Bell Sounds from the 20th - What's on the November Ballot? (Part 2)

We are just over one week until Election Day!  I talked a bit last week about what will be on the ballot November 8 and would like to continue that discussion today.  As a reminder, in addition to electing a new president, all members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election.  Virginia does NOT have a federal Senate election this year. Additionally, Virginians will also have the opportunity to vote on two amendments to the Virginia constitution.

Ballot Question 1 - Right to Work

Ballot question 1 is particularly important to me as I was the chief patron of this legislation in the General Assembly.

The wording of ballot question 1 is as follows:

  • Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?

Virginia has been a right to work state for decades through statute.  This means that Virginians are not forced to join a labor union as a condition of employment or when seeking new employment. Ballot question one on November 8 will add another layer of protection to this law, and will ensure that our right to work laws cannot be repealed at the whims of the legislature.

I strongly encourage a “YES” vote on this amendment.

This amendment will protect the rights of workers and workplace freedom. Workers should be able to choose where they work based on their unique talents and abilities, rather than their willingness to join a union.  If they do join a union it should be their choice, not because they are coerced by union bosses and forced to join as a condition of employment.

Right to work laws are also good for Virginia’s economy.  Our right to work status is one the reasons that Virginia is so attractive to businesses.  Currently 26 states have right to work laws, and the evidence shows that right to work states are creating more jobs than forced-unionization states. Over the past decade, private sector employment in right to work states grew by 15.9% compared to 9.6% in forced-unionization states. In this same time period, income growth has been nearly 6% higher in right to work states. The medium unemployment rate in right to work states is 4.6%, compared to 5% in forced-unionization states. Businesses, large manufactures in particular, strongly prefer to operate in right to work states, with 40% of manufacturers will only operate in right to work states.

At a time when we are still struggling to recover from the recession, it is more important than ever that prioritize tools that will promote economic development and job growth.  We have the opportunity to send a clear message to those who may be looking to invest in Virginia that we are open for business.  By enshrining these laws in our constitution, we are protecting our right to work status for future generations.

I hope you will consider voting YES on ballot question 1 on November 8.    

Ballot Question 2 - Property tax exemptions for spouses of first responders

  • Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?

Ballot Question 2 will amend the constitution to give localities the option to provide a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a law enforcement, firefighter, or emergency service member killed in the line of duty.

Everyday, men and women put on the uniform and risk their lives to serve our communities. Unfortunately, many have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. This amendment is a small recognition for the efforts of our first responders who put their lives on the line each and every day. Passing this amendment will show our public safety personnel that we stand with them and their families.

I hope you will consider voting YES on Ballot Question 2.

For more on these constitutional amendments, please click here.

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