Friday, April 1, 2011

Wisconsin Judge halts anti-union law

Judge Maryann Sumi listens to arguments during a hearing in Dane County Curcuit Court in Madison, Wisconsin.

Source: Press TV

A judge in the US state of Wisconsin has forced Governor Scott Walker to halt the implementation of a budget bill that would restrict the rights of unions.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Thursday against legislation that would curb public workers' collective bargaining rights and reduce their wages, Reuters reported.

The TRO could force the state government to change its budget plans for the current fiscal year due to the delay.

"Every day the judge's TRO stays in effect, it's going to screw up their accounting," said Mordecai Lee, a University of Wisconsin governmental affairs professor and former state lawmaker.

Sumi had previously issued a ruling in mid-March in an effort to block the implementation of the law, but Governor Walker ignored the court's decision and went ahead with enforcing the legislation.

She has now amended her order to clarify that the law cannot take effect until she has had a chance to review a challenge to its legitimacy by Democratic lawmakers.

Sumi wrote in the two-page Court Order that, “based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received, [the bill] has not been published ... and is therefore not in effect.”

Walker now says he will comply with the court's order.

Efforts are currently underway to recall the election of Wisconsin Republican legislators in a move that could switch the balance of power back to the Democrats.

In the state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich signed a similar bill into law on Thursday.

Republicans in 37 states are pushing to limit the bargaining rights of public workers as well as the ability of unions to collect dues.

The recent passing of the controversial anti-union legislation has sparked large-scale protests in State of Wisconsin and nationwide.

In New Hampshire, thousands demonstrated at the State Capitol on Thursday to protest similar proposed legislation. If passed, the bill would likely be vetoed by the state's Democratic governor.

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