Some Bills On The NH Legislature's Agenda

Some of the bills on Thursday's Agenda:

HOUSE LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES COMMITTEE, meeting in Legislative Office Building Rooms 305-307
9:00 a.m. HB 1163 and HB 1206 strip workers and employers of their right to collectively bargain and mutually agree to pay union dues by payroll deduction.  Similar bills have been introduced in other states and proven they do not result in employer savings.  These bills will cause real harm to numerous private business that provide products and services to unions and their more than 50,000 members.
10:00 a.m. HB 1174, requires that a state representative “meet with and observe” all collective bargaining negotiations for county employees.
10:30 a.m. HB 1237, allows Legislative Leadership to appoint the committee thatadvises the Governor on contract negotiations.
11:30 a.m. HB 1570, divides public employees into two classes: those who are members of a union and those who are not. Union members would receive pay and employment benefits according to their contracts. Non-union employees would not receive those wages and benefits -- even though they are doing the exact same jobs. This is unfair, discriminatory and illegal. It will cause complications for employers and workers alike.  It will result in chaos in the workplace and will ultimately decrease the quality of the services NH citizens receive.
1:15 p.m. HB 1663-FN-L, limits public employers' negotiation options by removing "agency fee" from the list of permissible topics of bargaining.
3:00 p.m. HB 1645-FN, denies public employees the right to participate in collective bargaining by repealing the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Act, which was enacted in 1975. Collective bargaining works for workers, public employers and for taxpayers. This is about politics, not economics.  Across the country there have been attempts to strip workers of their voice at work. This may play well elsewhere, but the fact is collective bargaining has worked well for nearly four decades here. It has contributed to our state having one of the strongest economies in the country. 

HOUSE MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE, meeting in Legislative Office Building Room 301

1:30 p.m. HB 1426-L, Rep. Neal Kurk's bill allows municipalities to reopen collective bargaining agreements when health insurance costs rise even during the term of an existing contract.  In other words, when health insurance costs rise (and when don’t they?) the municipality can now say “Oops! Sorry, we need to reopen the contract and make up the difference off the employees’ backs.” This bill affects only municipal government workers’ health benefits…for now.
SENATE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE, State House Room 100
9:45 a.m. SB 249-FN, requires administration and management of the New Hampshire Retirement System to be transferred to a private company.  The Department of Administrative Services estimates it would cost $138,000 just to bid out the contract.  According to a preliminary legal review, transferring the NHRS Trust Fund to a private company raises constitutional issues and could make it easier for system assets to be diverted to other State uses.  This bill was cosponsored by Rep. Neal Kurk.

Department of Cultural Resources Update

HB 1274, sponsored by Rep. Steve Vallaincourt, would abolish the Department of Cultural Resources and require other state agencies to take up some of the Department's current functions.  The bill would make New Hampshire ineligible for federal grant funding the state has traditionally received, including more than $1 million of federal funds currently expected for FY13.  
The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold its public hearing on the bill next Friday, January 20 at 1:15 p.m. in Rooms 306-08 of the Legislative Office Building.  We need to remind the Committee that cultural resources are an important part of our quality of life.  Preserving the Department will help preserve New Hampshire's culture and our way of life.  Turning down federal funding that support arts in our communities is foolhardy and irresponsible.