Testimony in Opposition to HB 323: An Attempt to Pass Right to Work for Less
January 30th, 2013
My name is Caitlin Rollo and I’m the political director of Granite State Progress, a multi-issue advocacy organization working on issues of immediate state and local concern.
I am here, yet again, to testify against Rep. O’Brien’s on-going attempt to undermine the rights or workers in New Hampshire. After countless hours spent in the last two years debating this measure, we are back again today to repeat what we’ve said before, what the people of New Hampshire expressed with the results of last Fall’s election, what Gov. Lynch and Gov. Hassan have repeatedly said, and what, ultimately, the House and Senate decided. This bill would do nothing to drive economic development; it would interfere in employee-employer agreements. It is still, after countless hours of protest, testimony, conflict, and chanting, terrible public policy and should, still, be voted down.
To briefly recap how we got to this point, I think, will illustrate that this bill has never enjoyed the support of the citizens of New Hampshire and should be dismissed with as little fanfare as possible. This legislation, then number HB 474 was introduced in the NH House on January 6, 2011. It passed the House on February 15, 2011 by a roll call vote of 221-131. The NH Senate then passed it by a margin of 16-8 on April 20, 2011. Democratic Governor John Lynch vetoed the bill on May 11, 2011. Then-speaker O’Brien publicly announced that the NH House would vote on whether to override or sustain the Governor’s veto on Wednesday, May 25th.
On the anticipated day of the veto vote, O’Brien belatedly realized he did not actually have the votes to override the Governor’s veto. The Speaker decided to postpone it rather than face the rejection of his extreme agenda. It was a miscalculation that would follow him for the next 8 months, over a span of 7 House Sessions. Then, refusing to name when the veto vote will be taken, O’Brien called the House back into special session three times in a legislative maneuver to get the right vote count in the room. The November 30th special House session fell during a National Council of State Legislator’s conference, causing several pro-worker representatives to cancel flights or miss the vote.
The reality is Right to Work for Less is based on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which allows corporations to draft bills that are then introduced in State Houses across the country. You can see a side by side comparison of the ALEC model legislation and the bill before you on the Granite State Progress website.
Let’s not again tread the road of this divisive and anti-worker legislation. I’m sure others will lay out, again, the economic reasons why this legislation is still a bad idea so I won’t repeat them here. But New Hampshire has taken the measure of this legislation – and it’s sponsor – and rejected it. Granite State Progress urges you to do the same.