The Wisconsin Supreme Court began hearings today on the state’s controversial public employee law. Its decision is eagerly awaited by union members and collective bargaining opponents alike.

Associated Press photo

Here’s a guide to help you understand what’s at stake.

Last month, the Dane County Circuit Court struck down the new law, saying Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings regulations when they held hearings on the legislation.

Debate over the law sparked plenty of drama in Wisconsin, where thousands of protestors descended on the state capital in Madison.

Some called the protests as important to the labor movement as the sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Mich., in 1936 and 1937.

And Wisconsin isn’t alone: other states in our region passed legislation affecting state employees’ collective bargaining rights. Here’s our Q&A explaining what the issues mean.

Wisconsin readers: are you a state employee affected by the new law, or did you support its appeal? How do you view today’s hearings?