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Where Republicans could find the votes for ‘right-to-work’


Corrected: The printed version of this article incorrectly listed Rep. Bart Korman as a vote against Right-to-Work and a vote in favor of Paycheck Protection. Korman’s votes are correctly attributed in this version.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —  If Missouri House Republicans can sustain their current 78 votes in favor of ‘right-to-work’, supporters of the policy would only need to find four more votes in order to send the bill to the Senate.

Rep. Eric Burlison
Rep. Eric Burlison

Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and bill sponsor Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, have said they believe the votes may be there, but everyone agrees any vote would be close.

Both of the bills aim to weaken the strength of labor unions. ‘Paycheck protection’ targets the political spending of public sector unions, while ‘right-to-work’ targets the ability of unions to collect fees from nonunion members in closed shops.

Where might Republicans find four votes to move ‘right-to-work’ to the Senate – where its future is uncertain? Urban and suburban Republicans remain wary, but a handful – all that is needed – may be up for grabs.

UP FOR GRABS: These members voted in favor of ‘paycheck protection’ both times, but skipped the initial vote on ‘right-to-work’: Rep. T.J. Berry, R-Kansas City; Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit; Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford; Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair; Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron; Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia; Rep. Donna Pfautsch, R-Harrisonville; and Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs.

Rowden could expect a tough reelection campaign against Democrat Thomas Pauley, a union member, himself. Rowden won in 2012 with just a 320 vote advantage. Hansen could, too. He won his district with a 3.8 percent lead over his Democratic opponent in 2012.

SOLID NOES: These members voted against ‘Paycheck Protection’ in both the initial vote and the vote to send the bill to the Senate, and they also voted ‘no’ on ‘right-to-work’ when it was perfected in the House. Their vote is not up for grabs: Rep. Ron Hicks, R-St. Peters; Rep. Galen Higdon, R-St. Joseph; Rep. Elaine Gannon, R-DeSoto; Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs; Rep. John McCaherty, R-High Ridge; Rep. Chris Molendorp, R-Belton; Rep. Myron Neth, R-Liberty; Rep. Noel Torpey, Independence; Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial; and Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles

Neth, who isn’t seeking reelection hails from one of the closest districts in the state for Republicans. In 2012, for example, he won with a 1.2 percent lead over his Democratic rival.

FOR PAYCHECK, AGAINST ‘RIGHT-TO-WORK’: These members supported ‘paycheck protection’ both times, but voted no on ‘right-to-work’ when it was heard in the House: Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles; Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington; Rep. Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi; Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Fulton; Rep. Bart Korman, R-High Hill, and Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-St. Charles (who skipped the initial ‘paycheck protection’ vote).

FOR ‘RIGHT-TO-WORK,’ AGAINST PAYCHECK: These members voted no on ‘paycheck protection’, but voted in favor of ‘right-to-work’: Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City; Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Springfield; and Rep. Ron Schieber, R-Kansas City.

Lawmakers like Barnes hail from districts with a great deal of government workers, which would be targeted by ‘paycheck protection.’ But many of these districts do not include a great deal of private sector union members – making their opposition to ‘right-to-work’ unnecessary back home. (Rep. Randy Pike, R-Adrian, skipped both ‘paycheck protection’ votes, but voted in favor of ‘right-to-work’ and could be persuadable.)

OTHERS: Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, has not been present all three votes on ‘paycheck protection’ and ‘right-to-work.’ (He and his wife have been dealing with

Rep. Robert Cornejo
Rep. Robert Cornejo

complications following the birth of their child, but he has made clear his opposition to the bill). Rep. Rick Stream, R-St. Louis, has skipped both the third read vote on paycheck protection and the initial vote on ‘right-to-work.’

Stream, who also hails from a vulnerable district for Republicans, is seeking election for County Executive in one of the most labor saturated areas of the state: St. Louis County. (Cornejo, who is seeking reelection, hails from the sixth most vulnerable districts for Republicans.)

Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-La Monte, who supported the bill when it came up on Wednesday, could be a persuadable no, or at least not vote on the final read in the House. He skipped the third read vote on ‘paycheck protection’ after initially voting in favor of the bill. He hails from one of the most vulnerable House districts in the state. (Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic, did the same, and could be persuadable.)

Reps. Warren Love, R-Osceola, and Craig Redmon, R-Canton, both voted in favor of ‘right-to-work’ and ‘paycheck protection’, but could be swayed to vote against final passage. Redmon, who supports the policy, has expressed concerns that it may be the wrong time to place the issue on the ballot and was concerned that if it were to fail in August that Republicans may have to wait as much as another decade to move the policy forward.