What a difference a few weeks can bring.
Back on May 5th, Attorney General George Jepsen issued a letter to legislators expressing his support of the so-called "captive-audience" bill. That letter was used in the debate by Connecticut House members as proof that the bill would pass a legal challenge. Indeed, on May 11th, the bill passed the House.
In a May 12th post, however, l expressed serious reservations about whether the bill, if passed, would be preempted by federal law.
Legislators said Friday that Attorney General George Jepsen, a staunch ally of labor, effectively has killed a legislative priority of the Connecticut AFL-CIO by advising them that federal labor law appears to pre-empt the state from passing a "captive audience" bill.
The House of Representatives passed the controversial bill two weeks ago, 78 to 65, after an 11-hour debate in which the key sponsor, Rep. Zeke Zalaski, D-Southington, relied on a letter from Jepsen assuring him that the bill was legally sound.
An unhappy Zalaski said that Jepsen visited him earlier this week to inform him that additional legal research by his staff concluded that the state cannot bar employers from requiring employees to attend a meeting called to discuss religious or political matters.
The CBIA had also come to the same conclusion and had an opinion from from Clinton-era NLRB appointee to back it up.
But for now, it appears that the "captive audience" bill is dead in this year’s General Assembly.