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A Dane County judge recused herself Monday morning from Dane County's lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin over the recently signed budget repair law, a move that could delay a hearing set for this week on putting a temporary halt to implementation of the law.

Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith had said on Friday that she could not hear the case if AFSCME or the Wisconsin State Employees Union became involved as a party in the case. Neither organization has yet joined the case.

At a brief hearing Monday, Smith said she discovered while reviewing the case over the weekend that one of the plaintiffs, county worker Shannon Maier, is an AFSCME representative.

Smith said she must recuse herself because she had dealings with WSEU and AFSCME while she was deputy secretary of the state Department of Corrections and as head of enforcement for the state Department of Natural Resources.

On Friday, Dane County sued the state to challenge the law, alleging that a legislative conference committee violated the state's Open Meetings Law when it voted to send an altered version of the bill to the state Senate and Assembly. The lawsuit also alleges that the Senate did not have the required quorum to vote on the bill.

Smith declined on Friday to issue a temporary restraining order barring publication of the bill. Secretary of State Doug La Follette said Friday that he won't publish it until March 25, delaying its effective date until then, to allow for legal challenges.

Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi is now assigned to the case and has set a status conference on the case for Tuesday morning

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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