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> Should the Government cut the Unions?
skeeterses
post Feb 16 2011, 10:22 PM
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41624142/ns/po...-more_politics/
QUOTE
Thousands descend on Wis. Capitol in protest
New GOP governor's bold plan would take away public employees' collective bargaining rights

With the recession in its 5th year, many states are being forced to cut their spending in order to balance the budget. Since raising taxes is political suicide, many states are running out of places to cut their budgets. And the options of things to cut at this point include 1)Pension checks to former government workers, 2)Salaries of current government employees from the civil servant up to the Governor, 3)Services like the police departments and schools.

Since many states have already cut back 'non-essential' services and trimmed down on their bureaucracies, they are finding it necessary to cut the salaries and wages of current employees to balance the budget while still maintaining the essential services that taxpayers expect. Public Employee Unions don't like having their salaries and perks being cut and are dragging their feet on making the necessary sacrifices. Most of the workforce in the private sector is Non-Union and has very little in the way of collective bargaining. Since working for the Government is a special privilege in America society and government employees are Servants of the People, I see no special reason why they should be allowed to form unions. Unless the working joe can haggle with the taxman and collectively bargain over the taxes that he/she has to pay every year.

So, the question for debate is,
1. Should public employees have the right to unionize?
2. Is the Wisconsin Governor fair in taking a hardball stance towards the public employee unions?
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quarkhead
post Feb 17 2011, 12:46 AM
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1. Should public employees have the right to unionize?

Yes.

QUOTE(skeeterses)
Since working for the Government is a special privilege in America society and government employees are Servants of the People, I see no special reason why they should be allowed to form unions.


You see no special reason why citizens of the United States should be allowed to associate with whom they please, and assemble as they feel is necessary? I take a different view.

QUOTE
Unless the working joe can haggle with the taxman and collectively bargain over the taxes that he/she has to pay every year.


I don't think that's an analogous situation. Indeed, we can collectively bargain over taxes - it's called elections, and we hold them fairly regularly. To adjust the tax code, people of a like mind band together to elect people who represent their views. It happens all the time.

2. Is the Wisconsin Governor fair in taking a hardball stance towards the public employee unions?

No. Wisconsin public sector workers are not overpaid. And I don't think this is really about the budget, this is part of a coordinated effort in the GOP to reverse all the hard-earned gains made by working people in this country over the last century.
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Curmudgeon
post Feb 17 2011, 07:14 AM
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Should public employees have the right to unionize?

This brings to mind an employee that I used to work with. He was a "broken record" who came to work every Monday morning complaining that his son in law was still, "feeding at the public trough, collecting a salary for being a public school teacher." His diatribes were so predictable that I kept a list of his complaints in a book on my desk. If he wasn't there, I would recite what he would normally say at 8:15 AM, 8:27 AM, etc. I got in trouble over that when he passed away. It was sometime on Wednesday afternoon that his family arrived to pick up his tools, personal effects from his locker, etc. He had not been there all week, but the foreman sitting in his office had filled in his time card each day...

I am 65 years old. When I was born, my father was a unionized public employee. When I attended public schools, the teachers were union members. Public employees has a long established right to organize into unions.

In school, history teachers spoke of a time when government jobs required the payment of graft to political machines. At home, my father spoke of "another day, another dollar," a time when American workers were paid one dollar for a ten hour day, and asked to stand in line the next day to apply to work the same job...

Obtaining public employment by taking civil service tests, showing that you are qualified for the job, and having a labor contract which makes certain that equal pay for equal work remains a standard of American Labor, that vacations, health care, etc. are provided only makes sense. As Americans;,we rely on the fact that the policeman on the street, the teacher in the classroom, the water meter reader, and the clerk who provides us with absentee ballots are stable, long term employees who are happy in their job and not relying on the outcome of the next election. (Are you familiar with the phrase, "disgruntled former postal worker?") We expect our building inspectors to actually inspect construction projects, and not take a cash bribe to sign off on a poorly built building. These ideas did not originate with labor unions! (op. cit. Code of Hammurabai)

QUOTE
229

If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

QUOTE(skeeterses @ Feb 16 2011, 05:22 PM) *
And the options of things to cut at this point include 1)Pension checks to former government workers, 2)Salaries of current government employees from the civil servant up to the Governor, 3)Services like the police departments and schools.

These pensions of former workers and salaries of current workers were negotiated through contracts! It is totally absurd to say that those are the only things in a state budget that can be cut. The state legislators that feel that contracts can be ignored need to be recalled and replaced with legislators with a background in the law! After all, they chose to work as non union government employees!

Is the Wisconsin Governor fair in taking a hardball stance towards the public employee unions?

If I were a resident of Wisconsin, I would be searching the Internet for a recall petition to download and circulate.

Yes Chinese labor is dirt cheap. Yes, Egyptians rebelled in part because a person with a college education could expect $2 per day if they could find work. Crushing unions, and bringing Americans back to earning a dollar a day however, is not going to actually improve corporate profits. It will simply leave no one able to pay the cost of driving to Wal-Mart to shop.

The IWW had a valid point, we don't need to lower American wages to match the rest of the world, we need to organize labor world wide and raise everyone's standard of living!

This post has been edited by Curmudgeon: Feb 17 2011, 07:19 AM
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TedN5
post Feb 17 2011, 03:13 PM
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The premise of the opening post and the questions posed are all misleading! The real issue is the right of public workers to organize and bargain collectively. The union workers have already given up some benefits in negotiations with the previous administration and are prepared to negotiate farther concessions if fairly allocated. But meanwhile the new governor has exacerbated the financial problems of the state by providing tax cuts to large corporations that supported him politically. HERE is one version of the situation.

QUOTE
Alexandra Nieves, 35, another police officer, says the bill "is upsetting." The governor's take-back on pensions and health insurance was something she never anticipated when she joined the force three years ago. Still, it's his proposal to curb collective bargaining that disturbs her most. "What have we fought for all these years?" she asks angrily. "It's like telling a woman you can't vote—that you should take off your shoes and go back to the kitchen."


And HERE is a more pro union statement from the Ed Show with links to documentation.

QUOTE
Keep in mind, the idea that this "budget crisis" is a fiscal reality just doesn't pan out. As we laid out on tonight's edition of The Ed Show, the Wisconsin state Fiscal Bureau just last month reported that the state is not in bad shape. And as you'll see if you read it for yourself, it explains that more than $100 million in revenue has been lost due to Gov. Walker's tax breaks for the rich. Our buddy John Nichols wrote this editorial explaining it all and Ed talked about it on his radio show earlier today, too.


This post has been edited by TedN5: Feb 17 2011, 03:59 PM
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AuthorMusician
post Feb 17 2011, 03:30 PM
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1. Should public employees have the right to unionize?

Absolutely. This whole issue was settled a long time ago in this country. Everyone has the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining.

2. Is the Wisconsin Governor fair in taking a hardball stance towards the public employee unions?

Absolutely not. He is punishing his constituency for problems they did not create. This is terribly unfair and probably illegal.

The guy even had the nerve to alert the National Guard. What, Egypt wouldn't fire on its people, but this pile of curds will? The people of Wisconsin are rightfully angry and showing it. The middle classes have finally figured out that certain politicians are and have been attacking them. It's time to fight back.

Hopefully this will be done peacefully through voting. However, we have radical leadership in parts of the country that very well could start shooting into crowds, or at least try to. Will the US military (National Guard is part of it) take orders from them? I rather doubt it.

*

Every elected official wanting to cut deeply into public employees should 1) cancel their government-provided health insurance and 2) work for minimum wage. Hourly. No overtime. No benefits. No chance of organizing or collective bargaining.
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 03:32 PM
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It's always funny how the same crowd who screams about government encroachment seem to support the power of the state government of Wisconsin to strip people of a basic and necessary human right: the right to organize and collectively negotiate.

It's abhorrent. Scott Walker is abhorrent. Everyone who supports stripping United States citizens of their right to organize and collectively bargain is doing something abhorrent.

The government not only should not cut the unions, it has no right to even try.
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Gray Seal
post Feb 17 2011, 05:16 PM
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Collective bargaining and unions are not the same thing. I found that unions are another layer of government bureaucracy as they exist. I am less than impressed by union law as a means to establishing fair collective bargaining. It is unclear to me what aspects of union law are going to be changed by the new proposal in Wisconsin. If Governor Walker is faced with either ending collective bargaining or keeping it as is, I can see why this choice is being made.

Public employees in collective bargaining have demonstrated an advantage as they can apply political pressure upon elected officials. The relationship of politicians receiving money from public employee unions and these same politicians determining compensation has lead to compensation advancement greater than what would occur via market supply and demand.

Ending collective bargaining entirely does seem too much of a correction but some correction is needed. What would be a better means to achieve it? Keeping it the way it is is not sensible. I do not see any doomsday result if this measure is passed. Why not give this idea a chance?
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Feb 17 2011, 11:16 AM) *
Collective bargaining and unions are not the same thing. I found that unions are another layer of government bureaucracy as they exist. I am less than impressed by union law as a means to establishing fair collective bargaining. It is unclear to me what aspects of union law are going to be changed by the new proposal in Wisconsin. If Governor Walker is faced with either ending collective bargaining or keeping it as is, I can see why this choice is being made.

Public employees in collective bargaining have demonstrated an advantage as they can apply political pressure upon elected officials. The relationship of politicians receiving money from public employee unions and these same politicians determining compensation has lead to compensation advancement greater than what would occur via market supply and demand.

Ending collective bargaining entirely does seem too much of a correction but some correction is needed. What would be a better means to achieve it? Keeping it the way it is is not sensible. I do not see any doomsday result if this measure is passed. Why not give this idea a chance?


Let's apply your logic elsewhere. We should ban guns because of Jared Lee Loughner.

We should ban free speech because of Glenn Beck.

We should ban freedom of religion because of al Qaeda.

No, Gray Seal, we do not remove fundamental human rights from workers because you don't like some of the implications.
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Gray Seal
post Feb 17 2011, 06:25 PM
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Raptavio, what is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.

There is no inalienable right for unions to exist. What am I missing if this is not your point?

You soil the idea of inalienable rights if that is your point. I do not think you understand the concept of inalienable rights.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Feb 17 2011, 06:45 PM
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I'm not sure how, as Quark mentioned, the whole "freedom of association" and "assembly" thing could be breeched simply because a person is a public worker. Caveat: Unless there's some sort of compelling security concern (soldiers have limitations on those rights, for instance). Or perhaps some conflict of interest/breech of public trust issue (like an Aryan Nation police force).

On the other hand, at times a union can act as a coercive force for those employed. If there is no option to not join a union, it could hardly qualify as a matter of freedom of association. For instance, my husband is working for a contractor company now. He really didn't have an option but to join the union when he signed on.

Some occupations require a no-strike agreement (air traffic controllers, for example). I think that's reasonable.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Feb 17 2011, 06:51 PM
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 06:45 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Feb 17 2011, 12:25 PM) *
Raptavio, what is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.

There is no inalienable right for unions to exist. What am I missing if this is not your point?

You soil the idea of inalienable rights if that is your point. I do not think you understand the concept of inalienable rights.


Um, yes, the right for a labor union to exist is absolutely inalienable, under freedom of association. You soil the idea of inalienable rights if your point is they do not. Also please refer to Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (you can Google it). Also Google the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. See, we know what happens when the right to form unions is taken away from workers, because it's played out over and over again in nations all around the world. If you don't know that, or scoff at the notion, then you honestly don't know what you're talking about.

Scott Walker's plan, of course, does not ban unions outright -- rather his plan illegally and unconscionably would remove most collective bargaining rights from all federal employees, whether through unions or otherwise. They would be left with only a limited barganining power for wages, which would be capped at the Consumer Price Index. They could not bargain for benefits or anything else other than wages. It's illegal and unconscionable. Worse, he's prepping to mobilize the National Guard to act as scabs or "respond" to disruptions. It's thuggishness at its finest.

In the state that was AFSCME's birthplace it's an abomination.
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cicero
post Feb 17 2011, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE(Raptavio @ Feb 17 2011, 12:45 PM) *
QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Feb 17 2011, 12:25 PM) *
Raptavio, what is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.

There is no inalienable right for unions to exist. What am I missing if this is not your point?

You soil the idea of inalienable rights if that is your point. I do not think you understand the concept of inalienable rights.


Um, yes, the right for a labor union to exist is absolutely inalienable, under freedom of association. You soil the idea of inalienable rights if your point is they do not. Also please refer to Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (you can Google it). Also Google the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. See, we know what happens when the right to form unions is taken away from workers, because it's played out over and over again in nations all around the world. If you don't know that, or scoff at the notion, then you honestly don't know what you're talking about.

Scott Walker's plan, of course, does not ban unions outright -- rather his plan illegally and unconscionably would remove most collective bargaining rights from all federal employees, whether through unions or otherwise. They would be left with only a limited barganining power for wages, which would be capped at the Consumer Price Index. They could not bargain for benefits or anything else other than wages. It's illegal and unconscionable. Worse, he's prepping to mobilize the National Guard to act as scabs or "respond" to disruptions. It's thuggishness at its finest.

In the state that was AFSCME's birthplace it's an abomination.


That was not the question. I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist. The question is does the First Amendment guarantee the right to collective bargaining? Furthermore, does the right to assembly include the right to collective bargaining?

I keep reading conflicting reports on the subject. For example, NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp is argued to have established the constitutional right to collective bargaining but I read also that it actually does not. The case only establishes the statutory i.e. legislative not constitutional right to collective bargaining.
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 07:05 PM
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QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 12:59 PM) *
That was not the question. I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Actually, no, Gray Seal said the exact opposite, thank you very much, and I took a moment to refute that.
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cicero
post Feb 17 2011, 07:13 PM
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QUOTE(Raptavio @ Feb 17 2011, 01:05 PM) *
QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 12:59 PM) *
That was not the question. I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Actually, no, Gray Seal said the exact opposite, thank you very much, and I took a moment to refute that.


No, his question is:

What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.
----

Edited:

He thinks that unions and the right to assembly are not the same that a "Union" is not an inalienable right (natural right) like the right to assemble. But as he notes, that is not what is being proposed.

And furthermore, what constitutional right is there to collectively bargain? When I say Unions have a Constitutional right to exist I do not necessarily mean they have a collective right to bargain. I don't disagree with their ability to do so, but all I am asking is where in US Constitutional law is it established that collective bargaining is indeed a human right protected by the First Amendment?

I support unions but that does not mean I cannot ask questions that would counter such support. It is called being objective and inquisitive.


This post has been edited by cicero: Feb 17 2011, 07:32 PM
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Gray Seal
post Feb 17 2011, 07:20 PM
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Raptavio, I do beg to differ on your idea of inalienable rights. It is not an inalienable right to form a group with sanctions from government to give members of this group advantages not available to just anyone. You have to belong to this group and membership is limited.

If this proposal was to deny the right of people to gather and discuss ideas about their compensation, you would have a point. You have not made this claim.

You are committed to government being the manager of the people. As the manager, it is up to the people to form groups within this management to seek advantage. Government is the distributer of advantage. Unions are established as a unit within this distribution system. This is your idea of inalienable rights.

I know that the above paragraph describes how government works. I know there are plenty who thinks this is all good and fine. I know the majority of the people have been voting for government which functions this way. However, it should be apparent that such a government is a travesty. It does not work fairly. It does not protect freedom nor the inalienable rights. Unions have not made sure people are treated fairly but have instead made sure a small select group have advantages over the people. There is no inalienable right to have advantages via a group you belong to.
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Feb 17 2011, 01:20 PM) *
You are committed to government being the manager of the people. As the manager, it is up to the people to form groups within this management to seek advantage. Government is the distributer of advantage. Unions are established as a unit within this distribution system. This is your idea of inalienable rights.


Gray Seal,

When you want to debate what I'm actually saying instead of a strawman of your own construction, let me know.
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BecomingHuman
post Feb 17 2011, 07:30 PM
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A union is a cartel on the supply of labor.

Anti-trust laws already prevent business people from collaborationg. It doesn't make sense to have a special exemption for unions.

By artificially raising the price of their services, bargaining is a net loss for citizens as a whole. If you could hire an english teacher for 30,000.00, and instead hire them for 60,000.00, thats 30,000.00 that could have been spent making education better in other ways, including hiring more teachers.
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 07:31 PM
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QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 01:13 PM) *
QUOTE(Raptavio @ Feb 17 2011, 01:05 PM) *
QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 12:59 PM) *
That was not the question. I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Actually, no, Gray Seal said the exact opposite, thank you very much, and I took a moment to refute that.


No, his question is:

What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.


He said this:

QUOTE
There is no inalienable right for unions to exist.


Clear, unequivocal, and in direct contradiction to your statement:

QUOTE
I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Your equivocation does not reconcile the two.

QUOTE
What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed?


The right to collective bargaining -- in short, the primary function of a union.
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cicero
post Feb 17 2011, 07:50 PM
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QUOTE(Raptavio @ Feb 17 2011, 01:31 PM) *
QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 01:13 PM) *
QUOTE(Raptavio @ Feb 17 2011, 01:05 PM) *
QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 12:59 PM) *
That was not the question. I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Actually, no, Gray Seal said the exact opposite, thank you very much, and I took a moment to refute that.


No, his question is:

What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed? Is it the right to associate? Does this proposal ban people from joining a group? Not that I know.


He said this:

QUOTE
There is no inalienable right for unions to exist.


Clear, unequivocal, and in direct contradiction to your statement:

QUOTE
I think everyone agrees Unions have a Constitutional right to exist.


Your equivocation does not reconcile the two.

QUOTE
What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed?


The right to collective bargaining -- in short, the primary function of a union.


I took it to mean he was questioning the philosophy of inalienable rights but perhaps I should not dissociate that philosophy from the Constitution. What I mean is, are unions truly an inalienable right as opposed to a group of people gathering and protesting? I merely dissociated the two because the concept of a Union entails more then merely a group of people protesting which is why he goes to argue unions are “another layer of government bureaucracy.”

Maybe I should question Gray Seal too but I am not obligated to do so.

But again, his question: What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed?

You respond: The right to collective bargaining -- in short, the primary function of a union.

Ok, how is collective bargaining an inalienable right? Where is that establish in US Constitutional law?
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Raptavio
post Feb 17 2011, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE(cicero @ Feb 17 2011, 01:50 PM) *
Maybe I should question Gray Seal too but I am not obligated to do so.


No you're not -- neither am I, therefore, obligated to take your defense of him seriously.

QUOTE
But again, his question: What is the inalienable right you are proclaiming to be removed?

You respond: The right to collective bargaining -- in short, the primary function of a union.

Ok, how is collective bargaining an inalienable right? Where is that establish in US Constitutional law?


I've already cited two places where it is identified as an inalienable human right. If you want Constitutional law, try Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, 1930 SCOTUS decsion. However, the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of association. Of course, as with SB1070, the "Papers please" law in Arizona, the details of the bill are changing rapidly and hard to keep up with.
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