It shouldn’t have taken three tries

IT SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THREE TRIES…. Twice in two weeks, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-union measure. And twice, the Walker administration came up with creative ways to ignore the court order and start enforcing the measure anyway.

Apparently, the third time was the charm.

A state law to sharply curb union bargaining by public employees is not in effect, a Dane County judge ruled Thursday, continuing the turmoil over a measure that sparked massive protests and prompted Democrats to boycott the Senate for three weeks.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said it would comply and discontinue the implementation of the law.

“Based on the briefs of counsel, the uncontroverted testimony, and the evidence received at the March 29, 2011, evidentiary hearing, it is hereby DECLARED that 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 has not been published within the meaning of (state statutes), and is therefore not in effect,” Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled in a two-paragraph order.

While I’m glad Walker will honor the court order, it’s somehow unnerving that news accounts have to let the public know that the governor’s administration will “comply” with the judge’s instructions — because that part is no longer assumed.

“While I believe the budget-repair bill was legally published and is indeed law, given the most recent court action we will suspend the implementation of it at this time,” said a statement from Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch.

How gracious of Walker’s team.

I’m not inclined to give Wisconsin Republicans advice, but it still seems to me the smartest move, under the circumstances, is to simply pass the measure again, properly this time. GOP officials seem to have ignored the state’s open-meeting law, which is why Judge Sumi has blocked the bill from becoming law. If Republicans jumped through the appropriate procedural hoops, they could conceivably wrap this up in a few days.

But for now, GOP leaders don’t want to do that, perhaps fearing a reprise of the massive demonstrations, and perhaps unsure whether they might lose more Republican votes in the second go-around.

Regardless, as of this afternoon, the union-busting measure is not enforced law in Wisconsin. For more background on how we got from there to here, check out our previous coverage.