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Lower courts uphold parts of Act 10


UNDATED (WSAU)   Wisconsin Republicans scored two legal victories yesterday in a pair of challenges to the law which limited public union bargaining and made employees pay more for their benefits. The Third District Court of Appeals said it was okay for Eau Claire County to make Sheriff Ron Cramer and County Treasurer Larry Lokken pay more toward their health-and-retirement benefits. And in Milwaukee, the First District Appellate Court said Milwaukee police officers could not negotiate the health benefits they pay from their own pockets.

The two Eau Claire leaders tried to exempt themselves from Act 10. They said they were elected officials, and their compensation could not change by law during their terms. The appellate court said compensation does not include benefits, which reversed an earlier ruling from Circuit Judge Steven Cray. The attorney for Cramer and Lokken is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

In Milwaukee, the police union challenged a provision in the last state budget which prevented police and fire unions from having a say over their health coverage – even though they were exempt from the rest of Act 10. The Milwaukee union filed suit, saying it could still negotiate for their own expenses like co-pays and deductibles. Circuit Judge Dominic Amato agreed, but the appellate court reversed that decision. The union has not said whether it would consider an appeal.