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"Right to Work" Constitutional Amendment Moves to the House Floor for Required Readings, Vote

Alyssa Hansen
25 Apr, 2021
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Once again, we'd like to draw your attention to a couple of important items before we dive into this week's legislative update. First, we'd like to extend our thanks to State Representative John Ray Clemmons for his help in filing two resolutions earlier this week to honor the lives of CWA Local 3808 President Debbie Sisco and her daughter, Marie, who were tragically killed last week. Both resolutions passed the Tennessee House of Representatives unanimously. We are appreciative of Representative Clemmons for his ongoing efforts to honor these two beautiful souls who were taken too soon.

Second, we'd like to highlight (but not for a good reason) the behavior of House Majority Leader William Lamberth in the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee this past Tuesday. During testimony against HJR 0072, which would enshrine Tennessee's "Right to Work" law in the state constitution, he chose to take that as an opportunity to offensively suggest that all union leaders are corrupt.Instead of debating the actual merits (or lack thereof) of the legislation, Leader Lamberth made his stance on working families abundantly clear. For those who wonder why it is so difficult to pass a pro-worker piece of legislation or stop a bad bill in Tennessee, look no further than what happened on Tuesday. Working families may disagree with the Republican supermajority on MANY issues (including whether "Right to Work" should be enshrined in the constitution), but disrespect should NEVER be an option. What happened earlier this week was insulting to us, our members, and all hardworking Tennesseans.

Now, we prepare ourselves for the final days of the legislative session. First, HJR 0072 will be read for the first time on the House floor this Monday (April 26th) at 4:00 p.m. CT. As a reminder, this must be read three times before any debate or a vote can take place. Based on the House of Representative's current schedule next week, we expect that a floor vote will likely take place on Wednesday, April 28th. However, as with anything during the final weeks of session, this is subject to change. Please keep an eye on our social media channels for updates, but we are tentatively expecting a second reading on Tuesday, and a final reading and vote on Wednesday. We cannot emphasize this enough: the push to enshrine Tennessee's "Right to Work" law in the state constitution is one of the Republican supermajority's top legislative priorities and has the support of Governor Bill Lee. They will undoubtedly put unlimited pressure on their members to ensure its passage.

As we have asked almost weekly since January, please continue to contact your legislator and ask them to vote "NO" on HJR 0072. You can do so by clicking on the blue button below. ALL state representatives will hear this resolution next week. Don't forget to reference the House version (HJR 0072) of this amendment when making a call or sending an e-mail. If you're not sure exactly what to say, that's okay! Both the pre-written letter and the number to call will provide you with some suggestions. You can also check out our digital toolkit with additional messaging, talking points, and much more.

Click here and ask your state representative to vote "NO" on HJR 0072!

Lawmakers are still continuing to push additional legislation that would be harmful to working families. This week, the Senate Finance Ways & Means Committee will hear SB 1402. As a reminder, this is a caption bill that would reduce the amount of time that someone could draw unemployment benefits from 26 weeks, to as low as 12 weeks. While the number is dependent upon several factors, including the current monthly unemployment rate, no Tennessean could receive benefits for more than 20 weeks. Rather than ensure that Tennesseans can make ends meet and provide for their families while looking for a job, legislators want to shame them into not relying on the government for help at a vulnerable time. Working families have suffered enough and do not need yet another attack. The House version of this bill has been placed behind the budget but could come back up at any moment. You can read more about the Senate's version of the bill here.

Tell your legislator: don't cut Tennessee's unemployment benefits!