In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Wis. Republicans Publish Anti-Union Law -- In Apparent Defiance Of Court Order

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

"I think this is a ministerial act that forwards it to the secretary of state," said Stephen Miller, director of the Legislative Reference Bureau. "I don't think this act makes it become effective. My understanding is that the secretary of state has to publish it in the (official state) newspaper for it to become effective."

...

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) claimed it didn't matter that it hasn't appeared in the paper.

"It's published," Fitzgerald said. "It's law. That's what I contend."

Following this action, State House Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) obtained a letter from Scott Grosz, the staff attorney for the Wisconsin Legislative Council -- which offers legal advice to the LRB -- further outlining the LRB's position. Key quote:

As described above, s. 35.095 (3) (b), Stats., refers to the publication activities of the Secretary of State, rather than the publication activities of the LRB. Accordingly, while certain statutory obligations regarding publication of Act 10 have been satisfied by the LRB, the statutory obligation that relates to the effective date of Act 10 has not yet been satisfied by the Secretary of State, and at this time the Secretary's actions remain subject to the temporary restraining order issued in Dane County Circuit Court.

However, Fitzgerald is insisting otherwise, the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

"Every attorney I have consulted said this will now be law," said Fitzgerald. "It wasn't a secret. I think they left the door open for this."

As WisPolitics reports, Fitzgerald said that he had sent the LRB the letter suggesting publication:

"It became clear that this was an option and they were on equal footing with the secretary of state," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said he could not speculate what legal actions may be taken following LRB publishing the act, but he was confident the move was proper.

"It's law tomorrow," he said.

So what does this all mean? Well, it now appears that Republicans are ready to move ahead with the new law eliminating most collective bargaining rights for public employee unions, despite a court order that prevented not only 'publication' but any "further implementation" of the statute. The move is almost certain to spark yet more litigation and provide more grist for the Democratic efforts to recall Republican state Senators this year and Walker himself next year.