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HB 2893: Trampling on Free-Speech


At the request of the AFL-CIO, Rep. Michael Schaufler (D-Happy Valley, Dist. 48) sponsored House Bill 2893 with 10 additional representatives (all Democrats) and 6 senators as co-sponsors . As described, the bill prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend meetings or participate in communications concerning the employer's opinion about religious or political matters (see the full bill here).

A religious group lobbying against the bill argued that, as written, it was so sweeping in scope that it could even bring about a ban on the opening prayer in the legislature. Democrats argued that this was not so thought they could not demonstrate how this tradition would not be affected. Others called the bill a blatant infringement on free-speech.

On April 18, 2007 by a straight party-line vote, 100% of the House Democrats carried the measure 31-27 with 2 Republicans excused.

Senate Schedule for HB 2893:
04/19 (S) - First reading. Referred to President's desk.
04/24 (S) - Referred to Commerce.
05/09 (S) - Public Hearing held.
05/31 (S) - Work Session scheduled cancelled.
(Check here for current status: Click House Bill, enter 2893 and then click 'search')
Update:
Oregon AFL-CIO drops prayer provision in bill (See May 8, 2007 Oregonian article.)

No question the bill still faces opposition, where it's scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday. Employers argue that employees want to know how particular legislation or ballot measure could affect their business. This bill would prohibit all such communications, either through mandatory meetings or letters stuffed with payroll checks.

Besides HB 2893, the Senate committee will also hear fellow labor-friendly house bills 2891 and 2892. HB 2891 would make it easier for unions to organize by striking a second round of ballots; HB 2892 would prohibit state contractors from using public money and public buildings to promote or deter organizing efforts.

All were introduced at the request of the AFL-CIO.



Find your legislators here if you'd like to let them know what you think or have any questions about this bill.

1 comment:

  1. Radio Commentary by Ronald Reagan from Reagan's Path to Victory by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson, a Free Press publication, 2004:

    Australia I
    January 19, 1979

    Having visited Australia several years ago when socialism was in vogue I was greatly interested to learn recently of the near miracle that has taken place there.

    I'll be right back.

    With inflation plaguing these United States and our marketplace coming more and more under govt. domination I thought you might like to hear of what has happened almost overnight in the land down under-- our ally Australia.

    Less than 6 years ago runaway inflation there was at an annual 20% rate. Taxes were punitive if not confiscatory, and govt. costs had gone up 50% in 2 years. Unemployment was high, the strike record was 3rd worst in the world and labor costs were rising 70 times faster than productivity. Foreign capital, lifeblood of Australian economic process had dried up and key industries were threatened with nationalization.

    Then came a change. Taxes were cut $1 billion. Annual budget increases were cut to 2/5 of what they'd been, interest rates went down, strikes fell to 1/4 of what they'd been and the inflation rate fell from 20% to far less than what we have 5.2%. Now foreign investment is back with hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in mines and other ventures.

    The turnaround began when a coalition of parties opposed to the socialist policies of the labour party elected Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister. The Prime Minister would be the 1st to say, however, that a most important element in the turnaround was a new management organization which advocates better cooperation and understanding in labor, management relations. It is called "Enterprise Australia." It's cheif executive says they are trying a new approach emphasizing consensus and cooperation between management and labor in stead of conflict and confrontation.

    The election of Fraser was the catalyst which brought former adversaries together. In short, they stopped talking about each other and began talking to each other. Employers and employees found they had more they agreed on than they disagreed on. Labor turned away from nationalizing industries after they were shown that employees took home more than 10 times as much as there was profit.

    "Enterprise Australia" imported John Q. Jennings from New York, one time Federal mediator and now a management-labor consultant. A breakthrough was made with R.J. Hawke, Pres. of the Trade Union Congress, Australia's counterpart to George Meany of our AFL-CIO.

    Jennings persuaded management to send their employees company statements-- annual reports telling clearly how the companies income is shared between employees and stockholders. Prime Minister Fraser told management: How can I explain to the people that free enterprise is the best system for them if you can't be bothered to explain it to your own employees?" One labour spokesman said: "The old enemy capitalists-- no longer exist. Today in our society corporate management has reached the stage where where real ownership of capital is all of us. There are no capitalists of a form you can identify." And all this came about by talking to each other. TRW Corp. for example sent it's employees a highly graphic report showing among other things that after other expenses are paid, our of every dollar available for payroll and profit 91.3 cents goes to the employees, 4.1 cents to the stockholders and 4.6 cents is re-invested in the business. Nationalization of a steel company was rejected by the workers when they received a report showing they were getting 95 cents out of the dollar.

    Would this work in America? I think so-- listen to the next broadcast. [Austrlia II was written the same date to air on the following broadcast.]

    This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.

    -----

    So back to Oregon's House Bill 2893 and related bills. Would an "Enterprise Oregon" work here?

    ReplyDelete