Severin accused of flip-flopping on union-backed bill - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Severin accused of flip-flopping on union-backed bill

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WSIL -- A southern Illinois lawmaker is being accused of flip-flopping on a union-backed bill.

On Tuesday, a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of SB 1905, a measure that would have banned local governments from creating their own right to work zones, failed by just one vote.

In a move that angered labor unions, state Rep. Dave Severin , R-Benton, voted against overriding the governor's veto of SB 1905. 

He took the opposite position on the bill two weeks ago, voting to override the governor's veto. That attempt that also fell one vote short. 

Severin also supported the bill when it originally passed out the House in June. 

So, what explains his newest stance?

Severin's office told News 3 he would not be available for an interview for the rest of the week.

But Severin did email a one-sentence statement, defending his actions.

"I'm on the record as opposing legislation that would make Illinois a right to work state. My position hasn't changed," said Severin's statement.

Jason Woolard, a southern Illinois labor union leader who's running against Severin for the 117th district House seat, doesn't know what Severin could have been thinking by switching his vote.

"I think those who voted against this bill, clearly don't have a voice for standing up against right to work legislation," said Woolard. "I don't know what his position is on right to work at this point."

Woolard said the governor's position is clear, however.

"I do know Governor Rauner has an agenda in the state of Illinois right now, to try to take away the rights of workers and the ability to have good wages and benefits," said Woolard.

For his part, Rauner praised efforts to sustain his veto.

 "Courageous House lawmakers joined together to make Illinois more competitive so local communities can continue to decide how to make their economies stronger, help their businesses grow and give individual workers the freedom to support a union as they choose," said Rauner. "Thanks to their action, Illinois is better positioned to be a national and global competitor."

Opponents of the bill say they could not support one provision, which called for local leaders to be charged with misdemeanors for violating the right to work ban.

However, that provision was removed in a trailer bill before this most recent vote.

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