By Sahid Fawaz
Illinois has become a battleground in the "right to work" war. The latest development involves local governments wanting to create their own "right to work" zones.
"In a big win for Gov. Bruce Rauner — and perhaps a sign that Republican legislators haven’t deserted him — the Illinois House failed by just one vote to override his veto of a bill that would prohibit local municipalities from enacting “right-to-work” zones to get around unions.
This week of the veto session was seen as a test of how badly the governor had alienated Republicans after signing into law a House bill that expands public funding of abortion — a move that even spawned the possibility he’ll get a primary challenger.
The test comes three months after Rauner saw some House Republicans buck him on a tax and budget package. But on Wednesday, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin worked his caucus hard — and only four Republicans broke ranks on the override measure, joining 66 Democrats. The 70-42 vote fell one vote short.
Rauner’s victory lap for an issue he’s pushed since his election may be a short one, however. A motion to reconsider the vote can still be filed, and bill sponsor state Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, plans to file separate legislation ahead of the veto session next month to remove a controversial portion of the measure that offers a criminal penalty to local governments that enact right-to-work. Both of those options offer an opportunity to get additional votes on the measure.
An override requires 71 votes, and there are 67 House Democrats.
Right-to-work essentially allows people to work in union jobs without paying union dues. Rauner included it in his “Turnaround Agenda.” He’s argued that without it, local municipalities are denied flexibility, resulting in fewer jobs, slower economic growth and higher taxes.
In a statement, the governor called the failed override a 'victory' for the people of Illinois.
'Instead, courageous House lawmakers stood together to dump the old playbook and move forward to make Illinois more competitive,' the governor said in a statement.
The Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to override the veto on Tuesday, with no debate. After the Senate override, the governor’s office said the override 'could create a damaging loss for the economic competitiveness of Illinois.' The governor’s office said the vote denies local communities the ability to decide for themselves how they’d like to structure regulations to compete with nearby states."
Check out the full piece at the Chicago Sun Times here.