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Opossums can work, but can they unionize?

So flush with success in the public vote for Amendment 1, which implemented a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions, conservative lawmakers have decided to try a similar tactic again.

House Bill 53 would allow voters to decide whether to ban via the state constitution collective bargaining for public employees. Public employees are already prohibited from collective bargaining in North Carolina.

HB 53 justifies its anti-labor stance by stating the "right to work must be protected and maintained free from undue restraints and coercion."

Undue restraints? Ask the opossums who are the subject of Senate Bill 60. "The Opossum Right-to-Work Act"—a feeble attempt at humor that mocks public workers—would allow "qualified individuals" to keep a wild bird or wild animal alive "in captivity for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes" as long as it was "lawfully taken."

It is a response to a Wake County judge's ruling to stop an annual New Year's Eve ritual in Brasstown in which a live opossum is lowered from a pole in a box. —Lisa Sorg

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