With one week left of the legislative session for this year, Missouri Republicans are clearing their schedules and prioritizing a bill to end forced union dues.
The policy, known as right-to-work, outlaws mandatory union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Now law in 25 states, the policy has attracted support among many Republicans but opposition from many others on the left.
Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, a Republican, cleared the legislative schedule, noting his goal to make the policy a priority. Republicans have until Friday evening to pass such a bill at which point the legislative session is required to end. The state house passed its version of right-to-work in February.
“Both sides have their priorities,” Richard told St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. “If mine don’t make it, no one else’s will.”
As The Associated Press points out, though lawmakers were able to successfully pass some major legislative initiatives this session, including a $26 billion budget plan, some lingering issues still exist and are likely to get pushed to the side by Richard. This includes a bill which would ban lawmakers from immediately becoming lobbyists after they leave office, campaign finance reform, criminal justice reform, a proposed gas tax hike and a plan to redefine Medicaid eligibility.
Though Republicans control both the state house and senate, if a bill were to pass it is likely to get vetoed by Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon.
“It has historically been a tough pull to get done,” said state Rep. Kevin Corlew, a Republican, on This Week in Missouri Politics, a panel put on by The Missouri Times.
“I imagine it would be tough to get done this time as well,” he continued. “We have some Republicans in some pro-labor districts; we’ve been able to grow our majority by being able to reach out to those districts. We’ve moved the needle. As far as overcoming an override, we’ll just have to see how that transpires.”
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