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State Legislative Tracker: Could right-to-work legislation pass in any states in 2013?
Michigan officially became the nation's 24th right-to-work state last week, putting into place legislation that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) called "pro-worker and pro-Michigan." The new law, which prohibits paying union dues as a condition of employment, was based on similar legislation passed in Indiana earlier this year.
Battles over such legislation have been among the most contentious in recent years - President Barack Obama, who happened to be in Detroit when the legislation was being finalized in the state capital, stated, “These so called right-to-work laws, they don’t have anything to do with economics, they have to do with politics.”
While right-to-work supporters have the momentum, it is unclear if they will see success anywhere else in the upcoming year. Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, certainly thinks so, saying he expects at least one more state to join the right-to-work ranks - “If Michigan can do it, then I think everybody ought to think about it.” Yet the reality appears unlikely. Here's a rundown of some of the states being mentioned:
- Missouri: Speaker of the House Tim Jones (R) said the Missouri State Legislature would address right-to-work in 2013, but acknowledged it was unlikely to pass due to a probable veto from Gov. Jay Nixon (D).
- Montana: Much like Missouri, Montana has a GOP-led legislature but a Democratic governor likely to veto any right-to-work legislation.Cite error: Closing
<ref>tag Incoming governor Maggie Hassan (D) has repeatedly stated her opposition to right-to-work.
- Ohio: A group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom is gathering signatures in an attempt to put a proposal on the November ballot that would make Ohio a right-to-work state. The group failed to get a similar measure on the ballot this year. Gov. John Kasich (R), meanwhile, said that he has a "very aggressive agenda" to keep the state competitive, but did not include a right-to-work law among his priorities.
- Pennsylvania: Although Republicans control the state legislature and governor's office, right-to-work appears unlikely in Pennsylvania. While state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) has introduced such legislation in every session for the last 14 years, it has never gone anywhere. Gov. Tom Corbett said he would sign a right-to-work bill if passed but doubted that would happen, stating, "There is not much of a movement to do it."
- Wisconsin: While Gov. Scott Walker (R) famously took on labor unions that ultimately led to an unsuccessful recall against him this past June, he said right-to-work is not a priority and would be too distracting for the next legislative session.
This week 4 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session.
The following states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions:
- Click here to see a chart of each state's 2012 session information.
| Snapshot of State Legislatures: |
Monday, December 17, 2012
|There are 7,383 Total State Legislators|
|Total Democratic state legislators||3,339 (45.2%)|
|Total Republican state legislators||3,890 (52.7%)|
|There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers|
|Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers||36|
|Total Republican Party-controlled chambers||59|
|Total tied or nonpartisan chambers||4|
|2012 Session Information|
|Total Special Elections||43|
|Total Special Sessions||22|
In 2011, special sessions were a widespread occurrence in state legislatures. This was largely due to states' having to complete the redistricting process for legislative and congressional districts. Overall in 2011, there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.
During 2012, there have been 22 special sessions in 18 states. There is one special session scheduled to take place this week in Connecticut.
The Connecticut State Legislature will hold a special session on December 19 to address proposals to reduce the state budget deficit put forth by Gov. Dan Malloy (D). The state is facing a projected $415 million deficit for the current fiscal year.
The Oregon State Legislature held a one-day special session on December 14 to approve legislation allowing Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) to enter into "qualifying investment contracts" with major corporations. The goal of the bill is to make the state more attractive to businesses, locking into place the current corporate tax code for large corporations, namely Nike. Some have criticized the legislation for not applying to smaller businesses.
As of today, December 17, 10 state's sessions are currently in recess:
- Wisconsin - In recess from March 17 to December 31, 2012.
- New Hampshire - In recess until January 2, 2013.
- California - In recess until January 7, 2013.
- Idaho - In recess until January 7, 2013.
- Illinois - In recess from December 6 to January 8, 2013.
- Indiana - In recess until January 7, 2013.
- Maine - In recess until January 8, 2013.
- North Dakota - In recess until January 8, 2013.
- New York - In recess until January 8, 2013.
- Florida - In recess until March 5, 2013.
So far in 2012 there have been 43 special elections in 19 states.
David Williams (R) resigned his seat in the Kentucky State Senate after he was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear as a circuit judge on the 40th judicial circuit on November 2, 2012. A special election to replace him will take place on December 18, 2012.
General election candidates:
Kenny Alexander (D) resigned his seat in the House after winning a special election for the Virginia State Senate on September 4, 2012. Gov. Bob McDonnell has set a special election to fill his seat December 18. Candidates had until October 19 to file.
General election candidates:
Recent election results
On December 11, Alabama's two special elections were decided:
- Alabama House of Representatives District 30: Blaine Galliher (R) resigned his seat effective August 1, 2012 in order to serve as Gov. Robert Bentley's (R) Legislative Director. In the Republican primary on October 23 Mack Butler defeated Rob McHugh. Butler defeated Beth McGlaughn in the general election on December 11.
- Alabama House of Representatives District 34: Elwyn Thomas (R) resigned his seat effective August 31, 2012 in order to become executive director of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission. A Republican primary took place on October 23. As no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters, David Standridge defeated Chris Latta in a primary runoff on December 11, 2012.
On December 11, Iowa's special election was decided:
- Iowa State Senate District 22: Following a long battle with cancer, Sen. Pat Ward (R) died on October 15, 2012. Ward was seeking re-election in the November 6 general election. Her name remained on the ballot and counts were tabulated but not canvassed. Republican Party officials held a special nominating convention to name a replacement candidate for Ward, who would face Desmund Adams (D) in the December 11 special election. Republicans chose West Des Moines City Councilman Charles Schneider. Schneider defeated Adams to win the seat.
Upcoming special elections include:
- December 18: Kentucky State Senate District 16
- December 18: Virginia House of Delegates District 89
- January 8, 2013: California State Senate District 4
- January 8, 2013: Georgia State Senate Districts 11, 21 and 30
- January 8, 2013: Georgia House of Representatives District 21
- January 8, 2013: Mississippi House of Representatives District 59
- January 15, 2013: Mississippi State Senate District 16
- January 22, 2013: Iowa House of Representatives District 52
- January 26, 2013: Texas state Senate District 6
- March 12, 2013: South Carolina House of Representatives District 17
- April 6, 2013: Louisiana House of Representatives District 65
- State legislative elections, 2012
- State legislative election results, 2012
- 2012 state legislative calendar
- Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections
- State legislative special elections, 2012
- State legislative recalls
- Huffington Post, "Michigan Right-To-Work Bill Approved By Republican-Dominated House," December 11, 2012
- The Washington Free Beacon, " The Hoosier Legacy," December 17, 2012
- The Times Herald, "Obama criticizes Michigan right-to-work bills," December 10, 2012
- Trib Live, "Right-to-work advocates gird for resistance," December 13, 2012
- St. Louis Dispatch, "Missouri lawmakers expect to debate 'right to work'," December 13, 2012
- National Review, "What Next for Right-to-Work?," December 13, 2012
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Kasich: Right-to-work law not crucial for Ohio," December 10, 2012
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania unlikely to become a right-to-work state, many say," December 14, 2012
- Superior Telegram, "Walker says right-to-work bill would be too distracting," December 12, 2012 (dead link)
- Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed December 17, 2012
- Hartford Courant, "Malloy Proposes Plan To Balance State Budget," December 7, 2012
- Statesman Journal, "Senate passes Nike bill, next step: Kitzhaber's signature," December 14, 2012
- StateScape, "Daily Session Summary," accessed December 17, 2012
- The Lane Report, "BREAKING NEWS: Governor appoints Senate President David Williams as circuit judge," October 26, 2012
- Kentucky.com, "Beshear sets Dec. 18 special election to fill Williams' state Senate seat," November 8, 2012
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Parties nominate candidates for Senate seat," November 16, 2012
- Hampton Roads, "Special election set for Dec. 18 to fill Norfolk legislative seat," September 28, 2012
- Virginia State Board of Elections, " List of candidates December 18, 2012 special election," accessed December 17, 2012
- Governor of Alabama, "Governor Bentley Appoints Blaine Galliher as Legislative Director," July 26, 2012
- The Republic, "Candidates qualify for special elections to fill 2 vacant seats in Alabama House," September 11, 2012
- Gadsden Times, "Butler wins District 30 primary," October 23, 2012
- The Republic, "2 Republicans headed to Ala. state legislature after special elections," December 11, 2012
- WLTZ, "Governor Bentley Calls Special Election for House District 34," August 21, 2012
- AL.com, "Blount County's District 34 House race headed to a runoff," October 23, 2012
- Globe Gazette, "Sen. Ward dies; special election set for Dec. 11," October 15, 2012
- Caffeinated Thoughts, "Iowa GOP Nominates Charles Schneider for Iowa Senate District 22 Race," November 8, 2012
- My San Antonio, " Republican wins Iowa Senate special election," December 12, 2012