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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

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The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Michigan Democrats Take Major Step to Roll Back Right-to-Work Law

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Friday, March 10, 2023   

Michigan Democrats took a major step toward one of their top legislative priorities this week by passing a measure in the House to roll back the state's decade-old "right to work" law.

The bill, which was backed by Michigan labor unions but opposed by most business interests, was approved on a party-line vote. The measure goes next to the state Senate. The law, passed in 2012, prohibits labor contracts requiring union fees or dues as a condition of employment.

Aaron Pelo, communications director of the Michigan AFL-CIO, said if the measure becomes law, it will restore many rights workers have lost.

"The action that the House just took is really, in our eyes, a restoration of worker freedom," Pelo explained. "It puts power back into the hands of Michigan workers to negotiate for better wages and better benefits, and safer workplaces."

House members also approved a measure restoring Michigan's prevailing wage, which would require companies contracting with the state to pay workers union-level wages. Business interests argued both measures would make Michigan less competitive and hurt the economy.

According to the AFL-CIO, 27 states currently have right to work laws. The regulation came about through the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibits a "closed shop" in which employees are required to be members of a union.

Pelo noted unions have fought against right-to-work for many years.

"We know that states that have these worker suppression policies like right to work, they have lower wages, they have worse benefits, they have weaker safety standards, and higher risk of accident and injury on the job," Pelo outlined.

Legislative observers expect a close vote in the Michigan Senate where Democrats hold a 20-18 margin over the GOP.


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