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Right to work

Earlier this year, Missouri became the 28th state “Right to Work” state in the nation, meaning workers will no longer be required to join a union as a condition of employment. The move was seen as a big win for business owners in the state who had been harassed by labor unions in the past — but it’s also a big win for workers. Now, unions will have to focus less on political lobbying and harassment campaigns, and more on winning the support of workers by providing actual value for their membership dues. (Read more)


Labor unions

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a grievance against Western Michigan University recently, because the school is using goats, rather than union workers, to tackle a poison ivy problem in a wooded area on campus. The university contends the decision to use goats was made in an attempt to be environmentally friendly, but the union argues the goats are effectively stealing union jobs. (Read more)


Public pensions

The Nevada government wastes at least $23 million each year through a practice that boosts the income of some public employees by using the state’s underfunded pension system, PERS. The practice of double-dipping — earning a taxpayer-funded salary while ostensibly being “retired” from a former public position — was outlined in depth by the Las Vegas Review-Journal this last week. NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner explains that the practice isn’t just costly, it also runs contrary to the stated purpose of PERS under Nevada law — namely, to provide a reasonable base income for public employees who are no longer able to work. (Read more)



Beginning in 2020, Chicago will implement an invasive regulatory scheme in an attempt to ensure that high school seniors are prepared for life after high school. In order to graduate, students will be required to prove they are following one of five government-approved “plans” for their life after graduation. Students will be required to show proof that they have been accepted into a college or university, a gap-year program, military service, a trade apprenticeship or a job. Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims the new guidelines will help the city’s children succeed long-term, but critics point out that the regulations are yet another government attempt to run people’s lives for them. (Read more)


School choice

Several years ago, a Colorado county tried to implement a school choice program that provided up to 500 families with scholarships to send their children to private schools. Of course anti-choice opponents quickly filed lawsuits, claiming that the state constitution’s Blaine Amendment prohibited the funds from going toward religious schools. Last week, however, the United States Supreme Court gave school choice proponents a big win in the case. The nation’s high court sent the message that it “would not tolerate the use of Blaine Amendments to exclude religious options from school choice programs,” explained Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. (Read more)


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