State Bill: Up to a Year in Prison for Local Officials who Enact “Right to Work” Laws

By Sahid Fawaz

Some legislators have had it with local governments trying to skirt state laws by enacting their own “right to work” laws.

The website, Across Illinois Patch reports:

“More than half of the nation’s states have enacted laws barring forced unionization. In Illinois, lawmakers are primed to make enacting local right-to-work laws a criminal offense with up to a year in jail for the local politicians doing so.

A right-to-work law allows an employee to refuse union membership and still be employed. It’s proven to be a lightning rod on both sides of issues surrounding organized labor. Twenty-eight states have adopted right-to-work laws.

Under Senate Bill 1905, any local official in Illinois enacting right-to-work laws could potentially be charged with a class A misdemeanor. That’s a penalty often given to prostitutes, burglars, and drunk drivers and means up to a year in prison. It’s one step below a felony.

Laurie Reynolds, Prentice H. Marshall Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois College of Law, said taking a step to criminalize state-local disagreements warps the nature of local democracy.

‘I have to think that a state court in Illinois would invalidate this as an abuse of state legislative power,’ she said. ‘This is really beyond the pale.’

The General Assembly could vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on the bill as early as Tuesday.

The village of Lincolnshire enacted an ordinance creating a “local right-to-work zone” in 2015. The new ordinance was immediately challenged in court and is still ongoing. SB 2015 would void that ordinance.”

For the rest of the story, check out the full piece here.

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