Virginians to vote on two constitutional amendments

Posted at 1:41 PM, Nov 07, 2016

VIRGINIA – Faced with an already crowded ballot, Virginians will also be asked whether to amend the state constitution.

Two constitutional amendments are on Tuesday’s ballot.

The first deals with Virginia’s right-to-work-law, which prohibits businesses from requiring employees to join a labor union as a condition of their employment.

The amendment asks whether the law should be made a part of the constitution, which would make it harder to overturn in the future. It has been on the books for nearly seventy years and is a staple of elected leaders pitch that Virginia is a “business friendly” state.

Supporters of the amendment, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, say making it a part of the constitution would protect workers rights and help attract new business.

“Basically giving people a choice about whether or not a union is right for them is something we think we think is worth preserving,” said Ryan Dunn of the Virginia Chamber in an interview which aired on News 3.

Labor leaders say the law is not being under attack  and an amendment is unnecessary. Richmond Machinists Union leader Russell Wade said the law “has been a state law since 1947. To my knowledge it has never been challenged.”

The second amendment on the ballot would authorize the General Assembly to pass a law that would let cities and counties allow surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty to get tax breaks on their personal property bills.

Similar ordinances already apply to surviving spouses of military members. The tax break would end if the spouse remarries. The amendment has faced little opposition, except from those who point out that localities would lose out on some tax revenue.