April 20, 2014

Prompt stay to be sought on Act 10 ruling

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen will seek a stay, of a controversial decision by a Dane County judge against Act 10, the state law which stripped public employees of most of their ability to bargain collectively. “We believe that Act 10 is constitutional in all respects and will be appealing this decision,” said a statement issued by Van Hollen. “We also will be seeking a stay of Friday’s decision pending appeal in order to allow the law to continue in effect as it has for more than a year while the appellate courts address the legal issues.”

At least one Republican lawmaker predicts trouble for local governments, if the ruling by Dane County Judge Juan Colas is not quickly put on hold. “This is a disaster for school districts, counties and cities, every week this order is in effect,” said state Senator Glenn Grothman of West Allis.

In his ruling, released late Friday, Judge Colas sided with arguments from the Madison Teachers union and the Milwaukee AFL-CIO chapter, who claim the collective bargaining law infringes on their right to free speech and association, along with violations of the equal protections clause of the constitution. The ruling also found the law violates Milwaukee’s home rule rights and the contract rights of city employees, and the legislative process denied workers of property without due process.

“I am afraid it means that the schools or counties or cities have to begin to pay their employees full penstions and health insurance immediately,” Grothman told WIBA. “This is not built in their budgets, and will be a disaster for local units of government. If we can get a restraining order we can get things back together, I would assume. in the next week.” Grothman is hoping such a stay will be issued by the Court of Appeals or the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which already once before has overturned a lower court decision regarding Act 10.