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New Hampshire House Sustains Veto Of So-Called Right-To-Work Bill/AFL-CIO President MacKenzie Says Vote Is A Clear Signal That Attacking The Rights Of Everyday Americans ‘Isn't’ The Key To Economic Prosperity

Published Wednesday, November 30, 2011 4:00 pm
by National AFL-CIO News Now Blog Reporter Mike Hall

After months of dirty-trick-maneuvering, Republican New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien got his comeuppance today (November 30th) when the House failed to override Democratic Governor John Lynch’s May veto of a Right-To-Work Bill.

The 240-to-139 vote in the heavily-weighted Republican Chamber failed to get the two-thirds necessary for an override.

Since May, O’Brien has scheduled then delayed votes multiple times and tried to hold surprise Legislative Sessions, all in an effort to catch Democrats and Republicans who supported the veto off guard and unable to attend and cast their votes.

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie released the following statement after today’s vote: “Today, one-hundred-and-thirty Elected Representatives in the House stood with Ironworkers, Teachers, Nurses and Firefighters to sustain Governor Lynch's veto of the so-called ‘Right-To-Work’ Law.  Their vote is a clear signal to all of our Elected Leaders, in New Hampshire and elsewhere, that attacking the rights of everyday Americans isn't the key to economic prosperity.  The Working Family Champions in the House proved today that the will of the people takes precedent over political game playing with the livelihoods of their constituents.  Rather than bowing to months of public and private pressure from Speaker O'Brien, Republican Members of the House sided with all House Democrats against a law pushed by the Tea Party and out-of-state groups such as Americans for Prosperity.  And they rebuffed the Speaker's blatant political ploy to drag the Republican presidential primary candidates into the debate over Right-to-Work.  The Working Men and Women urge Speaker O'Brien to take the will of the people into account and focus on jobs, not political attacks, in the next legislative session.”

Back in early June, O’Brien couldn’t pull off a sneak attack or round up enough votes to override Governor Lynch’s veto of the bill, so he adjourned the House until June 22nd.  

But with no legal limit setting a veto override deadline, O’Brien had the option of bringing up the measure anytime this year, without notice.

As O’Brien did in May, when he didn’t have the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto and canceled the vote, again vowing to bring it up anytime without warning.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO, meanwhile, launched a twitter petition urging O’Brien to give 48 hours notice before bringing the override to the floor.

Again in June, O’Brien refused to cancel a session to allow lawmakers to attend the funeral for former Governor Walter Peterson.  He hoped it would draw enough lawmakers opposed to right to work away from the Capitol, so he could hold the vote.

The maneuver didn’t work.

In a Letter to the Editor that was published in The Concord  Monitor, Sanbornville Resident Willis Ingram made some comparisons between Peterson who was known for finding consensus on issues and O’Brien’s “on-going manipulative behavior.”

Wrote Ingram: “What’s appalling is O’Brien’s attempt to manipulate the voting.  Unlike Peterson, who made every attempt to find common ground, O’Brien seems only interested in his agenda and that of a minority of residents of this state.  New Hampshire’s politics are becoming somewhat of an embarrassment.  The time has come to cut it out.”


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