Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and the Wisconsin GOP set off a nationwide Main Street Movement by pushing legislation that would strip the state’s public workers of many of their collective bargaining rights. Walker signed the legislation into law in March.
Now, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has struck down Walker’s anti-union law, saying its passage violated the state’s open meetings law and “the public’s trust”:
On Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law by calling the meeting without a 24-hour notice. She said that renders the law void. She had put the law on hold while she considered the case.
Sumi said violating the open-meetings law betrays the public’s trust.
“The court must consider the potential damage to public trust and confidence in government if the Legislature is not held to the same rules of transparency that it has created for other governmental bodies,” she wrote in a 33-page decision. “Our form of government depends on citizens’ trust and confidence in the process by which our elected officials make laws, at all levels of government.”
The “state Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for June 6 to determine whether it will” take on the same suit against the law. Lawmakers “could also pass the law again in order to nullify open meeting concerns that led to the judge’s ruling” today. It’s worth noting that while the open meeting law has been an issue since before the law passed, Wisconsin Republicans have thus far refused to re-pass the legislation, leading some to speculate they wouldn’t have the votes to pass it again.