Burlison seeks outside help in lead-up to ‘right-to-work’ vote

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – When a number of Republicans quietly raised objections to taking a vote on ‘right-to-work’ in private caucus meetings, some Republicans hoped to increase the pressure from the outside.

More than a dozen Republican members – including Wanda Brown, Paul Curtman, Chuck Gatchenberger, Casey Guernsey, Ron Hicks, Jim Neely, Donna Pfautsch, Craig Redmon, Jeannie Riddle, Noel Shull, Brian Spencer, T.J. Berry Noel Torpey, and Kathy Swan – apparently raised objections to taking a vote on the issue.

Rep. Eric Burlison, the bill’s House sponsor, has shared an unofficial whip count on the vote with Republicans involved in assisting outside conservative grassroots activists and grasstops groups. He said he had spoken with grassroots activists in his office, but never directly reached out to any of the groups like FreedomWorks and others that have joined the fight.

The above list was sent in a March 24 email from a Republican grasstops consultant to the lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, for example, and other outside groups have relied on a similar list. With the information, national conservatives have increased their pressure as a potential vote in the House seems imminent.

Burlison said Republicans in leadership have kept their whip count close to their chests.
Groups like FreedomWorks, in the lead up to a potential vote, began targeting lawmakers like Reps. T.J. Berry, R-Independence and Chuck Gatchenberger, R-St. Charles.

Burlison on Wednesday said he had not shared many of the above names, or many of the names of lawmakers being targeted by FreedomWorks. Many of the members, some of whom hail from swing districts in places like Jefferson County, were never even in play. Burlison’s focus, then, was on more attainable members.

They are not the only ones to watch if the bill comes up in the Missouri House. Twenty Republicans voted against ‘paycheck protection’ when it arose in the House last week, a less strict restriction on union activity. The bill passed with just one vote to spare.

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