A Dane County Judge has ruled that another lawsuit against Wisconsin's collective bargaining law can proceed.
This suit involves police officers who say it violates their constitutional rights. The lawsuit by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association says the collective bargaining law known as Act 10 "fractured" its union.
The association represents a variety of officers who are plaintiffs in this case, from Capitol Police, to University of Wisconsin police, to Wisconsin state troopers. After Act 10, only the state troopers preserved their collective bargaining rights while the other officers lost most of theirs.
Union attorney Sally Stix says it is unconstitutional for the state to treat those employees differently. She pointed out that during the protests over Act 10, all the officers were doing the same job.
"During the demonstrations up at the Capitol, the Capitol police and the UW police department and the state troopers were all working side by side, and they had different bargaining rights after the passage of the act."
Attorneys for the Department of Justice wanted a judge to stay this case, or put it on hold, while another lawsuit over Act 10 is appealed. That case was brought by Madison Teachers, Inc. and overturned significant parts of the law that pertain to municipal employees.
Judge John Markson denied that motion, saying it was in everyone's interest for this case to proceed. Markson said the case dealt with a different set of circumstances, especially since the employees here are state workers, who are covered by a different section of the law.
The Department of Justice had no comment on the ruling. It could be five months before all the briefs are filed in the case.