Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wal-Mart Gets It's Cake ...

On the same day that President Bush vetoed funding for stem cell research, the so-called Wal-Mark bill was was ruled to be preempted by federal law by a 1st District federal judge. This is a major blow to working Marylanders and I'm sure the unions and AG Curran (in his last days as AG) will quickly appeal.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled that the "Wal-Mart Law," which won overwhelming support in the General Assembly this year, ran afoul of a 32-year-old federal statute intended to protect corporations from having to navigate a patchwork of benefits requirements from state to state.
Why, though, shouldn't corporations that choose to operate in numerous states be required to adhere to the regulations of each state. This is a stupid statute that steps all over the rights of states to draft laws that protect its citizens from the unfair and inhumane working practices of major corporations.

Electorially, though, this could be the final straw on Ehrlich's defeat. Seventy-seven percent of Marylanders support the bill that mandates companies with more than 10,000 employees spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits. The other three companies which employ as many Marylanders - Johns Hopkins, Giant and Northrop Grumman - already provide their employees with quality health coverage. This shows that most corporations accept and live their ethical responsibility as an employer. Why Wal-Mart continually fails to act responsibly and why GOP leaders continue to act as surrogate apologists for the misguided morals of the corporate giant is beyond me - especially when their only defense to have a law overturned stands in opposition to the virtue of states rights that so many conservatives have lauded for generations. Clearly Ehrlich is on the wrong side of this issue and is, typically, attacking the Democrats for his failure to work with the Democrats in Annapolis.
The decision could rekindle a fierce political debate in Maryland as most lawmakers and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. are seeking reelection. The measure drew a sharp contrast between Democratic lawmakers, who viewed it as striking a blow for working-class families, and the Republican governor, who described it as an assault on the state's business climate.

Ehrlich lobbied hard to defeat the measure and then vetoed it. After his veto was overridden in January, he predicted that the measure would have a chilling effect on businesses weighing whether to locate or expand in Maryland.

Yesterday he praised the judge's ruling, saying the law was a prime example of "overreaching" by an activist legislature that "overstepped its bounds in an effort to demonize that employer for political gain."
Did you see that? That's the writing on the wall. When you are on the wrong side of an issue that 77 percent of the electorate supports, it's not the time to start a fight with the majority.

Outside the Beltway


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