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Gongwer: Momentum for Right to Work gaining

by: Eric B.

Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 13:02:59 PM EST


Someone was kind enough to send this along. It's from Gongwer.

The chances of the Legislature pursuing right-to-work legislation that would bar mandatory union membership or dues for workers covered by collective bargaining agreements appears to be increasing substantially, Gongwer News Service has learned.

Senate Republicans are expected to address the topic at their retreat today and decide whether to proceed. But expectations, from several sources, are that so much of the caucus wants to push forward that it is difficult to imagine reversing the tide now.

No bill has been introduced, but expectations are that the bill would exempt police officers and fire fighters, meaning those workers could still be required to join their union or pay union dues.

Going against the advice of every major newspaper in the state, the state Chamber of Commerce, every piece of polling data of what the state's citizens and the governor ... that's what they're doing. They're also setting up a giant battle that'll suck all the oxygen out of the room after enough signatures are gathered to put the thing before voters, who will shoot it down ... unless, of course, they attach to it an appropriation for education to make it referendum proof.

Michigan will become unmanageable less than a month after voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have made the state unmanageable.

This is the logical conclusion of both term limits and partisan redistricting.

Eric B. :: Gongwer: Momentum for Right to Work gaining
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Would it be possible? (0.00 / 0)
I understand the constitutional prohibition on requesting a referendum on a law that contains an appropriation, but are there any lawyers reading who could opine on whether it would be possible to initiate a law repealing the sections of law constituting the RTW law?

I understand this approach would be suboptimal, since an initiated law requires signatures of 8% of the total number of votes cast for governor in '10, vs 5% for a referendum, and the referendum puts the law on hold until the next general election, but still, it's at least something that could be done.


Question (0.00 / 0)
It seems obvious that they'd make an appropriation bill, but besides the media bringing up the possibility that they'd do it this way, has any Republican yet been caught saying that this is how they'd do it?  I can certainly see them being craven enough to slip in some kind of symbolic appropriation to keep it from being repealed, but I can also see them being scared enough into submission to let it stand on its own.  

[ Parent ]
Boy, (0.00 / 0)
I don't know that I can see the Reps being scared of anything. Their method seems to be to pass whatever they want and then brazen it out.

And given the combination of the 2011 gerrymander and the incompetence of the MDP, they'd likely get away with it and keep their majorities in the Leg.

That's why I'm wondering about a Plan B in case they do decide to stick an appropriation in the bill. That's called repeal or replace the specific sections of the MCL that are created or amended by the RTW law through an initiated law. It's not as good as a referendum, but I'd guess it's doable.

Now interestingly, Article II, Section 9 of the Constitution, which provides for the initiative and referendum, says that a law adopted under the initiative procedure can't be repealed or amended except by a new vote of the people or a 3/4 vote in each house of the legislature, so if a statutory right to collective bargaining was set up by a repeal initiative it would be pretty secure.


[ Parent ]
I think (0.00 / 0)
I think we'd have a collective bargaining amendment do-over regardless of Right-to-Work, to be honest.  I'd like to see one, again, but a very clean one, this time.  I'd particularly like to see it next year when we can be pretty sure that a whole bunch of other stuff doesn't crowd it out like what happened with Prop 2.

Back on the immediate issue, after what happened, today, I'm really wondering if Shirkey is going to pull the trigger during the lame duck?  They are really scared. They practically swarmed the capitol with state police, earlier today, and that was before the unions have even fired a shot, yet.  Just the threat of possible protest seems to have them skitish.


[ Parent ]
Wasn't aware (0.00 / 0)
I wasn't aware that there's evidence the Reps actually are getting chilly feet about this one.

As far as having a do-over next year, that can't happen. The constitution specifies that initiatives and referenda are to be voted on at the next general election. While the constitution doesn't seem to define general election, MCL 168.2(h) defines a general election as an election held in November of an even-numbered year.

Probably disappointing in terms of getting collective bargaining back on the ballot as quickly as possible, but I think it's probably a good idea in terms of maximizing voter turnout for proposals, because it ensures they will be voted on in an election when people are voting either for president or governor. It also eliminates gamesmanship regarding the timing of voting on, e.g., constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature. Recall that this year the NC legislature placed their version of a marriage amendment on the primary ballot, when they knew there would be lots of Reps voting in the presidential primary, and not so many Dems because there wasn't a seriously-contested primary for either president or governor.


[ Parent ]

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