A couple of seemingly unrelated events have happened in the last couple of days in the General Assembly. However, they are connected, and that connection runs through the central office of the State’s extremely powerful government workers union.
From the Delaware Liberty Fund (a gay rights organization) that was forwarded to me by someone who receives the organization’s emails:
Below are two emails that I received from Rep. Terry Schooley & Sen. Margaret Rose Henry the co-sponsors of HB10. Please let them know how much we appreciate their efforts in regards to HB10. The bill in some form will be back in 2011!!
This is yet another reason for our community to volunteer our time and donate to candidates who support our issues.
Dear Bob and Margaret,
I regret that we cannot move this now but am having a great deal of difficulty keeping support for many reasons: elections in November, administrative fiscal note, adding opposite sex has both supporters and non-supporters and an increased administrative cost, the transgender issue at the beach which is used as an excuse to encite fears. I cannot get any action at this time in the House and face the same issues as Margaret does in the Senate. We will have to re-group for January and hope most of us are back next year.
Thanks, Bob, to all your friends who have been emailing me. The support in the 23rd RD for this bill is strong – only 1 negative call and lots of supportive ones.
Dear Terry and Bob:
Yesterday I went around the senate to identify support for our bill and found that there are some who are asking for all committed partners to be included before they will support the bill; also the bill cannot be fast tracked. It would have to go through the regular process of being assigned to a committee and at this late date, it is highly unlikely it would be released. There was also expressed concern that this wait until next year because it was an election year. I wish I could be more encouraging. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. Our chances are far better next year. I know this is not the answer we were hoping to receive – but this is the answer I got yesterday. One question that was asked related to two state employees who were partners and whether they would be required to pay the family rate. In order to get the votes to pass the bill we would have to revisit the commirtted [sic] partner inclusion – if we did not include that we would lose one of our supporters.
Of course, “It’s an election year” is a euphemism for “We can’t do anything that might anger powerful special interests”.
The other items was in the News Journal this morning regarding Colin Bonini’s Early Retirement Plan. Senator Bonini introduced this bill on January 26, 2010, and it was placed in the Finance Committee. If you recall the great fanfare that the Democratic Leadership of the Senate announced its new “open government” initiative in 2009. All bills would get a hearing “except those assigned to the Bond or Finance Committees”. As I wrote at the time, this was a loop hole that made the new rules a laughing stock. We now can see that Senator Cook’s Committee is the new Thurmond Adams’ “Desk Drawer”.
The “Desk Drawer Veto” lives on in the Delaware State Senate.
But back to the original purpose of this post, the following quote in the News Journal’s article is most illustrative:
Michael Begatto, who directs [the Government Workers Union], said workers likely would support a retirement incentive.
However, “I think that the purpose of his bill is to downsize government” — something state employees wouldn’t necessarily favor.
Frankly, I don’t think that most State employees really care about the number of government workers; however, union bosses, whose paycheck depends on lots of dues paying members, do care.
Why are health benefits for non-spousal partners and an early retirement option connected? They both would take money from the pool of money that the Government Workers Union wants to allocate to itself.
For all of you in the private sector who have seen your compensation cut 10-20%, for the tens of thousands of unemployed Delawareans with no hope of a job, for the hundreds of non-profits whose State subsidy has been cut 10-30%, this is your government. See you in November.