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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.



JUNE 29, 2012

Below is where we stand on the legislative attacks on your pension. Sixteen (16) bills were filed but only four (4) became law. There were sweeping changes proposed but we were able to come through this session with pushing back on the major changes proposed. This was in large part due to your consistent efforts in contacting your legislators.  Thank you for your great work this session!

However, we are still battling changes from last year’s session in the Courts with our partners on the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition and we will keep you informed as to any developments on the legal front.  The wheels of justice grind slowly.

Please keep in mind that all of these bills will come back if we are not vigilant and know where the candidates stand on protecting your pension.

Ask the following questions when speaking with candidates between now and November:

  • Do they support and would they vote to provide an annual COLA (cost of living adjustment) for retirees of the NH Retirement system?
  • Would they vote to retain the current structure of the NH Retirement System as a defined benefit program as opposed to a defined contribution (401-k type) plan?
  • Would they oppose any legislation that changes or reduce current benefits for public employees’ in the NH Retirement system?

Keep in mind that AFT-NH supports efforts to maintain a defined benefit pension provided by the New Hampshire Retirement System for retired public employees and to ensure the long-term viability of the plan for current and future public employees.  These benefits are essential tools for recruiting and retaining a skilled and qualified workforce—educators, police, fire fighters, and other essential public servants—to provide vital services in the citizens of New Hampshire.

We are committed to working with others and to return common sense to the current debate on restoring the financial footing of the retirement system.  The retirement system is not in crisis and a deliberative, factual and data driven approach must be used when exploring how to adequately fund and maintain the NHRS for retirees, current employees and future public servants.


SB230 -FN Title: relative to the calculation of average final compensation for certain retirement system members.

The New Hampshire Retirement System states this bill includes a technical correction to the definition of average final compensation. The clarification relates to members who were hired on or after July 1, 2011 and members who were not vested prior to January 1, 2012. The System states as this bill only clarifies changes made in the 2011 session, there will be no fiscal impact.

This bill modifies RSA 100-A:1, XVIII(b) to reflect the intent of the 2011 Legislature regarding the calculation of Average Final Compensation (AFC) for members not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012. The bill changes the “compensation over base pay” factor used in the AFC formula from a dollar average to a percentage average.

SB244 -FN Title: relative to the administration of the New Hampshire retirement system.

This bill amends various sections of RSA 100-A, including several technical corrections related to changes enacted in House Bill 2. These corrections are:


  • Clarifies the date from which NHRS must begin calculating a 7-year average of Extra or Special Duty Pay (ESDP) for Group II (Police and Fire) members vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012. This change excludes from the calculation any months prior to July 1, 2009, which is when ESDP began to be separately reported to NHRS.
  • Clarifies the number of years of creditable service Group II (Police and Fire) members in service prior to July 1, 2011, but not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012, must have in order to qualify for the supplemental disability benefit available to eligible Accidental Disability retirees.
  • Changes the annual effective date of changes to the member interest rate from a fiscal year to a calendar year.
  • Clarifies the definition of “compensation over base pay” for members not vested prior to Jan. 1, 2012.
  • Clarifies that the maximum benefit limit for members hired before July 1, 2009, is 100% of Earnable Compensation and the maximum benefit limit for members hired after that date, and not vested by Jan. 1, 2012, is the lesser of 85% of AFC or $120,000 per year.
  • In addition the bill modifies the definition of “part-time” for NHRS retirees employed by NHRS-participating employers. The modification limits retirees to a maximum total of 32 hours per week, regardless of whether they work for one or more employers and regardless of whether some of the hours are in a Group I position and some of the hours are in a Group II position.
  • Lastly, the bill changes the date by which NHRS Trustees must approve the retirement system’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from Dec.1 to Dec. 31 of each year.

HB1483 -FN Title: (New Title) repealing the retirement system special account and repealing the assessments for excess benefits paid by employers in the retirement system.

This bill repeals the NHRS Special Account and removes all references to the Special Account contained in RSA 100-A. The specific sections repealed are: RSA 100-A:53, II; RSA 100-A:53-e, II; RSA 100-A:16, II(h); and RSA 100-A:16, II(j). Due to previous legislation enacted in 2011, the Special Account balance would have been $0 as of July 1, 2012.

  • Keep in mind that AFT-NH opposed the repeal of the special account. Remember, this is where COLA’s have come from in the past.  With the repeal of this account, there will be no mechanism to grant COLA’s to our retirees. If this passes, then retirees will have to fight for COLA’s to come from the state general account. Since the Legislature already stole over $250 million from the Special Account, I cannot imagine they will put money in for COLA’s. This would certainly be a challenge for future legislatures.

This bill also repeals the employer “spiking” assessment (RSA 100-A:16, III-a). This assessment had been scheduled to take effect July 1, 2012.

  • AFT-NH supports this section of the bill. This would repeal the so called “spiking” formula. This is the formula that they have had seven years to fix and they have not been able to do so.
    • This was the issue if your pension went over 125% of base pay then the district or town would have to pick up the extra cost of the pension. In many places, this was an extra cost of over $200,000.

SB83 -FN Title: (New Title) enabling municipalities and school districts to create other post-employment benefits (OPEB) trusts.

  • This bill enables municipalities and school districts to create other post-employment benefits (OPEB) trusts provided that the actuarial liability for the benefit was created on or before January 1, 2012.
  • These funds shall be held in trust for the exclusive benefit of retirees and their beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the plans or programs providing other post-employment benefits.


HB227 -FN Title: relative to the membership of the retirement system board of trustees.

HB265 -FN Title: redefining earnable compensation in the retirement system for new and non-vested members in service.

HB460 -FN Title: relative to the retirement age for group II members.

HB463 -FN Title: relative to the retirement system maximum initial benefit limitation.

HB465 -FN Title: relative to the number of years for calculating average final compensation for retirement system benefits.

HB654 -FN-L Title: relative to credit for retirement system employer contribution overpayments.

HB1306 -FN-L Title: (New Title) requiring a report on part-time employment of retired members of the retirement system.

HB1460 Title: (New Title) establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees.

SB228 -FN-L Title: repealing the assessments for excess benefits paid by employers in the retirement system.

SB229 -FN Title: (2nd New Title) establishing a commission to make recommendations on whether the New Hampshire retirement system should be replaced with a defined contribution plan for all new hires and to study the impact such change would have on the retirement system.

SB246 -FN  Title: relative to the calculation of employer assessments for excess retirement system benefits.

SB249 -FN Title: requiring a request for proposals for the administration and management of the New Hampshire retirement system.

Keep in mind that it is very important that you stay informed, so please sign up for get active at www.aft-nh.org and visit us on Facebook at AFT-New Hampshire. By doing these two simple things, you know you will always receive the latest news!

Thank You!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

NH Labor News 6/29/12: SCOTUS Decision, “Voting As A Liberal”, Unemployment, and more

Manchester school chief wants to see 80 jobs restored | New Hampshire NEWS06: “MANCHESTER — Superintendent of Schools Thomas Brennan will propose bringing back about 80 school staff tonight, including some jobs that could save the German and Latin programs at city high schools.

When the Board of School Committee meets at 7 p.m., in City Hall, it must decide how to spend the $152 million in city funds allocated to it by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, as well as the $2.3 million from the school district’s expendable trusts the school board voted last week to spend for teachers and staff.

Brennan and his administration have recommended restoring 80 positions that were slated for layoffs or were to be left vacant due to resignations and retirements.”

Durham Firefighters Hold Ceremony to Welcome Tank 4 to Department: “DURHAM, N.H. — Firefighters, their families, town officials and community members welcomed Tank 4 to the department Wednesday morning with a ceremony full of firefighting tradition.

In his 23 years with the department, Fire Chief Corey Landry said he had never partaken in such a ceremony but felt it was an important event to hold bringing the new truck into service.”

N.H. economy gives businesses reason for optimism: “While nationally the unemployment rate rose a tick in May, to 8.2 percent, New Hampshire’s jobless rate is 5 percent, the sixth-lowest rate in the nation, unchanged from April (representing a loss of 410 jobs, actually) and less than a half a percent better than last year.

But in the North Country, the April figure was as high as 10.4 percent (in the Colebrook area), 9.2 percent (Berlin area) and 8.4 percent (Coos County).

“The first six months are very disappointing,” said Russ Thibeault, an economist with Applied Economic Research in Laconia. “It looked like we were getting some forward momentum. It’s not robust. It’s kind of flat, kind of blah.”

So why does Donna Goodrich, president of Top Furniture in Gorham — in the heart of the depressed North Country — have that smile in her voice?”

What about your insurance coverage in the wake of today’s health care decision? | New Hampshire NEWS: “MANCHESTER — What will happen to your insurance coverage once a decision is handed down today from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

That not only depends on the ruling, but on who insures you and your family.

Cigna and Anthem won’t comment until after the ruling. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and UnitedHealthcare have committed to continuing certain popular provisions of the act, regardless of which way the court rules. ”

U.S. Supreme Court health care decision | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Reaction to Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the key individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act was predictably split along party lines.

The three Republicans in New Hampshire’s congressional delegation New Hampshire’s and the two GOP candidates for governor said that although law’s centerpiece is constitutional, it remains bad public policy.

Democrats, including outgoing Gov. John Lynch, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and the party’s candidates for the U.S. House and governor hailed the ruling.”

New Hampshire GOP Speaker Discourages Students From Voting Because They’ll Vote ‘Liberal’ | ThinkProgress: “As ThinkProgress has been reporting, the slew of unnecessary voter ID laws passed by Republicans in many states this year are a transparent attempt to disenfranchise core Democratic voters, especially college students, the poor and minorities. But Republicans usually claim these laws are passed for the sake of curbing nonexistent voter fraud — it’s rare to have one admit their intention is to stop Democrats from getting to the polls.
But that’s exactly what New Hampshire Speaker William O’Brien (R) told a Tea Party crowd recently. As the new laws are already stifling students’ efforts to participate politically, O’Brien confessed that he wanted to make it more difficult for students to vote because they “vote their feelings” — i.e. vote as liberals:”

Does New Hampshire have an immigration problem? – SentinelSource.com: Editorial: “n a case of insisting on a solution to a problem that does not appear to exist, House Speaker William O’Brien says police in New Hampshire should be empowered to check the immigration status of anyone they stop for whatever reason.
The imperative from the Mont Vernon Republican came after the U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld one portion of an Arizona law that contains such a provision. O’Brien told the Union Leader newspaper that New Hampshire especially needs such a law because it’s a border state, as is Arizona. He said the high court decision gives the state “a road map” to Arizona-type legislation here.”

– NashuaTelegraph.com: “We’re really focused on educating and training people for the workplace,” Gittell said. “The community colleges are a bridge to economic opportunity for a lot of the students we serve.”
Tuition at New Hampshire’s community colleges is half the cost of tuition at the state’s four-year universities. Not only that, but students can transfer their credits to those universities to receive a bachelor’s degree in four years – two spent at the community college and the final two at a place like UNH.”

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans Statement on ACA

From The NH ARA Facebook Page

The following statement was issued today by Charles Balban, president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act.

“Today is an historic day for Americans of all ages, an affirmation of a law that helps children, workers, and retirees obtain affordable health care. Americans can now live more secure, knowing that their health and well-being are no longer tied to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies.

“In New Hampshire, 13,187 Medicare beneficiaries with the highest drug costs have already saved an average of $620 on their prescriptions. In New Hampshire 163,746 seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases.

“But today will be a short-lived victory if this November we fail to elect a White House and Congress with the courage to stand up to the moneyed interests in Washington. Health reform was a bold step toward helping middle class Americans feel more secure, to no longer worry that their health and well-being were powerless to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies.

“This fall’s elections provide a crystal clear contrast between someone who had the courage to risk his presidency fighting for the middle class, versus a candidate who cares only about a select few and who would replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that is perfect for only the healthy and the wealthy.

“Today is a tremendous victory for New Hampshire seniors, their children, and their grandchildren. But we cannot rest on our laurels. In the 2012 elections we cannot let politicians roll back the progress we have made.”

NH GOV: Jackie Cilley Comments on the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act

Statement of Jackie Cilley on the US Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act 

Barrington, NH – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley applauded the US Supreme Court’s decision to let the Affordable Care Act’s important reforms stay in place.


“Today’s Supreme Court decision puts behind us the hysterical claims of the far-right and allows us to get to work making sure that the Affordable Care Act works for everyone in New Hampshire,” said Jackie Cilley. “As governor, I’m confident that I’ll be able to work with the legislature and our representatives in DC to make sure that all the ACA reforms, including Medicaid expansion, serve the citizens of New Hampshire.”


Jackie Cilley is on record for her strong support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which has today been upheld by the most conservative US Supreme Court of the modern era.  “This law expands health care coverage to thousands of those previously uninsured, and assures that all Americans will be beneficiaries of the many reforms contained in the detailed provisions of this bill, all of which the Supreme Court has definitively ruled as constitutional.  While I will continue to review the provisions regarding the expansion of Medicaid eligibility — to make sure there is no detrimental impact on our citizens, I believe June 28 is a day to remember as it marks the beginning of a new era in health care in the United States.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s Statement on Affordable Care Act

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

On the Supreme Court Health Care Decision

June 28, 2012


We are pleased and relieved that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s decision means that we can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act. We have no illusion that the destination has been reached, and we are more committed than ever to the hard work necessary to achieve our dream of quality health care for all.


With this decision, more than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing, and more than 6 million young adults will remain covered by their parents’ health care plans. Seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years; already over 5 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions in 2010 and 2011. And insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, charge women more or drop coverage for those who get sick.


To assure that 33 million Americans will be able to obtain health care coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid beginning in 2014, all states, including those that waited for this decision to be issued, must now do their job and act without delay. We are troubled by the Court’s decision limiting the ability of the federal government to encourage states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain lower income individuals, and it would be unconscionable for states to refuse to extend that coverage, using today’s decision as a pretext.


The Affordable Care Act is our first step in expanding health care coverage, improving care and beginning to get control of health care costs. We will need to build on the achievements of the Act, Medicare and Medicaid in order to fix our broken health care system and advance along the path to a more equitable and cost-effective system.


We believe the way forward is to build on the Affordable Care Act reforms that strengthen Medicare’s historic leadership in containing health care costs, without cutting benefits. A simple indisputably constitutional solution is to allow Americans of all ages to buy into an improved Medicare program. We believe every baby in America—whether rich or poor—deserves the same standard of quality care, and we will keep moving forward until we make this a reality.


We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.


The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.


The SCOTUS Rules!!!



Today was a monumental day in the U.S. Supreme Court.  By a ruling of 5-4 the SCOTUS ruled that the Affordable Care Act to be Constitutional.  Millions of Americans are grateful this bill was upheld.  The ACA has already helped millions of middle class families and will continue to benefit more in 2014 when the ACA takes full effect.

President Obama said

First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.  Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.  They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.  They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.  They are required to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms — a provision that’s already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance.  And by this August, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and CEO bonuses, and not enough on your health care.

Even now after all three branches of government have ruled in favor of the ACA some are still going to try to tear it apart.

“The highest Court in the land has now spoken.  We will continue to implement this law.  And we’ll work together to improve on it where we can.  But what we won’t do — what the country can’t afford to do — is refight the political battles of two years ago, or go back to the way things were.  (President Obama on 6/28/12)”

GOP candidate Mitt Romney has already started to make his campaign about repealing “Obamacare”.  He said he would “Kill it dead” on day one of his presidency.  Even though the ACA was based on a program the Governor Romney put in place in Massachusetts.

As with the millions rejoicing over the news, labor organizations from across the country are voicing their support for the SCOTUS decision.  Here are clips from various press releases:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
“We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.

The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.”

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
“Today America’s highest court handed down a decision affirming the legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, the Supreme Court also has affirmed the legitimacy of our form of democracy and the rule of law. Opinions of the Supreme Court are not abstract rulings; they have real and lasting effects upon the lives of everyday Americans. Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to rebuilding and expanding the middle class and a lifeline to those who have no access to healthcare right now. The Affordable Care Act will continue to make that a reality for millions of Americans.
“At a time when so many Americans are struggling to get by and students continue to graduate from college with a mountain of debt and few job prospects, this law puts healthcare within reach for working families, keeps our communities healthier, and ensures that Americans can get the treatment they need, when they need it, without battling big insurance companies. Striking down healthcare reform would have dealt a devastating blow to our recovering economy. Affordable healthcare should not be a luxury for a few, but a promise to all.

“We need to work together to build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act, not prolong partisan attempts to tear it apart. We can’t afford to deny families the healthcare they need.”

AFSCME President Lee Saunders
“The Court has ruled that Congress cannot require states to expand their Medicaid funding to help poor Americans receive medical care. We will work at the state level to ensure that as many Americans as possible will receive the coverage they deserve. States should take advantage of the incentives in Obamacare and move forward to implement this far-reaching reform. Republican leaders in Congress must stop their campaign to undermine these reforms. This is a major victory for working families. This is a good day for America.”

IBEW President Edwin Hill
“President Obama’s health care plan, while far from perfect, has already made real progress in reducing medical inflation and guaranteeing more Americans access to quality health care. By upholding the law, the Court has made a vital step toward solving our health care crisis and bringing some balance back to the economy.”

Association of Federal Government Employees
“And because of the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the individual mandate and Medicaid provisions, health care coverage will now be extended to 30 million uninsured Americans – including up to 200,000 federal employees who can’t afford insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

“Now that this historic legislation has been upheld by the highest court in the land, it’s time for Republican leaders in Congress to stop their campaign to repeal the law and to focus instead on improving the economy and creating jobs.”


NH Labor 2012 Elections News 6/28/12: Obamacare, Citizens United, Outsourcing and More

Court put elections on the auction block | Concord Monitor: “Two things happened this month that have already begun affecting democracy profoundly. One was casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s commitment to spend at least $100 million to defeat President Obama. More than half the campaign contributions to the president’s reelection effort so far have been for amounts less than $200. Say the average was $125. Say that money is speech. If so, then Adelson’s $100 million will speak more loudly than the voices of 799,999 contributors or nearly 100,000 more people than cast ballots in New Hampshire’s 2008 presidential election. Adelson, 78, has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine of more than $25 billion. And he’s only one of a group of billionaires who are investing in elections.

The second event was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let stand its stunningly naive ruling in the Citizens United case, which declared that corporations have the same free speech rights as actual people.”

Caroline Kennedy urges voters to support Obama: “In a crowded room adorned with Obama campaign posters, Kennedy spoke of the president’s accomplishments in Washington, such as repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” in the military, investing in clean energy and saving the American auto industry. She also commended him for his work on education, an issue she championed for many years as the vice chairwoman of the Fund for Public Schools in New York City.

“That’s why it drives me crazy when people say, ‘What has he done?'” said Kennedy, who now serves as honorary director for the fund.

She drew parallels between Obama and her late father, saying she believes the president has the power to inspire the country and that the country faces a crossroads as it did in 1960.”

Romney Gets No Relief On Outsourcing Story | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Ever since the Washington Post published a widely read piece last week whose central premise was that when Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital the firm invested in companies that shipped U.S. jobs abroad, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly cited it.

They’ve used it to argue that Romney’s brand of business experience would be bad for U.S. workers. The Obama campaign even made the story the basis of campaign ads.”

Quotes on Obamacare from NH GOV Candidates:
Prospective governors talk health care at forum | Concord Monitor: “”This is a momentous decision and I hope the Supreme Court does strike down the Obamacare law,” said Republican candidate Kevin Smith, a former House member and state employee. “It has the name ‘affordable’ in it and it’s anything but affordable.”

Asked if he could name some provisions in the law he supports, Republican candidate Ovide Lamontagne said “there isn’t a lot in the Act that I do like.”

“I do like the fact, however, that there was an attempt by someone to try to address the problem,” said Lamontagne, a Manchester lawyer who has run previously for governor and U.S. Senate. “The problem is (the law) is the wrong direction – centralized command, you know, a top down approach.”

“I’ve tackled consumer protections in health care, trying to make sure young adults could stay on their parents’ health insurance to age 26,” said Hassan, the former Senate majority leader from Exeter. “We did that in New Hampshire before the Affordable Care Act was passed.”

“We need to ensure a citizenry that is healthy and well suited for our work force and able to participate in our economy,” Cilley said. “And as such that means that our insurance coverage has to be broad-spectrum. We looked at the cost factor in terms of what it would cost to provide that health insurance and what it would cost not to – what it was costing our society in other ways. The tradeoff, in my mind, if you’re doing a cost benefit analysis, was the right thing to do.””

Gubernatorial candidates discuss health care on eve of anticipated Supreme Court decision – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Over a two-hour forum at Saint Anselm College, Republican candidates Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith; Democrats Jackie Cilley, Bill Kennedy and Maggie Hassan; and Libertarian challenger John Barbiarz each shared their views of the controversial Affordable Care Act, which has divided lawmakers and voters since it went into effect in 2010.”

My Turn: Outsiders want to influence legislators | Concord Monitor: “The Republicans in the New Hampshire House have tried to claim that they are independent actors not influenced by out-of-state interests trying to push their own legislation across the nation. Tuesday’s Monitor indicates the truth.

Jeb Bush, son and brother of U.S. presidents and the former Florida governor, wrote a piece for our local paper advocating for legislators to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of SB 372. And Paul Clement of South Carolina wrote a letter to the editor in the same issue supporting Jeff Oligny in the upcoming Republican House primary. Both are signs that special interests outside New Hampshire are going to great lengths to influence what happens in our Legislature.”

AFT Applauds Supreme Court Healthcare Reform Decision

AFT Applauds Supreme Court Healthcare Reform Decision

“We can’t afford to deny American families the healthcare they need”


WASHINGTON—Today American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten lauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


“Today America’s highest court handed down a decision affirming the legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act. In so doing, the Supreme Court also has affirmed the legitimacy of our form of democracy and the rule of law. Opinions of the Supreme Court are not abstract rulings; they have real and lasting effects upon the lives of everyday Americans. Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to rebuilding and expanding the middle class and a lifeline to those who have no access to healthcare right now. The Affordable Care Act will continue to make that a reality for millions of Americans.


“At a time when so many Americans are struggling to get by and students continue to graduate from college with a mountain of debt and few job prospects, this law puts healthcare within reach for working families, keeps our communities healthier, and ensures that Americans can get the treatment they need, when they need it, without battling big insurance companies. Striking down healthcare reform would have dealt a devastating blow to our recovering economy. Affordable healthcare should not be a luxury for a few, but a promise to all.


“We need to work together to build upon the success of the Affordable Care Act, not prolong partisan attempts to tear it apart. We can’t afford to deny families the healthcare they need.”


The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.


NH Labor News 6/28/12: Vetos Overrides, Vouchers, Voter ID, Kindergarten & Crime, and more


Mike Marland Political Cartoon (Marlandcartoons.com)

House fails to override union contracts veto | Politics – WMUR Home: “CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire’s House has failed to override a vetoed bill that would require a legislative fiscal committee to approve all collective bargaining agreements entered into by the state.

Under the current system, the executive branch has negotiated contracts between public employers and employees, while the Legislature decides through the budget process how much money is to be spent on personnel, wages and benefits.”

Legislature overturns Gov. Lynch veto to approve education tax credit program – NashuaTelegraph.com: “The Republican-dominated House of Representatives and state Senate stuck together Wednesday and with ease overrode the veto of Lynch, who argued the program was poorly
targeted to students most in need and would raise local property taxes.
Sen. Molly Kelly, D-Keene, said the tax credit was an unconstitutional public investment in private schools because school districts will lose state education aid for each student who exits the public schools.
“Why would we choose to designate millions of dollars to private and religious schools when the Legislature has just made record cuts to higher education funding?” Kelly asked rhetorically.
Supporters pursued this tax credit option (SB 372) precisely because courts in other states have already ruled it’s legal because the tax credit proceeds come from business owners and not directly from taxpayers such as with a voucher.”

NH lawmakers override gov’s veto on voter photo ID – Boston.com: “CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire’s Legislature has voted to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of bills requiring voters to provide a photo ID and sign a document saying New Hampshire is their home state.

A wide range of identification would be acceptable for elections this fall — including student IDs — but in later elections, only driver’s licenses, state-issued non-driver’s identification cards, passports or military IDs would be allowed. Those without photo identification would sign an affidavit and be photographed by an election official. Both chambers agreed to a change to the affidavit that goes back to Lynch to consider.

The other bill would require people registering to vote to sign a statement saying they declare New Hampshire their domicile and are subject to laws such as requiring drivers to register their vehicles”

N.H. lawmakers annul voter ID, school vetoes | SeacoastOnline.com: “Opponents of the bill said any type of affidavit would put town election moderators in a difficult position, open to lawsuits if they felt a person didn’t qualify to cast a ballot. And others said the new qualifications would keep people away from the polls.

“The whole process is to get more people involved,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, who voted to uphold Lynch’s veto. “What we’re doing now is discouraging that.”

The Legislature also overrode Lynch’s tax-credit veto for businesses contributing to educational programs. The bill is intended to help some public school students switch to private schools.

Lynch argued the bill would allow private organizations to determine the use of public education funds and would shift limited state money away from public schools because districts would lose state education aid for each student receiving a scholarship.”

Kingsbury tells fellow reps there’s link between kindergarten & crime: “One of them observed a direct link between the proliferation of kindergarten and the increasing inmate population at the Belknap County Jail.
State Representative Harry Accornero, after hearing about the county jail’s high population and recidivism rates, asked if the proposed new jail would address the problems. “Will this new facility change anything?”
After being told of the proposal for new programs, such as court diversion and drug and alcohol counseling, Accornero suggested that high incarceration rates could be avoided if police were better trained and could offer counseling services instead of reaching for handcuffs. “Where is law enforcement in all of this?” he asked.
Not to be outdone, Representative Bob Kingsbury said he’s been working on a theory since 1996, when he analyzed local crime rates and compared them to a list of communities that offered public kindergarten. Then, he told his colleagues, Laconia offered kindergarten and had the highest rates of crime. Meanwhile, surrounding towns, some of which didn’t offer kindergarten, had less crime.
“We’re taking children away from their mothers too soon,” Kingsbury concluded.”

Bob Kingsbury, New Hampshire Republican, Says Kindergarten Leads To Higher Crime [UPDATED]: “Kingsbury, 86, has a history of supporting ideas that differ from his fellow legislators. In January, he partnered with two allies of birther queen Orly Taitz to push a bill partially ending the direct election of U.S. senators. Kingsbury said that he believed that all U.S. Senate candidates should first be picked by the state legislature and then put up for popular vote.

Kingsbury, a vocal United Nations opponent, has also sponsored a bill raising the minimum age to be a judge in New Hampshire from 18 to 60. He told The Huffington Post that he believes that judges should have more “life experience” before taking office.”

Daily Kos: Reclaiming Our Working Class Family Values: “As we move further into the twenty-first century, I have come to the realization that many of us have forgotten where we came from. I would wager many who are doctors, lawyers, elected officials and captains of industry came from humble means. Working class families, such as construction workers, maintenance people and factory workers, just to name a few. And many (oh so many) have turned on the same sort of people that bore and raised them, clothed and fed them, put them through college and called them son or daughter. How do we end this cycle?”

November surprise: Millions of layoff notices | WashingtonExaminer.com: “A little-known labor law could roil the presidential race the day before Election Day unless Congress and the White House OK an emergency deal to avoid some $500 billion-$600 billion in Pentagon cuts that will kill over 1 million jobs within two years.

Some companies told Secrets that they are already laying off workers while others are drafting layoff notices. Ayotte said Lockheed Martin has a list of 100,000. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that over 1 million jobs will be cut in 2014 if the budget sequester goes into effect.”

Defense Giant Says Budget Cuts Could Mean Pink Slips | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Just imagine the political fallout: Nov. 2, only days before the election, tens of thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands — of workers receive letters warning that they could be out of a job.

That’s exactly what some in the defense industry say will happen if Congress doesn’t act soon to reverse sequestration — the across-the-board spending cuts that take effect in January if Congress doesn’t agree on a plan to cut the deficit.”

In Voter ID Debate, Why Did Ovide Choose Ideology over Good Policy?

A Message From the NH AFL-CIO

In Voter ID Debate, Why Did Ovide Choose Ideology over Good Policy?

Endorsement of Voter ID Bills Raises Serious Questions over Ovide’s Ability to Govern

Manchester, NH – Ovide Lamontagne’s support for the override of Governor Lynch’s veto of a voter suppression bill raises serious questions about his ability to govern, New Hampshire AFL-CIO officials said today following the House’s override votes on SB 289 and 318. Just days after election officials raised serious technical concerns about the amended version of SB 289, and despite the admission by both the House and the Senate that the legislation needed revision, Ovide urged the New Hampshire House to override Governor Lynch’s veto of SB 289, another voter suppression bill.

“With his support for SB 289, Ovide has sided with Speaker Bill O’Brien and chosen politics over good public policy,” said President Mark MacKenzie of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “Elected leaders need to be able to make objective decisions on policy regardless of their political affiliation. This objectively bad bill was engineered for political, not practical, reasons. It will make it difficult, if not impossible, for election officials to do their jobs. It will disenfranchise seniors, new voters, and people with disabilities. It is opposed by elections officials across the state. It is telling that despite this mountain of evidence, Ovide still stands with House Speaker O’Brien in his support for SB 289 and 318.”

In remarks to the Bedford Patch, Ovide labeled SB 289 a “straightforward bill”. Yet the City & Town Clerks Association and the Secretary of State’s office have raised concerns about language in the bill that requires a notarized affidavit as well as the narrow list of acceptable ID’s. By adding the notary process to the affidavit, it will add several minutes per person, creating longer lines at the polls. Aside from James O’Keefe’s manufactured Project Veritas stunt during January’s presidential primary, there is no evidence suggesting that voter fraud is a problem in New Hampshire.

“Granite Staters should be seriously concerned about Ovide’s apparent inability to make sound public policy decisions,” President MacKenzie said. “He stood with Speaker O’Brien on a right-to-work for less law. He supports abolishing the minimum wage. Now he has embraced an unworkable attempt at a voter suppression bill. New Hampshire needs a governor who will put good public policy and common sense before extreme ideology and political allegiances.”


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