Judge Temporarily Halts Wisconsin Public Employee Law

By Staff Report

Mar. 22, 2011

A Wisconsin circuit court judge on March 18 temporarily blocked a state law that would require pension contributions from most state and local employees as well as limit their collective bargaining rights.

The lawsuit, filed March 16 by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne alleged the legislation was adopted in violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The state Senate and state Assembly passed the legislation March 9-10, respectively. It was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker on March 11.

The order by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi stops Wisconsin secretary of state Douglas La Follette from publishing the bill, which legally blocks its implementation.

A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for March 29. The law was to become effective March 26.

The law excludes police and fire employees, who would continue to have full collective bargaining powers, enabling employers to pick up their pension contributions.

For employers without a collective bargaining agreement in force, employees would be required to pay half of the annual actuarially required retirement plan contributions, according to a written statement of the Wisconsin Department Employee Trust Funds.

The three systems affected by the legislation are the $79.8 billion Wisconsin Retirement System, the $4.5 billion Milwaukee City Employees’ Retirement System and the $2.1 billion Milwaukee County Employees Retirement System.  

Filed by Barry B. Burr of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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