Senate Passes Right To Work Bills Despite Lawmakers' Protests

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

There were protests within the House and Senate chambers Thursday afternoon by the lawmakers themselves, but to no avail.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Arlan Meekof, R-West Olive, said democracy is "beautiful."

"It's a proud day for Michigan," Sen. Meekof said.

Hundreds of protesters and the democratic lawmakers disagree with Sen. Meekof. They called this a sad day for Michigan.

"I'm disgusted. This is legislation that was introduced and moved through all the way today, and there was never a public hearing," Senator Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said."The Governor never told people where he stood on this until today."

Democrats tried to stall with hours of debate. One senator spoke for nearly an hour against right to work, during which the chamber was asked to quiet down multiple times. After the private sector bill passed 22-16, the democrats walked out.

"The republicans tried to cut off our voices," Sen. Whitmer said. "No hearings, locking people out of the Capitol, and then shutting down legislators from having debate. They trampled on the Constitution to pass the most divisive thing they could in Michigan."

House democrats staged their own protest, too. They insisted the public be allowed in the building or else they wouldn't vote. Eventually they returned, but right to work was approved there 58-52.

"We believe this is the work that moves Michigan forward again," Sen. Meekof said. "So, they've elected us to make those decisions for them, and I think we've done the right thing."

Democrats left the Senate chamber before the public sector vote for the second bill. Many protesters from the gallery yelled down to the floor during the vote. The bill passed 22-4, and many democrats didn't return for the rest of the session.

"I'm worried that the environment is so toxic here, that we can't find common ground on anything, and I think that's a legitimate concern," Sen. Whitmer said. "No one's talking about the people. The nurses, the teachers, the emergency workers who are all going to be impacted by this."

An appropriation was also added in the bill, which means it cannot be repealed through referendum.

The House still has to approve the public sector bill that went through the Senate, and that could happen as early as Tuesday.

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  • by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2012 at 06:23 PM
    they need to push more public transport so we can give up our cars and the big 3.
  • by bill Location: lansing on Dec 7, 2012 at 01:49 PM
    Too bad, so sad. It is sad the way the State government went about passing the bills, but, the Unions did this to themselves, I believe that there is a place for having a union, what I don't believe in is the employees who use the union to hide behind when they are negligent in performing their job duties for which they were hired for. As a retired state worker and a former GM hourly worker, I seen way to many employees keep their job who should of been fired but don't just because they belong to a union. It is so common that the employees brag about it. Anyone who belongs to a union knows what I am talking about. If the Union leaders are so concerned for their fellow brothers, then why are they charging from anywhere from $20.00 to $60.00 per month for their dues. They do not want a RTW state because most of their members would stop paying their dues. No dues = no Cushy job and perks. Why should A worker be forced to give $30.00 a pay check for something they may not even want. For me, I rather keep my $60.00 union dues in my pocket than finance someones golf outing or the costs of fighting to keep someones job who deserves to be fired.
  • by Gayla Norris Location: Portage MI on Dec 7, 2012 at 11:14 AM
    "It's a proud day for Michigan," Sen. Meekof said. Are you serious? I think it was a VERY sad day for Michigan Citizens. For more than one reason. You "duped" the citizens of this state and it was lead by a lying govenor. Oh, that's right he just changed his mind. If there is one middle class citizen who is better off rather than worse off since this man took office speak up, cause I can't find any of his voters anymore!!!
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Dec 7, 2012 at 10:47 AM
    Actually, Ms. Whitmer, the citizens did get their say, when they elected more Conservatives than Liberals for the House and Senate. Those elected officials are absolutely doing their job representing the hard-working tax-paying citizens of this State. Ms. Whitmer, and the rest of the Libs, are simply upset that this has been taken care of so quickly, not leaving the Libs time to bus in protesters and media mouthpieces, and not presenting them with the opportunity to do what they do best ... rally, protest (and trash buildings and property during their much-beloved festivities). Sorry, Gretch, but the Conservatives in Michigan were smarter than those in Ohio and Wisconsin, whose slow actions on this same issue allowed for the high-price-tag, union-backed planned protests. Those protests, by the way, resulted in expensive damage to their capital buildings and grounds. Thankfully, someone was smart enough to lock them out of Michigan's capital building.
  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 7, 2012 at 04:37 AM
    they can cry and fight over this yet they keep raising the charges they impose on our insurance for cars that we cant afford. how about letting the people that have and keep there insurance, choose if they want to have the so called coverage?
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