Right-to-work legislation is expected to be discussed soon during a meeting between key legislative leaders and Missouri’s next governor.
House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) indicates he wants to discuss labor reform during an upcoming meeting with Governor-Elect Eric Greitens (R). Richardson tells the Capitol Press Corps that he and Missouri Senate leaders will meet with Greitens to discuss the 2017 legislative session, which is less than two months away. Richardson did not say when or where that meeting will take place.
“We’ll talk about what we think the next session’s going to look like. But, this General Assembly and this majority has been strongly committed to labor reform for a number of years. And I know that throughout the campaign, that was a priority for Governor Greitens as well,” Richardson says.
Right-to-work has been a controversial issue at the Capitol, with Democrats and labor unions voicing strong opposition. Right-to-work says that a person cannot be required to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, as a condition of employment. State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-Sikeston) tells Missourinet she plans to file a bill in January. While 60 percent of Missourians voted against right-to-work in 1978, Rehder says things are different now. Rehder says union membership in 1978 was about 30 percent, and is now less than eight percent.
Attorney General Chris Koster (D), who lost to Greitens on Tuesday, had pledged to veto right-to-work.
Richardson says House Republicans will focus on labor reform, tort reform and education reform in 2017.
“So we’re going to start working on the specifics of what that agenda looks like, but we want an agenda that we think helps move Missouri’s economy in a better direction. We want a more vibrant, dynamic economy here in Missouri than we have today,” says Richardson.
Richardson says wages have been “almost stagnant” in Missouri for the past seven years.
Republicans will control the House next year 117-46, matching the largest GOP majority in Missouri history.
House Republicans caucused on Wednesday at the Statehouse in Jefferson City, and elected State Rep. Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) as House Speaker Pro Tem. Haahr will replace State Rep. and current Pro Tem Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), who’s been elected to the State Senate.
House Republicans Wednesday also re-elected State Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) as House Majority Floor Leader, and State Rep. Kevin Austin (R-Springfield) as House Assistant Majority Floor Leader. They elected State Rep. Steve Lynch (R-Waynesville) as House Majority Whip.