Here's a look at some of the key battles in the states over the past week.
Illinois: Chicago became the largest city in the United States to pass an anti-wage theft ordinance. Businesses can lose their license if they fail to pay a minimum wage, failure to meet overtime requirements, for withholding employees’ tips and for improperly docking workers’ wages.
Indiana: A state Senate committee passed a resolution that would amend the state constitution to make majority sign-up illegal in all union elections. The resolution still has to pass the full legislature this session and once again in the next legislative session before the voters would see it on a statewide referendum.
Kansas: A state House committee passed a paycheck deception bill, H.B. 2023, which would prevent unions from using dues and fees for political activities and would bar payroll deduction for union dues by a public employer for two years if this law is violated. The representative of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce said, “We need this bill to pass so we can get rid of public sector unions.” Learn more and sign the petition against the bill.
Missouri: A school construction bill passed the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee that would allow school districts in certain counties to exempt their district from prevailing wage requirements for maintenance and construction work for educational facilities. The bill now moves on to the House Rules committee. A second bill before the House Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee would eliminate prevailing wage requirements in the state. The senate is taking up similar legislation.
The House Elections Committee attempted to hold a hearing on a voter ID bill at 6:45 a.m.—before the House building doors are unlocked, but after pressure, they moved the hearing to 8 a.m. on Tuesday. If the bill passes, it would place photo ID on the November 2014 ballot.
New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie (R) conditionally vetoed an increase in the minimum wage, sending it back to the legislature and offering to sign it if they lowered the amount of the increase from $8.50 to $8.25, phase it in over three years and eliminate indexing the wage to inflation.
New York: The New York City Council passed a bill with a veto-proof margin prohibiting discrimination in hiring against workers who are unemployed.
Rhode Island: The state House passed a marriage equality bill, which moves on to the Senate, where Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has promised to allow a vote. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has indicated that he will sign the bill.
Virginia: Republican senators took advantage of a temporary majority (the Senate is currently split 20-20, but Democrat and civil rights veteran Henry Marsh was in Washington, D.C., at the inauguration) to push through a redistricting map that could radically change the state's politics. The partisan redistricting plan would move more than 2.7 million people—45% of the voting age population—into new state Senate districts and could possibly flip seven seats.