The New Hampshire House passed right-to-work legislation today by a 198-139 vote.
Republicans, led by Speaker William O'Brien, said the bill would make the state more attractive to businesses.
Democrats called the bill unnecessary. House Minority Leader Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, noted the vote would not withstand a sure veto by Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat in his last year of office.
"Waste of time to revisit issues that already failed – but why work on real issues?" Norelli Tweeted after the vote.
Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, said the vote sends a message to the Senate and to the governor that there are enough votes to sustain a veto.
"The polling that we've done–people are tired of this issue, they think we should put it behind us and they think we should move on to things that are really important, which are job creation and building the New Hampshire economy and this is not the way you build the New Hampshire economy."
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, said the bill is about creating jobs.
"This Legislature has been tasked with creating jobs," he tells Patch in the attached video, "so we're looking at every possible piece of legislation that's going to help us create jobs."
Speaker O'Brien released the following statement after the vote:
"Last year, we had a thorough discussion about making New Hampshire a Right to Work state. Unfortunately the Governor chose to go against the will of the 63 percent majority of House members who passed this bill and the nearly 80 percent of Granite Staters who oppose forced unionism. The opponents said that passing Right to Work would not result in companies moving to New Hampshire. The experience of Indiana, which just became the nation’s 23rd Right to Work state, proved that opponents place their union prerogatives in opposition to jobs for neighbors.
“Recently, Indiana passed Right to Work. The ink on the new law had not even dried when we learned that Caterpillar, one of the nation’s largest manufacturing firms, would immediate relocate a plant from Canada to Indiana, specifically because it was a Right to Work state. This means over 450 new, high-paying jobs for Indiana’s workers, as well as hundreds of additional spin off jobs from the presence of the plant.
“There is no reason why New Hampshire shouldn’t have the opportunity to attract companies such as Caterpillar, Boeing and Audi, businesses that locate to Right to Work states. Watching opportunities for good, new jobs and economic growth pass us by is against our state’s traditions and weakens the New Hampshire Advantage. We need to get the Granite State back in the game of being competitive and helping our citizens."
Critics of the bill noted the strength of New Hampshire's economy, compared to neighboring states' unemployment rates.
Rep. Kenneth Gidge, D-Nashua, after the vote, said, "Can it get any dumber than this? Isn't New Hampshire doing well? We're the envy of the country."