Attorney General argues bill is law, temporary halt is moot - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Attorney General argues bill is law, says temporary halt is irrelevant

MADISON (WKOW) -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen argued the publication of the budget repair bill by the legislative reference bureau makes it law, and said a temporary restraining order affecting the controversial legislation is moot.

The LRB Friday published the bill in a surprise move. The temporary restraining order had stopped Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the controversial measure and directing it be placed in the state's official newspaper.    Governor Walker's bill eliminates most collective bargaining by public employees.

Van Hollen, a republican, argued in a court filing Monday since La Follette had specified a date for publication and LRB had followed through on that date, the court's temporary halt on La Follette's publishing no longer had any impact.

But officials with both the legislative reference bureau and legislative council claimed La Follette's separate actions on the bill were also needed for the bill to have the power of law.  La Follette, a democrat,  has also taken that position.

Dane County district attorney Ismael Ozanne, who successfully obtained the temporary restraining because a judge ruled lawmakers likely gave the public too little notice of a key legislative committee on the bill, told WKOW 27 News he considers the temporary restraining order as remaining in force, and will present witnesses in a hearing Tuesday to support a more permanent halt to the bill.

Ozanne's witness list includes one of the court action's defendants,  La Follette,   and assembly minority leader Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha),  who has waived his immunity.   Republican lawmakers named as defendants but also possessing immunity from civil action during a legislative session have not waived immunity.

Ozanne also argued Sumi's order to temporarily stop the bill's progress should also apply to the legislative reference bureau,  even though LRB was not named as a defendant when Sumi granted the temporary restraining order.

Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said 1991 legislation brought by then-Governor Tommy Thompson created the separate ability of the LRB to give a bill the force of law through publication.


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