Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Democrats leading effort to defeat Republican bills that push ideological agenda through intimidation

Democrats leading effort to defeat Republican bills that push ideological agenda through intimidation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX Democrats are leading an effort to defeat a group of Republican bills that push an ideological agenda through retaliation and intimidation.

Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), who is the ranking member of the Government Committee, reviewed the three bills in committee today. Quezada said the bills serve only to advance an ideological agenda.

The bills heard in committee today included:

HB 2343 – This bill would prohibit a public employer from compensating employees for union activities and would prevent employees from utilizing vacation pay for union activities, including salary negotiations and collective bargaining. It would also keep union members from being able to use paid vacation time to participate in political rallies and other activities at the Legislature. The committee held this bill.

HB 2330 – This legislation would make any meeting between a representative of a public body and a representative of an employee organization about salaries and benefits subject to the open meeting laws. It would also prevent local government bodies from going into executive session to discuss these issues and would require all discussions be recorded. The committee passed the bill.

HB 2026 - This bill would require local governments to vote to authorize payroll deductions for union dues by Dec. 31, 2013. If local governments do not vote by the deadline, they automatically lose the ability to deduct dues. Effectively, this bill would make it difficult for public sector workers to recruit and maintain union members. The committee passed this bill.

“The legislature has a lot of work to do. We have to pass a state budget, enhance access to health care, create jobs, improve education and protect our seniors,” Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix (District 29), said. “Divisive bills like these do nothing to advance the issues that are most important to Arizonans. Instead, they target Arizona workers and working families who want an opportunity to address their concerns directly with members of the Legislature. I think these bills are retaliatory and I am pleased that one of them did not make it out of committee today.”

Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Glendale (District 30), is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.  He also opposes the bills.

“HB 2330 is an attempt to intimidate people. It was designed to keep union members from utilizing their union representation,” Larkin said.  “HB 2343 might be worse because it would allow government to regulate what activities people can do on their vacation days. That seems like a First Amendment issue to me. HB 2026 is an obvious effort to hinder union membership. It also overreaches and interferes with local control. These bills promote an extremist agenda and attack volunteer organizations of teachers, firefighters, police officers and other employees who serve their communities.”

Quezada spoke out against the bills in committee.

“The people of Arizona do not support this attack on working families. They want our Legislature to focus on rebuilding our education system and turning our economy around,” Quezada said. “This collection of anti-working family bills would not create a single job in Arizona. They do nothing to get the economy moving.”


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