Today’s News & Commentary — August 1, 2017

Published August 1st, 2017 -  - 08.01.1710


Opponents of Missouri’s embryonic right-to-work law celebrated a victory on Friday, when an appeals court found that the language in their repeal-oriented referendum was adequately clear and fair.  Governor Eric Greitens signed the law in February, with August 28 as the date it takes effect.  If advocates gather enough signatures before August 28, the law won’t go into effect until at least November 2018, when voters will decide if it takes effect at all.  If opponents of right-to-work miss the August 28 deadline but gather enough signatures by May of next year, the law will take effect, but voters will have the opportunity to repeal it in November 2018 via constitutional amendment.  Friday’s ruling removed a stumbling block for the referendum effort; a June 27 ruling removed an analogous stumbling block for the effort behind the constitutional amendment.

Data from Indiana indicates that labor market fluctuations impact the job prospects of people leaving prison in particular.  Unemployment is low, and employers in Arizona, Indiana, and Maryland are directly recruiting recently released prisoners.  Another sign of low unemployment is the tremendous number of H-2A guest worker visas issued in California this year.  Getting a visa is expensive and cumbersome, but it provides a pathway from rural Mexico to Sonoma vineyards that need workers.

Major oil and gas companies joined the outcry against Texas’ bathroom bill yesterday.  In a public letter to Governor Greg Abbott, companies including BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, and Halliburton warned that the bill might impact job creation and harm the state’s ability to attract top talent.  In opposing the bill, these companies—which are often associated with traditional values—join other major corporations, school associations, and law enforcement groups.

Fewer EU nationals are moving to Britain for work, reports the Wall Street Journal.  One reason may be uncertainty around the post-Brexit rights of EU citizens in Britain; another may be the weakening pound.  Could a major new train line through London and its surrounds help attract workers?  The New York Times muses that the Crossrail, which is currently under construction, will shorten commutes and ameliorate some negative effects of gentrification.  It may make London more appealing to both high- and low-earners.

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