Saturday, March 26, 2011

Republican Panic Button Is Taking More Hits Than Charlie Sheen

The way that Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald boys are totally screwing up their own schemes would be hilarious if the consequences weren't so severe.

After the Dane County District Attorney successfully pursued a Temporary Restraining Order preventing the publication of the Union Busting Bill, the Republicans decided to pursue it to a higher court in order to have it overturned.

This decision caused a bit of disconcertion among the right, who, like Cindy Kilkenny, were left to speculate why the Republicans just didn't concede the court fight and take a second vote on the bill. I answered Cindy's puzzlement by pointing out that if they voted a second time, it might not pass, but she didn't believe me.

Well, if she won't believe me, maybe she'll believe Senator Scott Fitzgerald, who said pretty much the same thing.

So, if taking a vote was too risky, their only other option appeared to be in court.  But this wasn't going swimmingly for them either.

This resorted to what Republicans do best: Turning an end around run into running into their own rounded rear ends.

In a bit of classic Walkeresque overreach, Scott Fitzgerald pushed the Legislative Reference Bureau into "publishing" the law that they had illegally passed.  He and Walker claimed the law published and said that they would be putting it into effect tomorrow.  Their rationale was because it was on the legislative web site, so that made it law.

Needless to say, many right wingers broke open the proverbial bubbly in what turned out to be premature acclamation.

As it turns out, and I need to point out that Illy-T led the way locally on this, the "publication" that Fitzgerald ordered was actually more of a printing of the law.  In other words, Hissy Fits Fitz drove the LRB to the local Kinko's and had them print the law.  Word is that Fitzgerald even had them attach a shiny gold ribbon to it so he could show it off.

But according to the Legislative Review Board itself, the law isn't a law until the Secretary of State actually publishes the bill.  And, of course, Secretary Doug La Follette is under the Temporary Restraining Order which is preventing him from publishing it.  Ergo, the job destruction that Walker and the Fitzgerald boys want to do will have to wait for another time,  Of course, I would hope that they aware of the fact that if it ever does get successfully passed, then it will only be immediately stalled again as lawsuit after lawsuit is filed against it.

But one thing that hasn't been talked about a lot is the fact that the LRB is traditionally a strictly non-partisan entity which is highly respected by both Republicans and Democrats.  Fitzgerald expended a lot of political capital in pushing this non-partisan board into printing a very partisan law.  The ramifications from that could be rather interesting to watch.  And Fitzgerald didn't even get a T-shirt for his troubles.


  1. You write: "But according to the Legislative Review Board itself, the law isn't a law until the Secretary of State actually publishes the bill."

    This just ins't right. Yes, the Wisc. Legislative Council letter to Barca does paraphrase the LRB chief Miller as referring to the "publication of the Act by the Secretary of State." But that is just a figure of speech, as the rest of the letter, and indeed the law, confirms. The rest of the letter refers to "the publication duty of the Secretary of State" and the "publication‐related activities of both the LRB and the Secretary of State."

    As I mentioned on Twitter, the law is clear (link: Sections 35.095(3,a-b) governs the publication of laws, and say quite clearly that it is the LRB that publishes the law, while the Secretary of State chooses the date of publication. Just because the SOS must choose a date before it can be published does not mean the SOS actually publishes the law. He doesn't. But his "publication-related duty must be fulfilled before LRB's publication-related duty (which is actually publishing it) can occur. So the law cannot be published in the right way until the SOS sets date. Presumably Sumi understood this.

    There is an entirely separate section of the law that governs when a law goes into effect, and that section (sect. 991.11: says that laws go into effect on the day after the day set by the SOS. This means that *EVEN IF* LRB could publish the law without a date from the SOS (which it cannot), that published law still cannot go into effect, since the SOS's chosen date determines the date of effectiveness. Since the SOS did not choose a date (See 3/18 letter:, there can be no date on which the goes into effect.

  2. "....This just isn't right...."

    Well, you better explain that to the AG, JB Van Hollen.

    "The attorney general's office on Monday morning asked for permission to file an appeal in the case, which is pending before Sumi. It also asked that Sumi's order be stopped immediately."

  3. I guess the word "shall" means "as long as the left agrees."

    I still say when the dust settles, we have a law.

  4. "Turning an end around run into running into their own rounded rear ends."


  5. Search Committee-

    From JSOnline:

    In her March 18 decision, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued the restraining order to prevent La Follette from publishing the law. But she also made a blanket statement that she was blocking the further implementation of the law.

    "I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. The next step in implementation of that law would be the publication of that law by the secretary of state. He is restrained and enjoined from such publication until further order of this court," she said.

    The Department of Justice appealed the restraining order, and on Thursday an appeals panel - without weighing in on the merits of the case - said the state Supreme Court should take up the matter. The high court has not decided what to do.

    I would also recommend that you follow the link to Illy-T's post.

  6. Cindy-

    Like you were sure that the Republicans had enough votes to pass the bill a second time?

  7. Search Committee: Note also that 991.11 points specifically to 35.095(3)(b) and not 35.095(3)(a). Thus "publication" under 35.095(3)(a) does not fulfill the requirements of 991.11 (this is what I meant by the LRB "serving two masters").

    As he is bound by the circuit court's order, the Secretary of State has yet to designate a date of publication (he had designated one, but he "rescinded" it, which means his prior designation is voided, annulled, never happened).

    While the Secretary of State's designated date of publication may not be more than 10 working days after the date of enactment, there's no reason why that date cannot be made retroactive if and when the court's order is lifted, which obviously isn't going to happen until after the 10 working days have elapsed.

    (And further note that the Bots & Sabers disciples never even mention 991.11.)

  8. LRB=Legislative Reference Bureau.

  9. Thanks for catching that, Arthur.

  10. As Fitz' hold over his causus slides away he grows more and more desperate. The lowliest water commisioner in Dumptruck County knows how to get an ordinance published but it seems to be beyond the ken of the arrogant Fitz. His path would be clear if he thought he had the votes but he has so much of his own ego invested in the notions of his perfection that he won't risk putting the Disappearing Democracy Bill up for another vote.