State Senator Dave Herbert will be seeking a statewide vote on Right to Work when the Oklahoma Legislature convenes in February. The Midwest City Democrat is currently drafting legislation that would call a special election to decide the issue as an amendment to the state constitution.
"This issue has divided the state for far too long. It's time to end all of the fussing and the fighting, and let the people decide," said Senator Herbert.
Herbert, a longtime supporter of right to work, said it's important that right to work be implemented as a constitutional amendment rather than a statutory change. Constitutional amendments require approval of the people while statues can be altered each year by legislative actions.
"If we're going to pass Right to Work, we need to make sure that it's going to stick and not be tampered with every year. We don't want to bring new businesses to Oklahoma with a Right to Work law and then change the rules on them after they get here. That's why a constitutional amendment is essential," said Senator Herbert.
Because the next regularly scheduled statewide election is two years away, the Midwest City Democrat said that it is also critical to put the Right to Work question on a special election ballot to allow voters to decide the issue sooner.
"Given the importance of this issue, I think the vote needs to be on a fairly fast track. It doesn't make sense to put Right to Work on a statewide ballot and then tell the voters that they won't have their say for another two years. While we're sitting around waiting for the next election, Oklahoma will be losing the thousands of jobs that Right to Work will attract," said the state lawmaker.
Although previous attempts to put the question on a statewide ballot have failed in the Legislature, Senator Herbert said he's cautiously optimistic that the Right to Work issue will fare better this year.
"I just think the timing is right. We've spent years debating this issue to death. I think most legislators realize that it's time to turn the matter over to the people so that they have their say and we can move on," said Senator Herbert.