One bill in a series of proposed laws that would devastate public unions in Arizona has come back to life and is set to be debated later today on the floor of the state Senate.
The measure was on life support two weeks ago after Republicans said they didn’t have enough votes to pass it. But it was given a second chance and could quickly get a formal Senate vote if it moves past the debate.The measure would ban any city, county or state government from paying employees to do union work, a practice known as “release time.”
Brian Livingston, the head of the Arizona Police Association, told TPM his organization has been working with lawmakers to get the bill changed to leave out a wide array of government employees that may be called upon in emergencies.
Beyond police and firefighters, he said that includes people like geologists and construction workers. He said he wouldn’t know until later today whether the amendment will be added to the bill.
Regardless, Livingston said he believes the bill has a good chance of passing the Senate. If that happens, it will move to the House.
Another bill, which would ban government workers from getting union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks, passed the Senate on Feb. 16.
Livingston said, however, that he’s been promised the most contentious bill in the anti-union package will not be back. The bill would have banned collective bargaining by government workers.
“It’s dead,” Livingston said. “We’ve been assured by leadership that it’s going nowhere.”
A fourth bill, which was similar to the other paycheck measure, also appears to be stalled indefinitely.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at email@example.com