Attorneys say Act 10 ruling shouldn't affect MTI lawsuit - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Attorneys say Act 10 ruling shouldn't affect MTI lawsuit

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MADISON (WKOW) -- On Friday a federal appeals court ruled on one of four lawsuits against Wisconsin's Act 10, deciding the law limiting public employee collective bargaining is legal.

Act 10 was heard by the appeals court because the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) filed an injunction saying it was unconstitutional. The three judge panel disagreed with that claim. However, there are other injunctions from other groups that still need to be resolved.

Attorneys for Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI) say a separate lawsuit they filed is still going strong.

"The Madison Teacher's case is grounded entirely on the state of Wisconsin's constitution and not the federal constitution. It advances a different theory under both the right to freedom of expression and under the protection provisions of the state's constitution," says attorney Timothy Hawks.

MTI Executive Director John Matthews agrees. Their suit is entirely different than the one overturned by the appeals court.

In a statement released Friday afternoon the group said:

"The case in federal court was based primarily on Act 10's prohibition of a union's ability to collect dues and fair share monies. MTI's case in state court claimed Act 10 violates our members' Wisconsin constitutional rights of freedom of speech, assembly and equal protection."

Attorney General J.B Van Hollen however says the judges' decision to uphold Act 10 sets a very important precedent for other injunctions.

"Since state courts do have to comply with federal court rulings on federal constitutionality, we have a great chance of having that injunction overturned or at least stayed, ultimately prevailing that case as well, based upon this decision," Van Hollen explains.

Van Hollen says there are two other suits besides the one being pursued by MTI and the WEAC. He believes they will be affected by the recent ruling as well.

As for the next step in this whole process, no one really knows what to do next. The judges' ruling was 74 pages long. The Wisconsin Education Association Council and Madison Teachers Inc. say they're going to review everything with their attorneys before deciding their next moves.

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