A state law enforcement union filed a lawsuit Tuesday hoping to extend recent success challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Act 10 legislation, which limited state workers’ collective bargaining rights.
The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, which filed the lawsuit in the Dane County Circuit Court Tuesday, represents police officers around the state including members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Capitol Police.
The WLEA lawsuit is similar to the one decided Sept. 12 by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas, which dealt only with municipal workers. Colas ruled certain portions of Act 10, including its prohibition of collective bargaining, unconstitutional because he said it violated municipal workers’ rights to free speech, association and equal protection.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who defends the state in lawsuits, has since appealed the September decision to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.
Although the Tuesday suit, like the previous lawsuit, was filed in the Dane County Circuit Court, it is unknown whether Colas will also decide the WLEA case.
In a statement released Tuesday, the WLEA said the lawsuit was filed to regain bargaining rights for “hard working state employees,” specifically all law enforcement officers, which were lost with the passage of Act 10.
“[Act 10] fractured the [law enforcement] union and the solidarity of its members, undermining their ability to join together and advocate for the best conditions to keep Wisconsin roads and communities safe,” the WLEA said in the statement.
Van Hollen spokesperson Dana Brueck said in a statement the Wisconsin Department of Justice has remained optimistic while reviewing the case.
“We believe Act 10 is constitutional, and that we'll ultimately prevail,” Brueck said in the statement.