Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Sick Is Connecticut ?

The slow destruction of the state of Connecticut continues apace with the passage through the Senate on Wednesday of the Paid Sick Leave bill. Now on its way to the Democratic dominated House, the bill slipped through by a single vote, Republicans opposed and Democrats in favor, with some notable exceptions: Republican John Kissel of Enfield voted in favor of the bill, while five Democrats -- Sens. Gayle Slossberg of Milford, Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Bob Duff of Norwalk, Joan Hartley of Waterbury and Andrew Maynard of Stonington — voted no.

"It is an imperfect bill,” Mr. Kissel said.” What we're about here is trying to pass legislation that has broad enough support to bring people together.''

The Paid Sick Leave bill now proceeds to the House, where passage is expected, and thereafter will be passed into law after having been signed by Governor Dannel Malloy, who lobbied wobbly senators in favor of the bill.

The bill featured prominently in Mr. Malloy’s gubernatorial primary campaign against Ned Lamont. Mr. Malloy, who owes his election to votes generated by unions in three Connecticut’s cities, argued in favor of the bill, while Mr. Lamont, a Greenwich millionaire businessman, did not look with favor upon it.

Mr. Kissel is certain to receive some good natured ribbing from his Republican comrades, especially since the bill, almost universally opposed by Republicans leery of signing on to measures that whip business out of Connecticut into the prehensile grasp of such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, passed the Senate by a single vote. The senator’s vote is not likely to be warmly received by his constituents when he comes up for re-election.

Sen. Joe Markley characterized the bill as another example of "the march of regulation in this state, of rules, of laws, of entitlements, of things which tell us how to live our lives."

Jon Green, Executive Director of the Working Families Party, a pro labor group parading as a party that has gratefully deliver votes to pro-union Democrats, including Mr. Malloy, rejoiced over the passage of the bill.

“It's a proud day for the state,” said Mr. Green. “At the end of the day, this is a small step forward for the people who have been hit by this recession. It's a real win-win.''

Viewers seated in Senate the gallery, applauding loudly when the bill finally passed by a single vote after eight hours of debate, were gently reproved by Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman and later poured out into the hall to celebrate properly with Sen. Edith Prague, who ardently supported the bill with a reservation. A Prague amendment attached to the bill exempted all manufacturing in the state, apparently on the unshakable assumption that the increases in business costs approved by Mrs. Prague for other businesses should not be permitted to affect Connecticut’s dwindling manufacturing sector. Mrs. Prague is an ardent fan of manufacturing and unions and legislatively inflated wages. Her sympathies do not flow as easily to the great majority of other state businesses opposed to the measure she supported.

The Paid Sick Leave bill requires all employers in Connecticut – except those favored by Mrs. Prague’s amendment – to pay their workers one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours they work, the total number of paid days being capped at five per year.

Senior vice president and chief lobbyist for the 10,000-member Connecticut Business and Industry Association Joseph Brennan, pointed out the obvious: “This is just a terrible piece of legislation. This is an anti-jobs, anti-business bill, despite what was said on the floor. We've done nothing — again, nothing — to encourage businesses to grow in Connecticut. … It's bad precedent. We don't want to be the first state to adopt this.''

But the Working Families Party and Mrs. Prague and Mr. Kissel and majority Democrats in the Senate, long since strapped to the main mast of union demands, were not prepared to give up the ongoing struggle to make Connecticut less competitive than the other 49 states that have no such bill on their legislative books.

Now first in the nation in debt, Connecticut is also first in the nation to pass a bill that will almost certainly speed the state towards a progressive future that will collapse progressively about its ears and likely create more unemployment for workers discharged by companies attempting to recover part of the costs imposed upon them by Democrats claiming their bill will enhance job opportunities in the state – a win, win opportunity for any more prudent state contiguous to Connecticut
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