The Tea Party takeover of New Hampshire’s statehouse in 2010 has left the Granite State with the kookiest of the kooks. These exTEAmists are looking to end laws for no other reason than to say they did something during their first term. They have thus far failed to enact “Right-to-Work” legislation but have succeeded at obstructing anything remotely progressive.
Now, New Hampshire Republicans have introduced legislation that would do away with laws guaranteeing workers the right to a mandatory lunch break. AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie seemed at a lost for words when describing this policy monstrosity:
“Quite frankly,” MacKenzie said, “considering this is 2012, and I’m talking about the repeal of the lunch hour, this is outrageous.”
While acknowledging that most employers treat workers fairly, MacKenzie argued that changing the 36-year-old law was unnecessary and impractical:
“The reality is, absent a law, employers are on their own to treat their workers the way they think is most appropriate,” MacKenzie said. “Will they give them lunch hours? I don’t know if that would be the case. I don’t think every employer would deny them, but I think there would be some, certainly.”
After a series of failed arguments by co-sponsor JR Hoell (R), veteran lawmakers began to grill his inexperienced sidekick Kyle Jones. The 20-year-old Tea Party darling ran for State Rep. in 2010 as part of an unorthodox team. See, Kyle’s mom, Laura, ran as well.
MacKenzie, along with Democratic Rep. Herbert Richardson of Lancaster, harshly criticized the younger Jones who suggested a lunch break law is unecessary:
“This is an unneeded law,” Jones said. “If I was to deny one of my employees a break, I would be in a very bad position with the company’s human resources representative. If you consider that this is a very easy law to follow in that everyone already does it, then why do we need it? Our constituents have already proven that they have enough common sense to do this on their own.”
Richardson: “You don’t think they’re giving these (lunch) breaks because it’s the law and they have to and they would do it if we did away with the law?”
Jones: “It’s in their best interest to treat their employees well.”
Flanagan: “You addressed retail business, restaurants and stores. I wonder if you have any experience with manufacturing groups, people who stand on the assembly line for multiple hours at a time, and how those people might be treated if this law were to be repealed where production is the key to profit.”
Jones: “It’s in the company’s best interest if you’re not shaky and you’re well, to make sure you are healthy and well motivated.”
Perhaps the 20-year-old Jones is so pure at heart that he believes bosses would never, under any circumstances, deny staff members their lunch break. But, surely there are hundreds of thousands of workers out there who would refute this argument.
For 2011, he earned a score of 95% from the New Hampshire House Republican Alliance, and was ranked in the top six, out of 400 representatives, by the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. In addition, he earned an A+ rating from Americans for Prosperity.