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Dane County Judge Sumi Plays Hardball With Collective Bargaining, Could Be Months From Decision

April 2, 2011

No one could write a script like that which is playing out in Madison in regards to the collective bargaining legal battle.

Instead of a decision Friday, Sumi gave lawyers in the case three legal questions she wants them to answer, setting a seven-week period for legal briefs and responses.

In the meantime, the case will also wait for the four lawmakers who are asserting legislative immunity — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau; Senate President Michael Ellis, R-Neenah; Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon; and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford — until they either waive immunity or are out of session and can be served with the lawsuit.

That could be months. Ozanne said there are windows in July and December in which the Legislature is not in session. State law grants immunity to legislators during sessions and for 15 days before and after, but it’s not settled whether sessions are defined as legislative floor periods or entire two-year periods between elections.

None of the lawyers in the case could answer that question definitively and will likely argue it in legal briefs to Sumi.

Then there is this…..and this is precious.

Steven Means, executive assistant to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, said on Tuesday that the AG couldn’t appeal the order Sumi issued that day because it no longer represents any active defendant in the case.

2 Comments
  1. April 4, 2011 11:30 AM

    Off the top o fmy head I can think of two area that need to be addressed. If these are the three areas that you ask about I am not sure. First was was constituted the legislature being ‘in session’. From working in the State Assembly I always took that to mean when the members were on the floor. Others seem not so sure about that. The second thing that comes to mind, ands relates to what I just penned is immunity. The lawmakers accused of violating the open meetings law cannot be sued during the legislative session. There are also open meeting questions that are being researched.

    At the end of this I firmly beleive that Sumi will rule there was an open-meeting violation.

    If I think of anything else I will post a comment here for you as the day proceeds.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. marcella permalink
    April 4, 2011 10:37 AM

    What were the 3 questions Sumi wants answered? I can’t find the text for them anywhere, and don’t have alot of time to look…
    How ’bout you?

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