The state Senate unanimously approved a bill from a York County representative that would remove exemptions from Pennsylvania's Crimes Code that permit certain types of harassment in labor disputes.
Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, wrote House Bill 1154 to eliminate the loophole that allows harassment, stalking and threatening use of a weapon of mass destruction in labor disputes as defined in the Labor Anti-Injunction Act.
"Some call this an attempt to curtail the right to free speech, when it is in fact an attempt to address a loophole that has been around for far too long and allows another means of undue pressure to be applied in labor situations," Miller has said regarding the measure.
Alex Halper, government affairs director for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, testified before the House Judiciary Committee over the summer regarding the bill. Halper said the bill would not affect union members engaged in lawful disputes or protests against businesses.
"In fact, I suspect that very few union members would be impacted by the bill because most union members do not commit the crimes the legislation seeks to address," he said.
The bill passed 48-0 on Monday, said Scott Little with the state House Republican Caucus.
The House voted on the bill March 12. It was amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning it now comes back to the House, Little said. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, he said.
If approved there, it would move on to Gov. Tom Corbett.