collective bargaining

Bills filed as NC legislature begins in earnest

A look at some of the bills filed at the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, the first work day for the 2013 session:

— House and Senate Republicans filed bills identical bills that would block the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and leave it to the federal government to build the state’s online marketplace for health insurance. The Senate version was expected to be heard in committee Thursday and possibly reach the floor later in the day.

— A House bill makes clear group homes — not just adult care homes — can benefit from $40 million set aside last summer to provide financial stability to facilities that provide personal care services for residents who no longer qualify for Medicaid coverage. House Republicans aimed to put the measure on the floor Thursday. (unregulated group homes–a breeding ground for fraud and using funds that licensed adult care homes could be using)

— A House bill would let voters decide whether to place in the state constitution the state’s right-to-work status — meaning union membership can’t be a requirement for employment and other provisions. Other proposed amendments in the bill would make clear collective bargaining between local or state governments and unions is illegal and would affirm the right of workers to vote by secret ballot to determine whether they want union representation. House Speaker Thom Tillis, (R-ALEC) R-Mecklenburg, and Senate leader Phil Berger, (R-ALEC) R-Rockingham, have said they’re interested in a right-to-work amendment. (Of course they are, it’s ALEC’s goal to eliminate all unions.)

— Another proposed amendment in a House bill would let voters decide whether private property condemnation by state or local governments should be barred except for a “public use,” such as highways or government buildings. Similar bills have passed in the House only in previous sessions.

— Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, filed his own constitutional amendment that would make the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position, rather than the current elected position. Legislators and the public have debated the issue for decades.

— Tillis is the primary sponsor of a bill that would amend the state constitution to limit the time a speaker or Senate leader can serve in the post to four years. A term-limits bill passed the House in 2011, but Berger has preferred limiting the time to eight years.

— As expected, Tillis is the primary sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would again seek to give $50,000 to the living victims of North Carolina’s previous forced sterilization program. A similar bill passed the House in 2012, but Senate Republicans wouldn’t support it. House Minority Leader Larry Hall, D-Durham, also is a primary sponsor.

— A bill filed by Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 72 to 75.

— Some House Republicans are again seeking to allow concealed weapon permit holders to bring their guns into restaurants where alcohol is served unless there’s a notice prohibiting them from doing so. A similar provision was debated in 2011 but ultimately did not remain in a gun-carry bill that ultimately became law. The bill also would exempt from public records laws the information collected by local sheriffs from people with concealed handgun permits.

— A bill filed by Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, would revoke the driver’s license of a motorist who passes a stopped school bus that’s picking or dropping off passengers for as long as three years if the action results in fatally striking someone.

— House members filed a bill creating new or tougher penalties for people who make methamphetamine or who possess a key ingredient in making meth after they’ve already been convicted previously of making meth.

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and the Great Recession – Part IV – Unions and Collective Bargaining

IV.   UNIONS AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Many ALEC bills target teachers and collective bargaining, and laws that
are similar to those bills have been enacted in the aftermath of the Republican victories in 2010.  For example, in Indiana, where Republicans had a 60-40 House majority and a 37-13 Senate super-majority, the Senate labor committee chair coupled limits on teacher collective bargaining with teacher merit pay and state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools. 121  In addition, teacher collective bargaining was limited to salaries, benefits, and total number of work days. 122

A. Public Employee Freedom Act

ALEC Summary:  “Excluded from National Labor Relations Act (NLRA),
public employees are subject to state and local laws governing collective
bargaining.  Many of these laws are ‘monopoly bargaining laws,’ which More →

‘Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights’

On Up with Chris Hayes, the entire first hour was devoted to the role of unions in the economy, its tenuous relationship with partisan politics and the how the diminishing union participation has hurt the average American worker.

Union member Saladin Muhammad reminds viewers that workers’ rights are in fact, human rights, providing workers with the dignity of honest pay, benefits and safety in the workplace.

To watch a composite video of consecutive segments on Up with Chris Hayes, please click here.

To read the entire article with one segment of the show embedded, please click here

Voter Suppression in Ohio

The ALEC “Trifecta”

Over the past two years we’ve seen a very partisan form of state government in Ohio.  Governor John Kasich promoted and signed legislation that directly attacked organized labor (SB-5, a collective bargaining overhaul) which became the centerpiece of the Ohio Republican Party agenda last year and an issue championed by the GOP Governor.  Kasich has been pursuing a specific agenda along with other highly placed state appointed and elected officials.  The Governor and at least two top Ohio state officials share alumnus status with the developer of that agenda – ALEC.Kasich pushed for privatized education – K-12 through  college – accomplished through cuts to education spending, signed legislation allowing fracking,  and slashed funding for the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel  (OCC) which has interfered with Duke Energy’s attempts to pass along storm damage repairs to their customers.

Kasich appointed former Representative Todd Snitchler (R) to the position of Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) in 2011. One of Snitchler’s first acts was to approve rate increases proposed by Duke Energy and American Electric Power (AEP). Snitchler touted consumers would see smaller energy bills under the plans. Within 60 days of approval, PUCO and Snitchler repealed the approval after schools, residents and businesses saw rate increases of as much as 50% by both Duke and AEP.

More recently a furor has arisen over early voting hours, voter ID fraud and “election reform,” with Kasich signing a reform bill that overturned last year’s bill actually providing election reform.  The net was that it would restrict early voting in Ohio.

Ohio’s current Secretary of State Jon Husted served six terms as a member of the Ohio House and 1 year in the state Senate before being elected as Secretary in 2010. He has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy over allowing some Republic counties to extend early voting hours while restricting Democratic counties to shorter hours.  Last week he suspended two election board officials who voted to keep weekend early voting – only to reinstate those member this week.

All of the issues mentioned above are parts of an agenda advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Nationally they have pursued a suppression of minority voters through voter ID “model legislation”, support for state legislation to allow fracking, unlimited drilling, and opposing renewable energy initiatives.

What most Ohio voters and consumers are unaware of is that Kasich, Husted and Snitchler are all ALEC Alumni:

A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education

Coordinated efforts to introduce model legislation aimed at defunding and dismantling public schools is the signature work of this conservative organization.

…Today, ALEC calls this approach “choice” and renames vouchers “scholarships,” but its aim is clear: De-fund and dismantle public schools. While many other right-wing organizations support this agenda, ALEC is the mechanism for implementing it through its many pieces of model legislation that propose legislative methods for de-funding public schools, particularly low-income, urban schools.

The motivation for dismantling the public education system—creating a system where schools do not provide for everyone—is ideological, and it is motivated by profit. The corporate members on ALEC’s education task force include representatives from the Friedman Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Evergreen Education Group, Washington Policy Center, and corporations providing education services such as Sylvan Learning and K-12, Inc. All stand to benefit from public funding sent in their direction.

This is a brief part of an excellent in-depth article about ALEC and Education.  I highly recommend that you click hereto read this excellent article.