It’s been an interesting year so far. We’ve got Republican Governors standing up to public employee unions and winning not just the legislative battles but the PR battles as well. Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey in the bag with more fights looking like wins in other states. We’ve actually got Governors who’ve figured out that unions are not their friends and will never be.
And then there’s Florida.
Some background. State Senator John Thrasher introduce a bill in the Florida Senate that had two fundamental provisions. First of all it would require public employee unions to get permission from their members annually to spend union dues on political activity. Second, the state would stop collecting dues. The State Senate in Florida has 40 members, 28 of whom are Republican.
Even though the Florida House has already passed a similar bill, the bill has been withdrawn.
It seems Republican members of the Florida Senate have bought into the lie that unions are bipartisan and friends of Republicans in Florida.
Union lobbyists repeatedly said the bill would cripple the payroll deductions that fuel labor’s political efforts while continuing to allow similar deductions at 360 organizations and private companies, including insurers, that spend money on politics.
Unions also said they were being scapegoated for Florida’s budget problems. They argued that the recession and Wall Street, not union-negotiated pay and benefits, caused Florida’s $3.6 billion deficit.
Those arguments resonated with lawmakers.
In a sign that the bill is in trouble, Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, personally lobbied four Republican senators on Wednesday to back it…
So, it appears that Florida’s new Republican Governor is on board, the Florida House is solid but the Senate is beyond wishy-washy. Apparently 12 of 28 Republican Senators oppose this bill, and of course the Democrats are solidly sold out to the unions.
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s a Republican legacy.