The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state's contentious union rights law can go into effect, giving Republican Gov. Scott Walker a major victory.The ruling comes after a contentious mid-term judicial election in Wisconsin saw pro-union challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg prematurely declare victory before a tabulation error but her 7,000 votes behind incumbent David Prosser, with Kloppenburg eventually conceding defeat after a costly, month-long recount.
Walker pushed the law that eliminates most of public employees' collective bargaining rights and forces them to pay more for their health and pension benefits. He says it's needed for the state to address its budget problems.
"The Supreme Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again," Walker said in a statement.
The law passed in March after weeks of protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the state Capitol. But the law has been tied up in the courts since a Democrat filed a lawsuit accusing Republicans of violating the state open meetings law during the run-up to passage.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court said the judge had no authority to interfere with the legislative process
Student and union members had taken to the streets to protest Walker's legislation as Democrat state senators fled the state to prevent the required quorum and put off a vote on the bill. However, the remaining Republican state senators were eventually able to tweak the bill as a budgetary measure and get it passed without the Democrats being present in Madison, with intermittent protests taking place since it's passage. Dane County Circut Judge Maryann Sumi temporary blocked the law from being implemented in March. A nine page decision by the justices stated that Sumi had overstepped her authority and ventured into the legislative process with her March ruling.
ELSEWHERE IN WISCONSIN: A Democrat running in an upcoming recall campaign against Republican Luther Olsen (R- 14th Senate District) found himself in trouble after a short, terse exchange with a Baraboo woman in which he said he wanted to "smack around" the woman was picked up when her ansering machine continued recording after she hung up.
Aeemblyman Dan Clark (D- 42nd Assembly District) apologized on Tuesday after the woman, Sue Stapleman of Baraboo, WI, played the tape for co-workers at a hospital.