The plot, it thickens. And that's putting it mildly. There's a real legal clusterf**k in the state of Wisconsin now, as disagreement abounds over whether Walker's budget repair bill is actually law. As I summarized a couple of posts ago, the bill was voted on illegally by senate Republicans, who violated the open meetings law by not giving a 24-hour notice of the vote. Then Walker signed the bill, despite serious questions of legality and constitutionality of the vote. Then Doug La Follette, the Secretary of State, announced he would wait the maximum allotted time to publish the bill - 10 business days, until March 25 - because of the legal issues at stake. Before that date, a Dane county judge issued a TRO (temporary restraining order) barring La Follette from publishing the bill while those legal questions remained unanswered. The state Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, requested an appeal "on La Follette's behalf" (even though he has stated multiple times that he never asked to be represented) so the bill could be published within the required 10 days of being signed by the Gov. I believe that the AG has since been pulled from representing La Follette, who never asked for it in the first place. Meanwhile, the Legislative Bureau published the bill on their website on their own.
Whether this makes the bill an actual LAW depends on who you ask. On the one hand, a bill must be published by the Secretary of State to become law. The Secretary of State has not yet published the bill. On the other hand, a bill must be published within 10 business days of being signed, and the Legislative Bureau did just that.
Someone from Walker's administration said that the law is in effect and the next paycheck to state employees will reflect that. But today, Dane County Circuit court Judge Maryann Sumi barred further implementation of the law until further legal action is taken.
Dude. WTF is going on here?
This situation is now not only infuriating, but really dang confusing. I am doing my part by keeping up with the situation as best I can. I will certainly be voting April 5 (JOANNE KLOPPENBURG FOR SUPREME COURT!!! TOTALLY UNDECIDED ABOUT MADISON MAYOR, SEEMS LIKE A TOSS-UP!!!). Also, as much as I can, I will have a continued presence at the Capitol, sometimes with my children and sometimes not.
One thing is for certain: Madison is a very interesting place to be right now.