In restricting employers' free speech rights by passing the so-called captive audience measure (HB 5460) early this morning, Connecticut's House of Representatives struck another blow against economic recovery and job growth.
“Legislators ran for office promising to make the economy and jobs their top priorities," CBIA's Joe Brennan told the Hartford Courant today..
"But now they have passed one of the biggest anti-business, job-killing measures before them, making Connecticut less competitive and less attractive as a place to do business.
“State representatives who voted for this bill delivered another anti-jobs blow to Connecticut’s business community just when employers are reeling from the recession, facing $70 million in higher unemployment taxes, and dealing with the tax increases contained in the new state budget."
The House debated for almost 11 hours, with 14 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans against the bill, which passed 78-65.
HB 5460. which now heads to the State Senate, strictly limits employers’ communications with their employees at required company meetings about a variety of topics broadly considered “political” by the legislature.
That definition would prevent any open workplace talk about issues, including wages, healthcare, employee benefits, the health of their companies and their job status.
Only Oregon, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, has a similar law. Wisconsin's legislature passed a captive audience measure last year which was later struck down by the courts.
“If legislators are concerned about retaining and creating jobs in Connecticut, they must reject bills like this,” said Brennan.
“The people of Connecticut care about the economy and jobs, and want legislators to take actions that will help not hurt job growth, and that will get the more than 100,000 people who lost jobs during the recession back to work.”