While anti-worker bills in state capitols across the country still threaten middle-class families, Republican state legislatures are beginning to second guess whether to continue pursuing their extreme agenda attacking working families.
Yesterday morning, the Republican-controlled New Hampshire Senate tabled HB 1677, the so-called “right to work” bill. This bill is the pet of Speaker Bill O’Brien, dubbed by a recent Concord Monitor editorial as a “self-drawn caricature of vindictiveness and power run [amok].” “Right to work” failed last year, and so far this year it has failed to muster a veto-proof majority.
OLYMPIA (April 11) — With strong bipartisan support, the Washington state legislature today passed the Infrastructure Jobs Bonds sought by a labor-business coalition to create some 20,000 jobs throughout the state. Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) President Jeff Johnson called it "a great victory for the working men and women of our state, especially those in the construction industry who have suffered from such high unemployment since the beginning of the recession."
While the 90-plus degree April weather feels like summer, in Missouri congregations, neighborhoods and union halls, activists around the state have November on their minds. Every day, volunteers are collecting signatures to put initiatives on the ballot that would raise the minimum wage and put a cap on out-of-control payday loan interest rates. Because all signatures must be collected by mid-May, more folks are getting involved every day.
The Republican-controlled Georgia state legislature ended its session. In a victory for working families—and for the Bill of Rights—the anti-free speech bill (S.B. 469), that brought union, faith and tea party activists together to protest the proposal to subject picketers to big fines, died. But not before lawmakers, in a last-ditch attempt to pass the bill in some form, stripped the picketing provisions and turned S.B. 469 into a purely anti-union bill that would affect dues deduction for public employees. But the bipartisan coalition opposed to the S.B. 469 held firm, and lawmakers decided not to take up the bill.
But the victory was bittersweet. Republicans still managed to pass bills that cut jobless benefits severely and require some welfare applicants to pass drug tests.
The rally today at the Georgia state Capitol protesting extreme bills proposed by extremist state legislators went waaaay beyond bipartisanship.
The hundreds of ralliers, shouting, "We Own the Dome," represented a strange-bedfellows coming together of union activists, tea party members, faith activists and others, united against S.B. 469—the anti-free speech bill that would impose serious penalties for picketing a business or a CEO's home if it interferes with his or her "right of quiet enjoyment."
The Republican-led committee held the sudden vote on Monday morning with little notice, posting the hearing on the calendar less than an hour prior—and waiting until just 10 minutes beforehand to post a note on the hearing room door. Not surprisingly, the measure easily sailed out of the committee without any legislators present to represent Georgia's working families. The committee also voted to pass S.B. 447, which would gut unemployment insurance down to the fewest number of weeks in the country.
Jim Galloway at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog takes a good look at Georgia's proposed law to criminalize picketing by unions and similar groups—in some select places:
Your state legislature is poised to protect the right of certain people to enjoy the peace and tranquility of their homes.
Probably not your home. Definitely not mine. But the homes of “certain” people—that’s the exact word used in the legislation. By which lawmakers mean the homes belonging to business executives, mostly. And only a few of those.