Perpetual Contract: Making a Spark in a Gunpowder Factory

Andrew’s news might explain the lack of the usual angst from the state’s unionists over legislative assurances that binding arbitration is dead, for the time being: The unions’ first choice — perpetual contracts — is alive and well. You’ll recall that the deadly bill, S0713, passed the Senate and the House Labor Committee and then mysteriously disappeared during the time of tea parties and ramping up town hall anger.
Binding arbitration grew in it’s place, of course, and wouldn’t it explain a lot of strange behavior from the General Assembly and the unionists, especially those associated with the National Education Association, if the pair of bills are a connivance to inflate an over-sized union life-raft as the ship of state goes down? Get everybody to react to binding arbitration and then send in the more vicious animal through the back door. Ed Achorn’s column on binding arbitration reads even more darkly in this new context:

Many Rhode Islanders, suffering from “learned helplessness” and biding their time until they too can join the great middle-class migration from the state, have given up whimsical notions that legislators here would ever serve the public interest. In their view, the politicians will never be happy until the sign that adorns Dante’s Inferno is placed along all roads and highways leading into the state: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

If this legislative ghoul does come to life, this week, the backlash should be quadruple what it would have been against binding arbitration: not only based on the demerits, but also in reaction to the deception.

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14 years ago

I’d like to thank the Tea Party for their email that put this on my radar screen today. I immediately emailed my rep. He called me from the floor later in the afternoon to say the bill had just been pulled.
I’m sure there is more to this story than we’ve heard. As of yesterday S0713 was supposedly still bottled up in committee. It could have stayed there as so many other bills have. There is some nefarious reason that this zombie bill turned up on today’s calendar.
Fitting that a zombie bill should appear just before Halloween.

14 years ago

I think the key here is that the bill already had been approved by the Labor Committee back in June.
I’m not 100% sure of this, but I think once a bill has been reported out of committee, some kind of floor action has to be taken before the House session can finally adjourn.
This is a good thing, as it means that bills can’t just disappear by leadership sleight-of-hand if they survive the committee process, without every Rep getting an opportunity to weigh in.
But while proceduralism is part of the story here, I agree with you that it’s probably not the whole story — it seems unlikely that the AFT and the NEA got the return they were looking for on their advertising campaign.

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