Right To Work Is Back Again, and That Is Not All

Well we asked for it and now we got it.  The NH Legislative Services department released the first batch of Legislative Service Requests (LSR’s) and that information was posted on the NH General Court Website.  These LSRs are only released as Titles and Sponsors.  Only knowing the titles of the bills some may be confusing, while others are obvious.

As we saw in last years LSRs there were a few that were good, and many that were horrible.  Some were just plan crazy.  I went through and picked a few I thought people should know about, before they vote. So let the craziness begin!

Once again we lead off the year with Robert Kingsbury’s LSR requesting that all bills in the NH House make reference to the MAGNA CARTA!

2013-H-0094-R title: in favor of mentioning the Magna Carta in bills introduced in the house of representatives.
Sponsors: (Prime)Robert Kingsbury

The Magna Carta bill is by far the craziest bill submitted so far (as I can tell by the titles) .

As fully expected by our current extremists in the House, Speaker Bill O’Brien has submitted Right To Work (for Less) again.  This means that we will be fighting once again to keep NH from becoming the 23rd state to pass Right To Work laws.

2013-H-0247-R title: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.
Sponsors: (Prime)William O’Brien

Not all of the submitted LSRs were aimed at hurting workers.  Peter Sullivan a Democrat from Manchester who won his seat in a special election last year, submitted a bill relative to the state’s minimum wage law.  Since last session the NH Legislature passed a law removing NH’s ability to have a minimum wage higher than the Federal Government wage, I can only assume that this would be an increase to the state’s minimum wage laws.

2013-H-0084-L title: relative to the state minimum wage.
Sponsors: (Prime)Peter Sullivan

I hope that Rep Sullivan plans to move both minimum wage and tipped wages for all workers.  The minimum wage for Tipped workers is still $2.35 an hour and that is far too low.  Even though minimum wage has gone up a few times over the last decade, tipped wages have been frozen for many more years.

Also in 2011-12 session we saw many attacks on Education in the state.  Looking at a few of the LSRs for next year this will be the case once again.

We already know that NH Governor Candidate Ovide Lamontagne wants to remove the law that would allow public funding to go to religious schools. Rep. Charles Sova wants to remove the Department of Education entirely.

2013-H-0023-R title: abolishing the department of education and transferring all functions and duties to the state board of education.
Sponsors: (Prime)Charles Sova

There is also a repeat of some of the failed bills from last year.  David Hess (and others) are resubmitting a bill that would give the NH Legislature complete control over the funding of public schools in the state.

2013-H-0043-R title: Relating to public education. Providing that the general court shall have the authority to define standards for public education, establish standards of accountability, mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity, and have full discretion to determine the amount of state funding for education.
Sponsors: (Prime)David Hess

One of the reasons the Legislature does not have control of funding now is because of the Claremont Decision.  This case ruled that funding was not equally distributed by the Legislature and courts took away the Legislatures ability to make those decisions.

Once again were are going to see ALEC model legislation being pushing in the NH House.  Jordan Ulery and Speaker Bill O’Brien both submitted the same ALEC bill requiring 3/5ths majority to create any new or raise any taxes or fees.

2013-H-0093-R title: Relating to taxation. Providing that a 3/5 vote is required to pass legislation imposing new or increased taxes or license fees, or to authorize the issuance of state bonds and providing that the general court shall appropriate funds for payment of interest and installments of principal of all state bonds.
Sponsors: (Prime)Jordan Ulery
2013-H-0245-R
Sponsors: (Prime)William O’Brien

Couple this Tax Bill with the current make up of the NH Legislature, there will never be another fee increase, or tax increase from the State level.  This would effectively freeze the current NH Budget forever.  As we all know, the cost of business always stays the same!

While some are pushing ALEC legislation others are working to remove ALEC’s influence from NH.  Timothy Horrigan submitted this LSR removing the Voter ID law in NH.

2013-H-0126-R title: eliminating the photo identification requirement for voters.
Sponsors: (Prime)Timothy Horrigan

As I have been saying for months now, this election is vitally important.  We need to move NH forward not backwards.  We need pass laws that help workers and protect our rights, not bills like Right To Work (for less).   Though I have not seen it yet, I am sure another LSR will be filed repealing collective bargaining.

This is why the Governor’s race is so important.  Think of where NH would be if John Stephen beat Gov Lynch in the last election.  We would have no collective bargaining for state employees, Right To Work for all private employees, and who knows what else.  If Ovide Lamontagne wins this election it will destroy New Hampshire as we know it.  He and Speaker O’Brien will push their extreme agenda right through.

If you love New Hampshire and do not want to see it destroyed you must get out there and vote for Maggie Hassan.  She is dedicated to protecting Workers Rights, Women’s Rights, and rebuilding the middle class.

(Editors note: you can also research current legislators via Granite State Progress’s new Legislator Report Card website.  A great place for information about how they voted and what they pushed in the 2011-12 session)

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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