Monday, May 23, 2011

Right to Work Vote in NH This Week

This week the NH House votes to override Governor Lynch's veto of the so-called Right to Work bill. Speaker O'Brien is pressuring representatives to vote to overturn. From the NH Union Leader:
Those Republicans who won’t come along are being asked to “take a walk” when the vote is taken. The more lawmakers who wander away during the vote, the fewer votes O’Brien needs to get to two-thirds.

In short, they're being asked NOT to represent their constituents or vote their consciences.

There are rumors of arm twisting, threats, and bribes. From Rep. Ray Gagnon:

Among the stories being circulated is that the more fervent radical republicans are threatening to have any member evicted from their caucus if they don’t support and vote the republican leadership position. It would seem that the party of Lincoln, T. Roosevelt and Eisenhower has no tolerance for individual opinion and principle. What is especially sad is they frame the RTW argument with contradictions and use words like personal liberty and freedom, but to their members the hidden message is –do what you are told or else! Of course the bill’s title – Right to Work – fits nicely with this double speak as it really means workers have the right to work for less money.

Governor Lynch sent out a rationale for his veto of RTW to all House members. More from Rep. Gagnon:
The governor was a successful corporate CEO before being elected – so I was especially interested to learn how “in his many years in the private sector turning around companies, as well as governor” – he has “never seen the RTW law serve as a valuable economic development tool.” Also, how in the past seven years as governor – not one business leader interested in locating here has ever asked him if New Hampshire has a right-to-work law!

Governor Lynch further stated that “no New Hampshire business leaders” has ever told him that the “lack of a so called RTW law prevented them from expanding or hiring new workers here in New Hampshire.” He then went on to share with us that no NH worker has ever told him they could not get a job because we do not have a so called right-to-work law.

Republican Representative Lee Quandt was kicked off the House Finance Committee by Speaker O'Brien. Quandt voted against the budget, and for daring to disagree with O'Brien and the party, he was ousted from his committee. Three GOP state reps have been punished in this way, thus far, for the same reasons. Only one has been reassigned. Rep. Quandt is living in a committee-less limbo still. Rep. Quandt has been outspoken in his opposition to the right to work bill.

From Rep. Quandt's blog:
What is happening now is state reps are being, as close as I can figure bribed and threatened all in the same day. I have been told that the speaker is promising money for your campaign if you stick with him and vote for RTW by voting against the Governors Veto. Then I hear that the majority leader is calling state reps and threatening them to vote with leadership to override the governor’s veto. Couple this with some far right wingers that are crazier than an out house mouse directing calls to those republicans that are sticking by their constituents trying to get them to change their votes and you have a remake of the movie “One flew over the Cuckoos Nest”.

First they were asking and leaning on republicans to take a walk on the vote if they couldn’t support leadership. Then they reverted to the dirty, MA style of politics by threats and borderline bribes. The growing discomfort with our so called leadership team, is only going to split the house more and make it more difficult, if not impossible to hold a veto proof majority and may put the governor in a better position to negotiate a budget he is more comfortable with, due to the hard feelings and loss of respect for the current house leadership. In fact our leadership group is making their own case for why they should be removed.

Legislators are being pressured, and asked to walk away from voting. It's rumored that legislators are being threatened. Last month I wrote about NH State Senator Sharon Carson going to the police after being threatened by her local GOP town chair. Her neighbors were also getting harassed. It's not difficult to believe that the NH House leadership is doing serious arm twisting and offering bribes, while spreading nonsense about "union thugs." This legislature is the worst I've seen in my 27 years of living in this state.

The House will be in session on Wednesday, May 25. They will be voting to override this veto on that day. Stay tuned.

cross-posted at MainSt/

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