Judge: I can rule on union bill

April 1, 2011 at 2:58 PM
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MADISON, Wis., April 1 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin judge said Friday she has the authority to decide if state legislators violated the open meetings law in passing a collective bargaining bill.

Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi rejected an objection by the state Department of Justice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The state argued the courts have no power to rule on bills that have not been published and become law.

Sumi ruled Thursday the controversial bill has not been published and cannot be enforced. The Legislative Reference Bureau has published it but Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, a Democrat who opposes the bill and who was also under a court order not to publish it, has not.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration said efforts to implement the law would be suspended. The bill severely restricts collective bargaining rights, requires public employee unions to be recertified every year and to collect their own dues.

On another front in the bitter fight between Walker and public employee unions, Democrats in La Crosse County said they have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election for Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

Eight Republican and eight Democratic senators have been targeted for recall. A 60-day period to petition is nearly half over.

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