling marked a setback for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who sought the legislation curtailing public employee collective bargaining rights. Walker, who signed the bill last Friday, also wants state workers to make larger contributions to their pension and health care funds. Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said the state would appeal Sumi's decision, the Milwaukee newspaper said.
But Democratic State Rep. Peter Barca said, "We felt from the beginning this was a violation of the open meetings law. And now we go on from here." Democrats argued that majority Republicans -- in their haste to pass the bill -- failed to give adequate public notice of a Senate committee hearing that amended the legislation and quickly scheduled it for a vote in the full state Senate.