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State high court declines right-to-work hearing

State high court declines right-to-work hearing

October 7th, 2017 by Philip Joens in Missouri News

The Missouri Supreme Court declined to hear cases Thursday challenging the legality of a referendum and an initiative seeking to overturn Missouri's new right-to-work law.

The court did not issue a reason for its decision not to hear the cases.

Gov. Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 10 in February, which allows unions to continue representing workers but provides employees the ability to opt out of paying union dues. Before and after the bill's signing, opponents of the new law filed initiative and referendum petitions seeking to put the issue to a vote in the November 2018 general election.

Backed by the Washington-based National Right to Work Foundation, Missouri nurse Mary Hill, Kansas City police officers Roger Stickler and Michael Briggs filed a lawsuit against Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis, who filed the initiative and referendum petitions.

Cole County Judge Jon Beetem found in March the initiative petitions filed with the Secretary of State's Office used fair language but were inaccurate because the law passed after they were approved to circulate. In June, Cole County Judge Dan Green found the referendum petition did not adequately describe changes that would be made to existing law.

The Western District Court of Appeals in Kansas City ultimately reversed both decisions and allowed the language of both petitions to proceed.

Right-to-work opponents needed to gather approximately 90,000 signatures statewide to force a vote next November through the referendum process. Right-to-work opponents turned in more than 310,000 signatures Aug. 10 to the office of Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.