Republicans nationwide enact back-up plan after losing elections: just reject the results

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

Republicans across the country are undermining voters, with lame duck legislatures aiming to strip power from incoming Democratic governors, threatening not to seat a state senator-elect in Pennsylvania, and refusing to implement a ballot initiative in Utah.

On Wednesday, lawmakers in Wisconsin passed a bill that would give the legislature control of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board, make it easier for legislators to hire private attorneys, limit early voting to two weeks, and require Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D) to get permission from the legislature to ban guns in the state Capitol, among other measures.

Outgoing Gov. Scott Walker (R) has signaled that he plans to sign the bill into law. As part of their lame duck session, lawmakers also approved 82 Walker appointees in a single day, filling a seat that has been vacant for a year and putting a top Walker aide at the head of the state Public Service Commission.

Similarly, in Michigan, the Republican state legislature is working to undermine the authority of Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D), the state attorney general-elect, and the secretary of state-elect on campaign finance and other legal issues. As The Detroit Free Press and The Washington Post both noted, all three of the newly elected state officials are women.


These attempts have drawn numerous comparisons to what the North Carolina state legislature did two years ago, when Republicans used a lame duck session to strip then Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s (D) power over cabinet appointments, gave the GOP power over the state board of elections, and worked to make the state’s judicial system more partisan. Cooper has been caught in legal fights over the legislation for nearly two years.

A little further east, in Pennsylvania, state Sen.-elect Lindsey Williams (D) was required to provide copies of her driver’s licenses, employment history, tax information, and home purchase or rental agreements, among any other documents she thinks are relevant, as Republicans claim she’s lying about meeting residency requirements

Williams was given just one week, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently reported, to produce the paperwork, and Republicans are threatening not to seat her, despite the fact that she repeatedly has said that she has lived in the state for at least four years, a requirement for state senators outlined in the state constitution. Just weeks before the election, Republicans unsuccessfully tried to get her removed from the ballot.

And Republicans in Utah are facing some harsh words from voters after throwing out Proposition 2, a ballot initiative that passed with flying colors in the state, replacing it instead with the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

The replacement bill, which was developed with the Mormon Church, more tightly restricts the drug than the already-restrictive Prop 2 would have, significantly reducing the number of dispensaries permitted and almost completely restricting edibles.

All the while, there is mounting evidence in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district that Republicans tried to steal the election for Mark Harris, hiring people to collect absentee and mail-in ballots. Though details are still fuzzy, one thing is for sure, as ThinkProgress’ Adam Peck wrote earlier this week: Harris narrowly won both the Republican primary and the general election thanks to nearly impossible margins from absentee voters.


Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder