Wisconsin Republicans insist that the anti-union law that sparked weeks of protests at the state Capitol and that is being challenged in court takes effect Saturday because a state office decided to post it online. The head of the office that posted it and a court order temporarily blocking the law's implementation suggest otherwise.
The saga surrounding Gov. Scott Walker's push to strip most public employees of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights took another unexpected, and confusing, turn Friday when the Legislative Reference Bureau posted the law online, despite a court order blocking its publication while challenges to the law are considered.
That order specifically bars Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, which is the last step before a law takes effect. This is typically done by the Reference Bureau within 10 working days after it's signed by the governor, on a date set by the secretary of state. Walker signed the collective bargaining measure March 11 and La Follette initially designated Friday as the date of publication. But after the restraining order was issued, La Follette notified the Reference Bureau that he was rescinding that publication date.
La Follette said Friday that he didn't know what the law's online publication meant, and that he's not taking any action because of the court order.
Ultimately, the state Supreme Court will likely decide the law's fate. A state appeals court earlier in the week asked the Supreme Court to take up one of several lawsuits challenging its approval.