Oh my: Wisconsin collective bargaining law officially published -- despite judge's TRO

This has nothing to do with Walker or the GOP, it seems, although it’ll surely be demagogued that way by Democrats looking to keep the fires of outrageous outrage burning in their newly motivated base. The Narrative for the past month has been “Rogue Republicans!”, and ignoring a judge’s order certainly sounds roguish — except, of course, when the order involves ObamaCare and the guy doing the ignoring is Barack Obama.

Needless to say, that’s different.

The legislation was published Friday with a footnote that acknowledges the restraining order, but says state law “requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment.”

The restraining order was issued against Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette, but the bill was published by the reference bureau. The reference bureau was not included in the temporary restraining order.

“Today the administration was notified that the LRB published the budget-repair bill as required by law,” said a statement from Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch. “The administration will carry out the law as required.”

La Follette and the two top officials at the reference bureau – Chief Stephen Miller and Deputy Chief Cathlene Hanaman – could not be reached Friday. The Legislature is run by Republicans, but the reference bureau is a nonpartisan agency widely respected by both political parties.

Steve Eggleston thinks that the judge may have simply enjoined the wrong party from acting. Her order ended as follows:

I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. The next step in implementation of that law would be the publication of that law by the Secretary of State. He is restrained and enjoined from such publication until further order of this court.

Eggleston counters that, under Wisconsin law, the secretary of state isn’t the one who publishes statutes. His role is merely to set a date of publication, at which point the LRB takes over. He’d already set the date by the time the order was issued, so voila — the TRO means nothing! Amusing stuff, but Democrats are surely on their way back to court even as you’re reading this to demand that the TRO be expanded to cover the LRB, Walker, the legislature, and everyone else under the sun. The judge did, after all, enjoin “further implementation” of the law generally before specifying a particular actor, so they’ll probably win and the scope of the order will be enlarged. In fact, according to the Journal-Sentinel story quoted above, there’s already a new court action pending that challenges the collective bargaining law on some sort of equal protection grounds (treating one group of workers differently from another by limiting their CB privileges) and argues that the state GOP should have needed a three-fifths quorum to pass it instead of the simple majority quorum they used. Nothing should change here, in other words, and since the state supreme court is probably going to deal with this sooner rather than later, even if the law is implemented immediately its ultimate fate should be decided in a few days anyway.

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