By House Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R, VA-67)
Letter to Constituents
The 2016 ballot includes two proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution. I voted in favor of these amendments when they were approved by the General Assembly for voter consideration, which is required to amend the state Constitution. I hope you will vote for these amendments, too.
The first amendment relates to the right-to-work. This amendment would guarantee in the Virginia Constitution a citizen’s right to hold a job without being required to join a labor union. This idea is not “anti-union.” It simply means that union membership must be voluntary and not compulsory.
Why is this important? Virginia law already requires this. But laws can change, sometimes by courts in unexpected ways. Including this provision in the Constitution removes the possibility that a court could change or invalidate the law.
There is also a practical issue. As you many know, many states are not right-to-work states. For many jobs in many parts of the county, people can be forced to join a labor union against their will just to hold a job. What’s a nearby example of an organization that is not “right-to-work”? Metro.
When major businesses in the United States expand or relocate, a key factor in their consideration is locating in a place that has strong right-to-work laws. By placing this provision in the state Constitution, Virginia would send a strong signal nationally that we want businesses to locate, expand, and create jobs in our state.
The second amendment is related to property tax. It would allow, not require, local governments to exempt from property tax the homes of a surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer or other emergency responder who is killed in the line of duty. A similar provision already exists for surviving spouses of members of the armed forces who are killed in the line of duty or are permanently disabled. Approval of this amendment is one way of showing our support for people who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. I hope you will join me in voting for it.
Please let me know if you have any questions.