HERN (copy)

Rep. Kevin Hern was among opposition leaders to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file

First District Congressman Kevin Hern, who owes a good deal of his personal fortune to his involvement in McDonald’s, was among opposition leaders to a bill that would have a big impact on franchise owners and their employees.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, known as PRO, passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday with the strong support of organized labor.

Among other things, PRO would invalidate state right to work laws, including Oklahoma’s, and guarantee workers’ union organizing rights regardless of immigration status. It would also affect joint employee rules, which particularly impact franchise owners and workers.

“The same franchises that gave me the opportunity to achieve the American Dream are under attack with this legislation,” Hern said on the House floor as he tried to first sidetrack the bill through a motion to recommit and then to amend it.

The Oklahoma Democratic Party praised passage of the bill, but the state’s only Democratic member of Congress voted against it.

“I have voted for union pensions, I have voted to repeal the tax on union health care plans, and I support the right to organize,” Congresswoman Kendra Horn said in a statement afterward. “I am pro-worker, but instead of protecting our workers, the PRO Act would harm our small businesses.

“Franchise owners, who are specifically targeted by the PRO Act, are disproportionately women and people of color, and franchise employees are an important part of our state’s workforce,” she said.

Dots and dashes: The House unanimously passed U.S. Sen. James Lankford’s Taxpayers Right to Know Act, which he sponsored, along with New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan. … Hern spoke out in favor of a failed motion to censure Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying, “She takes every opportunity to make petty displays of her hatred of our president.” … Through Facebook, 2nd District Rep. Markwayne Mullin also let constituents know he supported the resolution, calling Pelosi’s behavior “absolutely disgraceful,” and he used the incident in a fundraising appeal. … Lankford signed on to Republican legislation to outlaw the use of telemedicine to administer medical abortion drugs. … Under questioning from Sen. Jim Inhofe, Assistant Interior Secretary Rob Wallace confirmed that his agency is on track take the American burying beetle off the Endangered Species List by June and possibly to delist the lesser prairie chicken by early next year.


Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365


Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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