Senators say contract will be addressed in Committee of Conference
As you likely know, the full Senate rejected the inclusion of the Executive Branch contract in HB2 yesterday. While you may be thinking this is the end of the road and hopes of a ratified contract have vanished, that is not the case. Several Senators, including the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, publicly stated that this matter is important and will be addressed in the next phase of the budget process – the Committee of Conference. The door is not shut on this contract.
This is largely due to your actions – you made the calls and sent the emails to your Senators that have led to this public promise of doing the right thing in the next stage of the budget progression. Congratulations and thank you for your efforts. We need to keep this up. It is even more critical than ever that we continue to advocate for our state workers who “affect most requisites of our lives,” as said by Senator Lou D’Allesandro.
It was Senator D’Allesandro who introduced the amendment to include the contract in HB2. He eloquently delivered a motivational speech supporting the amendment. “Daniel Webster said ‘we live up to our obligations.’ You negotiate the contract, you live up to it.”
“These are the people who plow, cut our grass, serve us in this State House, DHHS, …and we are going to turn our backs on these people?”
Several other Democratic Senators also spoke on behalf of the state employees and their support of the amendment.
In a largely partisan vote, the Senate rejected the amendment, with only one Republican Senator casting his vote in favor of including the contract. We are very grateful for their support.
The vote on the amendment actually broke the pattern of the day – each of the other numerous amendments was decided by a 10-14 or 14-10 vote. There are fourteen Republican Senators and ten Democratic Senators. It seems that many social and other essential services, as well as the state workforce, have regrettably become partisan issues in the minds of some of our politicians.
What Should We Do Now?
Now we need to double up our efforts in contacting the Senators and let them know it is important to reach out to the Committee of Conference members (once identified) to include the contract in their work. You can find the contact information for the Senators here. Don’t know who your Senator is? No worries, you can find out here. We urge you to take this action – we know it works and your contract depends on it!
Here are some links to news coverage of yesterday’s Senate session. Subscriptions may be required to access.