MICHIGAN: Right-to-work passes after raucous debate
The State Senate passed right-to-work legislation Thursday, prohibiting unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers. A measure dealing with private-sector workers passed 22-16 after hours of impassioned debate. Four Republicans joined all 12 Democrats in opposition. Moments later, the Senate passed a bill with similar provisions for government employees. Democrats walked out before that was approved, 22-4. From the gallery a man shouted, "Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! That's what you people are," and was escorted out. Another yelled, "We will remember in November." Outside, protesters chanting slogans such as "Union buster" were pepper-sprayed by troopers.
WASHINGTON: Trade bill with rights section riles Russians
A trade and human rights bill with Russia cleared Congress and headed for President Barack Obama's signature Thursday, opening new export opportunities for American businesses but antagonizing relations with Russia over its treatment of dissidents. Moscow, while welcoming better trade relations, threatened retaliation over a section of the bill that would punish Russian officials for any human rights violations. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was a main sponsor of the rights measure.
ILLINOIS: Legislator tried to take handgun on plane
A Democratic state senator charged with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in a carry-on bag was released on bail Thursday. A Cook County judge set bond at $25,000 for state Sen. Donne Trotter, who recently announced he was running for Jesse Jackson's old seat in Congress. Trotter was going through security at O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday when X-ray screening revealed an unloaded handgun in an outside zippered pocket of his garment bag.