Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi today extended a temporary restraining order on Gov. Scott Walker's bill to revoke collective bargaining rights on public employees, declaring that the bill has not become law.
Sumi also warned any state officials who proceed as if the law has been enacted risk legal sanctions and risk harming the state.
The judge's ruling today was a defeat for the Walker administration.
Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch all had contended the bill became law after it was published by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
In doing so, Sumi, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, said they either "ignored or misunderstood" her original restraining order, which prohibited Democratic Secretary of State Douglas La Follette from publishing the law. According to statutes, the Secretary of State must publish a bill in the newspaper of record (Wisconsin State Journal) before it becomes a law.
"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear," Sumi said.
Sumi also noted that the Republicans could avoid the costly delays and legal proceedings by reconvening the legislature and properly approving the bill.
The bill was pushed through abruptly on March 9 with a conference committee vote on a resolution after less than two hours of public notice.
The video of the conference committee's vote was viewed as part of today's testimony.
Walker contends the bill does not include items of fiscal impact. Lawsuits have been filed by labor unions that say the bill would have fiscal impact.
(Editor's note: This story may be updated with reactions tonight.)