Thursday, May 30, 2013

NH thwarts ALEC attempt to allow paycheck looting

An attempted scam on workers' paychecks was defeated in the New Hampshire earlier this week, a victory in the fight against ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council).

ALEC, the escort service for corporations and state lawmakers, was pushing a bill to let New Hampshire businesses get rid of paper paychecks. Instead, workers would be paid with a debit-style "payroll card," which carries hidden fees for withdrawals, payments and balance inquiries.

The Concord Monitor reported.
The Democratic-led House voted, 235-93, to kill the bill, which passed the Republican-led Senate, 20-4, on March 21. 
“This bill is pretty offensive,” said Rep. Tim Smith, a Manchester Democrat. “This is one of the newer scams that’s been pushed on our hardworking citizens, and it’s taken the form of a payroll card.” 
State law requires businesses to offer employees the option of being paid with a physical paycheck. The bill would have eliminated that requirement for businesses that offer their workers both direct deposit and a preloaded card, such as versions offered by Visa and MasterCard.
Our friends at Granite State Progress outed ALEC and the corporate backers of the bill (you know it didn't come from workers):
Corporations like Visa have been eager to transition workers to payroll cards to collect more fees from the transactions, including transaction fees charged at local businesses who accept the cards for payment. At an ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force meeting in 2011, a lobbyist from Visa brought forward a resolution in support of payroll cards. Rep. Gary Daniels, a long-time ALEC member and current ALEC State Co-Chair, is a member of that ALEC task force. Daniels wrote the minority blurb in support of SB 100 and spoke in its favor on the House floor.
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Granite State Progress executive director, said the bill,
...would have been purposefully harmful to employees, creating additional fees and expenses for them to collect and use their paycheck, and specifically avoiding sharing that information upfront.