Associated Press WriterJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A judge has granted Gov. Bob Holden's request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of his executive order authorizing collective bargaining for thousands of state employees.
Cole County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brown ruled Tuesday that those challenging the order had no standing to do so. He also said the order cannot be challenged in court because it is a directive, not a law. He said the lawsuit was based on speculation.
The lawsuit filed in September claimed Holden's order circumvented the Legislature and deprived state workers of civil rights. It sought to repeal the order and prohibit its enforcement.
Plaintiffs in the case included Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau; Rep. Charles Quincy Troupe, D-St. Louis; the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Missouri; and six state employees from various agencies.
Holden's order grants collective bargaining rights, including the use of binding arbitration on some matters, to as many as 30,000 of Missouri's 65,000 state workers.
In agencies where employees choose collective bargaining, the order also allows "fair share" fees to be charged to employees -- even those who aren't members of unions -- to help pay the negotiators.
One Dec. 6, Brown met briefly with attorneys representing Holden and the plaintiffs. Holden was represented by Attorney General Jay Nixon's office.
Kinder had proclaimed confidence that the judge would allow the lawsuit to go forward. He was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
The next stop for the case could be the Missouri Supreme Court.
------On the Net:
Gov. Bob Holden: http://www.gov.state.mo.us