February 10, 2009
JACKSON -- The Senate voted 31-19 Monday for an anti-labor union bill pushed by Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus.
The bill would prohibit state and local governments from requiring contractors to have agreements with labor organizations that include paying workers prevailing wages and paying dues to a labor organization over an employee''s objection.
Labor unions drive up the costs of public construction projects, said Brown, who chairs the Senate Fees, Salaries and Administration Committee.
"I don''t think we''ve got a problem right now, but I want to fix it before it becomes a problem," he said.
Senate Bill 3111 would also impose restrictions on unions seeking dues-paying members. In passing the Employee Fair Solicitation Act sponsored by Brown, the Senate declared a "lack of regulation exposes Mississippi''s hourly wage earners to misleading and fraudulent solicitation."
The bill split the Senate largely along party lines, with 23 Republicans joined by eight Democrats for the bill and 19 Democrats voting against it.
The bill now goes to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, where similar legislation died last week.
A pro-union bill for teachers barely passed the House on Monday with a 62-57 vote. House Bill 552 would let teachers voluntarily allow money to be deducted from their wages to pay their dues for education-related organizations.
The bill passed along party lines, with most of the House''s 74 Democrats for it and all but one of its 48 Republicans against it.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
To read bills, follow their progress and see how legislators voted, go to the Mississippi Legislature''s Web site: billstatus.ls.state.ms.us. The Web site also has live videocasts of House and Senate floor sessions.
Senate Bill 3111 to prohibit state and local governments from requiring contractors to have agreements with labor unions:
House Bill 552 to allow teachers to have union dues deducted from their paychecks: