Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Republicans legislators pushing good bills forward and blocking bad bills

What kinds of bills do Republicans pass? Let’s take a look at a couple.

The first story is about North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven, and it’s from the Washington Times.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven (right)

Excerpt:

Senators approved the Keystone XL pipeline in a momentous vote Thursday as nine Democrats bucked their party leaders and joined Republicans in backing the long-stalled project, setting up an eventual showdown with President Obama, who has vowed a veto.

The vote marks the first major accomplishment for the Senate Republican majority, who carefully selected the pipeline to put at the top of the agenda in hopes of preparing Democrats for even bigger tests with Mr. Obama.

“This took a bipartisan effort to get done. That’s what the people want,” said Sen. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Republican who sponsored the legislation.

The 62-36 vote is a high-water mark for the pipeline, which had never before cleared the Senate on a binding vote, and just two months ago fell to a Democratic filibuster.

The bill still must be combined with a House version that passed the chamber this month before it heads to Mr. Obama.

This is a bill that creates jobs, lowers the price of gas, makes us less dependent on foreign sources of oil and it doesn’t harm the environment.

Having a job is good because when you earn your own success, you are usually happier than you would be receiving money from the government. Lower gas prices are good, because you can spend the money you safe on useful things, like date night with your wife, or maybe a gift for your mom or dad. Making us less dependent on foreign oil is good, because some of these nations we buy oil from don’t like us very much, and that’s putting it nicely. We really should not be buying oil from Venezuela, for example. And finally, it’s a good idea to conserve nature as it is, because we all like animals, trees, flowers, etc., and we should keep it all clean. A pipeline is safer for moving oil than using trains – fewer environmental disasters.

Next story is about Texas senator Ted Cruz, and it’s from the Daily Signal.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Excerpt:

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to protect taxpayers from political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service. The Texas Republican introduced legislation yesterday making it crime to engage in such behavior as questions still linger about the full extent of the IRS scandal.

This is not the first time Cruz has offered this type of legislation. In February 2014, he introduced amendments to the STOP Identity Theft Act. Those measures, however, were defeated by Democrats and did not make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Free speech is not a partisan issue. The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans,” Cruz said during last year’s debate.

With a new Republican Senate majority, Cruz is hopeful that this time the language will pass independently as a bill. In a press release, Cruz blasted the lack of action by President Obama and his administration in response to the IRS scandal.

“In May 2013, President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet to this date no one has been held accountable for it,” Cruz said in a statement.

Cruz’s bill would make it a crime for any IRS employee to willfully target anyone based solely on political beliefs. Any employee found in violation would be subject to a fine, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

“This is a well thought out amendment to the IRS code to try and deter and punish the type of naked political targeting engaged in by Lois Lerner and other IRS employees,” said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the election law reform initiative and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

I think it’s a good idea for government not to be used as a weapon to punish people who want less government and more freedom. Don’t you?

Last one is about Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa, as reported by Doug Ross.

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Excerpt:

“We’re extremely pleased that Congressman King has introduced the National Right to Work Act, intensifying a growing debate about labor law and worker freedom in our country. This legislation would enshrine the common-sense principle – already enforced in nearly half of U.S. states – that no worker should be compelled to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.

“In an age of legislative overreach, this is one of the shortest bills ever introduced. A National Right to Work Act does not add a single word to federal law. It simply removes language in the National Labor Relations Act that gives union officials the power to extract dues from nonunion workers as a condition of employment.

“Voluntary association is a quintessential American ideal and the case for Right to Work has always rested on the principles of employee freedom, but passage of a National Right to Work law will also pay economic dividends. Studies demonstrate that workers in Right to Work states enjoy greater private sector job growth and higher disposable incomes than their counterparts in states without Right to Work protections.

“The Right to Work principle is also popular with the public. Polls consistently show that 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

“A National Right to Work Act enshrines worker freedom while providing significant economic benefits for workers. The National Right to Work Committee is mobilizing its 2.8 million members to call on their Congressperson to support the National Right to Work Act.”

Evidence shows that right-to-work states are more attractive to job creators, which results in lower unemployment in states that adopt right-to-work.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Republican legislators blocked three pro-abortion bills.

If you missed my recent post on four good things that Republican governors are doing, I recommend reading that as well.

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Amazing: California teachers challenge forced payment of union dues

Dad sent me this article from the Washington Free Beacon. It’s good news!

Excerpt:

A group of California teachers is preparing for a Supreme Court battle to overturn forced union dues in a groundbreaking lawsuits filed in June.

For nearly three decades, the Supreme Court has allowed closed-shop unionism, in which public employees must pay dues to labor groups handling collective bargaining negotiations.

The Supreme Court established Beck Rights in 1988 allowing workers to opt out of union dues for political activities, while continuing to pay for union negotiating expenses. The teachers are hoping to take that battle one step further by putting an end to all coercive union dues.

Ten California schoolteachers are challenging California’s policy of forcing all public employees to pay union dues for collective bargaining. The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is aiding their suit. The CIR views the issue through the lens of the Constitution, rather than as a contest of labor policy.

“Our efforts are not anti-union; we are trying to solidify the First Amendment rights of public employees to freely assemble,” CIR president Terry Pell said.

The plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction on Tuesday asking the court to waive the teachers’ union dues during the ongoing trial. Pell is certain the motion will fail, which is all the better for the plaintiffs because it will “fast-track” the litigation to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually the Supreme Court.

“This is a piece of strategic litigation—we’re trying to get the issue of compulsory union dues to the Supreme Court as quickly as possible,” he said. “We know that lower courts can’t overrule Supreme Court precedent, but this will expedite us through the system.”

The Roberts court opened the door to ending coercive unionism last year when it ruled 5-4 that Service Employees International Union improperly charged non-union members for political activities. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, said the forced dues on non-union members were “indefensible”

One of the biggest problems with California is the stranglehold that public sector unions have on the state. This would be a good first step to getting the state to turn around. Even liberals stop paying dues when it’s not mandatory, because they want to keep their own money just like anyone does.

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Unemployment rates are lower and wages are higher in right-to-work states

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

Previously, we saw that unemployment rates in right-to-work states were MUCH lower than in states that force workers to join unions and pay union dues in order to work.

Curtis sent me this article from Investors Business Daily, which looks at whether wages are lower in states that have right-to-work laws.

Excerpt:

The president says right-to-work laws mean “the right to work for less money.” So how does he explain the fact that incomes are up in RTW states while forced unionism is a proven job killer?

Campaigning Monday in Michigan as it stood poised to become the nation’s 24th right-to-work state, President Obama spoke the exact opposite of the truth to union workers at a Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in the birthplace of organized labor.

Is Obama telling the truth?

Let’s see:

According to Michigan’s Mackinac Center, using data taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states increased by 12% between 2001 and 2011 compared with just 3% over the same period in forced-unionization states.

These good wages came from good jobs. Employment in right-to-work states expanded 2.4% over the same stretch vs. a 3.4% decline in non-right-to-work states. Ironically, Obama is taking credit for jobs created in RTW states.

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a RTW law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”

This is why people vote with their feet and move to these states. RTW states experienced large population gains of 15.3% from 2000 to 2010, compared to 5.9% in non-RTW states.

Obama did get one thing right, though, when he said the bills that passed both houses of the Michigan legislature “don’t have to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics.”

The president who fought Boeing’s expansion in RTW South Carolina knows it’s all about his keeping union dues flowing into Democratic coffers and maintaining the plush lifestyles of the union leaders who support him.

The right thing for Republicans to do when they get elected is to cut off all sources of funding for the Democrat Party. Right-to-work laws and school choice promote freedom and diminish the amount of power that left-wing, pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage labor unions can exert. They will have less money, and with less money, they will have less influence on elections. Let the people decide, not the powerful, corrupt labor unions.

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Michigan governor Rick Snyder signs right-to-work bill into law

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

It’s official – Michigan has enacted a new right-to-work law that will create more jobs and free workers from having to violate their consciences by forcibly supporting pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage policies via their mandatory union dues.

Here’s an interesting article by Byron York in the Washington Examiner, discussing the political significance of this development.

Excerpt:

Republicans say the move would not only give current workers the freedom to choose whether to join a union and pay dues but would, more importantly, bring many, many new jobs to Michigan. Rep. Gov. Rick Snyder, who supports the bill, points out that Indiana enacted (after a long and bitter fight) the same kind of law earlier this year. “We’ve carefully watched what’s gone on in Indiana since they passed similar legislation back in February,” Snyder told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren last week, “and they’ve seen a significant increase in the number of companies talking about [bringing] thousands of jobs to their state.”

Of course, the move is not just economic. It’s political, too. Democrats depend on millions — actually, billions — of dollars in support from the forced dues of union members. If that money supply were to dry up, or even just decrease, the Democratic Party would be in serious trouble.

De-funding the unions is the first step to education reform. And Michigan students need education reform very badly. Even 40% of the union workers – who are much more sensible and patriotic than the union bosses – agree with the new law:

Regardless of news reports, the people of Michigan are behind this. A recent poll showed that 51 percent of Michigan voters support right-to-work. Only 41 percent are opposed. In fact, 40 percent of union households supported it. In November, Michigan voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have amended the state constitution to prevent the legislature from passing a right-to-work law and elevated union contracts above state law. The New York Times called it “a test case on enshrining the rights of unions,” and unions spent more than $23 million campaigning for the initiative. It lost by 15 points.

[…][M]aking union dues voluntary makes union organizers less aggressive—they get less financial benefit from organizing new firms, because they cannot force workers to pay them. Union organizing attempts drop 40 percent to 50 percent after states pass a right-to-work law. That in turn attracts business investment. Employers want to know unions will leave them alone if they treat their workers well. As a result, right-to-work states have lower unemployment rates—and more manufacturing jobs.

CNS News reports that only 7% of Detroit public school 8th graders can read at proficiency level.

Excerpt:

In the public schools in Detroit, Mich., according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 7 percent of the eighth graders are grade-level proficient or better in reading.

Some public school teachers in the City of Detroit and around the state of Michigan are reportedly taking a vacation or a sick day today to protest right-to-work legislation likely to be approved by the state legislature. Under current law, Michigan public school teachers must pay dues to the teachers’ union. If the right-to-work law is enacted, Michigan public-school teachers will be free to join the union and pay dues to it if they wish, but they will also be free not to join the union and not to pay it dues.

Detroit public-school eighth graders do even worse in math than they do in reading, according to the Department of Education. While only 7 percent scored highly enough on the department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress test in 2011 to be rated “proficient” or better in reading, only 4 percent scored highly enough to be rated “proficient” or better in math.

Statewide in Michigan, only 32 percent of public-school eighth graders scored grade-level proficient or better in reading, and only 31 percent scored grade-level proficient or better in math.

According to this report, over 26,000 students missed school because of the “sick day” protest by the teachers.

Here’s a video of what happens at the protests:

The actual unemployment rate of right-to-work states is 6.7%. Compare that with the 8.7% unemployment rate of forced-unionism states. Jobs are the number one priority right now, and right-to-work means more jobs.

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Michigan approves right-to-work law for private sector unions

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

Map of right-to-work states: Michigan is #24

Dad sent me this article from Fox News, which reports on how Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state.

Excerpt:

Republicans rushed right-to-work legislation through the Michigan Legislature Thursday, drawing raucous protests from hundreds of union supporters, some of whom were pepper-sprayed by police when they tried to storm the Senate chamber.

With six-vote margins in both chambers, the House and Senate approved measures prohibiting private unions from requiring that nonunion employees pay fees. The Senate was debating a similar bill, with Democrats denouncing it as an attack on worker rights and the GOP sponsor insisting it would boost the economy and jobs. Separate legislation dealing with public-sector unions was expected to come later.

Because of rules requiring a five-day delay between votes in the two chambers on the same legislation, final enactment appears unlikely until next week. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who previously had said repeatedly that right-to-work was “not on my agenda,” told reporters Thursday he would sign the measures.

[…]In an interview with The Associated Press, Snyder said he had kept the issue at arm’s length while pursuing other programs to bolster the state economy. But he said circumstances had pushed the matter to the forefront.

“It is a divisive issue,” he acknowledged. “But it was already being divisive over the past few weeks, so let’s get this resolved. Let’s reach a conclusion that’s in the best interests of all.”

Also influencing his decision, he said, were reports that some 90 companies had decided to locate in Indiana since that state adopted right-to-work legislation. “That’s thousands of jobs, and we want to have that kind of success in Michigan,” he said.

Do right-to-work states create more jobs than forced-union-dues states, like the Republican governor says?

The radically left-wing Washington Post takes a look at it:

The Facts

We searched the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site to find data on each state’s non-farm, seasonally adjusted employment during the past 10 years. Just as Romney said, right-to-work states have better employment numbers on the whole.

Romney’s camp relied on numbers from the BLS household survey. The data, which his team compiled in July, show that right-to-work states experienced a net gain of 3.6 million jobs during the past decade, while “union states” saw a net loss of 900,000 jobs over the same time span.

The updated BLS numbers are right here.

Unions are a Democrat constituency, and that means that unions support abortion and gay marriage. It is wrong that unions are able to force socially conservative workers to pay dues that are used to elect pro-abortion and anti-marriage leftists. Right-to-work laws protect workers from being forced to support causes that violate their consciences. They can pay the dues if they want to, but they don’t have to. You shouldn’t have to support abortion and gay marriage just so you can work.

Now ask yourself another question. Why would Democrats want to prevent job creation? Could it be that they want more people to be dependent on government for their daily bread, so that they can control them and coerce them into voting for bigger government?

Democrats are the party of dependence, debt and unemployment. They hate jobs, they hate business. That’s why we have seen an explosion of debt, unemployment, taxes and regulations over the last four years, with more to come in the next four. You can’t argue with these numbers, and no amount of spirited teleprompter-reading will change what actually works. And what actually doesn’t work.

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