A sensible veto

Gov. Bill Ritter is being attacked by labor union officials and their supporters in the state Legislature because he has once again vetoed a union-backed bill.

The bill’s sponsor even accused the governor of rejecting the bill to further his re-election chances in 2010. Imagine that: A politician considering the political implications of his actions.

There may be political motives involved in Ritter’s veto of House Bill 1170, but his publicly stated reason for rejecting the bill makes sense to us.

The bill would have granted new leverage to grocery store workers by granting those striking workers state unemployment compensation at a time when unions are renegotiating contracts with several major grocery chains. “I am concerned that signing this bill into law will make a negotiated resolution of the grocery store contract more difficult, not less,” the governor said.

The bill likely would also have added to the demands on the state’s unemployment insurance fund when the staggering economy has already drawn that fund dangerously low.

For Ritter’s efforts, HB 1170 sponsor Rep. Ed Casso, D-Thornton, accused the governor of “hiding the fact” that he’s a Democrat in preparation for next year’s election. The implication, of course, is that no Democrat should ever vote against or veto a measure that aids labor unions.

Ritter has a mixed record on union issues. He has supported some measures that angered the business community, and rejected others, drawing the wrath of labor leaders.

But we’re glad to see he doesn’t buy Casso’s argument that he should automatically accept every labor bill. And we’re glad he vetoed HB 1170.


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