The governor condemnes a proposed “right to work” initiative!

The people Oregonians elect to make laws, their legislators and the governor, enjoy an uncomfortable relationship with the initiative process, which allows citizens and interest groups to take proposed laws directly to voters. This natural tension is on full display these days, as Gov. John Kitzhaber plays whack-a-mole with a slew of proposed measures that predict a battle between business and labor interests in November 2014. The governor has been trying to convince those involved to stand down, because a business-labor spat will make tax reform – the governor’s next big project – even harder to pull off than it would be normally. In true whack-a-mole fashion, however, two more proposed initiatives popped up recently despite the governor’s efforts. Both are the work of public employee unions, and both respond to proposed initiatives that would make it more difficult for them to collect money. Kitzhaber might prevail eventually, but at the moment there’s plenty of posturing and uncertainty. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The state’s powerful unions are worried by the possibility that voters will allow public employees to choose how to spend their wages. Jill Gibson Odell, co-sponsor of the right to work proposal.…river


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