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Republicans In The House Take Aim At NH Labor Laws

Republican legislators in the New Hampshire House of Representatives want to change the current labor laws to allow kids to work “any time” of the day or night, remove requirements to display wage and discrimination laws, and handicap the State Department of Labor.

State Rep. Laurie Sanborn (Bedford), introduced the self titled “Red Tape Reduction Act” (HB1762-FN) aimed at what she says is to “reduce the excessive and unnecessary documentation and regulatory (red tape) burdens.” She claims that these “burdens” are inhibiting employers from hiring and growing their businesses.

What it really does it make it easier for employers to screw over workers and reduces the penalties if they get caught.

Some of the “burdens” that Rep. Sanborn wants to eliminate:

  • Eliminate the requirement to pay a worker “two hours of pay” when they show up to work and their shift is canceled
  • Eliminated the employees right to refuse to take part in “tip sharing”
  • Allow 16-17 year olds to “work any hours” and eliminates the Department of Labor’s requirement to randomly inspect worksites with young workers
  • Make unpaid interns responsible for their own Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Create a new “volunteer” worker category where an employee can “volunteer to learn” while working, without pay for up to 6 months
  • Remove the requirement to display safety, wage, hour, and discrimination laws in highly visible or “conspicuous” space
  • Removes the requirement that all wages and payment schedule changes must be made in writing
  • Changes the rules about employers providing uniforms and apparel with the “company logo” to be used in the work environment. (First uniform is free but employee may be required to pay for additional uniforms.)
  • Eliminate the Department of Labor’s rulemaking authority regarding wages and child labor laws; all relevant rulemaking changes must go through the legislature
  • Eliminate need for employers to file a “written safety plan, joint loss management committee, and safety summary form”
  • Expands the Department of Labor’s ability to waive fines, offers a 30 grace period on violations to avoid fines, and eliminates a number of mandatory fines for things like: “failure to pay a worker on time”, “failure to pay a worker in full”, and “requiring an employee to perform any illegal activities under threat of job loss.”

Of all of these the most egregious is the changes to child labor law allowing 16-17 year olds to work “any hours” of the day and night.   These are high school kids. Should they be working overnight shifts at the local mini-mart or working till midnight at the local fast food joint? No. These hour restrictions were put in place to ensure that children do not work too much or too late because it would have a detrimental affect on their education.

Under this new bill it would be the employee’s responsibility to know all of the laws concerning wages, overtime, discrimination, and safety regulations yet the employer is no longer required to display them. Does anyone actually think a 16 year old in their first job knows anything about child labor laws?

There have also been a couple of bills to increase the minimum wage with a caveat for 16-17 year old workers. These young workers would be allowed to work a sub-minimum wage or “training wage”. Rep. Sanborn’s proposed legislation coupled with the proposed “training wage” would allow employers to hire 16-17 year olds to work any time at a rate below the state’s minimum wage. How many low-wage workers would lose their jobs only to be replaced by 16-17 year olds earning “training” wages?

The bill has a number of co-sponsors, including Laurie’s husband, and first Congressional District Candidate, Sen. Andy Sanborn. The Sanborn’s have used their small business, The Draft bar and grill, to justify their votes against raising the minimum wage and eliminating the tipped minimum wage.  In 2014, in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Andy Sanborn called a minimum wage increase to $9.00 an hour a “job killer” but failed to mention how much a minimum wage increase would impact his personal business.

These proposed changes would also force reductions in the Department of Labor’s annual budget. The Department of Labor estimates that the proposed changes would have cost the state over $500,000 dollars in fines paid over the last three years. They also noted that the new regulations would require a “follow up inspection” which would “decrease in worker efficiency” and decrease the number of worksites inspected each year.

New Hampshire already has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the country. There are lots of jobs available but many of our young adult workers are leaving New Hampshire in search of better wages in other states. Repealing these regulations will do nothing to help spur growth in our economy but it will allow employers to cheat worker without any fear of penalty.

Honestly does anyone really believe that removing the requirement to display wage and discrimination laws will somehow create jobs? Are they really expanding jobs and boosting the economy by hiring unpaid interns and “volunteer” workers?

This race to the bottom must end. We need in strengthen our labor laws not destroy them. We need to empower the Department of Labor to inflict harsher penalties on employers who violate the law not lessen worksite inspections and eliminate fines. This would be a step back for the hard working people of the Granite State if this somehow makes it through.


Full copy of the proposed legislation below

HB1762

Desperate Andy Sanborn Resorts to Lies To Save His Political Career

New Boston, NH — Last week Senator Andy Sanborn commissioned a pushbutton tracking poll and did not like the results. What followed was a barrage of factually challenged mail and letters to the editor in which he claimed to have the support of Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn, to have created New Hampshire’s Equal Pay Statute, to have been the driving force behind Joshua’s Law, and a quote fabricated whole cloth which claims Lee Nyquist supports pipelines.

Here are the facts:

“Sen. Sanborn wrote that he was ‘the creator of the NH Pay Equity Law,’ This statement is a flat-out lie. I should know, because I wrote the legislation back in 2014. Senator Sanborn never sponsored or cosponsored this legislation.”
— Fmr. Sen. Sylvia Larsen

“As the author and sponsor of Joshua’s Law, I can say without hesitation that Andy Sanborn had nothing to do with the law’s passing. He got on board after it was clear it would pass without him.”
— Senator Donna Soucy

Now Andy Sanborn’s desperate campaign is sending out mail that says Lee Nyquist supports pipelines.
Here is the truth:

“Andy Sanborn has a long record of lying about my positions on the issues. Here are the facts: My position has always been that I oppose pipeline projects, and that we need more renewable energy. That’s why I have garnered the support of anti-NED activists and elected officials like Laura Lynch of Temple, Jean Tandy of Richmond, Stillman and Barbara Rogers, Selectman Tom Matson of Troy, Fitzwilliam Selectwoman Susan Silverman, Fitzwilliam Planning Board Chair Terry Silverman, and others.”

After Senator Jeff Woodburn became aware of Sanborn’s unauthorized use of his picture in campaign advertising, Woodburn issued the following: 

“It was recently brought to my attention that District 9 Republican Sen. Andy Sanborn has used a photo of me in a mailer and online ads for his campaign. This photo was used without my knowledge or permission . . . . Seeing Sen. Sanborn present himself as a paragon of bipartisan agreement, unfortunately, does not match his record in the Senate.”
Jeff Woodburn, October 20, 2016.

 Sanborn also claims to have never endorsed Donald Trump in spite of video evidence of him speaking before Trump at a rally in Bedford and telling a group of Trump supporters to vote for Trump because “Donald Trump will help you take your country back.”

Senator Sanborn Lines His Pockets By Refusing To Raise The Minimum Wage

The Hypocrisy Of Senator Sanborn’s Opposition To Raising The Minimum Wage

For many years now New Hampshire legislators have been locked in a battle over raising the state’s minimum wage. After Republicans repealed the state’s minimum wage law, the New Hampshire minimum wage defaults to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. For “tipped” workers the starting wage is even worse. The state’s tipped minimum wage is $3.30 an hour.

One of the biggest opponents to raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage is businessman and State Senator Andy Sanborn. Sanborn owns “The Draft Sports Bar and BBQ Grill” in Concord.

In his opposition to raising the minimum wage Sanborn states that raising the minimum wage is a “war on employers” but fails to mention that his vote against an increase is all about protecting his own self interest.

In August, Sanborn’s bar The Draft put up listings on Craigslist and iHireHospitalityServices looking for servers at a starting wage of $3.50 an hour plus tips.

iHireHospitalityServices - 09-01-16Jeanne Dietsch, a Democrat and successful technology entrepreneur seeking the nomination on September 13 to challenge Sanborn in District 9, took Sanborn to task for paying poverty wages in a statement released Tuesday morning:

“This confirmation that Sen. Sanborn pays his servers a starting wage of $3.50 an hour explains why he has been such a vocal opponent of raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire. Taxpayers pick up the tab for underpaid employees’ food stamps and health care subsidies, while their employers pocket profits.

“Republicans argue raising wages will cause prices to rise and no one will be better off. However, our economy is being dragged down by the low wages employers like Sanborn, are paying. Young workers are living with parents because they can’t afford to start their own households, buy their own furniture and appliances. Workers with families have no discretionary income to drive the consumer economy. Raising the minimum wage will put more money in people’s pockets to spend in local businesses, and that’s what will raise all boats.

“Employers who pay lower than a living wage are not job creators. They are moochers, who expect the rest of us to pick up the bill for their workers’ food stamps and health care subsidies. That’s probably why Sen. Sanborn’s $3.50 per hour wage would be against the law in 22 states – and not just ‘blue’ states or ‘rich’ states. In Alaska, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $9.75 an hour. In Montana, it’s $8.05 an hour. In Nevada, it’s $8.25 an hour.

“It’s time to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire, including a raise for tipped workers. Raising the minimum wage will boost our economy, save taxpayers money and help moms and dads better care for their families.”

In 2013, over 11,000 workers were paid at or below the minimum wage. One recent proposal would have raised the minimum wage to $9.00 that would have lifted the wages of over 76,000 workers in the Granite State. An increase to $9.00 would boost the wages of 11% of hourly workers in the Concord area alone and 12% across the entire state. Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate rejected this proposal.

In February of this year, Senate Republicans rejected another proposal by Senator Donna Soucy to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12.00 an hour. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage to $12 would have benefitted 141,000 New Hampshire workers, 60% of which are women and 84% of which are above the age of 20.

With the 9th highest cost of living in the country, low-wage workers are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their rent. To keep the cost of housing below 35% of their income, a minimum wage worker in New Hampshire would need to work at least 100 hours a week.

It is time to elect representatives who will follow the will of the people, not their own greedy self interests. Over 70% of Granite Staters support a minimum wage increase to $10 an hour, yet Republicans like Senator Sanborn continue to reject even modest increases.

Latest GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare: Texas Senator proposes to shut down Government – and Bully O’Brien equates O’care to slavery

Written  by Matt Murray and Liz Iacobucci

Is anyone keeping track anymore?

These days, it seems that House Republicans vote to delay or repeal the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as “Obamacare” – on a weekly basis.   I think it’s been 37 times, so far, but I may have missed one or two.

These votes aren’t just an exercise in political theater – they are a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Estimates of exactly how much all these votes have cost taxpayers vary, from $1.45 million to $1.75 million per vote.  But multiply either number by 37 or 38… and gosh, it starts adding up.  (Can’t you think of a few other ways the federal government could spend $50+ million?)

Meanwhile, all around America, “Health Insurers Threaten To Increase Premiums, Even As Profits Soar.” In the coming years though, we can hopefully look forward to the Affordable Care Act making health coverage more affordable. Insurance companies’ overhead is estimated to account for 30 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare.  (Obamacare, you may remember, includes provisions that limit insurance companies’ profits.)

And if Obamacare is repealed, everyone will expect workers to foot the cost of rising insurance premiums – and do you remember how fast those premiums were rising, before Obamacare was passed?

But as of today, it looks like the Crusade to Repeal Obamacare is moving into the Senate.  Today, Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz started making headlines.

Cruz is positioning himself for a possible run for President, and he wants to rally his base by taking an extreme stand on Obamacare.  His plan is to either repeal Obamacare or shut down the government.

“The Texan’s strategy is simple enough. Congress needs to pass a so-called continuing resolution to keep the government running by Sept. 30. Republicans, Cruz argues, should refuse to vote for the measure unless it prohibits spending any federal money on the President’s signature legislative accomplishment. If the stance sparks a shutdown, so be it.”

You heard that right: Senator Cruz is willing to play chicken with the entire country’s economy (and credit rating) in a futile attempt to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans – even before it is fully implemented.

This is eerily similar to what happened in August 2011, when House Republicans held the entire country hostage over the debt ceiling.  They almost closed the government and caused the United States to loose our perfect credit rating.

“If we can actually get Republicans to stand up and fight,” Cruz told reporters over Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at a briefing sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation, “I believe we can win this fight.”

One bright spot: many Senate Republicans – who have more experience than Sen. Cruz – are standing up to question his plan.

  • Sen. John McCain called him a ‘Wacko Bird’ for suggesting it.

Does Senator Cruz care at all about the American public he has sworn to represent?

Shutting the government down in a temper tantrum over Obamacare will not help the real problems facing Americans right now.  This type of obstructionism is exactly why Congress has the worst approval rating in history.

Why can’t Sen. Cruz take a stand about something that will help Americans like raising the minimum wage, or stopping the cuts to Social Security?

Why can’t House Republicans quit wasting time – and taxpayers’ money – taking their weekly symbolic vote?

Is there something in the water down there in DC, that Republicans keep getting more and more radicalized – and further and further away from the voters they are supposed to represent?

—-

Speaking of “radicalized”… were you looking for another reason to oppose Bill O’Brien’s candidacy for Congress?

Just watch him compare the Affordable Care Act with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850:

(Video courtesy of Granite State Progress read their release)

Like the Republicans already serving in the House, former Speaker O’Brien seems to be thoroughly fixated on repealing Obamacare.

Wonder how many millions of taxpayer dollars he would be willing to waste on symbolic, “unrealistic”, “Wacko Bird” votes in Congress?

—–

And yes, looks like Rep. O’Brien’s unfortunate comparison needs to be added to our growing list of legislators’ statements that have embarrassed New Hampshire in the national press.

Read about Sen. Andy Sanborn’s “plane crash” comment and other “If I offended anyone, I am sorry” remarks here.

And remember that

Gov. Maggie Hassan said the state stands to lose about $1 million in federal funds per day for every day past January 1, 2014, that Medicaid expansion is delayed. “Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is critical for boosting our economy, transforming our health-care system and providing needed health coverage for tens of thousands of New Hampshire working families,” Hassan said.

 

Sen. Andy Sanborn’s ‘plane crash’: slips of the tongue can reveal politicians’ ‘inner lives’

The things I learn while blogging! Turns out there’s a whole field of study about politicians’ “inner lives”. “Your inner life is the realm of who you really are, on the inside… Your inner life drives what you do… your decisions, commitments, and the responsibilities you take on; and the goals you want to achieve.”

In other words, what you believe determines what you do – and that’s something we should pay attention to, when it comes to our elected officials.

Here’s what happened this week: state Sen. Andy Sanborn “laughingly compared Obamacare to the San Francisco plane crash while guest-hosting a radio show.” Saturday’s crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport killed two 16-year-old girls and injured more than 180 people, some seriously.

“Now that this thing is barreling down on us like a jet landing into San Francisco, it’s (Sanborn laughs) it should make people really concerned,” Sanborn said about the Affordable Care Act.

Yes, yet another New Hampshire Republican gets to issue a public apology for something he said. “If I offended anyone I am sorry.” Looks like the “slip of the tongue” syndrome has been going around, up at the State House.

  • Just three weeks ago, Rep. Stella Tremblay resigned after suggesting the U.S. government was behind the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.
  • And Rep. Kyle Trasker didn’t exactly apologize for an on-line Facebook posting – but had to clarify that he “does not believe black women are unfit parents.”
  • In April, Rep. Peter Hansen apologized “to those who took offense” when he referred to women as “vaginas” in an email to his House colleagues.
  • And Rep. Romeo Danais compared hungry New Hampshire families to “wild animals” – but there wasn’t any apology; instead, Rep. Dan Itse actually defended the choice of words.
  • In February, Rep. Mark Warden apologized “to those whom may have been offended” for remarks suggesting that people may “like being in abusive relationships.”
  • In 2012, Rep. John Hikel livened up a picnic by asking a former GOP official if she was a “pole dancer,” and a “stripper.”
  • And then-House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt resigned “after apparently misrepresenting himself to law school officials.”
  • You may remember that back in 2011, Rep. Bettencourt responded to criticism of state budget cuts by calling Catholic Bishop John McCormack “a pedophile pimp”.
  • And then there was Rep. Martin Healy, who eventually resigned after telling a constituent that mentally challenged people and other “defective” people should die in a modern-day Siberia.
  • And the list goes on. Rep. Nick Levasseur on the Japanese art of anime. Rep. Al Baldasaro saying the state was “selling children”. Etc., ad nauseam.

But this time, it’s not just another one of 400 state Representatives saying something that embarrasses New Hampshire in the national press.

This time, it’s the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

This time, it’s a potential candidate for Governor in 2014.

This time, it’s a voting member of the state Commission to Study Expansion of Medicaid Eligibility – the same group that will recommend to the Legislature whether New Hampshire should participate in expanding coverage through Obamacare.

Gov. Maggie Hassan said the state stands to lose about $1 million in federal funds per day for every day past Jan. 1, 2014, that Medicaid expansion is delayed.“Accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds available for Medicaid expansion is critical for boosting our economy, transforming our health-care system and providing needed health coverage for tens of thousands of New Hampshire working families,” Hassan said.

What does Sen. Sanborn’s “slip of the tongue” say about his ability to serve on that Commission?

What does his ability to laugh about last week’s airplane crash say about Sen. Sanborn’s “inner life”? His values? The decisions he is going to make?

The Commission meets again on Tuesday, July 16th, starting at 1:00 pm in LOB 210-211. The meeting will probably be streamed live on the General Court Website.

Might be worth tuning in, to see what Sen. Sanborn has to say for himself on Tuesday.

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