Currently viewing the tag: "AntiUnion"

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL)

The House this week will vote on a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has been acting without a full authorization for more than three years (and through 18 continuing resolutions). However, inserted into a bill dealing with flights into D.C.’s national airport and upgrades of air traffic control facilities is an anti-union provision meant to prevent workers from exercising their right to organize.

The provision, backed by House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), would reverse a ruling by the National Mediation Board that did away with the absurd practice of counting workers who didn’t vote in union elections as having voted against the union. Since the NMB’s ruling, workers who don’t vote in union elections are simply not counted at all, just like voters who choose not to vote in elections for local, state, or federal governments.

Why would Mica want to reverse a ruling that treats union elections like any other election, including those for Congress? Perhaps because he has received far more money from transportation companies — which would desperately like to see the NMB’s ruling reversed — than from any other group in his career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics:

FedEx — which is fighting the NMB’s change tooth and nail — is one of Mica’s highest contributors. (FedEX CEO Fred Smith has said that “I don’t intend to recognize any unions at Federal Express.”) Delta is also lobbying heavily for the Republican-backed provision, even “forgoing selling seats to paying customers to fly their employees — contra stated corporate policy — to DC to lobby.”

Under the old rules, corporations were able to game union elections by including the names of former employees (some of whom were dead) on their employment rolls; of course, these employees didn’t vote and thus were counted as voting against unionization. And if the rules Mica wants to reinstate for union elections were applied to his own election, he would have lost handily:

Rep. Mica received support from 69% of the voters in his district who cast a ballot in his successful 2010 re-election campaign, amounting to slightly over 185,000 actual votes tallied for him. However, if you add the over 83,000 voters who voted against Rep. Mica to 312,000 eligible voters who did not participate, then Rep. Mica would only muster 32% of the overall total — falling far short of the majority needed for election. Rep. Mica would lose handily to the 68% of “voters” who chose his opponent or were non-participating voters whose absence was counted as a vote for the alternative.

This is a pretty clear case of Republicans doing the bidding of corporations, with no real policy rationale behind their legislation. Incidentally, Mica’s chief of staff recently left to become a lobbyist for the transportation industry.

Wonk Room

Tagged with:
 

Last week, a Wisconsin judge issued an order “restrain[ing] and enjoin[ing] the further implementation” of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-worker law until she has time to fully consider a lawsuit claiming that the law was not validly enacted. Yet, despite this clear and unambiguous order, Walker and his allies have decided that they are not bound by the law:

In a stunning twist, Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation limiting collective bargaining for public workers was published Friday despite a judge’s hold on the measure, prompting a dispute over whether it takes effect Saturday. [...]

“It’s published,” [Senate Majority Leader Scott] Fitzgerald said. “It’s law. That’s what I contend.” [...]

Walker’s top cabinet official, Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, gave only a brief statement reacting to Friday’s news.

“Today the administration was notified that the LRB published the budget-repair bill as required by law,” he said. “The administration will carry out the law as required.”

Under Wisconsin law, someone who intentionally defies a court order is in contempt of court, and can be fined up to $ 2,000 for each day that they disobey the court or imprisoned for up to six months.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Peter Montgomery explains their case:

According to [Glenn Beck's pseudo-historian David Barton], a parable from the 20th chapter of the book of Matthew about the owner of a vineyard making different arrangements with workers was about “the right of private contract”—in other words, the right of employers to come to individual agreements with each employee. Jesus’ parable, he said, is “anti-minimum wage” and “anti-socialist-union kind of stuff.” (This is just one of the parables of Jesus cited by Barton and others in support of laissez-faire economic policies.)





Email this Article
Add to digg
Add to Reddit
Add to Twitter
Add to del.icio.us
Add to StumbleUpon
Add to Facebook




The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Tagged with:
 

A judge in Wisconsin has applied a temporary restraining order against the state’s new, now infamous law that curbs collective bargaining rights for public employees, according to the Associated Press.

The AP:

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued the order, which was requested by that county’s District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat. Ozanne filed a lawsuit contending that a legislative committee that broke a stalemate that had kept the law in limbo for weeks met without the 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure and Walker signed it last week.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette planned to publish the law on March 25, but the judge’s order will prevent that from happening, at least for now.

Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said the state will appeal the ruling, but he didn’t say when. [Republican Gov. Scott] Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said in a statement that the governor was confident the bill would become law in the near future.

“This legislation is still working through the legal process,” Werwie said.

A spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal fight.

With similar legislation just passed in Michigan, this will be an important case to watch.

Michigan Messenger

Tagged with:
 

A Wisconsin judge just issued an order temporarily blocking Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on collective bargaining rights from going into effect:

Judge Maryann Sumi issued the order to temporarily block the law as Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne had requested as part of his lawsuit.

Ozanne filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Republican legislative leaders of violating Wisconsin’s open meetings law during the rushed run-up to a Senate vote on the measure last week.

Ozanne, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit contending that a legislative committee that broke a political stalemate that had kept the law in limbo for weeks met without the 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The Republican majority voted last week to pass the legislation without Senate Democrats, who had left the state to block just such a vote. Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law last week.

Today’s decision is only a temporary order suspending the law until the judge has more time to consider the case, but it will “prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law — and allowing it to take effect — until [the judge] can rule on the merits of the case.” That could be quite some time, as Ozanne plans to call as many as 20 witnesses and supporters of the law will likely want to present their own evidence in response.

As ThinkProgress previously explained, a Wisconsin judge has the power to invalidate government business which takes place in violation of the state’s open meetings law. While today’s order is only temporary, it buys time for supporters of workers rights in Wisconsin to present their arguments to the court and to gather additional protesters if the Wisconsin GOP attempts to repass the law with proper notice.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

FreedomWorks, a right-wing group bankrolling the Tea Party, has a new advertisement it is planning to run in Ohio supporting Gov. John Kasich’s union-busting efforts. The advertisement tries to paint union protesters in Ohio as violent thugs. One problem: the ad uses footage from an old union protest in California.

How do we know? This is the same footage from California, which features palm trees, that was used by Bill O’Reilly just days ago. He used it to argue that the protesters in Wisconsin were violent thugs. Here’s the video evidence produced by TP’s Jeff Spross:

Bill O’Reilly’s stunt inspired Wisconsin protesters to mockingly carry inflatable palm trees in Madison:

The larger point is that these protests have been remarkably peaceful, which forces the right to distort the truth.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Michigan Main Street Movement Protesters March Against Gov. Snyder's "Financial Martial Law" Bill

Although Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union crusade has received the biggest headlines, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is poised to sign an even more drastic assault on working Americans into law. Yesterday, the Michigan legislature passed a “financial martial law” bill that allows Snyder to appoint “emergency financial managers” with the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements:

Contracts & Collective Bargaining Agreements. The bill would authorize the emergency manager to reject, modify, or terminate one or more terms and conditions
of an existing contract.

After meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative and, if in the emergency manager’s sole discretion, a prompt and satisfactory resolution were unlikely to be obtained, the emergency manager could reject, modify, or terminate one or more terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.

There’s a pretty serious problem with this power grab, however — invoking it would violate the Constitution. The Constitution forbids state laws “impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” This provision provides a robust limit on a state’s ability to dissolve contracts between the government and a private party. As the Supreme Court explained in United States Trust Co. v. New Jersey, state laws impairing such contracts must be “reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose.”

The bill does contain some language requiring the emergency manager and the state treasurer to determine that they are not violating this constitutional limit before a collective bargaining agreement can be blown up, but Snyder’s own budget gives the lie to any claim that an assault on working Americans is “necessary” to ensure that Michigan governments can pay their bills. Snyder proposed a massive $ 1.73 billion business tax cut even as he was arguing that his anti-union power grab was necessary to restore the state’s fiscal balance.

The consequences of Snyder’s actions could be stark. If a state is free to break contracts whenever they feel like it, than no one will agree to do business with the state. Investors will refuse to buy the state’s bonds, and state contractors will demand all payments upfront out of fear that the state will accept their work and then tear up the contract requiring the workers to be paid. Creditors will charge the state enormous interest rates to secure against the risk that the state will just waive its hand and make its obligation to repay go away.

In other words, Snyder is so determined to chip away at collective bargaining, he’s demanded a power that he cannot constitutionally use and that would drive his state into an even deeper financial hole if he ever tried.

Cross-posted on ThinkProgress.

Wonk Room

Tagged with:
 

Michigan Main Street Movement Protesters March Against Gov. Snyder's "Financial Martial Law" Bill

Although Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union crusade has received the biggest headlines, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is poised to sign an even more drastic assault on working Americans into law. Yesterday, the Michigan legislature passed a “financial martial law” bill that allows Snyder to appoint “emergency financial managers” with the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements:

Contracts & Collective Bargaining Agreements. The bill would authorize the emergency manager to reject, modify, or terminate one or more terms and conditions
of an existing contract.

After meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative and, if in the emergency manager’s sole discretion, a prompt and satisfactory resolution were unlikely to be obtained, the emergency manager could reject, modify, or terminate one or more terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.

There’s a pretty serious problem with this power grab, however — invoking it would violate the Constitution. The Constitution forbids state laws “impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” This provision provides a robust limit on a state’s ability to dissolve contracts between the government and a private party. As the Supreme Court explained in United States Trust Co. v. New Jersey, state laws impairing such contracts must be “reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose.”

The bill does contain some language requiring the emergency manager and the state treasurer to determine that they are not violating this constitutional limit before a collective bargaining agreement can be blown up, but Snyder’s own budget gives the lie to any claim that an assault on working Americans is “necessary” to ensure that Michigan governments can pay their bills. Snyder proposed a massive $ 1.73 billion business tax cut even as he was arguing that his anti-union power grab was necessary to restore the state’s fiscal balance.

The consequences of Snyder’s actions could be stark. If a state is free to break contracts whenever they feel like it, than no one will agree to do business with the state. Investors will refuse to buy the state’s bonds, and state contractors will demand all payments upfront out of fear that the state will accept their work and then tear up the contract requiring the workers to be paid. Creditors will charge the state enormous interest rates to secure against the risk that the state will just waive its hand and make its obligation to repay go away.

In other words, Snyder is so determined to chip away at collective bargaining, he’s demanded a power that he cannot constitutionally use and that would drive his state into an even deeper financial hole if he ever tried.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Our guest blogger is Sandy Bogar, a health care policy intern with the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

As a Madison native, I have experienced conflicting feelings for the last several weeks. I continue to be inspired by Wisconsinites rallying and denouncing the budget repair bill that the Republican Senators passed without the consent of their Democratic colleagues. This bill is a political attack on Wisconsin citizens’ rights and not, in fact, an attempt to ameliorate the State deficit challenges.

Yet disappointingly there has been a complete lack of action on Walker’s proposed reforms to Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. A fifth of all Wisconites — more than 1.2 million people — rely on BadgerCare. Walker and the state’s GOP are trying to put control of the program in the hands of Walker’s conserative appointees.

Walker’s proposed budget would give the state’s Health Services secretary Dennis Smith, who has called on states to drop Medicaid altogether, the authority to “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would essentially silence the voices of Wisconsin citizens when future changes to Medicaid are made:

Consequently, Wisconsin residents who normally get a chance to voice their views to the state legislature on proposed changes to BadgerCare — e.g., changes to who gets coverage, what benefits they receive, and how much doctors and hospitals get reimbursed — would have to find some way to influence the governor. That could prove disastrous for the more than 1.1 million low-income children, seniors, people with disabilities, and adults who rely on BadgerCare for their health coverage, and the providers that serve them.

As with the cuts made to collective bargaining, this represents a clear rights violation, not an attempt to fix the State budget. Medicaid recipients represent the most vulnerable populations in the State and Wisconsin currently maintains some of the most well-respected Medicaid programs in the nation. This bill threatens to further marginalize our state’s poor, elderly, and disabled citizens and downgrade a public health system that has assisted residents for more than twenty years.

Wonk Room

Tagged with:
 

Our guest blogger is Sandy Bogar, a health care policy intern with the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

As a Madison native, I have experienced conflicting feelings for the last several weeks. I continue to be inspired by Wisconsinites rallying and denouncing the budget repair bill that the Republican Senators passed without the consent of their Democratic colleagues. This bill is a political attack on Wisconsin citizens’ rights and not, in fact, an attempt to ameliorate the State deficit challenges.

Yet disappointingly there has been a complete lack of action on Walker’s proposed reforms to Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. A fifth of all Wisconites — more than 1.2 million people — rely on BadgerCare. Walker and the state’s GOP are trying to put control of the program in the hands of Walker’s conserative appointees.

Walker’s proposed budget would give the state’s Health Services secretary Dennis Smith, who has called on states to drop Medicaid altogether, the authority to “to override state Medicaid laws as [he] sees fit and institute sweeping changes” including reducing benefits and limiting eligibility. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would essentially silence the voices of Wisconsin citizens when future changes to Medicaid are made:

Consequently, Wisconsin residents who normally get a chance to voice their views to the state legislature on proposed changes to BadgerCare — e.g., changes to who gets coverage, what benefits they receive, and how much doctors and hospitals get reimbursed — would have to find some way to influence the governor. That could prove disastrous for the more than 1.1 million low-income children, seniors, people with disabilities, and adults who rely on BadgerCare for their health coverage, and the providers that serve them.

As with the cuts made to collective bargaining, this represents a clear rights violation, not an attempt to fix the State budget. Medicaid recipients represent the most vulnerable populations in the State and Wisconsin currently maintains some of the most well-respected Medicaid programs in the nation. This bill threatens to further marginalize our state’s poor, elderly, and disabled citizens and downgrade a public health system that has assisted residents for more than twenty years.

Wonk Room

Tagged with:
 

Last night, Wisconsin Senate Republicans abandoned any remaining pretenses that a bill stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights has anything whatsoever to do with the state’s finances, and rammed the bill through the senate without any Democrats present. Yet even if Gov. Scott Walker (R) succeeds in signing this bill into law, Wisconsin voters have the power to ensure that his victory is short lived.

First, a broad coalition of these voters are circulating petitions to recall the eight GOP state senators who are currently eligible to be removed from office. If just three of these seats are flipped to the Democrats, the GOP will lose control of the state’s upper house.

Second, because Wisconsin law allows any elected official to be recalled after they have served one full year of their term in office, all remaining state legislators and Gov. Walker will be eligible for a recall election next January. If Wisconsin voters wage a successful campaign to fire the state’s anti-worker lawmakers, this bill could be repealed as soon as the snow starts to melt in spring of 2012.

Third, Wisconsin also has the power to ensure that no future lawmakers can repeat Walker’s assault on working familes:

Constitutional amendments. SECTION 1. Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses…and if, in the legislature so next chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people in such manner and at such time as the legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become part of the constitution

In other words, the Wisconsin Constitution can be amended in a three step process: 1) the current legislature must approve the amendment; 2) after the next election, the new legislature must approve the amendment; 3) the voters must ratify the amendment by a majority vote. Under this procedure, Wisconsin could amend its constitution to permanently protect working families as soon as 2013.

In Ohio, pro-worker lawmakers are already planning a ballot referendum to overrule an anti-worker bill that is moving forward in that state. Wisconsin law will require working families and their supporters to jump through a few more hoops to reverse Walker’s actions. Nevertheless, they unambiguously have the power to repeal Walker’s bill in 2012 and to ensure that similar bills can never become law again in 2013.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Last night, Wisconsin Senate Republicans abandoned any remaining pretenses that a bill stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights has anything whatsoever to do with the state’s finances, and rammed the bill through the senate without any Democrats present. Yet even if Gov. Scott Walker (R) succeeds in signing this bill into law, Wisconsin voters have the power to ensure that his victory is short lived.

First, a broad coalition of these voters are circulating petitions to recall the eight GOP state senators who are currently eligible to be removed from office. If just three of these seats are flipped to the Democrats, the GOP will lose control of the state’s upper house.

Second, because Wisconsin law allows any elected official to be recalled after they have served one full year of their term in office, all remaining state legislators and Gov. Walker will be eligible for a recall election next January. If Wisconsin voters wage a successful campaign to fire the state’s anti-worker lawmakers, this bill could be repealed as soon as the snow starts to melt in spring of 2012.

Third, Wisconsin also has the power to ensure that no future lawmakers can repeat Walker’s assault on working familes:

Constitutional amendments. SECTION 1. Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses…and if, in the legislature so next chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people in such manner and at such time as the legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become part of the constitution

In other words, the Wisconsin Constitution can be amended in a three step process: 1) the current legislature must approve the amendment; 2) after the next election, the new legislature must approve the amendment; 3) the voters must ratify the amendment by a majority vote. Under this procedure, Wisconsin could amend its constitution to permanently protect working families as soon as 2013.

In Ohio, pro-worker lawmakers are already planning a ballot referendum to overrule an anti-worker bill that is moving forward in that state. Wisconsin law will require working families and their supporters to jump through a few more hoops to reverse Walker’s actions. Nevertheless, they unambiguously have the power to repeal Walker’s bill in 2012 and to ensure that similar bills can never become law again in 2013.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Last night, Wisconsin Senate Republicans abandoned any remaining pretenses that a bill stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights has anything whatsoever to do with the state’s finances, and rammed the bill through the senate without any Democrats present. Yet even if Gov. Scott Walker (R) succeeds in signing this bill into law, Wisconsin voters have the power to ensure that his victory is short lived.

First, a broad coalition of these voters are circulating petitions to recall the eight GOP state senators who are currently eligible to be removed from office. If just three of these seats are flipped to the Democrats, the GOP will lose control of the state’s upper house.

Second, because Wisconsin law allows any elected official to be recalled after they have served one full year of their term in office, all remaining state legislators and Gov. Walker will be eligible for a recall election next January. If Wisconsin voters wage a successful campaign to fire the state’s anti-worker lawmakers, this bill could be repealed as soon as the snow starts to melt in spring of 2012.

Third, Wisconsin also has the power to ensure that no future lawmakers can repeat Walker’s assault on working familes:

Constitutional amendments. SECTION 1. Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses…and if, in the legislature so next chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people in such manner and at such time as the legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become part of the constitution

In other words, the Wisconsin Constitution can be amended in a three step process: 1) the current legislature must approve the amendment; 2) after the next election, the new legislature must approve the amendment; 3) the voters must ratify the amendment by a majority vote. Under this procedure, Wisconsin could amend its constitution to permanently protect working families as soon as 2013.

In Ohio, pro-worker lawmakers are already planning a ballot referendum to overrule an anti-worker bill that is moving forward in that state. Wisconsin law will require working families and their supporters to jump through a few more hoops to reverse Walker’s actions. Nevertheless, they unambiguously have the power to repeal Walker’s bill in 2012 and to ensure that similar bills can never become law again in 2013.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Last night, Wisconsin Senate Republicans abandoned any remaining pretenses that a bill stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights has anything whatsoever to do with the state’s finances, and rammed the bill through the senate without any Democrats present. Yet even if Gov. Scott Walker (R) succeeds in signing this bill into law, Wisconsin voters have the power to ensure that his victory is short lived.

First, a broad coalition of these voters are circulating petitions to recall the eight GOP state senators who are currently eligible to be removed from office. If just three of these seats are flipped to the Democrats, the GOP will lose control of the state’s upper house.

Second, because Wisconsin law allows any elected official to be recalled after they have served one full year of their term in office, all remaining state legislators and Gov. Walker will be eligible for a recall election next January. If Wisconsin voters wage a successful campaign to fire the state’s anti-worker lawmakers, this bill could be repealed as soon as the snow starts to melt in spring of 2012.

Third, Wisconsin also has the power to ensure that no future lawmakers can repeat Walker’s assault on working familes:

Constitutional amendments. SECTION 1. Any amendment or amendments to this constitution may be proposed in either house of the legislature, and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each of the two houses…and if, in the legislature so next chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of all the members elected to each house, then it shall be the duty of the legislature to submit such proposed amendment or amendments to the people in such manner and at such time as the legislature shall prescribe; and if the people shall approve and ratify such amendment or amendments by a majority of the electors voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become part of the constitution

In other words, the Wisconsin Constitution can be amended in a three step process: 1) the current legislature must approve the amendment; 2) after the next election, the new legislature must approve the amendment; 3) the voters must ratify the amendment by a majority vote. Under this procedure, Wisconsin could amend its constitution to permanently protect working families as soon as 2013.

In Ohio, pro-worker lawmakers are already planning a ballot referendum to overrule an anti-worker bill that is moving forward in that state. Wisconsin law will require working families and their supporters to jump through a few more hoops to reverse Walker’s actions. Nevertheless, they unambiguously have the power to repeal Walker’s bill in 2012 and to ensure that similar bills can never become law again in 2013.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with:
 

Last night, Wisconsin GOP lawmakers called a surprise conference committee meeting and then rammed an anti-union bill through the state senate. Yet, by forcing the bill through without legally required public notice, the senators may have ensured that the bill will be declared void.

Wisconsin law requires all government meetings to be conducted publicly and with advance notice except under very limited circumstances. According to a guide to Wisconsin’s open meetings law prepared by the state’s Republican attorney general:

The provision in Wis. Stat. § 19.84(3) requires that every public notice of a meeting be given at least twenty-four hours in advance of the meeting, unless “for good cause” such notice is “impossible or impractical.” If “good cause” exists, the notice should be given as soon as possible and must be given at least two hours in advance of the meeting. … If there is any doubt whether “good cause” exists, the governmental body should provide the full twenty-four-hour notice. [...]

Wis. Stat. § 19.97(3) provides that a court may void any action taken at a meeting held in violation of the open meetings law if the court finds that the interest in enforcing the law outweighs any interest in maintaining the validity of the action.

Yet, when state Rep. Peter Barca (D) informed his colleagues of this legal requirement during tonight’s conference committee, the committee’s Republican majority ignored his protests and voted to approve the bill while Barca was still explaining why their actions were illegal. Watch it:

A few GOP-aligned outlets are now trying to claim that the law was not violated because the conference committee was announced two hours in advance. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that it would have been “impossible or impractical” to give the full day’s notice required by law. In other words, Barca’s arguments are clearly consistent with the attorney general’s understanding of the law, and the most important open question is whether the courts will exercise their authority to “void any action taken at a meeting held in violation of the open meetings law” and invalidate this bill.

ThinkProgress

Tagged with: