Political reaction from ruling upholding collective bargaining law

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by Chris Patterson

The Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals rendered a judgement upholding Act 10, a law eliminating most collective bargaining rights for public employees. It's just the latest chapter in the long story of the Wisconsin budget battle. The judgement is drawing reaction for politicians and political groups.

Governor Scott Walker's Office:

Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers. The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid.  With this ruling behind us, we can now focus on the next state budget, which will invest in priorities to move our state forward.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen: 

For nearly two years, those opposing Act 10 have tried every angle to have it struck down and invalidated.  Today’s decision by the Seventh Circuit confirms what I have stated from the beginning.  Act 10 is constitutional.  While there are no guarantees, it is my hope that this decision will pave the way for resolving any remaining challenges in a manner that supports the legislative decisions made by our elected officials.

One Wisconsin Now:

"The court acknowledged the rationale behind Gov. Walker and the Republicans' attacks on worker rights was to gain partisan political advantage – just like their gerrymandering of legislative districts and restricting voting rights. Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s boast that Act 10 was designed to prevent President Obama from winning Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes were specifically cited as unseemly.
"It is extremely disappointing that the result of this court’s majority decision is to continue to allow those with political power to attack the people and their rights to organize for safe working conditions, a more secure economic future and to elect representatives that will fight for them."

State Senator Chris Larson:

Today’s ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is an immense setback for Wisconsin’s middle class families who are already suffering a lack of job creation. After half a century of labor progress in Wisconsin, upholding this divisive legislation will only hurt Wisconsin’s working, middle class families.

The 7th Circuit’s determination that the calculated protection of political favorites and the targeting of political foes is constitutionally permissible is a sad deterioration of our Wisconsin values.

Congressman Robin Vos:

“Today’s federal court ruling confirms what we’ve known all along:  Act 10 is constitutional. What we’ve seen in this case--and with so many others before it--is that a liberal Dane County judge made a political, not a legal, decision.”

“These reforms have played an important role in balancing budgets at the state and local levels.  I encourage those who have not utilized these tools to begin incorporating them to the benefit of taxpayers.”

Congressman Peter Barca:

"While the Seventh Circuit Court upheld Act 10 on narrow legal grounds, the court did acknowledge that Act 10 appears to be an act of favoritism for 'friends' and punishing enemies. While that approach may be legal, the Judge David Hamilton notes that 'the United States Constitution does not forbid all legislation that rewards friends and punishes opponents.'
 
"Given the recent focus on bipartisanship, now would be a good opportunity to move away from positions the court acknowledges are likely favoritism and punishment. We must find real solutions the Wisconsin way of sitting down together and rolling up our sleeves to tackle problems with all stakeholders to repair some of the damage that has been done by this law. We are not a state that should have laws in place to settle partisan vendettas."

State Senator Alberta Darling:

"This is great news for taxpayers. It brings certainty to local officials who have been in limbo, waiting to see what happens as this issue was dragged through the court system.
 
Act 10 was crucial in turning a $3.6 billion deficit into a $342 million surplus without raising taxes. The reforms contained in Act 10 saved thousands of jobs and allowed teachers more say in the classroom. Furthermore, it saved millions in health care costs by allowing local districts to use the free market.
 
The nation looks to Wisconsin for reform. Now that Act 10 has been declared constitutional in its entirety, you can bet other states will follow suit."

State Representative Sandy Pasch:

“Due to the actions by legislative Republicans and Governor Walker, our last legislative session will go down as one of the most divisive and polarizing in our state’s history.  Today’s court decision serves as a stark reminder that legislative Republicans and Governor Walker rammed through extreme and highly partisan legislation that ‘rewards friends and punishes opponents’ and has consequently been tied up in courts at taxpayer expense. 

“Regardless of today’s ruling, our constituents clearly don’t want to be paying for the work of their elected officials through legal fees.  Rather, they have demanded that we roll up our sleeves, look each other in the eye, and genuinely work together to address our communities’ critical needs and priorities in ways that don’t abuse political power or betray public trust.

“Both Republicans and Democrats alike campaigned on promises of bipartisanship, creating jobs, and supporting education.  My hope is that my Republican colleagues will work with us on these very real and critical issues and move away from the ideological favoritism and political punishment that plagued our state under their leadership this past legislative session.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin:

“Today’s court ruling is a win for Wisconsin.  The decision shows that Governor Walker and leaders in the state legislature were right in their decision to protect taxpayers. Act 10 helped put Wisconsin back on solid financial ground without increasing the tax burden facing our residents and job creators.

“For far too long, activist judges in Madison have attempted to hold the state hostage with their clear bias when it comes to legislation. With this ruling, we can rest assured that the will of the people prevails over the influence of national public sector labor unions.”

State Senator Leah Vukmir:

“This is another huge sigh of relief for Wisconsin taxpayers. This ensures that we will be able to move forward in balancing our state’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes on the citizens of our great state.”

A district court judge had previously invalidated provisions in the law regarding payroll deductions and recertification votes.

“Now that Act 10 has been validated, we can turn our attention to growing jobs and improving the economy in Wisconsin.”

 


 

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