Local politicians, organizations respond to Act 10 ruling

CREATED Jan. 18, 2013

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MADISON - After Friday's ruling upholding Act 10, local politicians and political groups have responded to the court's decision. Below are a few of the responses.

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald spoke with 620 WTMJ's news team about the decision -

"I feel good obviously about the ruling, to have a federal court uphold the legislation that I ushered to rule with the governor and with my brother the speaker. We were hopeful that it would withstand the federal challenges first off, not to mention whats still going on in the circuit court here in Dane County, but I think that this is a huge victory for those of us that knew with federal law that the legislator has the ability to not only monitor but to send a clear message that we have the ability to not only organize and figure out who does not have that ability.

"Today's decision by the 7th circuit kind of confirms what we've been saying from the beginning which is we believe that the law is constitutional period and that certainly was addressed again by the court."

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson's response -

“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,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson. “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.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin's response -

Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Joe Fadness released the following statement regarding the 7th District Court of Appeals ruling to uphold Act 10:

“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.”

Rep. Pasch's response -

"Today, Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader Sandy Pasch (D – Shorewood) released the following statement regarding the Seventh Circuit Court ruling that upheld Act 10 on narrow legal grounds.

“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.”

Sen. Darling's response -

"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."

Senator Miller's response -

“I am disappointed in the decision. Wisconsin has had a long tradition with freedom of association and was the earliest adopter of collective bargaining rights which resulted in relatively good relations between workers and public employers to the benefit of the people of Wisconsin. 

"While I had hoped for a different outcome from the courts, it shows that we have work to do.”

Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, released the following response - 

“The appellate court upheld all of ‘Act 10’ as constitutional. The court relied on principles established in Foundation-supported U.S. Supreme Court victories which have held that union bosses have no constitutional power to force workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, or constitutional right to use government resources to deduct union dues or fees from workers’ paychecks. 

“The court’s decision strikes a mighty blow for individual workers who do not want anything to do with an unwanted union in their workplace. Unfortunately for Wisconsin government union bosses, the constitutionality of Right to Work laws has long been a settled question. We’re happy to report that the court rejected the union lawyers’ frivolous arguments and ensured that thousands of Wisconsin’s civil servants will continue to labor free from union coercion. 

“No Wisconsin public worker should ever be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Now it is time for Wisconsin’s legislature to protect that right for Wisconsin’s private-sector workers and pass a private-sector Right to Work law.”

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross's response -

"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."

United Wisconsin executive director Lisa Subeck's response -

“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the 7th Court of Appeals which has upheld Scott Walker’s anti-worker Act 10 legislation. Act 10 was proposed and passed as a blatantly political maneuver to tip the scales in favor of Republican interests.

"Today’s decision tarnishes Wisconsin’s proud history as a pioneer of workers’ rights. It is a slap in the face to our public servants and the workers who fought so hard for the right to collectively bargain. Today our state has taken a giant step backward.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate's response -

“We continue to believe that Scott Walker’s Act 10 is divisive, harmful and polarizing policy that sought to reward Walker’s political allies at the expense of working Wisconsin families.

“Even the federal appeals court that today upheld Act 10 on narrow legal grounds noted that the principal provisions of Act 10 fit the description of legislation that 'rewards friends and punishes opponents.'

“Regardless, nothing about Act 10 has created Wisconsin jobs, as evidenced by our recent ranking of 42nd in the nation in job creation. Today’s ruling should serve as a reminder that Scott Walker’s first priorities in office were acts of political favoritism, and not plans to fulfill his central campaign promise to create 250,000 new Wisconsin jobs.”

State Senator Leah Vukmir's response -

“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.

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