Wisconsin Update: ‘Budget Repair’ bill not in effect, for now

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi denied a Department of Justice effort to halt an April 1, 2011 preliminary injunction hearing, which has temporarily blocked Governor Scott Walker's attempts to sharply curtails union bargaining by public sector employees.

Sumi denied all of the DOJ objections, and ordered the hearing to proceed. It will determine whether Republican legislators violated laws requiring the budget repair bill to be discussed in an open meeting.

Until the hearing is concluded, Sumi has put the bills anti-union measures on hold.

"Based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29, 2011, evidentiary hearing, it is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published within the meaning of (state statutes), and is therefore not in effect," said Judge Sumi in here ruling.

Gov. Walker's administration said it would comply with the order, for now, and has halted implementation of the budget repair bill.

Recall campaigns for eight Republican senators in full swing

Wisconsin Democrats say they have enough petition signatures to trigger a recall election of Senator Dan Kapanke, one of eight Senate Republicans targeted over votes to curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers. If approved, it would be just the fifth recall election of a Wisconsin legislator.

Volunteers have gathered more than the 15,588 signatures needed.

Winning the hearts and minds

Rallies are planned across Wisconsin and across the United States for April 4, 2011.This commemorates the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He was killed while in Memphis, TN, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life.

Beginning with worship services over the weekend, and continuing through the week of April 4, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community- and workplace-focused actions.

A recent Gallup poll shows nearly half of Americans, 48 percent, say they agree with public-sector unions in these disputes, compared with 38 percent who agree with governors including Gov. Walker. Thirteen percent say they favor neither side or don't have an opinion.

cupe.ca, Fri Apr 1 2011

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