Ritter quiet on union bill but ‘very comfortable’ with lawmakers’ work
DENVER Gov. Bill Ritter told fellow Democrats Tuesday he’s “very comfortable” with the bills the Legislature has passed this session, but he didn’t say whether he planned to sign a union-backed measure that has angered business groups.The bill, given final approval Monday, would eliminate one of two worker elections required to form an all-union workplace, where all employees are required to pay fees to the union whether or not they join.The fees are intended to cover the union’s cost to represent the nonmembers.Ritter did not mention the bill when he met with Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate but said, “I feel very comfortable at the beginning of this session with the kinds of bills you have sent me thus far that we’re dealing with.”Republican lawmakers and business groups have said the bill would discourage businesses from moving to Colorado and help Democratic-friendly unions raise more money.They also said Ritter and other Democrats never told voters this was part of the agenda, even though it was one of the first bills sent to his desk, on the 27th day of the 120-day session.Ritter told Democrats they need to focus on the things they promised during their campaigns, including a plan to develop a new economic engine around renewable energy.He said the tight budget will make it hard to find more money for higher education. He said the best way to help colleges financially is to find ways to save money.”For this year’s budget, the answer is no,” he told Sen. Moe Keller, a Democrat from Wheat Ridge who asked the governor if he could increase funding for higher education.Ritter said he wants to continue talking to state-funded college and university presidents to find ways to reduce competition for students and their money, including college vouchers for in-state students.”The first think you have to fix is the mechanism,” he said.
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