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Court lets Wisconsin strip away union rights

6/15/2011, 2:38 p.m.

Score one for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The conservative finally got his way in Wisconsin State Supreme Court this Tuesday.

In a 4-3 decision, the court stated that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi had overstepped her authority when she said the state's conservative elected officials had violated open meeting statues and declared Walker's law that stripped away unions' rights to collectively bargain void.

"The Supreme Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again," said Walker in a statement.

Wisconsin democratic senators fled to Illinois on Feb. 17 to avoid voting on a bill that would curb collective bargaining rights of public workers and scale back benefits in order to balance the state's budget. The bill would also ask public employees to pay more for their healthcare and pensions. Dems felt the bill would easily pass in a GOP-dominated state senate. Gov. Walker and state republicans voted on the bill anyway and passed it while the Dems were out of state.

Walker said that the bill is needed to address Wisconsin's $3.6 billion budget deficit.

The court's decision came right before the Wisconsin Assembly's debate of the state budget was slated to begin. Wisconsin republicans were ready to put the new union/collective bargaining provisions into their budget even without the court's ruling.