Some Republican Governors Attempt To Steer Clear Of Wisconsin Strategy

Feb 22, 2011 6:48pm

ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:

After receiving high-profile support from Republican leaders across the country for his efforts to slash state government spending by limiting unions’ collective bargaining rights, a trio of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s GOP counterparts expressed reservations on Tuesday about pursuing the same strategy in their states.

In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels called on Republicans state legislators to stand down on their push for a so-called right-to-work bill, arguing that would interfere with other legislative priorities, including education reform.

“For reasons I've explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised,” Daniels told reporters in Indiana today.

Democratic lawmakers in Indiana left the state this week in order to block consideration of the proposal, which seeks to ban agreements between unions and employers making union membership a condition of employmen. If it seems like deja vu, it's because legislators in Wisconsin used a similar escape tactic last week.

Daniels said he hoped “our friends in the minority, having made their point, will come back and do their duty.” But he added, “I'm not sending the state police after anybody. I'm not going to divert a single trooper from their job of protecting the Indiana public.”

(Gov. Walker has not sent state troopers to retrieve the Wisconsin lawmakers who are reportedly hiding out in Illinois.)

Meanwhile, in Florida newly-elected GOP Gov. Rick Scott said that Gov. Walker was right to try to curtail public employee benefits, but differed on the question of collective bargaining.

“My belief is as long as people know what they're doing, collective bargaining is fine,” Scott said in an interview with a local Tallahassee radio station on Tuesday.

And in Pennsylvania, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, said earlier this week that while the governor would be willing to sign a right-to-work bill “that's not a top priority of his right now.”

Instead, spokesman Kevin Harley said Corbett plans to try to cut the size of government without taking away the rights of state employees to organize.

“We'll begin negotiations with the public-sector unions and anticipate we'll conduct those in good faith,” Harley told The New York Times over the weekend.

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