NH House Approves HB 1666 Creating Legislative Veto On Collective Bargaining Agreements

On Wednesday, the House approved an amended version of HB 1666. The amendment, authored by Rep. Neal Kurk, requires both the House and the Senate to agree to all the terms of each public employee union contract.

Under current law, union contracts must be funded by the Legislature before the agreements take effect. Rep. Kurk's proposal goes light-years beyond that. As approved by the House, HB 1666 would allow either branch of the Legislature to veto any collective bargaining agreement with state employees -- for any reason whatsoever.

Think about that.

Does New Hampshire really want Legislators to micromanage the process of negotiating contracts with its public employees?

Contract negotiations, even with only a dozen or so players at the table, can take months or years. They are incredibly complicated and formed by innumerable tradeoffs, like higher pay in exchange for higher health care co-payments. There's no way 424 lawmakers micromanaging every line in a union contract are going to find common ground on even one contract, let alone eight, all of which expire at different times. Negotiations will become even more time-consuming, expensive and interminable. The Legislature will have to meet in special session often or force everyone to cope with prolonged uncertainty. The result will be chaos.

The House approved the bill even though there had never been a public hearing on the amended version. Why not allow the public a chance to weigh in? Because, according to House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Ken Weyler, "It will just fill the room with people who want to make a fuss."

Read the CBS News coverage here.

Please take the time to contact your Senator and explain why
the Senate should not pass this bill.