Acting fastest at the moment, though, are four states where Republicans won total control of the government only in November. In addition to Kentucky, Missouri and New Hampshire became one-party states with the election of Republican governors, and Republicans in Iowa snatched away the State Senate, where Democrats had held their last grip on power.
In all four states, Republicans are racing to strip back the influence of labor unions, a key Democratic constituency.
In Missouri, where union membership has waned, Gov. Eric Greitens, a telegenic former member of the Navy SEALs, signed a “right to work” bill into law on Monday, denying unions the power to require that workers at companies they represent pay dues or their equivalent as a condition of employment. In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin signed a similar measure in January, along with the repeal of a law that kept wages high on public construction projects. And in New Hampshire, State Senator Jeb Bradley, the Republican majority leader, said so-called right-to-work legislation was a top priority.
In Iowa, Republican leaders announced this past week that they would pursue sweeping changes to the collective bargaining rights of public employees. State Senator Bill Dix, the new Republican majority leader, said his party had campaigned on such changes — which would cut deeply into unions’ negotiating power — and intended to make good on its commitments. He said Republicans would also seek to change state laws governing health care and to enshrine in the State Constitution the right to bear arms.