Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will Scott Brown's Senate Victory In Massachusetts Affect Pending Federal Employment Legislation?

By Christopher S. Andre and Scott K. Dauscher

On Tuesday, January 19, 2010, Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the United States Senate seat previously held by Democrat Edward Kennedy for 46 years until his passing on August 25, 2009.

As a consequence of Scott Brown's remarkable victory in a Democratic stronghold, Republicans now hold 41 seats in the Senate. Although still in the minority, those 41 seats are sufficient to enable the Senate Republicans to use the filibuster to effectively block legislation the Senate Republicans oppose.

A number of commentators have observed that Scott Brown's election puts in jeopardy the controversial health care reform legislation favored by Congressional Democrats.

Other controversial pending federal legislation that would, if enacted, affect California employers may also be in jeopardy, particularly the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it significantly easier for unions to unionize workplaces. Among other things, the Employee Free Choice Act would dispense with secret ballot elections as a way for employees to indicate whether they do or do not want to be represented by a union.