Democrats in control of the Colorado House, ignoring Gov. Bill Ritter's inaugural criticism of narrow-interest legislation, are racing to put on his desk a pair of bills that empower organized labor and the teacher union at the expense of workers and parents. Both bills sailed through committee this week on party-line votes and are up for approval by the full House on Friday morning. Insiders say Senate Democrats will then speed them to Ritter for signature before January is out. Heavy political support for Dems by the AFL-CIO and CEA in 2006 would thus reap an early payoff in 2007.
House Bill 1072, by Rep. Garcia, makes an all-union closed shop far easier for labor bosses to obtain in negotiations with an employer. It removes Colorado's unique protection against coercion of workers to pay union dues -- the Labor Peace Act provision allowing employees to vote before the closed shop is imposed.
House Bill 1041, by Rep. Benefield and Sen. Windels, tightens the top-down, centralized educational conformity that already hinders innovation and flexibility in local districts. It requires any school board seeking a waiver of state-imposed red tape and regulations to get 2/3 approval by the State Board of Education, instead of the simple majority required by current law.
These bills give the lie to Democrats' campaign rhetoric last year about supporting policies that will grow the state's economy, create jobs, and improve learning performance for kids. If passed and signed, they will make Colorado less competitive with other states and nations, economically and educationally.
To voice your opinion about this unwise legislation and the unseemly haste with which it is moving, send an email through the Colorado General Assembly website at www.leg.state.co.us, or call...
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