Monthly Archives: March 2011

Talking Points Memo: Walker Admin.’s Claim Of Multi-Million Dollar Capitol Damage Calculated On…Single Sheet Of Notebook Paper

March 31, 2011- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has unearthed the source of Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) administration's claim, made in court, that alleged damage to the State Capitol from the massive protests against the new anti-union law would cost $7.5 million to repair. It's a single sheet of notebook paper, prepared by state architect Dan Stephans on the same day the claim was made in court.

On March 3, as part of the litigation over the state's attempts to restrict public access to the Capitol, the Department of Administration's legal counsel claimed in court that repairing the damage done to the building — mainly from adhesive tape used to affix posters to the marble walls — would add up to $7.5 million. However, it was not clear how those estimates were made.

Nevertheless, Dane County Judge John Albert ruled later that evening that the daytime restrictions on Capitol access were to be lifted, while also ordering protesters to leave when the building closed at night — essentially an effort to restore the status quo of the Capitol before the bill and the protests happened.

Huffington Post: Maine GOP Legislators Looking To Loosen Child Labor Laws

March 30, 2011- Far from places like Ohio and Wisconsin, Maine has become a new battleground in the labor fight. Gov. Paul LePage (R) recently sparked the anger of the union community by ordering a mural depicting workers throughout the state's history removed from the Department of Labor. Now, Republican members of the state legislature are attempting to loosen child labor laws that the community fought hard to put into place.

The minimum wage in Maine is $7.50 an hour, and there is no training or subminimum wage for students. But under a new piece of legislation introduced in the state's House of Representatives, employers would be able to pay anyone under the age of 20 as little as $5.25 an hour for their first 180 days on the job.

The bill, LD 1346, also eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older can work on a school day and allows a minor under the age of 16 to work up to four hours on a school day during hours when school is not in session.

Wisconsin State Journal: State will continue implementing collective bargaining law despite judge’s order

March 31, 2011- State officials have not stopped putting in place changes to collective bargaining rules for public employees despite a judge's order barring the law's implementation — and a threat of sanctions against anyone who violates it.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said Wednesday he has a legal obligation to implement all laws passed by the Legislature, signed by Gov. Scott Walker and published into law. Huebsch said the Department of Justice and his own legal counsel, a team of DOA attorneys, agree the measure has met those requirements "and is now effective law."

"It is my duty to administer that law," he said.

Huebsch's latest comments raise questions about whether he or others could face sanctions following a hearing Tuesday, when Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said any further implementation of the law is prohibited under a temporary court order.

Miami Herald: For-profit government in Florida

March 30, 2011- The quote that might best sum up Florida Gov. Rick Scott came in 1994, when he was still president of Columbia/HCA.

Scott was among those opposing “Hillarycare” — the Clinton administration’s failed attempt at healthcare reform, and pushing for privatization of Medicare. He claimed companies like his could do a better job running not just Medicare, but also Medicaid and Veterans Administration hospitals.

“Let us make a profit. So what?” Scott told USA Today.

Of course, Columbia/HCA made its profit by lying to the federal government about the services it provided Medicare, Medicaid and military TRICARE patients, and by giving doctors “loans” they didn’t have to repay as incentives to refer more patients, and more profits, to its hospitals.

Why rehash this history?

Because it indicates that Rick Scott is to business what a shark is to the ocean — a mindless, glassy-eyed profit eater.

In a contest of trust, I’d take the shark.

Talking Points Memo: White House Threatens To Veto Key Legislation Over Union Busting Provision

March 30, 2011- The White House has threatened to veto the big FAA authorization bill if its final version contains an anti-union provision that would make it harder for aviation and rail workers to organize.

That measure, described at length here and here, "would undermine a fundamental principle of fairness in union representation elections - that outcomes should be determined by a majority of the valid ballots cast," according to a statement of administration policy the White House released Wednesday night. "By treating non-votes as 'no' votes, the provision would prohibit workers in the airline and railroad industries from voting whether to join a union on the same basis - majority rule - as most other industries."

If the President is presented with a bill that would not safeguard the ability of railroad and airline workers to decide whether or not they would be represented by a union based upon a majority of the ballots cast in an election or that would degrade safe and efficient air traffic, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.

Columbus Business First: S.B. 5 passes legislature despite heated opposition

March 30, 2011- Ohio House Republicans passed Senate Bill 5 late Wednesday afternoon, and the Senate approved the amended version later that night, sending the measure aimed at limiting the collective bargaining rights of public workers to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

In a 53-44 vote, most House Republicans stood by a bill passed by the GOP-controlled Senate on March 2.

The final vote came after more than three and a half hours of debate on the House floor and was greeted with shouting and boos by bill opponents in the House chamber. Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, asked the Ohio State Highway Patrol to clear the chamber when the protestors would not quiet down.

S.B. 5 has also drawn large crowds of protestors in an acrimonious debate over whether the bill is anti-union or a necessary tool to help cash-strapped state and local governments control labor costs.

“I’m happy to give back to local governments (the ability) to manage their budgets today and in the future,” Rep. Joseph Oecker, R-Loveland, said during Wednesday’s House debate.

Capital Tonight: David Koch Continues NY GOP Support

March 31, 2011- Wisconsin wasn’t the only state engaged in a heated budget battle that saw an influx of cash from conservative billionaire David Koch.

Koch, who is best known as a Tea Party funder (and the guy impersonated by NY-26 candidate/Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy during his prank call to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker), helped finance the counter-protest during the Badger State’s union-backed “week of rage.”

He also ponied up another $100,000 to the state GOP’s housekeeping account here in New York, according to the majority’s off-cycle campaign finance report on file at the state Board of Elections. That was the bulk of the cash the party reported raising since January.

It took in another $50,000 from H.J.K. LLC. and now has $131,802 on hand in its housekeeping account and $104,547 in its general account (the Westchester GOP was the biggest contributor there, sending in $25,000).

Koch has given $173,500 to the GOP since 2000.

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