Judge strikes down Wis. law limiting union rights

11:34 PM, Sep 15, 2012   |    comments
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MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin judge has struck down the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled Friday that the law violates both the state and U.S. Constitution and is null and void. The ruling comes after a lawsuit brought by the Madison teachers union and a union for Milwaukee city employees.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says he is confident the decision will be overturned on appeal.

"The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5th (Recall Election)," said Walker in a statement. "Now, they are ready to move on. Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process."

It was not clear if the ruling means the law is immediately suspended. The law took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most workers and has been in effect for more than a year.

Opponents of the law were surprised by the timing of the ruling.

"We didn't see this coming. I didn't see this coming. It wasn't on the radar. But we think this is a very positive step," said Michael Kahlow, a River Falls volunteer for the Democrats.

That said, he knows the ruling will be appealed and is cautiously optimistic with whats to come.

"We're realistic. There's been lots of ups and downs. And this is one more step along the path to really bringing us back to where we need to be with Wisconsin and good government," he said. 

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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