Dane County sues state to block budget bill

2011-03-11T12:30:00Z 2011-07-05T18:09:14Z Dane County sues state to block budget billBILL NOVAK | The Capital Times | and ED TRELEVEN | State Journal madison.com

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is suing legislative leaders and the state in an attempt to block the enactment of the budget repair bill passed Thursday night and signed by Gov. Scott Walker Friday morning.

The lawsuit was filed by Corporation Counsel Marcia MacKenzie in Dane County Circuit Court.

Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith is expected to rule on a temporary restraining order sought by Dane County that would bar Secretary of State Douglas LaFollette from publishing the bill until the legality of a meeting of the legislative conference committee can be determined.

The county also wants the bill to be declared unconstitutional.

The suit asks for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from publishing the budget repair bill, which is when the bill would actually take effect.

"Publication of the bill will create a statute that will immediately cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, because of certain fiscal portions of the bill that become effective upon publication," the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs listed include Falk, Dane County Board Chairman Scott McDonell and Shannon Maier, a Dane County employee and union member.

The defendants include Secretary of State Douglas La Follette, who is in charge of scheduling the publication of new laws, state Reps. Jeff Fitzgerald and Scott Suder, and state Sens. Scott Fitzgerald and Michael Ellis.

The lawsuit asserts the bill "contains substantive fiscal items which will have a serious and detrimental impact on the citizens of Dane County, potentially changing the eligibility for medical assistance."

The suit also said the bill was acted on by the Joint Conference Committee at a meeting that was held in violation of the state open meetings laws.

"The founders of our state and nation created a government of checks and balances to prevent the kind of abuse of power that we've so sadly witnessed in the state Capitol in recent days," Falk said.

Falk said the lawsuit was filed to block the bill and "the governor's efforts to eliminate the rights of Wisconsin workers."

"Good public policy doesn't result from violating the law," Falk said. "It results from people listening to and working with one another."

The suit requests the court declare the March 9 vote by the Senate unconstitutional, since the bill contained "substantive fiscal items" and the Senate didn't have the required three-fifths quorum to vote on it.

The suit also says the bill will "jeopardize the employee/employer relationship within Dane County government."

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