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Dan Innis Emerges – As A Right-Wing Legislator From A Moderate District.

A person familiar with the man whose data-driven approach animated his work at UNH’s Paul School of Business could have been forgiven for being surprised by the approach taken by the Dan Innis since his election to the New Hampshire Senate in November. HIs approach to chairing the Commerce Committee in a packed Representatives’ Hall provides an example. In the face of data, anecdote, and personal testimonials, Innis seemed deaf to any criticism of controversial right-to-work legislation being heard by the committee. Impatient with testimony from over 100 labor leaders, small businessmen, and economists and eager to defend the endorsements of SB 11 by lobbyists and national right-wing activists, Innis seemed, not only to have his mind made up, but unwilling to listen to any facts that might change it.

Chairman Innis also used his new position to encourage his fellow senators to put any concerns which might have arisen during the four hours of public testimony that they had just heard out of their minds. With gavel in hand, Chairman Innis shut down debate among his colleagues after a mere hour and got the result he wanted. The committee recommended that the full Senate pass the Koch Bros. number one legislative priority for the states. Republican orthodoxy and right-wing ideology had overcome the opposition of a vast majority of attendees at the Senate hearing, with Sen. Innis’s support.

Sen. Innis’s unlikely emergence as a right-wing champion hasn’t been limited to his work as a committee chair. He also put his support behind legislation that allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon by sponsoring SB12. This bill, which was opposed by police chiefs and public safety advocates throughout the state, passed the Senate days after a freshman GOP legislator inadvertently dropped a gun on the floor during a House hearing on the measure.

A glance over the legislation Innis has sponsored this year further demonstrates that the hotelier and academic would NOT serve as a moderate Republican in the mode of Nancy Stiles, his GOP predecessor in District 24, but rather as an ideological, Tea Party legislator. Another example is a bill he is sponsoring entitled SB44, an act prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of Common Core standards. Common Core, a set of educational goals and measurements developed by state and local governments to make comparisons between school results clearer and to designed to measure both student learning and critical thinking skills, has become a favorite target of right-wingers from Glenn Beck (who wrote a sci-fi novel suggesting an enslaved future thanks to Common Core) to legislators and activists who fear that Common Core teaching leads to homosexuality.

These may merely be the efforts of a freshman legislator to court his party’s far-right base, but in a year with a new governor who seems equally susceptible to trends among the national right-wing, his votes have consequences. Seacoast voters would be well advised to ignore the Dan Innis who has carefully cultivated a reputation as a reasonable community leader and pay close attention the Dan Innis who is voting in Concord. They might not recognize him, but they should recognize the impact of the right-wing voting record he is compiling.

A Conservative’s Guide to the “Right to Work” Bill

He didn’t talk much about it during his campaign, but apparently the so-called “Right to Work” bill is a top priority of incoming NH Governor Chris Sununu.  The Senate will hold a hearing on his bill this Tuesday – January 10, 2017 – starting at 1:00 pm in the State House, Representatives’ Hall.

Let’s start with the name: “Right to Work”

Do you take citizens’ rights seriously? Then you avoid political rhetoric that would create new “rights.”  Conservatives reject talk about “the right to health care” or “the right to housing” because those “rights” aren’t enumerated in the Constitution.  Neither is “the right to work.”

Yes, the name makes it easy to sell to the public.  Here’s how the Alabama Media Group described Amendment 8: “It also provides you with a plain-spoken, air-tight constitutional right to hold a job and earn a living for yourself and your loved ones.”

Think about that.  “An air-tight, constitutional right to hold a job.”  In a state where four counties have unemployment rates of 10% or more.  What’s going to happen when all those unemployed Alabama citizens want government to deliver on their “right to work”?

SB 11 doesn’t give Granite Staters “the right to work.”  Pretending that it does – just to get the bill passed – dishonors the citizens’ rights that our country was founded on.

Look at what the bill actually does.

“Right to Work” legislation prohibits businesses from negotiating “fair share” provisions into their employment contracts.  Dress the bill up with any title you want – that’s still what it does.  It adds a new layer of government regulation between businesses and their employees.

Under the law right now, employers that want “fair share” provisions in their contracts are allowed to have them.  Remember last time around, when employers testified against this bill?

Employers that don’t want “fair share” provisions don’t have to have them.   The choice is entirely up to the particular employer.

“Right to Work” legislation takes away the employer’s right to make that choice – and substitutes the government’s judgment, instead.

That’s government overreach – not a conservative value.

It restricts employers’ rights to set conditions of employment.

The “Right to Work” bill also creates a troubling legal precedent, by restricting employers’ ability to set terms and conditions of employment.

Under the law right now, employers can require their employees to make “fair share” payments as a condition of employment.  Again, this is entirely the employer’s choice – not the government’s.  (At least, right now it is.)

Right now, employers can require their employees to do all sorts of things as a condition of employment.  Employees can be required to contribute to health insurance costs, or to contribute to a company’s pension plan.  Employees can be required to be members of a particular professional association; or, they can be fired if they join certain organizations the employer doesn’t want to be affiliated with.

But “Right to Work” is a camel’s nose.  If New Hampshire starts down this path, where is it going to stop?  If this Legislature prohibits employers from requiring employees to pay “fair share” contributions, what keeps future Legislatures from prohibiting employee contributions for health insurance?

“Right to Work” encroaches on employers’ rights – and conservatives know: that’s wrong.

It’s probably unconstitutional.

Unions have to represent all employees in the bargaining unit – whether those employees are members of the union, or not.  Right now, unions have the ability – if employers agree – to negotiate contracts with “fair share” provisions so that all employees pay the cost of providing representation.  “Right to Work” takes that possibility away.

Under “Right to Work,” unions are required to provide representation, without being allowed to charge for it.  That’s like lawyers being required to provide legal representation, but leaving it up to their clients to decide whether or not to voluntarily pay for it.  It raises all sorts of Fifth Amendment issues that the Courts are just starting to consider.

Government requiring a private entity to provide its product or services for free goes against everything conservatives believe.  It’s just plain wrong.

It’s a classic example of “government by special interests”

Remember Kevin Landrigan’s expose of political contributions by the National Right to Work Committee?

Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that this is suddenly Gov. Sununu’s top priority, even though it wasn’t a big campaign issue.

“Right to Work” is a priority for Virginia-based Americans for Prosperity, which is quietly pushing aside the GOP.  In Kentucky, AFP “made over 473,000 phone calls and knocked on over 45,000 doors” in support of state legislative candidates – and the newly-elected Kentucky legislators rewarded that support by immediately passing “Right to Work” last Saturday.

How much support did AFP give to the Sununu campaign?  There’s no way to tell – it’s not registered with the state either as a political party or a political advocacy organization, and at the federal level it is registered as a 501(c)4 “social welfare” organization, so it doesn’t regularly disclose how it spends money or who its donors are.

Without knowing how much support AFP gave to the Sununu campaign, there’s no way to tell how much he thinks he owes them.

But what we do know is that during this election, AFP spent money opposing about a dozen NH Republicans, including Hampstead Rep. Joseph Guthrie, Manchester Rep. Mark Proulx, Salem Rep. Fred Doucette and Sanbornton Rep. Dennis Fields.

It’s not a New Hampshire priority.

“Right to Work” has been considered – and rejected – by the New Hampshire legislature for the past three decades.  Last time around:

  • Our Labor Commissioner testified that he had spoken to about 2,000 business owners during his six years in office – and not one of them suggested the state should adopt “Right to Work.”
  • Our Resources and Economic Development Commissioner said he had met with thousands of businesses over the years – and not once had “Right to Work” ever come up in his discussions, either with current NH businesses or with companies considering moving here.
  • Even the Governor said “In the last seven years of recruiting businesses to move to New Hampshire, not one business leader has ever asked me if New Hampshire had a right-to-work law, let alone suggested it was a factor in the company’s location decision…The debate over the so-called right-to-work bill in New Hampshire appears to be largely driven by national outside interest groups, and is not a result of problems facing New Hampshire businesses or workers.”

It’s not a New Hampshire priority.  So why is it first-out-of-the-box for our brand-new Governor and Legislature?  Is it because of AFP “investment” in our state campaigns?

Do Granite Staters really want a government that puts AFP’s priorities first??

We’ve already repealed it once.

Sherman Adams
NH Governor 1949 – 1953
Chief of Staff to President Dwight Eisenhower 1953 – 1958

New Hampshire adopted a “Right to Work” bill back in 1947.

But it didn’t last long; it was repealed in 1949 by a Republican-led Legislature and a Republican Governor.

Have New Hampshire’s conservative values really changed that much since then?

 

 

Democrats Burn AFP NH’s Pledge To Support Right To Work

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Democrats speak out against the Americans For Prosperty “pledge” to oppose Medicaid expansion and pass Right to Work

 

Americans For Prosperity PledgeOn Wednesday morning, District 9 State Senate candidate Jeanne Dietsch and State Rep. Ivy Vann burned the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) “pledge” in front of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street. Their action was simultaneous to the public signing of that same pledge by some Republican candidates for the State House and Senate at an event sponsored by AFP in Concord. AFP is a “dark money” political group co-founded and supported by the Koch brothers. Its pledge commits signers to “Oppose all forms of ObamaCare in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion.” 

“When we on the Peterborough Economic Development Authority (EDA) asked Monadnock Community Hospital what we could do to help them,” said Dietsch, chair of the EDA strategic planning committee, “the only thing they asked was help in passing Medicaid expansion because it brings hundreds of millions of dollars from Washington to New Hampshire’s hospitals. It also provides needed health coverage for 48,000 people in New Hampshire. Yet the elected officials who sign this pledge promise to vote against that. Why are we letting two men from Kansas tell us how to vote and how is this possibly in the best interests of New Hampshire?”

Said Rep. Vann, “Serving in the legislature, I’ve seen the damage this pledge has inflicted on our ability to get things done in Concord. On Medicaid expansion, on marshalling the resources we need to deal with the opioid crisis, on funding for our children’s education – on all these issues, this pledge has forced too many of my Republican colleagues into lock step with the extreme anti-government agenda of the Koch brothers. It’s time to send this pledge where it belongs – up in smoke.”

IMG_2274Dietsch and Vann chose the GAR Hall as backdrop for their action as a symbol of the principles that founded our nation, that government should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, also spoke out against the AFP pledge calling it “shortsighted” and “backward looking.”

The pledge demands that elected officials cut back on critical government services, including healthcare, and support so-called Right to Work legislation, an outdated policy that New Hampshire voters, workers, and lawmakers—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—have rejected for more than a decade.”

“This secretive, Koch-funded organization has spent years pushing its relentlessly regressive platform on Granite Staters, and I call on my Republican opponents to stand up and admit they’re the ones pretending these ideas have merit. This is a true test of priorities,” added Connolly. 

ICYMI: Forrester Joins Edelblut in Pledging to Pass “Right to Work”

Concord, N.H.—State Senator and candidate for governor Jeanie Forrester made her fealty to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers official Monday, signing the 2016 Americans for Prosperity Pledge.

By signing, candidates pledge to “work tirelessly to… Pass a Right to Work Law in New Hampshire.” The Pledge also includes commitments to pursue right-wing economics and oppose all forms of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion, a program that has extended health benefits to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters.

In signing the pledge, Forrester joins state Representative Frank Edelblut as the first two candidates for governor to have signed the 2016 Pledge. Chris Sununu has signed the Pledge in the past, while Ted Gatsas has stayed silent on whether he’ll pledge allegiance to the Koch brothers.

“Jeanie Forrester’s pledge to support the Koch brothers extreme far-right agenda should put to rest any questions about whose interests she’d serve as governor,” said NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske. “She now has officially declared that her priority will be to do the bidding of out-of-state billionaires and to strip health care from nearly 50,000 Granite Staters. Any notion that she’d fight for middle-class families just went out the window.”

Headquartered in Virginia and funded by the ultra-conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, Americans For Prosperity is an out-of-state special interest group that supports right-wing candidates and far-right ideology. AFP is known for spreading misinformation about climate science and promoting failed and debunked trickle-down economic policies. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski previously served as their executive director.

AYOTTE FACT CHECK: Koch Brothers Still Propping Up Kelly Ayotte

Image from the NHDP

Image from the NHDP

Concord, N.H. – Despite Senator Kelly Ayotte’s recent efforts to scrub the politically toxic Koch Brothers out of her record, the facts remain clear: the Koch Brothers still intend to spend big to prop up her reelection campaign while attacking Maggie Hassan.

Greg Moore, the head of the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity here in New Hampshire, made it clear to WMUR that they still intend to spend big attacking Governor Hassan during her campaign against Senator Ayotte. In 2014, AFP exclusively used “issue ads” to attack Senator Shaheen — and they plan to use the exact same tactic this year against Governor Hassan. So far this cycle, AFP has already spent $1.2 million on issue ads attacking the Governor.

Not only that, but in November, the President of Americans for Prosperity praised Ayotte, saying she has “a really good voting record on a lot of pretty tough issues.” And it’s no wonder why they’d say that. During her first 4 years in Washington, Ayotte voted with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.

And just last quarter the Kochs contributed directly to Ayotte’s campaign in a big way, including max-out checks from David and Julia Koch written a month AFTER Ayotte’s politically motivated rewrite on the Clean Power Plan that was allegedly so upsetting to the Koch empire. 

Ayotte’s campaign also uses the Koch Brothers’ voter database – a clear sign of her close ties to the very men she is now desperately trying to distance herself from.

“Kelly Ayotte knows that the Koch Brothers are politically toxic here in New Hampshire, so it’s no wonder she’s trying to scrub her ties to them—but unfortunately for her, it won’t work,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “By voting with their special interest agenda and against the people of New Hampshire nearly 90% of the time, Kelly Ayotte has made herself into a valuable asset for the Koch Brothers, an asset they are prepared to spend big to keep in Washington.”

A New Hampshire Republican Tries To Sneak In A New Kind Right To Work For Less Bill

The proposed bill puts a new twist on an old, well known union busting Right to Work law

Right To Work is Wrong for NH

Tomorrow, the NH House Labor Committee will hold their public hearing on HB 1341 a new and very sneaky way to pass a Right To Work for less bill.

Republican Representative John Martin introduced HB1341 as a way for non-union members, who are covered by a union contract, to get out of paying their fair share by allowing them to make a donation to the charity of their choice.  This would allow the non-members to freeload off the union by skipping out on their share of the administration costs.

This is exactly the same as every other Right to Work for less bill except in this version non-members would still have to pay, they just would not have to pay the union.

Right to Work is a union-busting tactic has been used for decades. Bust the union by attempting to bankrupt them.

We already know that Right to Work laws are designed to destroy unions and further the Race to the Bottom.  Workers in Right to Work states make about 3% less than workers in free bargaining states. This means workers will make on average, $1500 less in Right to Work states.  Workers are also much less likely to have access to healthcare, retirement plans and other negotiated benefits like family leave and paid sick time.

This piece of legislation could allow these freeloading non-members to take money that should have gone to the union and funnel it directly into anti-worker groups like the Americans for Prosperity, who are officially listed at a charity by the state.

Passing Right To Work has been one of AFP-NH’s main legislative goals for many years.

Did the Americans for Prosperity have a hand in writing this bill? I do not know, but I am pretty certain they will be there to support it.

If you agree that this type of underhanded attack on workers is wrong then join us at the NH State Capitol’s Legislative Office Building, Room 307, tomorrow (2-11-16) to make your voice heard.

If you cannot make it to the State House tomorrow, you can write or call the members of the House Labor Comittee (click here to email the committee) and tell them to vote this bill “INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE” to kill the bill.

Kelly Ayotte Tries To Solve the Koch Brothers’ Problems Nearly 90% Of The Time

Concord, N.H. – As No Labels hosts its “Problem Solver” convention in New Hampshire today, it’s important to remember that instead of working to get results for New Hampshire’s families and small businesses, Kelly Ayotte tries to solve the Koch Brothers’ problems nearly 90% of the time.

The Koch Brothers’ main political arm, Americans for Prosperity, gives Ayotte an 88% lifetime score (having voted with the Koch Brothers on 55 out of 62 scored votes since going to Washington). Ayotte’s support for the Koch Brothers’ priorities extends to a wide range of issues, including voting in favor of the Koch-backed Ryan budget that would have slashed Pell Grants for New Hampshire students and turned Medicare into a voucher system, while protecting $40 billion in oil tax breaks.

Koch Industries is the fifteenth top contributing donor to Ayotte over her federal career with more than $24k in campaign contributions, and the Kochs’ political operation has already spent more than $1 million this cycle to try to protect Ayotte.

“Kelly Ayotte has worked overtime to solve the Koch Brothers’ problems since going to Washington, but if you don’t happen to be a well-connected Washington lobbyist or special interest then unfortunately you’re out of luck with Ayotte,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s deeply concerning that the Koch Brothers brag that Kelly Ayotte votes with their interests nearly 90% of the time, and New Hampshire’s families and small businesses deserve better.”

 


BACKGROUND

Kelly Ayotte Had A Lifetime Score Of 88% On The Americans For Prosperity Legislative Scorecard. Ayotte has voted with AFP on 55 out of 62 scored votes since taking office. [Americans for Prosperity, Accessed 10/12/15]

Koch Industries Was The Fifteenth Top Contributing Donor To Ayotte Over Her Federal Career With More Than $24k In Campaign Contributions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Koch Industries was the fifteenth top contributing donor to Ayotte over her career as a Federal candidate. Koch Industries has contributed $24,100 to her campaigns. [Center for Responsive Politics, Accessed 1012/15]

Aug. 2015: Americans For Prosperity Aired Attack Ad In New Hampshire Which Democrats Said Was An Attempt To Help Ayotte. “The conservative issues group Americans for Prosperity on Monday will begin a more than $1 million, 20-day television advertising buy to criticize Gov. Maggie Hassan… Democrats are calling the ad by the Koch brothers-funded group a ‘completely false’ and ‘dishonest attempt’ by an out-of-state group to ‘meddle in New Hampshire’s budget process’ and help Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.” [WMUR, 8/6/15]

Ayotte Voted For The AFP-Backed Ryan Budget That Would Protect $40 Billion In Tax Breaks For Oil Companies

Ayotte Voted For FY 2013 Ryan Budget Plan. In May 2012, Ayotte voted in favor of a: “Conrad, D-N.D., motion to proceed to the concurrent resolution that would allow $2.794 trillion in new budget authority for fiscal 2013, not including off-budget accounts.” The motion was rejected 41-48. [CQ,5/16/12; H.Con.Res. 112, Vote 98, 5/16/12]

Ryan Budget Would Protected $40 Billion In Tax Breaks For Oil Companies. “American families have been plagued by higher oil and gasoline prices over the past several years despite a significant increase in domestic oil production and rigs, and decline in consumption. But while high prices threaten the economy and family budgets, they enrich American oil companies with huge profits. Yet it appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion.” [Center for American Progress, 3/20/12]

Americans For Prosperity Called Changing Section 199 As It Relates To Oil Producers An “Attack.” “Americans for Prosperity opposes changing these rules only on the oil and gas industries. Changing these provisions to attack a politically unpopular industry is an inappropriate use of the tax code. Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction provides all qualified domestic manufactures with a 9 percent deduction in their taxable income. The oil and gas industry are already singled out under this rule and are only allowed to use a 6 percent deduction. This rule was put in place to support domestic production and it is ironic that the same people who claim to want to ‘reduce our dependence on foreign oil’ would seek to further isolate oil and gas companies from tax deductions design to support domestic production.” [Energy Tax Policy, Americans For Prosperity]

Americans For Prosperity Supported The FY 2013 Ryan Budget. On Americans for Prosperity’s scorecard for the 112th Congress, the group backed the FY 2013 Ryan budget by urging a yes vote on its passage in the House. [Americans for Prosperity, Accessed 10/12/15]

The Americans For Prosperity – NH (AKA Koch Brothers NH Mouthpiece) Approve Of House Budget. One More Reason To Oppose It

Today the New Hampshire chapter of the Americans For Prosperity, a Koch funded advocacy group, came out to show their support for the massive cuts proposed in the budget.

From NHPR:

The state’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers,  are behind the House Finance version of the state’s spending plan, which passed committee along party lines Thursday.

The $11 billion budget trimmed hundreds of millions from Governor Maggie Hassan’s proposal including reducing spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation and University funding.

AFP State Director Greg Moore said the budget isn’t perfect but it is fiscally responsible.

“The House did a fantastic job of making New Hampshire more free market and more competitive, and forth and for most it takes out all the tax increases,” Moore said.

The plan removes tax increases including two tax increases on businesses, a cigarette tax as well as increasing the registration fee.

Governor Hassan warns that these cuts will hurt our economy.

“Earlier this week, the House Finance Committee recommended a budget with harmful, unnecessary reductions that will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward. Today, instead of fixing the problems with that budget, they are making things worse.

“Instead of responsibly addressing the issues facing our Highway Fund with a modest revenue solution, they are proposing further reductions to the priorities that are critical to the success of our people, families and businesses. These irresponsible cuts threaten to shut down local road and bridge projects, increase the cost of higher education, raid the dedicated Renewable Energy Fund and further downshift the burden on local property tax rate-payers.

“Combined with cuts already proposed to critical services for seniors like Meals on Wheals, to substance misuse, to mental health, to developmental disabilities, to travel and tourism promotion, to municipalities and more, this irresponsible plan will hurt our economic competitiveness and have a significant impact on our ability to continue building the foundation of a more innovative economy. I continue to urge legislators from both parties to do the responsible thing and invest in the success of our people, our businesses and our economy.” 

“The Koch Brothers’ endorsement of the O’Brien – Jasper budget proves just how bad this budget truly is for New Hampshire’s people, businesses and economy,” said New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley. “Combined with Senate Republicans’ push for more tax giveaways for big out-of-state businesses, it’s as clear as ever that the legislature is fully under the control of the Koch Brothers.”

“Shawn Jasper has finally accomplished his goal: cut enough of New Hampshire’s priorities to satisfy Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers. It makes perfect sense that out-of-state oil tycoons would support a budget that raids $50 million in dedicated funds for renewable energy, slashes critical economic priorities for small businesses and middle class families, and downshifts costs onto local property taxpayers,” concluded Buckley.

We here at the NH Labor News are vehemently opposed to these cuts proposed by the NH House.  They will strip healthcare from tens of thousands of people, and force hundreds of hard working DOT workers on the streets.  Then I ask, “who will ploy the roads“?

Please take a minute to sign out petition urging legislators to stop these reckless cuts.

Petition Text:

We call on members of the state House & Senate to pass a responsible, balanced budget that protects taxpayers without sacrificing the essential programs and services New Hampshire families and communities depend on for our health, safety, and quality of life.

Click here to sign the Petition

Join activists from across the state as we stand in opposition to these devastating draconian cuts to NH Families.

Koch Brothers Helping To Fund Free State Movement 


Koch Brothers Funding Effort to Move 20,000 Libertarians to New Hampshire to Take Over, Dismantle State Government

 

At least (4) Koch-funded groups – including Americans for Prosperity and The Josiah Bartlett Center – are allocating money or staff time to extreme Free State Project effort

 

MANCHESTER, NH – Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are helping sponsor an effort to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to take over and dismantle state government.


“Moved by Liberty” the 2015 NH Liberty Forum hosted by the Free State Project, is being held in Manchester, NH this week March 5th to 8th.The event is designed to expose libertarians to the Free State Project movement – an effort to move 20,000 people to New Hampshire and create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws. The Free State Project cites secession from the country as a possible tactic once they reach critical mass. To date, the Free State Project has recruited 16,498 people to sign the pledge and more than 1,700 have already moved.

 

At least (4) Koch-funded groups – including Americans for Prosperity Foundation-New Hampshire and The Josiah Bartlett Center – are allocating money or staff time to the extreme Free State Project effort this week:

 

  • Koch-funded Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz is a speaker
  • Koch-funded Josiah Bartlett CenterPresident Charlie Arlinghaus (and former NH GOP Executive Director) is a speaker
  • Charles Koch Institute Vice President of Research and Policy and Charles Koch Foundation Vice President for Research Dr. William Ruger is a speaker

“The billionaire Koch brothers are once again subverting democracy, this time funding and supporting an effort to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire for the stated purpose to take over and dismantle state government,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “The ultra-extreme Free State Project seeks to radically change the way of life in New Hampshire, and Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and The Josiah Bartlett Center are working to pave the way for them. AFP-NH and the Josiah Bartlett Center should be ashamed for being in bed with individuals who harass meter attendants, believe we should abolish all public services including public roads and bridges, and who seek to encourage a violent uprising in response to democratic decisions that differ from their own.”

 

*** More Information ***

 

About the Free State Project: A decade ago, the ultra-extreme Free State Project voted on a state to move 20,000 libertarians to, with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it. New Hampshire was unfortunately the unlucky recipient of that vote. The Free State Project seeks to create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws, and to use their numbers to dramatically change New Hampshire. The Free State Project even threatens to secede from the rest of the country once it meets its initial goals:

 

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

–          Announcement:
The Free State Project by Founder Jason Sorens

 

To date, the Free State Project has recruited 16,498 people to sign the pledge to move to New Hampshire, and once they hit the goal of 20,000 that will “Trigger the Move.” More than 1,700 people have already moved. The Free State Project regularly hosts tours of the state for prospective movers, offers temporary housing for those in transition, and has a network for job, social, and political opportunities once someone makes the move to New Hampshire.

 

The Free State Project has also successfully fielded candidates for local and state government, and each year those members introduce proposals to slash local and state budgets, undermine public education, and overturn common sense community priorities that ensure our people and our communities remain safe and secure. It is not surprising that so many Free Staters run for office. Free State Project members uproot their families and move to New Hampshire purely to enact a political agenda; running for office only further helps them reach that goal.

 

About the NH Liberty Forum: The annual forum organized by the Free State Project is designed to encourage more libertarians to learn about “the most successful migration movement for liberty in the world” and how to “make New Hampshire the hub for liberty in our lifetime.” NH Liberty Forum website, accessed 3.6.15, http://nhlibertyforum.com/

 

About The Josiah Bartlett Center and Koch funding: The Josiah Bartlett Center has received direct funding from the Koch family fortune despite their claims in the media otherwise. See Granite State Progress & The Center for Media and Democracy Report “Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers” November 2013 (pages 8, 13-14, 32-35); http://granitestateprogress.org/blog/2013-12-12/new-report-%E2%80%9Cbad-bartlett-josiah-bartlett-center-and-nh-watchdog-answer-call-koch

 

Granite State Progress has been tracking the Free State Project and its influence since 2008, paying particular attention to Free Stater activity in elections and legislation.

The NH Union Leader Helps AFP Spread Misinformation About Right To Work (For Less) In NH

Once again the Union Leader’s editorial board is peddling misinformation about unions and “right to work” (for less) legislation (“Protesting information: Picket sign o’ the times”).

Let’s clear up a few things.

1) Just whose “rights” is Americans for Prosperity supposedly “protecting”?

AFP spins this as a “worker freedom” bill.  But if AFP was really interested in protecting workers, they would be lobbying for workplace safety and better enforcement of wage and hour laws.

So, who would benefit from this bill?  Because so-called “RTW” isn’t good for businesses, either.

Many companies have a good relationship with their unions.  Employers rely on unions to find qualified workers.  Employers and unions run training programs together.  They run health and retirement benefit funds together.  They have joint workplace safety committees and labor-management committees.  And some of those employers have decided it is in their best interests to include “fair share” provisions in their union contracts.

Think about it. There is nothing – anywhere – that requires New Hampshire employers to include fair share provisions in their union contracts.  Not in the private sector, and not in the public sector.  There are school districts across the state that don’t have fair share provisions because the School Committee would not agree to it.

So if fair share is in the contract, it’s because the employer decided that was the right thing to do.

But Bill O’Brien and AFP and the National Right to Work Committee want to take that decision away from employers.  Why?  Let’s follow the money.

Bill O’Brien?  His short-lived congressional campaign received substantial contributions from the both the NRWC and donors linked to AFP.

It’s clear – to me, at least – that this isn’t about “protecting” anyone’s rights.  This is about imposing the personal ideology of a few rich men on the entire state of New Hampshire.

What the Koch brothers, NRTWC and AFP do not understand is that just because they are anti-union, that doesn’t mean everyone else is.  Many companies like working with their unions.  And they ought to have the right to do that – and to decide for themselves how to do that.

2) “Right to work” and job creation. 

The myth that RTW somehow “creates jobs” has been pushed, and pushed, and pushed – but that doesn’t make it true.  Back when Bill O’Brien was Speaker of the NH House, he kept telling people he had a list of businesses that “would move to New Hampshire” if we passed his legislation.  Of course, this list never materialized.

Instead, we heard from the Commissioner of Economic Development that RTW had never – not once – come up in his discussions with businesses considering locating in New Hampshire.

We heard from the Commissioner of Labor that none – not even one – of the 2,000+ business leaders he had met with had ever said that RTW should be adopted in New Hampshire.

So just why is Bill O’Brien so intent on imposing RTW on the Granite State?

3) “Right to work” is not a magic pill that leads to future wealth. 

The Union Leader’s editorial discusses an AFP “research” study that uses Indiana as an example.  What it doesn’t mention?  Here’s how the Kokomo Tribune describes the state post-RTW:  “Indiana’s per capita income plummeted from 30th in the U.S. to 40th overall and lowest in the Midwest.  In fact, wages in Miami County, Ball State researchers found, remain at a level the average American hasn’t seen since the 1970s.”

One more time: why would this be “good” for New Hampshire?

4) No one was protesting “information”.   

AFP’s “economic study” was nothing more than a publicity stunt.  The folks outside AFP’s presentation weren’t protesting “information” – they were trying to provide it.  The protesters were opposing AFP, Bill O’Brien, and all of the other right wing extremists who want to try pushing this legislation down the throats of Granite Staters once again.

This legislation comes up every single year, and it has for decades.  (Read “I was wrong on right-to-work” by former Sen. Mark Hounsell, who sponsored the bill back in the 1980s.)

Bill O’Brien and his friends at AFP are using this to gin up their base and to fundraise – and the Union Leader is just helping them do that.

Even when O’Brien was Speaker, he could not force a right to work (for less) law through.  Isn’t it time to quit letting the extreme right-wing define the political agenda, and let the Legislature (and the media) focus on more important things?

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