The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 8, 2014

House speaker pushes ‘right-to-work’ effort in opening address

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Members of the Missouri House doubled down on their calls to enact “right-to-work” laws in the state, part of the broader economic package they rolled out Wednesday when they began their 2014 session.

House Speaker Tim Jones, in an address to the chamber, said that in order to remain economically competitive with neighboring states, Missouri should become the 25th right-to-work state in the country.

“As 24 states have now empowered their workers over entrenched union bosses and given their workers the ultimate freedom to make their own choices, we owe it to all Missouri workers to give them the same freedom,” Jones said. “Across the country, jobs are created where the environment facilitates and encourages job growth.”

Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, said the policy — which aims to bar nonunion workers in union shops from having to pay union representation fees — would be good for Missouri. He said its only chance of passage would be if it was placed before voters on the ballot, where it would likely be the focus of a multimillion-dollar campaign.

“Labor will spend a whole lot of money, but there’s a lot of business money too,” he said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about the idea of job creation, and one of the biggest things if you ask any industry coming into Missouri — one of the biggest questions is whether Missouri will be a right-to-work state.”

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said his chamber would take up the bill if it makes it over from the House, which he implied might not be as easy as the House leadership might believe.

“I’ve got to get it first,” Richard said of how actively he would work to get it passed in the Senate. “We’ll see if it gets out (of the House).”

If the bill is taken up in the Senate, its biggest hurdle could be getting past a filibuster led by Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, would not say whether Democrats would stall debate on the issue if it comes up, but she did say her members broadly oppose the policy because of its aim at union rights.

Sean Soendker Nicholson, executive director of Progress Missouri, an activist organization that helps organize communication for labor and progressive organizations, said Jones and other supporters of the policy are supporting corporate interests, not those of working-class Missourians.

“The so-called right-to-work law Jones seeks would hurt all of us in the middle class, whether we’re in a union or not,” he said. “The average worker makes about $5,000 less in so-called right-to-work states. That’s obviously not the kind of policy we need in Missouri.”

John Putnam, a Carthage-area Republican activist, was among dozens of people who gathered in Jefferson City to welcome the General Assembly back to the Capitol. Putnam said he was happy with the renewed focus of House Republicans on the right-to-work issue, which he said he has supported for years.

“Every year, you have to check with the guys in leadership,” he said. “In the past, they haven’t been willing to put it on the governor’s desk. I wasn’t up here at all last year. We didn’t get it to the governor’s desk when Matt Blunt was governor, and we had a Republican House and a Republican governor.”

Putnam said he thinks lawmakers should not only try to get the issue on the ballot, as House Republicans have suggested, but also place it on Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk.

Aside from right-to-work, Putnam — who has long touted his conservative views — said he was working to persuade lawmakers to have Missouri join a call for a national convention to amend the Constitution to enact term limits and a balanced budget requirement. Two-thirds of the states would have to be on board for such a convention to take place.

“There are a number of people who are suddenly seeing this as a viable option,” Putnam said. “Balanced budget amendment, term limits on federal legislators — they’ll never impose term limits on themselves. My interest is to return the balance of power that was created by the founders between the states and the federal government.”

Davis said he also is focused on legislation to help ease the transition for returning veterans back into the workplace. He has proposed legislation that would allow pharmacists licensed by the military to easily use that to transition into the civilian work force.

“If they’ve already gone through a lot of the training, they should be able to get the licensure for their field pretty quickly instead of a drawn-out process,” Davis said.



Tax cuts?

ASIDE FROM RIGHT-TO-WORK, House Speaker Tim Jones also highlighted his support of finding a fix for the school accreditation problem in the state’s urban core areas as well as circling back to the issue of tax cuts. Lawmakers in September were unable to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a tax-cut measure.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter