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Speaker Richardson reaches historic 110 votes for ‘paycheck protection’

Slowly but surely, those who support worker freedom are winning the war. It is important to note though, that this bill only covers public employees.

From the Missouri Times

With the right-to-work debate of last session still fresh in the minds of Republicans due to the attack ads still being ran against their members, House Republican leadership has decided to take on unions in a different way.

The House Wednesday voted to perfect Rep. Holly Rehder’s “paycheck protection” bill 107-48, which would prohibit unions from withholding earnings of union members to go towards the union’s political efforts. On Thursday, the vote total reached 110 votes on final passage of the bill, a veto-proof majority.

“Many union leaders pursue agendas their members do not support. Annual written authorization for withholding dues to a public labor organization,” Rehder, R-Sikeston, said. “This bill gives the individual the ability to belong to a union… without having to support causes or individuals that the union advocates for politically.”

House Speaker Todd Richardson R-Poplar Bluff picked up several republican votes from last session and has had to overcome several obstacles from, losing one seat in November’s three special elections, the resignation today of a ‘yes’ vote from last year in former Rep. Don Gosen, and a heavily financed ad campaign promoting the new business regulations aimed at members of his caucus to achieve the largest number of votes ever cast for the legislation in Missouri.

While the bill is more popular amongst Republicans than the right-to-work business regulation, unions and most Democrats still oppose the legislation. When some Republican legislators called the bill pro-worker, Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis, wondered who specifically supported the bill.

“Why is it the workers don’t want this?” she said. “The workers that I’m hearing from… have been fighting this legislation. I think it’s disingenuous that people say they are doing this for the workers.”

Rep. Clem Smith said that because an amendment to the bill exempted the unions of firefighters and police officers, it proved that other unions had problems with it.

“Because you’ve created protected classes of employees. that means there’s somebody in some organization that does not like this. That is a red flag,” Smith said. “If you all are about to change the law for five people that complained about a problem they had with a single union, we’re in a bad spot.”

Rep. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, contended that this measure was being used to solidify the Republican Party, hinting that the discord within the Republican Party based on last year’s right-to-work vote foreshadowed of the Democratic majority’s fall at the beginning of the new millennium.

He argued that if any Republicans who voted in opposition to right-to-work voted in favor of paycheck protection, it proved that the commercials and advertisements used against them by pro-RTW groups worked.

After Rizzo’s speech, Speaker Todd Richardson came off the dias to accuse Rizzo of hypocritically attacking and attempting to scare Republicans for not siding with Democrats.

“What bothers me is the gentleman from Jackson is assertion that all the pressure is coming from one side on this bill,” he said, adding the “number of members on this side of the aisle who have been strong, unwavering labor supporters that are being raked over the coals for taking one wrong vote” was unacceptable.

The final tally was 107 votes, putting legislative republicans just within reach of a veto proof majority and culminating in a huge win for the speaker. The legislation now moves to the senate where passage is likely if the bill can overcome filibusters to reach a vote.

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