Thursday, January 24, 2008

Democratic Anti-Strike Bill Escapes Committee

A bill by Rep. Jim Riesberg to prohibit state workers from going on strike was passed by a House committee Thursday afternoon.

HB 1189, unlike the more expansive ban proposed by the GOP, does not apply to workers for any government entity other than the state. It makes violation a misdemeanor, instead of permitting felony criminal sanctions as would Rep. Bob Gardner's more hard-line measure.

The bill passed 6-5, with all Republicans and Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, opposed.

Carroll said she would not support the bill because she did not think that state workers' right to strike should be taken away.

Rep. John Soper, D-Thornton, indicated that he was not enthusiastic about the bill but nevertheless voted "yes."

Gov. Bill Ritter has argued that his executive order granting state employees the right to collectively bargain on a limited range of issues precludes strikes. But he has also said that he will sign a strike ban bill.