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Sen. Ralph Hise takes time from Medicaid to swing a tire-iron at the knees of SEANC
By John Sanford Friedrich
Senator Ralph Hise (R—47 Madison) is no ally of working people in any measureable sense. As reported before on RetoreNC he has been the noted pointman on opposing any expansion of Medicaid under the ACA. Hise received $11,000 before the 2014 cycle alone from Eli Lilly, a major U.S. based pharma giant.
SB3, the third bill introduced in the State Senate this session, does not deal with job creation or any other long-term improvement of life in North Carolina. Rather the legislation Hise chewed on over the winterbreak seeks only to cripple the function of SEANC, the State Employees Association of North Carolina.
It is illegal for those who work in state parks or road improvements to seek collective bargaining. So is it also illegal for white collar state employees such as teachers or secretaries. What is allowed is SEANC, which serves as a central clearinghouse for information and advocacy on the behalf of those who work for the state government, from Murphy to Manteo.
Currently those employees who choose, of their own free will, to join SEANC the process is streamlined by allowing employees to have their dues automatically deducted during the state’s official payroll processing.
SEANC is not a union but by collecting and targeting funds they are able to have a large influence in the political process of the state, particularly among Democrats but also in the general elections.
SB3 seeks to bar this process by preventing automatic deductions for participants. This reduces the functional opt-in rate for SEANC from something more along the lines of a retirement program to a donate-when-you-remember-to commitment such as National Public Radio.
“Hise and other Republicans passed a similar bill a few years ago, but a state judge struck it down because it targeted just the North Carolina Association of Educators. Many argued the move was politically motivated and would've cut back the group's revenue stream. Hise said the new bill does not discriminate…” reports WUNC.
Apparently the sticking point was not that such bills seek to make difficult the process of voluntary association with other public employees but that specifically targeting teachers among public employees was a bit much.
If Hise succeeds then not only teachers but all those who repair, clean, educate and administer in public capacities will have a smaller voice.
SEANC Government Affairs Director Ardis Watkins has vowed that the organization will oppose such legislation this session.