The House Committee on Appropriations voted to postpone a vote on “community solar garden” (CSG) bill HB 1003. This measure would revise the definition of CSG to mean a solar electric generation facility (Solar Farms) with a nameplate rating o ten megawatts. However, the current bill does not include a job transition provision for workers given that the renewable energy grid will displace many union workers employed at traditional fuel plants.
News and Alerts
Governor Lamont will deliver his proposed budget on Wednesday, 2/20. The labor movement and allies held a press conference this week to urge the Governor and lawmakers that “after years of austerity budgets that have been devastating for Connecticut’s working families, now is the time to invest in vital public services to create an economy that grows and works for everyone.”
The legislature is considering two unemployment insurance bills that would significantly change the state’s unemployment insurance system. This week, a Senate Committee on Labor and Business Relations subcommittee held a meeting on SSB 1149. This unemployment insurance reform bill would make someone ineligible for unemployment insurance if they engage in “misconduct”, which would include things such as the following:
- “conduct not in the best interest of the employer by the individual”,
- “lack of truthfulness or candor with the employer by the individual”,
- “conduct by the individual that is defamatory toward the employer or an employee of the employer if such conduct is not protected under state or federal law”, and
- “conduct by the individual creating or attempting to create dissention or animus against the employer or a coworker if such conduct is not protected under state or federal law”.
Last week, a House Labor Committee subcommittee recommended passage of HSB 42. As the Iowa Federation of Labor explains, this bill would eliminate “the 1st week of unemployment unless you’re unemployed for 6 months.” Also, the bill “cuts benefits to employees by 33% when a business decides to close. This proposal reduces the amount of unemployment compensation a worker in this situation may receive from 39 weeks to 26 weeks… Lastly, HSB 42 seeks to limit the number of dependents by 50%. An employee can no longer claim four or more dependents, and would only be able to claim two or more dependents, and eliminates the ability to claim a non-working spouse as a dependent.” The bill also makes it harder to use workshare plans. Additional information can be found here.
SB 1474 was introduced this week. This bill would preempt localities from enacting right to work ordinances.
The House passed HB 1660 this week. The bill would provide that “certain public works statutes do not apply in the context of design-build public construction.”
Last month, the House passed prevailing wage threshold increase bill HB 1019. The bill, which has been sent to the Senate, would increase from $100,000 to $150,000 the threshold under which a board of aviation commissions or an airport authority board may perform certain public construction projects with its own workforce.
The House passed HB 135 this week. This anti-PLA bill, which will be sent to the Senate next, would require that public agencies awarding contracts shall not require or prohibit bidders to adhere to agreements with a labor organization relating to a public works project.
HB 317 and SB 171 were introduced this week. These bills would cut the amount of a worker’s weekly unemployment insurance benefits and cut the number of weeks that a worker could receive UI benefits. SB 171 has been referred to the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee. An action alert to call state legislators to oppose these bills can be found here.
The House Economic Matters Committee gave right to work bill HB 126 an unfavorable report this week.
HB 79 remains in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would increase the number of early voting centers that certain counties are required to establish and would expand the hours the centers are open during gubernatorial elections.
The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing last week on HB 111. This bill would allow taxpayers to deduct their union dues from their state income taxes.
This week, the Portland City Council’s Finance Committee held a hearing on a responsible contracting ordinance. The proposed bill would require construction firms seeking city contracts to pay their workers prevailing wages and require them to participate in an apprenticeship program registered with the Labor Department. Additionally, it would prohibit the city from awarding work to contractors who have two or more judgments against them for workplace safety, wage or hour violations. The Committee chose to require the city’s legal staff to draft a new ordinance that would “award bonus points to bidders who meet wage provisions and provide safety training and an apprenticeship program to train new workers.”
SB 239 remains under consideration in the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. The bill would allow political subdivisions to opt out of prevailing wage requirements.
Right to work bill SB 63 remains before the Senate Government Reform Committee. Right to work bill HB 259 had its second reading last month; it has not yet been referred to a House committee. SB 240 had its second reading last week and was referred to the Senate General Laws Committee; it would allow counties whose voters have approved a ballot measure to enact a right to work law.
The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on LB 151 on Wednesday, 2/20. As the Nebraska AFL-CIO explains, this bill “prohibits project labor agreements and introduces anti-collective bargaining language into statutes governing public subcontracts.”
The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing this week on SB 271. This bill would require workers employed in the construction of public works projects in the state to be paid the prevailing minimum hourly wage and benefits.
The House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held an executive session this week on right to work bill HB 622.
This week, HB 21 was introduced and referred to the House Labor and Commerce Committee. This bill would “provide an additional 25 weeks of unemployment benefits for individuals who lose their jobs in ‘mass layoffs’ - 75 people or more - once their traditional unemployment runs out.” The bill would also increase the notice requirement for layoffs involving 50 or more people from three working days’ notice to 30 working days’ notice. In addition, the bill provides that when an employer lays off within any seven day period 75 or more workers because of lack of work, the director of jobs and family services must provide additional local office space and claims processing personnel to expedite claims in the area impacted by the layoff.
Anti-Project Labor Agreement (PLA) bill HB 985 was filed last month. The bill includes provisions that state agencies cannot prohibit or require a PLA in bid specifications for public improvement projects.
This week, S 93 was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. This bill would create a state income tax deduction for union dues.
HB 2708 was referred last week to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would prohibit political subdivisions from adopting minimum wage, paid sick day, scheduling, and prevailing wage ordinances as well as “means by which employees organize” or the requirement that an employer or employees participate in apprenticeship or apprenticeship training programs not required by federal or state law.
Anti-Project Labor Agreement (PLA) bill SF 53, which passed the Senate last month, was assigned to the House Revenue Committee this week. The bill would prohibit state and local governments from requiring contractors working on public works projects to pay a predetermined wage, hire certain classifications of employees like apprentices or local residents or hire employees from a single source.