Will Wisconsin recount affect collective bargaining bill?
The Democrat-backed challenger in the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is granted a recount as the collective bargaining bill moves through the state court system.
The challenger in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been granted a statewide recount, a decision that is creating renewed uncertainty about the outcome of a controversial collective bargaining bill that is winding its way through the state court system.Skip to next paragraph
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The April 5 election between incumbent Justice David Prosser and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg attracted national attention when it became known that the court battle between Dane County officials and the administration of Gov. Scott Walker (R) over the collective-bargaining bill is likely to end up in the state's highest court.
The bill is criticized by Democrats for eroding union power among public-sector employees by forcing higher pension and health costs and limiting collective bargaining on everything but wages.
Last month, a circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order at the request of the county’s district attorney against publishing the bill, saying Republican lawmakers rushed to make it law and, in the process, potentially violated the state’s open meetings law. Governor Walker’s administration disagreed. The next step in the case takes place May 23 when both sides are required to have their legal briefs filed in court.
The likelihood that the case will inch forward through the state’s court system brought a significant amount of money to the state court race. Republicans favor Judge Prosser, a conservative, while Democrats favor Ms. Kloppenburg.
Spending on the race illustrated just how much the collective-bargaining bill mattered to special interest groups outside the state. Eighty percent of the $5.4 million spent in the race came from special interest groups, the second highest spending total in the state’s history for any race in Wisconsin, according to data compiled from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group located in Madison. Prosser received $2.6 million and Kloppenburg $1.8 million.
Despite the influx of money, the election night outcome was tight. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board reports that Prosser led Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes, less than 0.5 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast in the race.