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GOP lawmakers call on leadership to hold vote on right-to-work amendment

Briana Bierschbach//March 20, 2012//

GOP lawmakers call on leadership to hold vote on right-to-work amendment

Briana Bierschbach//March 20, 2012//

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Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers called on the leadership in the House and Senate caucuses to bring a contentious right-to-work constitutional amendment up for a full vote in both chambers.

GOP Sen. Dave Thompson, the chief sponsor of the amendment in the Senate, urged leadership at a Tuesday Capitol news conference to move the bill from its current position in the Senate Rules Committee. Despite expressing “disappointment” that the bill has not moved quickly through the legislative process, Thompson ruled out the possibility that he would use an obscure Senate rule to pull the bill from committee and move it directly to the floor. Thompson said his deadline to use Senate Rule 5 would have been last Friday.

“We believe people want and deserve to have a hearing and a vote on this bill,” GOP Sen. David Hann said. When asked if the bill has the votes in his caucus to pass off the Senate floor, Hann said there’s “only one way to find out, and that’s to bring it to the floor.”

“As it stands right now our leadership certainly has control of what’s going on in the caucus. It’s in the Rules Committee and it’s under their jurisdiction,” he said. “I don’t know of anyone who opposes it on the idea, on the merits.”

The bill has been a flash point not only between DFLers, unions and Republicans, but within the Republican caucuses themselves. Thompson recently used a so-called “nuclear” option on the floor to move the bill from its stalled position in the Jobs and Economic Growth Committee to the Judiciary Committee, where many suspected it would have enough Republican votes to pass. The amendment passed out of the committee last week, with GOP Assistant Majority Leader Bill Ingebrigtsen voting against the measure with all DFLers.

GOP Sens. Ted Lillie, Roger Chamberlain, Gretchen Hoffman, Michelle Benson, Warren Limmer, Benjamin Kruse, Dan Hall, Scott Newman and Paul Gazelka joined Hann and Thompson, along with GOP House Republicans Steve Drazkowski, the chief author of the amendment, and Keith Downey.

The bill has yet to get a hearing the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, where it currently sits. Drazkowski also urged House leadership to move the bill.

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