In the Missouri House and Senate earlier this week, Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) announced her plans to create legislation that would reschedule the state’s upcoming referendum vote. If the bill were to pass, Gov. Eric Greitens’ Right to Work bill would have its fate decided by voters, not during November’s midterms, but rather during August primaries, where voter turnout remains historically low.
Rep. Rehder defended the move by arguing the saga has taken long enough, “I think the sooner the better. We need to get this past us.”
Despite her claims, Right to Work opponents see the move for what it is.
“By moving the vote to August, the GOP is hoping that the lower turnout will save this terrible legislation,” said Richard Dalton, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18 in Ohio. “Missourians have overwhelmingly spoken and Right to Work advocates are scared of what they’ve heard. This is yet another underhanded tactic to try and tip the scales.”
Missouri’s latest Right to Work fight began Feb. 4, 2017, when Gov. Greitens enacted Right to Work in Missouri despite criticism from voters and politicians alike. Within weeks, labor groups across the state had organized a seldom-used tactic to freeze the bill by creating a referendum petition.
Efforts to teach voters on the bill’s damaging effects to business led to an overwhelming turn out, with petitioners collected 310,567 signatures. Only 90,000 were required for a successful referendum.
“Those petitions were signed knowing that the vote would take place in November, when there is a bigger electorate,” said Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis). “This is just a thumb in the eyes of Missouri voters.”
Critics of Right to Work believe this to be yet another attack against the referendum and pro-union efforts. The petition’s success came despite two months frozen in court.
In July, the petition was brought before Missouri’s lower court system as Right to Work advocates felt the language was too vague. By speaking in broader terms petitioners were believed to be misrepresenting Greitens’ bill and deceiving voters. The court sided in the advocates’ favor.
Shortly before the deadline in October, the state’s Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling, finding the petition to be fair and balanced as-is.
“This has continually been an obstruction of the democratic process,” said Dalton, “When the GOP doesn’t get what it wants it delays, suppresses and inconveniences until they win. This isn’t just about Right to Work anymore, it’s about not letting political games beat the will of the constituents.”
For more information on Right to Work in Ohio, visit: http://protectohiosmiddleclass.org
SOURCE: Keep Ohio's Heritage
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