Michigan’s State Legislature and State Senate passed right-to-work measures by a vote of 58-52 in the House and 22-16 in the State Senate. Some form of the measure is expected to be passed by Republican Rick Snyder as soon as the completed version reaches his desk.
Following the Michigan House’s lead, the state Senate passed right-to-work measures on Thursday evening — just hours after Gov. Rick Snyder and top GOP Republicansannounced the bills.
Despite impassioned debate from Senate Democrats, the measure passed on a 22-16 vote. According to the Associated Press, four Republican state senators joined all 12 of their Democratic counterparts in opposition to the right-to-work bill. It passed the Michigan House by a vote of 58-52 earlier in the evening. During the House vote, Democrats walked off the floor in protest after at least eight protesters were arrested, crowds were pepper-sprayed and the Capitol building locked down.
The House and Senate bills are two of three separate right-to-work bills currently up for vote that will eventually be consolidated into two bills, according to the Detroit Free Press. Both the bills passed by the House and Senate pertain to private-sector employees.
Union activists who denounced the bill’s hasty progress through the Michigan legislature booed GOP lawmakers and cheered on Democrats who took to the floor to rail against what they called an anti-union agenda. Sen. Bert Johnson D-Detroit occupied the Senate floor for over an hour in protest.
“Look at the people you’ve locked out,” Johnson said. “They are not here today for the lack of something to do. … They are here because you, Mr. President, are attacking their ability to earn a living.”
On Thursday, Snyder reversed his earlier stance of discouraging Republicans from pushing for right-to-work laws and said he would support the bills.
According to the Associated Press, the legislation will likely be enacted next week.