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Wisconsin judge continues order stopping collective bargaining law

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A Wisconsin judge continues her order stopping a controversial collective bargaining law
  • Democrats say they weren't given enough notice on the vote that approved the law
  • GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed the budget bill into law on March 11

(CNN) -- A Wisconsin Judge has continued her temporary restraining order barring a new collective bargaining law from taking effect by signing an amended order on Thursday.

Judge Maryann Sumi stopped the controversial budget repair bill from taking effect on March 18 so that she could hear a lawsuit filed by Democrats who say they were not given enough time to vote on the law, which they were fighting.

The order blocked the Wisconsin secretary of state from enforcing the law.

But the state's Legislative Reference Bureau published the law, which curbs the collective bargaining rights of most state employees.

Wisconsin law requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 days of its passage.

"There was no temporary restraining order on the Legislative Reference Bureau from publishing, only on the secretary of state," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican, told CNN affiliate WISN.

"There was no reason that the (bureau) could not publish, and actually has an obligation to do that, as they did....," he said.

Now, Sumi's action Thursday puts the restraining order fully in place upon all parties. She will hear the suit filed by a Democratic district attorney alleging that Republican legislators violated the state's open meetings law by calling a committee meeting to amend GOP Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill without providing the public with the necessary 24-hour advance notice. State Democrats say they were only given two hours notice for a vote.

The amended bill, which had been stalled for weeks by 14 Democratic state senators who left Wisconsin to prevent a quorum -- and thus a vote on the measure -- then sailed through an easy vote on March 9.

The state House of Representatives then easily passed the bill. Walker signed it into law on March 11.

The public brouhaha over Walker's $137 million budget repair bill all but shut down the Wisconsin state Legislature for weeks. It also drew protesters by the tens of thousands, among them union supporters and public employees, who called the proposed measure an attack on workers.

The parties are back in court on Friday for a hearing on the district attorney's law suit.