Opponents of a bill stripping Wisconsin public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights rallied at the state Capitol this weekend after a state agency published the measure despite an order barring such a move.
Republican supporters of the measure said the action by the state’s Legislative Reference Bureau, which published the bill electronically on Friday, was legal and meant the controversial anti-union measure was now in effect.
But Democrats insisted the temporary restraining order on publication issued last week by a judge remained in effect and rendered Friday’s publication by the LRB moot.
The move injected fresh controversy into the debate over the measure, which would overturn a 52-year-old state policy encouraging public-sector unionism and which sparked massive demonstrations in Madison, the state capital, for weeks.
Lester Pines, an attorney who represents unionized teachers in Madison, said the LRB’s action, which appeared to contravene both the court order and specific written instructions from the secretary of state, would “unleash a tsunami of litigation.”