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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sumi dismisses Dane County case against union law

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi dismissed a lawsuit brought on by Dane County challenging Gov. Scott Walker's controversial law restricting collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Dane County and two officials, County Executive Kathleen Falk and County Board Chair Scott McDonell, chose to sue the state on the grounds that they unconstitutionally passed the budget repair bill without the 24-hour notice required by the state's Open Meetings Laws.

Sumi ruled Dane County lacks standing to assert constitutional claims against the state.  In her statement, Judge Sumi said ""the District Attorney has explicit statutory authority to enforce the open meetings law; Dane County does not.""

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In late March, Sumi ruled the public was not given enough notice on the vote and placed a temporary restraining order on the law. The Department of Justice has said they would appeal the case, but in order to do so the lawmakers involved, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, would have to give up their legislative immunity.

Falk did not criticize Sumi's decision, but emphasized this ruling has no bearing on the ongoing lawsuit.

""Her decision also doesn't dismiss the questions of open meetings and quorum violations raised after the actions by legislative Republicans, it just says Dane County isn't the proper entity to sue the state over those violations,"" Falk said in a statement.


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