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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News

NH Labor News 6/12/12: PFF-NH Blast Romney, NH Labor Shows Strength This Session, Building Better Schools, and much more

Mitt Romney: Firefighters union blasts Romney | Concord Monitor: “On a conference call yesterday organized by the Obama campaign, Dave Lang, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, said he was “thoroughly disheartened” by Romney’s comments, which Lang said provided a view into “what his America will look like.”

“In my estimation, New Hampshire deserves better than that,” Lang said. Every day, firefighters and paramedics go to work – whether full time, part time or volunteer – “and they answer the call and they respond. The only thing they ask is what do you need, how do we get there and how do we help?”

“There is no more labor-intensive job than that of a firefighter or paramedic,” Lang said. “They haven’t invented a computer program yet which can advance a hose line or throw a ground ladder, rescue someone from the third floor. They haven’t done it. If they do, I suspect the people of New Hampshire will buy a couple.””

Labor Touts Tough ‘D’ During Session | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Moves to end collective bargaining rights and make New Hampshire a right-to-work state didn’t pass the legislature despite huge Republican majorities.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO’s Mark MacKenzie says workers coming together had something to do with that.

“I think if people had their way, had we not looked at this as a real assault on workers. Had we not been there, then I think the state would look very different in terms of the right to bargain.”

Big step to safer N.H. schools | SeacoastOnline.com:
Last week legislators put party differences aside and compromised on a bill that will help less affluent communities in New Hampshire build or renovate local schools.

Two bills were introduced this past session to restore school building aid, one by a member of the House and another by District 24 Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee.

The Senate bill left it up to lawmakers to set the aid amount in the budget, while the House version would limit aid at $50 million per year.
MacKenzie acknowledges labor lost its share of battles over the past two years.”

Speaker O’Brien begins to attack his own reps for use of email.  Below is a blog post from State Rep Rick Watrous
Speaker O’Brien Attempts to Restrict State Reps’ Internet Speech – Concord, NH Patch: “O’Brien warns that “there will be zero tolerance for any violation” of the language section of the policy. Upon any House member violating that section “his or her legislative email privilege will be immediately terminated.”

As a state representative myself, I have been aware of much recent online infighting—including derogatory and defamatory remarks—among Republican reps using the legislative email. The “reply all” feature has been used so all 400 of us have had the dubious honor of reading the verbal flaming. This has been escalating since Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt’s forced resignation and the recent defeat of the education funding constitutional amendment.  I suspect this uncivil online debate is what prompted O’Brien’s actions.

I believe O’Brien’s computer policy, as applied to state representatives, is unworkable and a violation of free speech.”

John DiStaso’s Granite Status: Obama, Romney camps spar on private, public sector jobs, economy | New Hampshire NEWS0602: “As Republicans pounced on those comments, Romney last Friday said of Obama, “He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker won a recall election last week after taking on public employee unions? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Romney surrogate former Gov. John H. Sununu backed up Romney’s comments, saying on Monday that in areas where student populations are dropping, taxpayers want fewer teachers.”


U.S. Families’ Wealth Plunged 40 Percent During Recession, Fed Says | New Hampshire Public Radio: “In a study (pdf) released today, the Federal Reserve reports that Americans saw a record drop in their wealth between the years 2007 to 2010. Driven primarily by plummeting home values, families’ median net worth dropped 38.8 percent, to levels last seen 18 years ago.”

The Editor of the NH Union Leader pushes to give more control to Speaker Bill O’Brien and is slash and burn legislature.

Claremont permanent? One party’s play for more power | New Hampshire OPINION01: “Almost alone within his party, Gov. John Lynch favored a constitutional amendment overturning Claremont because he saw the harm the rulings would do eventually. All three Democratic candidates to succeed Lynch — Maggie Hassan, Jackie Cilley and Bill Kennedy — favor the Claremont regime. Should any of them win, New Hampshire would take one more step toward a broad-based tax and permanent judicial oversight of public education, which now must be considered a de facto part of the Democratic Party platform.”

NH-GOV: International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local #6 Endorse Maggie Hassan

International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local #6 Endorse Maggie Hassan

MANCHESTER, NH – Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan has earned the support of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local #6. 

Hassan has also been endorsed by the Carpenters Local 118, Iron Workers Local 7, UFCW Locals 1445 and 791, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Council #35.  

“We are pleased to announce our support for Maggie Hassan for Governor,” said Joe Gallagher, president of the International Association of Heat and Frost  Insulators and Allied Workers Local #6.  “She is running the strongest campaign to take on Republicans in the fall.  As Governor, Maggie will move New Hampshire forward by building an innovative economy creating the jobs to help middle class families thrive.  We are looking forward to helping her win in November.”

“I’m thrilled to have the endorsement of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers,” said Hassan.  “We are building momentum every day and I’m so pleased to have them on board our growing campaign.”

NH Labor News 6/6/12: Walker Wins in Wisconsin, NH Retirement Is Better As Defined Benefit, Election Filing Opens Today, and more

We may have lost the battle in Wisconsin, but we are not finished.  We have successfully changed the way people look at elections and who they are voting for.  We need to keep fighting as we always have.  We need to work together to change our future.

Walker’s recall victory won’t bring political peace to Wisconsin | MinnPost: “Labor leaders offer different take
Not surprisingly, labor leaders were trying to see something different in Walker’s victory.

Elliot Seide, director of Minnesota’s public employee union, AFSCME Council 5, expressed disappointment about the outcome but also said Wisconsin remains something of a rallying cry for labor.

“It’s hard to imagine how America would be today without the brave workers of Wisconsin,” Seide said in his statement. “We restored worker freedom in Ohio, stopped so-called right to work legislation in Minnesota and New Hampshire. … American workers across the country have beaten back the odds, and we have the spirit of Wisconsin to thank.””

;Scott Walker Defeats Tom Barrett In Wisconsin Recall Election (UPDATE): “MILWAUKEE — Scott Walker did it. In the historic Wisconsin recall battle, Walker emerged victorious on Tuesday, beating back labor unions and Democrats who tried to kick him out of office.

He remains governor of Wisconsin and will finish his original term.

Multiple TV networks called the race by 9 p.m. Central time, ending the race much earlier than many pundits had anticipated.

Walker’s victory speech stressed conciliation. When the crowd booed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), Walker hushed them.”

A must read on the proposed changes to the New Hampshire Retirement System and why we should not change it!

Pension Reform: Some Myth-Busters To Follow The Stalemate | StateImpact New Hampshire: “Last week, a State Senate bill that initially sought to replace New Hampshire’s defined benefit (DB for short — think pension) plan with a defined contribution plan (DC for short — think 401(k)) dissolved into a stalemate.  The Senate and House were not even able to form a commission to make recommendations addressing the state’s $4.2 billion in unfunded liability. There seems to be an inability to agree on the facts. We mined a few sources, especially a report from the National Institute On Retirement Security (NIRS), to try to find some clarity.

People assume DC plans are cheaper than DB plans for employers, and therefore for taxpayers — when it comes to public pensions.  But that’s not actually true. Economists agree that defined benefit plans are more efficient than defined contribution plans.  There are three reasons.”

State proposes penalties to impose if LGC violated laws | SeacoastOnline.com: “If the Local Government Center is found to have violated state laws, as alleged in a $100 million complaint by the secretary of state’s office, it would be subject to fines and would be mandated to reorganize, to rebate tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers, and to bear the cost for the state’s investigation and prosecution.

Specifics of those penalties are outlined in a proposed order published Monday by the state. It comes in response to a June 4 deadline for the state and the LGC to file briefs on the heels of a two-week administrative hearings process.”

NH school funding amendment faces key vote – Boston.com: “CONCORD, N.H.—A proposed constitutional amendment to give the New Hampshire Legislature more control over public school funding faces a crucial vote at the Statehouse.

Both the House and Senate will vote Wednesday on a proposed amendment that has the backing of legislative leaders and Gov. John Lynch. It’s expected to pass in the Senate, but has a tougher time in the House.

The proposal is the latest attempt to nullify a series of court rulings mandating that the state provide all children with an adequate education. It says the Legislature has the responsibility to maintain a public education system, as well as full authority over spending decisions.

If approved, the proposed amendment would go on the ballot in November, where two-thirds of voters must approve it to take effect.”

Filing period opens for state, county offices | New Hampshire NEWS06: “CONCORD – Hillsborough County Commissioner Carol Holden of Amherst was the first person through the Secretary of State’s door this morning to file for office, and Bill Kennedy of Hill the first to file for a major office.

Holden, a Republican, represents District 3, and has also served in the New Hampshire House.

Holden said she has been first in line before and has always been in the first five to file.

Second in line was Bill Barry, a Manchester Democrat, who filed for Hillsborough County Sheriff. Barry served in the county’s sheriff’s department for 26 years and is currently a police office in Auburn.”

Sad over failure of bill on campaign contributions | SeacoastOnline.com:
May 30 was a very sad day for New Hampshire. HB 1704 quietly died after a courageous battle with the 1 percent. This bill would have required that “any organization that has as its major purpose promoting, defeating or influencing a candidate election, campaign or measure that makes expenditures aggregating more than $2,500 in a calendar year” register as a political committee. This would make them subject to disclosure laws and inform voters as to the source of the money.

In state after state, the influence of out-of-state money has corrupted our democracy, and the “Live Free or Die” state is no exception. For example, Wisconsin has been in the news recently because of the governor recall race and serves as an example. Some of the bills passed there since the 2010 election include: a right-to-work law eliminating collective bargaining; weakened environmental laws expediting the permitting process; a law permitting guns in the state capitol; taxpayer-financed scholarships for children to attend private schools; and a stand-your-ground law. Does this sound familiar?

Flurry of votes ahead for N.H. House, Senate – Fosters: “CONCORD — With the legislative calendar drawing to a close, members of the House and Senate are set to vote today on dozens of remaining bills, including a constitutional amendment that would give lawmakers greater control over school funding.

Leaders in the House and Senate are hoping to take up more than 50 bills that emerged successfully from conference committees last month.

One of the most highly-anticipated votes on tap for today is the House decision on CACR12, the constitutional amendment regarding school aid.”

NH Labor News 6/5/12: Jobs Corp in MHT Bidding Without PLA, Verizon Announces Layoffs Throughout New England, Education Amendment, and much more

Union-friendly bidding nixed on Jobs Corps Center in city | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Federal officials have decided to drop a requirement that bids to build the long-delayed $35 million Job Corps Center in Manchester contain a union-friendly project-labor agreement.
The decision came two months after three New Hampshire-based construction companies filed a challenge to the requirement.
The Obama administration has ordered that project-labor agreements be considered for any federal construction project that exceeds $25 million. But contractors and their organizations have successfully challenged such requirements on several projects, including the Job Corps Center.”

Labor Department to drop requirement for NH center – Boston.com: “New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Frank Guinta say the U.S. Department of Labor plans to drop a requirement that union labor be considered to build a Job Corps center in Manchester.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said last year that the department was planning a Project Labor Agreement for the center, which traditionally have called for a collective bargaining agreement with workers.
Ayotte wrote to the president in February asking him to drop the requirement, saying it favored out-of-state unionized contractors rather than New Hampshire companies that employ state workers. Ayotte also has said PLAs increase construction costs and limit the ability of non-union companies to compete for government construction projects. Only a small percentage of New Hampshire’s construction workers are unionized.”

Verizon Announces More than 600 Layoffs in New England and New Jersey: “Company Pulls in Record Profits, While Squeezing Workers, Consumers Verizon’s announcement of more than 600 layoffs in New England and New Jersey is a blow to both working families and to reliable high-speed Internet service for thousands of consumers, say International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers activists.”

Is the N.H. ‘pledge’ still a political necessity?: “Give Jackie Cilley and bill Kennedy props for one thing: The two Democratic candidates for governor had the guts to say no late last week to the “New Hampshire pledge.” Now the question is whether declining the pledge means political banishment.”

O’Brien’s $400m cut would hurt services – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Maybe if House Speaker William O’Brien were in the habit of thinking about what $400 million in budget cuts would really cost New Hampshire families, he would reconsider. (May 8: “Speaker says more left to cut”)
O’Brien isn’t counting the schools that have – and will – lay off hundreds of teachers, increasing class sizes and jeopardizing our strong public education system.
He isn’t counting the tuition increases and teacher layoffs we’ve seen from our public universities.
He isn’t counting the roads that won’t get repaired or the streetlights that will go dark because there is no longer the money needed to maintain them.”

Amendment will just raise property taxes | Concord Monitor: “There are some people who believe the New Hampshire Supreme Court was right when it ruled that the state government is obligated to provide all children in the state with an adequate education, regardless of where they live. Count us among them.
There are some who believe the court was wrong – that the Legislature should be able to divvy up school aid according to its wishes, giving more money to some students and less to others, based on financial need or geography or (dare we say it?) politics.
And then there are those who apparently believe the Legislature deserves total discretion over the very amount the state will contribute to local schools. This year, it could be $600 million. Next year? A little more, a little less. After that? Maybe state lawmakers will see no choice but cutting state aid in half. Sorry, school districts – times are tough!”

Amendment likely faces uphill battle | Concord Monitor: “Last week, legislative leaders called a press conference to announce House and Senate negotiators had reached an agreement, with the governor’s approval, on a state education funding constitutional amendment that has long proved elusive. This week, whether that compromise will make it past tomorrow is very much open to debate.
“It’s a coin toss at this point,” said Rep. JR Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican on the House education committee.”

GOP Group Urges Defeat of Ed Funding Plan – Concord, NH Patch: “Are there cracks in the bipartisan agreement over a constitutional amendment on school funding?
House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, and Gov. John Lynch, D-Hopkinton, were practically gushing last week about the historic pact to improve the way the state helps fund and provide an adequate education.
However, the New Hampshire Republican Liberty Caucus is emerging as a potential spoiler. The group urges defeat of the education funding amendment.”

Kathy Sullivan: You cannot trust this Legislature with your kids’ education | New Hampshire OPINION02: “Some folks are finding a lot to love in the “compromise” education funding constitutional amendment, CACR 12. Me, not so much.

The amendment states that the Legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. That language in and of itself would be fine, as it would give the Legislature the ability to target aid to towns that need more help, while maintaining the state’s responsibility to provide an adequate education to all of New Hampshire’s children.”

Education funding fight defies party lines | New Hampshire NEWS06: “CONCORD — With the vote looming Wednesday, political and civic groups are weighing in on a constitutional amendment on public education funding in ways that have defied party lines.

The amendment, CACR 12, is seen by legislative leaders as a last, best chance to wrest authority over education funding from the courts and return it to the Legislature.”

Manchester mayor vetoes 2 budget votes | New Hampshire NEWS06: “MANCHESTER — Dueling budgets and a mayoral veto left aldermen at a budget impasse Monday night and a step closer to defaulting to Mayor Ted Gatsas’ proposed budget.

Aldermen Joyce Craig and Jim Roy both presented their own budgets; both failed to earn the votes needed to replace the proposed Gatsas budget. While Craig crafted a budget that would give $1.8 million more to the Manchester School District in hopes of saving about 40 teachers, Roy’s budget set more aside in the city’s contingency fund for upcoming projects. Roy’s budget also did not give more to schools than the $150 million proposed in the Gatsas budget.”

Bad ‘compromise’ on voter ID bill – NashuaTelegraph.com: “Another disappointing vote by the New Hampshire Senate: House and Senate negotiations have failed to bring meaningful voter ID legislation online before this November’s election. (June 1: “Compromise reached on voter IDs / Spokesman: Lynch still has ‘serious concerns’ with bill”)
The negotiators buckled under objections from town clerks that would require new voter identification procedures, even though those clerks would have more than five months to learn how to “take a picture” of the few voters who are unable to produce standard identification.”

News About Wisconsin Recall Election

One of the most inspiring labor songs, “Bread and Roses”, to photos of the public worker protest in Madison, Wisconsin.

Walker Maintains Lead Heading into Epic Wisconsin Recall Vote: “The battle over whether to recall Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, has sharply divided the state and become a nationally watched test of his party’s push to limit government, slash spending and challenge public-sector labor unions.

Tuesday’s recall vote also has the attention of two very interested outsiders: Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who are gearing up for their Nov. 6 showdown for the White House.
Two public opinion polls released on Sunday show Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker with a lead of three and six percentage points two days before the election to recall him because of a new law reducing the power of public sector unions.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, said Walker was leading 50 percent to 47 percent over Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in its final survey. Angus Reid polling had Walker ahead 53 percent to 47 percent. Both findings were within the margin of error so the results could be even tighter.”

Wisconsin vote will ripple across the US – SentinelSource.com: National World: “MADISON, Wis. — When Wisconsin voters mark their ballots in Tuesday’s recall election for governor, they will be deciding more than just the state’s history and direction.
If Scott Walker wins, he will cement his status as a national figure among conservatives and will be able to dream of a political prize as great as the presidency. If Tom Barrett wins, he will have an office he has sought three times over the past decade and Milwaukee will scramble to elect a new mayor.”

» The ABC’s Legislative Guides from 2009 and 2010 Contain Dozens of Bills Listed as “Property of ALEC”: “When we stumbled across news on May 18th that the FBI was investigating the John Kasich administration for bribery relating to gubernatorial appointments we rushed to post and comment on what we’d read. Buried in the story, though, was mention of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a big business lobby that claims to represent non-union contractors in the construction sector.

This weekend, an article on the Because I Can blog connected some more dots:

Maggie Cook, of Warren County, told the Plain Dealer that her job with Associated Builders and Contractors, was threatened if she didn’t withdraw from the central committee race in which the governor put up his own slate. She refused to resign from the committee. She was later fired.

Pause to catch your breath while I report that Bryan Williams, former director of the Summit County Board of Elections, is a lobbyist for said Associated Builders and Contractors and a likely suspect in trying to influence Cook.”

NH Labor News 6/4/12: Education Funding Still Tops News, Kids and Adults Fight For Jobs, Rochester Employees Contracts Discussed This Week, and more

GUEST OPINION: Celebrate minimum wage 100th anniversary with raise – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Daily Gazette: “Massachusetts led the nation when it passed the first state minimum wage law 100 years ago on June 4, 1912. Today, it is a laggard.

Our state minimum wage has been stuck at $8 an hour since 2008. That’s less than the $8.46 value of the 1956 minimum wage, adjusted for inflation — and way below its peak value of $10.58 in 1968. Today, Massachusetts has a lower minimum wage than Vermont, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.”

Kids, adults both pound pavement for summer jobs | New Hampshire NEWS02: “Though there seems to be some improvement in the summer job market, teenagers are still competing with underemployed adults for seasonal positions — and often losing the race.

“It’s just as hard for kids to find work as it is for professionals,” said Gina Gulino-Payne, executive director of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. “They really have to be pounding the pavement and taking the job search seriously.”

When Gulino-Payne was a teenager, finding jobs at the local Burger King or grocery store was easy, “but it’s not like that anymore.” “

Education support group issues a wake-up call to city | New Hampshire NEWS04: “Two hundred alarm clocks have been donated to the school district to be handed out by counselors and others working with the habitually truant.

The alarm clocks are the result of one of the first major fundraising efforts by the Manchester Foundation for Education, a group founded about a year ago to advance education district-wide. Organizers envisioned a program that would operate across the city, its work much like that done at individual schools by their Parent Teacher Organizations.”

Capital Corner: Bettencourt scandal is sure to live on | SeacoastOnline.com: “On Wednesday, as the House met for one of the last times before the contentious 162nd legislative session draws to a much applauded close, House Clerk Karen Wadsworth read yet another of Bettencourt’s resignation letters to the assembled representatives. It was one of the most contrite acts of a young legislator who has been one of House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s premier strong-arm men over the past two years.

In it, Bettencourt admitted fault in falsifying information that he had served more than 160 hours of internship in his quest for a degree. In fact, according to the state representative who had agreed to having Bettencourt serve as an intern for him, the former majority leader served barely an hour.”

Nashua’s Campbell looks to unseat O’Brien as speaker – NashuaTelegraph.com: “All eyes will be on the Statehouse on Wednesday, when lawmakers will return to take up 60 committee or conference reports.
The one with the most political drama – and suspense – is the proposed constitutional amendment on education funding (CACR 12).
Will this finally be the year an amendment scrapes through the Legislature and heads to the general election ballot?
Is this the legacy issue for which the retiring Lynch is looking, that he succeeded after his three predecessors failed to at least get this issue to the voters?
How does success or failure on the issue affect O’Brien’s hopes of returning to the high chair after the statewide votes are counted?”

Defending New Hampshire Public Education founder and contributor to the NH Labor News Bill Duncan has a full editorial in the Monitor. Here is the intro:
State aid would become an utter fiction | Concord Monitor: “Years of education funding debates, committees, negotiations, lawyers, votes, leaks, dead ends and editorial ink culminated Thursday in a crowded ceremonial press conference in which New Hampshire’s legislative leadership presented us with a minor work of fiction.

House Speaker Bill O’Brien has taken center stage to sell it to us as a historic opportunity to target school aid to needy communities, put the education funding battles behind us and provide our kids with an excellent education. But when you look, the amendment is not really about educating our kids. It’s about giving O’Brien’s Legislature “full power and authority” over New Hampshire education.”

Nashua’s Campbell looks to unseat O’Brien as speaker – NashuaTelegraph.com: “The Sunday Telegraph obtained a copy of a letter sent to all House Democrats at the end of last week in which Campbell, 54, took the high road in not attacking by name either O’Brien or Norelli.
Two years ago, Campbell ran late to be the top Democrat and lost to former Speaker Norelli 52-39.
“Let me be clear, I am not running against any individual or events of the past; but rather I am running for a new legislative future, with new energy and a new messenger,’’ Campbell said in the letter.
“The last two years have been difficult: being in a super-minority and watching the House repeatedly vote to decimate issues near and dear to all of us. It is crucial that the next Legislature forge a new approach to solving New Hampshire’s critical issues.’’”

Employee contracts come before council on Tuesday – Fosters: “Toward the second half of the meeting on Tuesday, the City Council will vote to approve a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Rochester Municipal Employees Association, and a three-year agreement for public works employees.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Fitzpatrick will also explain the proposed job descriptions for a director of community services, code compliance officer, human resource manager, and payroll/human resources specialist.”

NH Labor News 6/3/12: Education Funding, Bettencourt Still in Trouble, No to CACR Amendments and more

Be sure to check out the NH Labor News new election news.

City teacher pay on the rise | New Hampshire NEWS04: “When the new school year begins, city teachers who survive the layoff process will be getting 2.5-percent pay raises.

That’s because the teachers are about to enter the final year of a four-year contract, which provides for cost-of-living and “step” increases. The contract also increases teachers’ contributions to their health benefits by a half-percent as of July 1.

A 2.5-percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will kick in when school starts.”

Key vote on education funding this week | New Hampshire NEWS06: “But some fear that without the Supreme Court to keep a check on lawmakers, such an amendment would allow them to drastically cut education aid to all cities and towns, effectively sending the state back to the pre-Claremont lawsuit days when property taxes footed more than 90 percent of the bill for education and communities with lower property values had to set their tax rates higher than “property-rich” ones to raise enough money to provide their children with basic educational opportunities.

Three-fifths majorities of the 395-member House (there are five vacancies) and 24-member Senate are needed on Wednesday to send the question to the voters. The governor’s signature is not needed, but given Lynch’s popularity and political influence, his support is viewed as critical to getting the necessary votes in the Legislature and support among the voters.”

Passing education funding amendment no easy feat | SeacoastOnline.com: “When New Hampshire lawmakers take up the question of a constitutional amendment on education funding this week, voters may feel this is an all-too-familiar political and ideological showdown that has happened before almost three dozen times the past two decades.

According to the House calendar, the education funding amendment vote is set for Wednesday.

The last time the New Hampshire Legislature came close to passing a constitutional amendment of public education funding, the proposal was backed by the governor, the House speaker and Senate president.

The general consensus at the time was that most Democrats opposed the measure because they didn’t trust giving most control over education funding to the Legislature after decades of indifference or defiance of court mandates. Most Republicans opposed the measure because they wanted the courts out of the equation altogether and the language of the 2008 proposal still allowed for it.”

We need an amendment, but not this one | Concord Monitor: “I agree with Gov. John Lynch that we need a constitutional amendment to permit targeting of state funds for education. Being a supporter of education and financially realistic, I agree that we have a limited amount of money available and we need to be able to direct more state aid to school districts that have low assessed property valuation. I dare say, a majority of Democrats and Republicans can agree on that principle. Given this shared belief, agreeing on the language for a constitutional amendment to allow targeting should be a relatively simple matter. Unfortunately, the language proposed by Republican leadership in the House and Senate does much more than to allow targeting of aid for education.”

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: O’Brien’s team faces tough battle on public ed, funding amendment | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: House Speaker William O’Brien and his new leadership team have hard work ahead as they try to secure 237 votes to pass the newly unveiled constitutional amendment on public education and its funding.

One of the problems — according to several House members — is that information about the affect an amendment could have on their communities has not been forthcoming.

“We can agree on the concept, but (not) how much damage is going to be done,” one lawmaker said. “I don’t know which way I am going on this yet.”

To date, Lynch has vetoed only one bill lawmakers haven’t already tried to override, but there will be more before the session is done.

The House has scheduled June 27 as veto day and the Senate is expected to do the same. The House is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m.

So far, there is none of the dramatics associated with the override vote on the right-to-work-bill that dominated the end of last session.”

Challenge looms for ex-leader | Concord Monitor: “If that were to happen, Bettencourt – who is still attending the University of New Hampshire – would encounter hurdles getting into another law school. The obstacles could be even greater during the bar admission process, when applicants are investigated to ensure they meet standards of good moral character.

But few rules prevent an expelled student from someday becoming a lawyer. The American Bar Association, which accredits law schools, allows for students dismissed from law school for academic reasons to be admitted elsewhere or readmitted. It has no rule prohibiting the admission of an applicant previously dismissed due to an honor code violation.”

Step up support for community colleges | Concord Monitor: “This year marked the third time since 2006 that New Hampshire’s system of seven community colleges succeeded in not raising tuition. The colleges should be congratulated for their accomplishment. But unless the Legislature, which cut the system’s budget by 20 percent last year, increases state support for higher education, the colleges should not be expected to do it again.”

NH Labor News 6/2/12: Education Funding Changes Would Destroy NH Public Schools, LTE: OBRIEN Worst Speaker ever, Nashua Rail Project, and more

Do want to see what NH would be like if we allow school vouchers to pass in NH.  Then if we give the power to Speaker O’Brien to control the funding.  They will privatize NH Schools in a heartbeat.
Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools | Reuters: “Louisiana is embarking on the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.

The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.”

Local superintendents worry about impact of proposed education funding amendment – NashuaTelegraph.com: “A proposed constitutional amendment giving the Legislature the final say on education funding has some local school officials concerned about it leading to a drop in state support.
“In my view, if this were adopted, over time it would lead to considerably less funding from the state for Nashua, resulting in either reductions in education, higher local property taxes or both at the same time,” Nashua School District Superintendent Mark Conrad said. “I think history really documents that.”
Conrad was referring to the wording of a proposed amendment to the constitution agreed upon by state legislative leaders and Gov. John Lynch on Thursday. The House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to vote on the measure next week, and both need a 60 percent majority to pass the amendment.”

Jackie on the proposed education constitutional amendment:
 May. 31, 2012

 “These constitutional amendments are about ‘whether’ — whether the state will fund your school. My administration would be focused on the ‘how’ –how we partner with your community to insure that every child has access to a quality education in our state. Education should not be an accident of geography. If NH is going to attract business with good …jobs for our citizens, it is imperative that we prepare students for the challenges of the 21 st century marketplace. CACR 12 sends us back to the days of using educational funding as a political football– powerful legislators snag money for their districts at the expense of yours. Parents, educators and most of all businesses,hoping for a well educated workforce, should stand united against CACR 12.””

Amendments would be disastrous; Proponents put economy at risk – Fosters: “At a time when New Hampshire is falling behind other states in its ability to attract new businesses with good jobs for our citizens, the Free State/Tea Party Legislature in Concord is putting our economic future at even greater risk. On Wednesday a legislative committee of conference passed CACR 13, a constitutional amendment that, if approved by the voters in November, will forever ban taxes on incomes.

One doesn’t need to be in favor of an income tax, something I’m sure to be accused of, to understand that a constitutional amendment of this nature may well be easy to sell. It will be far harder to explain its long-term damage to our state.

However, unless the business community is willing to settle for rising business profits taxes, as well as getting less for their money to boot from a deteriorating infrastructure and educational system, and unless property taxpayers are willing to see their property taxes rise faster and by greater percentages, folks better take a long hard look at where this simple sounding solution to all of our fiscal woes will actually lead.”

William O’Brien is worst N.H. House speaker ever | SeacoastOnline.com: “Regarding the May 29 editorial, “Reckoning for House leaders,” thank you. Finally — you nailed it! Having not sent a letter to the editor in over 20 years, but having been a home delivery subscriber of the Herald for over 25 years, thank you for publicizing what our Legislature has been doing.

They will say and do anything to reach their personal goals. They have done nothing to help the working men and women of New Hampshire. In my opinion, he is the worst speaker this state has ever had. Please keep telling it the “way it is” and hopefully the citizens of New Hampshire will pay attention and vote accordingly.”

Bettencourt gone, O’Brien on deck? – NashuaTelegraph.com: “They’ve lied about why they really cut the cigarette tax and lied about the $10 million financial hit the state has taken.
They lied about New Hampshire needing right-to-work legislation to improve the state’s business climate, even though no one in the state has asked for it. At the same time, they’ve had the audacity to take credit for the state’s near-national best employment rate.
They lied about bullying state Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Rindge, and lied about the eyewitnesses who saw them do it.
They lied about legislative efforts to gut public education by taking tax dollars from the public schools and giving them as vouchers – which they deceptively call scholarships – to families sending students to private and parochial schools.”

Shaheen critical of Executive Council’s decision to pass on rail study – NashuaTelegraph.com: “The state Executive Council’s vote against a commuter rail study will set back efforts to get federal funds for public transportation, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told The Telegraph’s editorial board Thursday.
Shaheen met with the editorial board for an informal talk on a range of topics, from health care reform and legislative gridlock to foreign relations.
The council’s decision against a $3.2 million federal grant to study the possibility of linking Boston’s commuter rail line to Nashua and Concord has been much maligned by Nashua city officials.
Shaheen said the decision not to go forward with the study will impair the state’s ability to get money from the federal government.”

For unemployed in N.H., working for free pays off – CBS News: “It’s called the “return to work” program – New Hampshire’s attempt to match those looking for work with businesses looking for workers. And it doesn’t cost company owners like Electropac’s Ray Boissoneau a penny.

“They continue to collect their unemployment during that period, so they’ve not lost anything,” Boissoneau said. “The only difference is that instead of sitting around the house, they’re able to come to a factory and begin the opportunity to get skilled work and get off the unemployment rolls.”

Boissoneau said that the program gives them a helping hand by giving them a leg-up into a job.

The unemployed have up to six weeks to prove themselves. In two years, 236 have turned their volunteer work into permanent jobs — that’s a 40 percent success rate. Boissoneau has tried out seven people and four have made it.”

US Congress: House revisits project labor agreement fight during VA spending bill debate – The Hill’s Floor Action: “The House on Thursday evening revisited a fight from last year on whether construction projects funded through the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs spending bill should be required to use firms that enter into project labor agreements (PLAs). The spending bill itself, H.R. 5854, includes language that says none of the funds in the bill can be used to award a construction contract that requires bidders to enter into PLAs. A PLA is a short-term collective bargaining agreement that lasts throughout a particular construction project.”

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on May Jobs Report:
May’s employment report shows the economy continues to confront strong headwinds. The addition of a mere 65,000 jobs last month and a small uptick in the unemployment rate is alarming and unacceptable.

Most frustrating is the fact that it is not the means for recovery that lack, but rather the will. For purely political and cynical reasons, Republicans in Congress have blocked President Obama’s efforts to maintain momentum for growth, whether it’s the American Jobs Act or routine highway infrastructure investments. Moreover, under the leadership of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and John Boehner, Republicans are also looking to cut back on policies that provide relief for the millions of working families worrying about how to pay the bills and how to make ends meet.

The employment report’s hint of a renewed slowdown also tells a deeper story. Not only did the financial crash of 2008 trigger the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it also showed that the economic model we have been following for thirty years has profound flaws.

We need continued expansionary policy to keep the economy moving forward, but the President and Congress must also push deeper changes and reforms if recovery is ever to generate shared prosperity. That means policies which reconnect wages to productivity growth, strengthen manufacturing, and correct the trade deficit, particularly with China.

NH Labor News 6/1/12: Gov Lynch Needs To Veto SB48, Both Teachers Unions Against CACR12, NH Workers At 5 Yr. Low, and more

New Hampshire Labor News: Over Ten Organizations Know SB 48 Will Remove Accountability: “Conclusion: Jobs and Consumers Should be the Priority for New Hampshire

Telephone service is necessary for participation in economic and civic life. In times of natural disaster, medical emergency or criminal activity, telephone service is indispensable.  Since telephone service – however delivered – is essential, the state and federal government have long regulated to ensure universal access, affordability, and quality service. States should reject the anti-worker, anti-jobs, anti-consumer corporate agenda.

Call Governor Lynch — 603 271-2121
Ask him to take the appropriate action and do what is right for  NH Consumers and Workers

Telegraph Article includes a Video of members explaining the issues.

Protesters: Merrimack Outlets developer broke promise, hired out-of-state workers – NashuaTelegraph.com [Video]: “On Thursday morning, about 50 carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers and other tradesmen showed up on Industrial Drive at the entrance to Merrimack Premium Outlets.
They didn’t come to work, but to protest not working.
The mall developer, Premium Outlets/Simon, of New Jersey, promised them jobs and then turned around and hired out-of-state workers, the protestors claimed.
Simon promised local building trades that construction would be done by local workers, said John Jackson, a carpenter with Local 118, based in Manchester.
“They’ve broken that promise,” Jackson said. “They came to us when the project was going through the planning and zoning phase.””

Additional Coverage
Premium Outlet Demonstrators Frustrated by Lack of Local Job Creation – Merrimack, NH Patch

Carpenters protest non-union hiring at Merrimack outlets | New Hampshire NEWS02

Unions go after construction trade group – TheHill.com: “Labor officials touted a 165-page report titled “An Analysis of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)” that said the trade group was not the self-proclaimed “voice” of the construction industry.

“The reality is that they are an ideologically, politically motivated and anti-union front group,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on a call with reporters.
In response to the report, Geoff Burr, ABC’s vice president of federal affairs, said the trade group was “flattered” by the document.

“ABC is focused on getting the construction industry back to work. While we are flattered by the unions’ fascination with us, it appears they have once again taken their eye off the ball,” Burr said.”

Deregulation Fosters Profiteering » Letters to the Editor » CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH: “Over and over, we hear politicians say that the way to prosperity is to cut out regulations so as to unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit. Even a brief glance at history reveals what nonsense that notion is. What cutting government regulations is really intended to do is to unleash profiteers to grab an even bigger share of what working people produce. For most of our history, we had little government regulation. A nation of small farmers didn’t need it. Then, as the country industrialized, we had monopolies, frequent economic “panics”, tainted food, snake oil, child labor, unsafe working conditions, and unmitigated suffering of the poor. It culminated with the wild, speculative “roaring ’20s” that led to the great depression.”

New Hampshire Labor News: AFT-NH Education Funding Update: “There is much to worry about if CACR 12 passes next week in both the senate and the house. If passed this proposed constitutional amendment would be placed on the November ballot.  The agreed upon language and the seven points sounds wonderful in theory to some but actions speak louder than words. It is abundantly clear to me that Speaker O’Brien and his fellow extremists having exclusive control over all education funding with no court oversight will turn the clock back to pre-Claremont. We know the first pot of money that such a legislature would raid in trying to make spending cuts. Their agenda for the past two years has been to divert much needed money away from our public schools. “

NEANH – NEA New Hampshire: “CACR12 Wrong for New Hampshire’s Schoolchildren
Commenting on today’s announcement of an agreement on the wording of a constitutional amendment regarding school funding, Rhonda Wesolowski, NEA-NH President said, “We do not believe that CACR 12 serves the best interests of the children of New Hampshire. Schoolchildren lose when politicians play favorites and that is exactly what this amendment allows.”

NEA-NH believes that every child deserves a great education. Access to that education should not depend on the child’s zip code. If CACR 12 passes, for the first time some New Hampshire children will be deemed more deserving of state funding than others. No child’s future should be robbed to pay for another child’s education.

“The obstacle to adequate education funding is not the Constitution, but Legislators who believe that an amendment is the only solution to a problem that does not exist. The Constitution is the only protection our children have from every kind of politically motivated funding scheme that only serves the bottom line and not the needs of our children,” continued Wesolowski.”

Education funding compromise reached | SeacoastOnline.com: “Despite the governor’s support, there is still some question as to whether Democrats will vote for the amendment. Rep. Patty Lovejoy, D-Exeter, expressed some of the concerns the party has with the amendment.

“A lot of Democrats believe the amount of money the state will spend on education will go down significantly if this constitutional amendment passes,” she said.”

Additional Coverage
Lawmakers, Lynch announce historic deal on education aid amendment – NashuaTelegraph.com: ““It puts millions at risk that go out to school districts,” said Dean Michener, the longtime lobbyist for the New Hampshire School Boards Association.”

Agreement reached on education-funding amendment | New Hampshire NEWS06

The Claremont fix: Amended CACR 12 provides it | New Hampshire OPINION01

Economist forecasts continued slow recovery in N.H. | SeacoastOnline.com: “Dennis Delay, New Hampshire forecast manager for NEEP, noted the Granite State’s job recovery continues, but at a near-glacial pace.

“At the current rate of growth, New Hampshire will have regained all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession by mid-2014,” said Delay, an economist at the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies.

New England should be back to the pre-recession level of 7.1 million jobs by early 2015, he said.

“New Hampshire continues its slow, steady emergence from the Great Recession, having fared better than most of the rest of the country,” Delay said.”

Highlights of the N.H. May 2012 forecast:

New Hampshire manufacturing jobs will increase only slightly from 2011 to 2016, at a 0.4 percent average increase each year.
Private service producing jobs will increase 1.6 percent annually in the forecast period, with the fastest rate of growth in professional and business services, followed by the leisure and hospitality industry.
New Hampshire construction jobs will increase 2.3 percent annually in the forecast period, as housing permits increase from the current annual rate of 2,200 per year to a more typical 5,000 per year. This forecast assumes New Hampshire will again see positive domestic in-migration, but at lower rates than in the beginning of the last decade.

N.H. labor force hits a five-year low in April – Fosters: “The latest figures show there has been a marked improvement over the month in the state’s unadjusted unemployment rate — down from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent, but this has come about through a decline in the labor force, not through job creation. The labor force declined from 740,170 in March to 731,920 in April, and thus, despite the lower jobless rate in April, there were actually 1,730 fewer New Hampshire residents holding jobs last month, compared to March. In April, 697,280 people held jobs either in New Hampshire or in states to which they commuted (by vehicle or by Internet.)

The April 2012 unadjusted labor force number (responsible for the superficially encouraging jobless rate) for New Hampshire is the lowest labor force figure since April 2007.”

N.H. bill passes to spare town new pension costs | SeacoastOnline.com: “CONCORD — State Sen. Nancy Stiles’ efforts to protect Hampton, Portsmouth and other municipalities from hundreds of thousands of dollars in new “spiking” pension costs have been approved by the House and Senate.

The N.H. House on Wednesday concurred with the Senate-passed version of House Bill 1483. This legislation contains the original text of Senate Bill 228, which was sponsored by Stiles, R-Hampton. The bill repeals current law scheduled to take effect July 1, 2012, which states that, if a public employee’s final average pay is greater than 125 percent of the employee’s average base pay, cities and towns must pay the part attributed to “spiking.”

Spiking occurs when public employees’ highest average pay, upon which pensions are calculated, includes pay for overtime, stipends and private work details.”

Bettencourt behavior no shock to grandma – NashuaTelegraph.com: “A two-part adage was “If a person will lie about little things, they will lie about big things” and “There is no difference between a liar and a thief.”
As unpleasant as some of this is to deal with, it has saved me much grief over the years and helped develop responsibility.
This deals with disrespect. It shows in small ways but indicates a bigger problem. The problem can be with a family member or an elected official; doesn’t matter. This is a human problem.
News of former House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt’s fabrications is one more example. The disrespect extends to his colleagues and the public he was elected to represent.”

NH Labor News 5/31/12: Protests Outside GOP Event In MHT, MHT City Budget Still Up In The Air, Bettencourt Fallout, and much more

Huckabee works to fire up GOP faithful at Manchester event | New Hampshire NEWS06: “The event also included a small protest outside the Radisson Hotel, where about 25 people demonstrated against state gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne, primarily because of his stated support for proposed right-to-work legislation, which seeks to prevent compulsory union membership or dues paying at a workplace.

“I’m out here to protect my personal welfare,” said Mike King of Manchester, who said he is a union iron worker. “(Lamontagne) wants to create a right-to-work state, which would diminish workers’ rights. These are rights that people before me fought hard to get and my generation is fighting hard to keep.”

“Right-to-work would, over time, lower wages for all employees, not just union employees,” said Deb Howes, who said she is a teacher at Amherst Street school in Nashua. “How are we going to support an economy when no one has any money to spend?””

New Hampshire Labor News: NH AFL-CIO Release: Manchester residents: “This is what NH would look like under Lamontagne”: “Over fifty Granite Staters gathered outside of the Republican Victory dinner tonight with handmade signs to lay out what New Hampshire would really look like under gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Carrying signs that read “Working Families Matter” and “Ovide for governor = 2+ years of O’Brien”, the Manchester and Nashua residents expressed their worry that if elected, Lamontagne would pursue the same extreme agenda that Speaker O’Brien attempted to ram through the Legislature.”

Parents say Manchester budget fight upsets kids | New Hampshire NEWS06: ““It is unfortunate how much time has to be devoted to the budget process,“ Brennan said. “It takes over this building.”

If budget problems are not resolved, he said, some openings produced by layoffs will be filled by transferring teachers, he said. In other cases, laid-off administrators will return to classrooms by “bumping” teachers with less seniority.

Transfer notices must be sent by June 30. Brennan said he will try to hold off until the budget situation is resolved, but prefers to let teachers know before the last day of school where they will be working in September.”

In the third ring of the circus: bad bills | Concord Monitor: “t’s been bedlam in the State House in the final days of this memorable legislative session. A Republican majority that includes a fair percentage of radical libertarians and Tea Party types is struggling to turn New Hampshire into their version of Freedonia. The resignations of former House majority leader D.J. Bettencourt and a member of his staff, for reasons of ethics or the lack thereof, have drawn attention away from a variety of detrimental bills that voters may have forgotten were still under discussion.

Some of legislation, we hope, will fail of its own accord. Some may be vetoed by Gov. John Lynch and die because the Legislature can’t override his veto. And one or more proposed constitutional amendments that would do deep and lasting harm to the state could be put before voters in the fall. Here’s a look at what’s still pending:”

House, Senate leadership to discuss education funding compromise | The Republic: “CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s House and Senate leaders are weighing in on the latest developments in the effort to shift more control over public schools from the courts to the Legislature.

The state is required under a landmark 1997 state Supreme Court ruling to provide all public school children with an adequate education, but lawmakers have been trying to nullify the ruling ever since.

Both the House and Senate passed new proposed constitutional amendments this year, and negotiators have been working to reconcile the differences between them in the last week. House and Senate leaders will join members of the negotiating team to discuss a tentative agreement Thursday.”

Bill passes to spare Hampton, Portsmouth ‘spiking’ pension costs | SeacoastOnline.com: “CONCORD — State Sen. Nancy Stiles’ efforts to protect Hampton, Portsmouth and other municipalities from hundreds of thousands of dollars in new “spiking” pension costs have been approved by the House and Senate.

The N.H. House on Wednesday concurred with the Senate-passed version of House Bill 1483. This legislation contains the original text of Senate Bill 228, which was sponsored by Stiles, R-Hampton. The bill repeals current law scheduled to take effect July 1, 2012, which states that, if a public employee’s final average pay is greater than 125 percent of the employee’s average base pay, cities and towns must pay the part attributed to “spiking.”

Spiking occurs when public employees’ highest average pay, upon which pensions are calculated, includes pay for overtime, stipends and private work details.”

Tax Amendments Likely Headed to Ballot | New Hampshire Public Radio: “It looks like tax policy will be front and center on ballots later this fall.

Lawmakers have agreed on two constitutional amendments that limit New Hampshire’s ability to tax its citizens.

When Republicans swept into the Legislature after the 2010 elections, they promised to focus on jobs and the economy.

Leadership in both chambers believe they’ve helped deliver on that promise by reaching agreement on constitutional amendments to install a tax cap, and another banning an income tax.”

LETTER: Democrats Ask O’Brien For Answers – Salem, NH Patch: “As you know, the image of the New Hampshire House has been tarnished by recent events.  Our legislative ethics guidelines state that legislators should treat their office as a public trust, acting “openly, equitably and honorably in a manner that permits the citizenry… to hold government officials accountable.”  Furthermore, as you wrote to the Republican caucus, you insisted on “honesty, integrity and ethical behavior” from your leadership team and said you would have “no tolerance for any leader who departs from that foundational standard.””

NH ex-GOP leader apologizes in resignation letter, admits ‘lapse in judgment and integrity’ | The Republic: “”It is among my many regrets that through my own fault, I cannot express my thanks and say farewell to you all in person,” Bettencourt wrote. “I want the House to know that I am sorry for inexcusable lapse in judgment and integrity. We are citizen legislators. Our obligations as legislators never relieve us of our obligations as citizens. I have breached those citizen obligations and I stand ready for the consequences.”

House Speaker William O’Brien, right, tells reporters Tuesday May 29, 2012 from his office at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. that Rep. Peter Silva, R-Nashua, left, will become the new House Majority Leader. The former New Hampshire Republican Leader, D.J. Bettencourt resigned over the weekend after admitting he falsified law school reports. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bettencourt, 28, also apologized to the law school, saying it had offered him the opportunity to learn and be part of an honorable profession.

“But that profession comes with high expectations that my actions demonstrate I am not yet ready to meet. I can only hope that one day I will be worthy of it,” he said.”

Sadly, Americans have become a nation of liars | SeacoastOnline.com: “But shouldn’t lying by our political leaders be a capital offense, especially when people die as a result? Lies by our political leaders have resulted in thousands of people dying unnecessarily.

And now, what many of us have known for a couple years, political leaders in this state have been lying … and (have been) caught at it. House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt has been ousted because he falsified his records for a law degree from the UNH School of Law. He’s not only a lying politician, but a lying lawyer “wannabe.”

In the wake of this resignation, the Portsmouth Herald outlines a list of lies that both Bettencourt and House Speaker William O’Brien have been engaged in since they were elected: Lies that have been promoting their perverse ideology at the expense of N.H. residents. Now that the Herald has shed public light on these public liars, we need to not only question this authority but replace it. I am calling on the good folks of New Hampshire to call for the resignation of Speaker William O’Brien as well. We need to purge this state of perjuring politicians!”

Image from Free Press

CWA Union Teams Up With Free Press, Consumer Groups to Oppose Telecom Deregulation – Working In These Times: “The Communications Workers of America union has been criticized by progressive consumers groups like Free Press for its positions on net neutrality and the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger.  Last year, Free Press criticized CWA for endorsing the T-Mobile-AT&T deal, which would have given CWA the right to organize T-Mobile employees without employer interference.

“It may create more dues-paying members for CWA, but does it mean it’s good for the overall job market and the country? Mergers almost always result in layoffs,” Free Press Political Adviser Joel Kelsey told me last year.”

N.H. House bill would allow recordings of public officials » Latest News » EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA: “But some local departments are concerned about how the bill will affect police work, including Plaistow, according to Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones.

“My officers are good at what they do and I don’t have any fear of anyone taping them on duty,” she said. “My fear is that it’s going to distract the officer from the task at hand, which can be dangerous. If people are filming officers on car stops, that puts them in harm’s way.”

Windham police Chief Gerald Lewis agreed.

“What we do is open to public view and inspection,” he said. “The only concern I have is when such recording interferes with the incident we’re involved in or privacy concerns. We have to protect rape victims’ identities and juveniles’ identities. There may be aspects of a case we don’t want to have recorded.””

Can unions fight Super PACs? – Salon.com: “faced with a post-Citizens United landscape and armed with hard-fought lessons, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is pledging a “big change” in how the federation does politics. “Before, we used to build everybody else’s structure,” says Trumka, “and now, we’re going to build our own structure.”  He says to expect three changes: more focus on door-to-door organizing rather than TV ads; more funds toward building a permanent, independent political infrastructure and less towards candidates’ coffers; and more outreach beyond union households. What could this look like for Obama’s reelection effort in Ohio or Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign in Massachusetts? Less direct campaign cash from unions and fewer union-backed TV ads on their behalf. More union volunteers, acting apart from the Democratic campaign, persuading and mobilizing people to vote for the candidates. And an organization pledged to better hold the candidates accountable if they win.”

A Betrayal of Trust – Nashua, NH Patch: “Unfortunately, this is exactly what turns off most of us to politics; the arrogant belief that the rules are not for you, the dishonesty and collusion. There are good people and bad in every enterprise; sometimes good people make bad mistakes and sometimes bad people are just plain bad people. Other times, bad people actually learn to do better and earn redemption.

Whether it is because we have become jaded ourselves or are just disillusioned, we the people have come to believe that “that’s just the way it is” in politics. Sooner or later, we figure, everyone we elect becomes corrupt or abusive in one way or another, putting party and power above the people.”

James O’Keefe edges near committing voter fraud again

James O’Keefe Scams Voter Fraud and Voter ID Laws Into Existence – COLORLINES: “But O’Keefe isn’t looking for veritas or accuracy — he just needs the perception that something fishy is going on so that he can direct you to his page and have you contribute to his fairy tale fund. That’s how hustles work. Right now, on his website he invites people to fork over the dollars because “Our work in North Carolina as draining on our staff and funds — but we produced jaw-droppiong (sic) results once again!”

Here’s the jaw-dropping results: A Veritas actor assumed the name of a man, Michael Bolton, who died two weeks before North Carolina’s May 8 primary. O’Keefe’s actor went to Bolton’s polling place and attempted to fill out the dead man’s ballot. The poll worker asked the actor if he was Michael Bolton Jr., the deceased’s son, to which the actor responded affirmatively, but O’Keefe edits this part out. Instead, he presents the video as if his actor voted on behalf of a dead person, even though the actor never actually filled out the ballot.”

NH Labor News 5/30/12: Education Funding and Vetos, Redistricting, School Cuts, and More News On Bettencourt

New Hampshire Labor News: SAVE OUR NH PUBLIC SCHOOLS-STOP VOUCHERS: “The House and the Senate have passed Senate Bill 372 which diverts public money for education to religious and private schools as well as home schoolers. This bill is intended to privatize our public education in NH and weaken our good schools here in NH. We are proud of our schools in NH and vouchers will only harm public education.

The bill is on its way to Governor Lynch and we need to ask him to VETO this bill. This bill diverts precious resources to private and religious institutions. Those institutions do not have the same requirements as public schools.

But the extremists in the legislature won’t give up and are determined to defund our schools and thus destroy what we cherish. Polls of NH citizens have recently shown little support for a voucher plan. [Granite State Poll- February 9, 2012]”

Latest NH school funding proposal expected – Boston.com: “CONCORD, N.H.—House and Senate negotiators say they are close to a compromise on a proposed change to the New Hampshire Constitution to shift more control over public school aid from the courts to the Legislature.

The state is currently required under a landmark 1997 state Supreme Court ruling to provide all public school children with an adequate education. New Hampshire lawmakers have tried and failed dozens of times over the years to nullify the ruling.

Both the House and Senate passed new proposed constitutional amendments this year, and negotiators have been working to reconcile the differences between them in the last week. Members of the negotiating team say they expect to release details of their compromise Wednesday afternoon.”

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: Council redistricting game nears finale | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “WALKING THE FINE LINE: House and Senate members negotiating a constitutional amendment on education and how it is funded may be taking the weekend off, but the real negotiations are likely to continue.

The official line last week was that constitutional attorneys would spend the weekend reviewing every word in House- and Senate-proposed constitutional amendments to determine the implications and constitutional legality. The real work, however, is going on among attorneys for the Senate, the House and the Governor’s Office and a long list of outside legal and political advisers, not with the members of the negotiating teams for the House and Senate.”

Proposed school cuts prompt City Hall protest | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Upset by plans to cut education spending and by the way the city’s school budget debate has been framed, about 150 people gathered outside City Hall Tuesday to dramatize their opposition to cuts in city school spending.

Participants claimed the school budget shortfall would harm education and ultimately drive down property values as potential homebuyers pass on Manchester because of concerns over the city schools.

“I want Manchester schools to be properly funded, not just adequately funded but properly funded,” said participant Lisa Johnston, parent of a Southside Middle School student.

The rally was organized by Manchester Citizens for Education, a group established last week to serve as a voice for parents who believe that city schools should get more money than proposed by Mayor Ted Gatsas or the Board of School Committee.”

Supermarket Settlement Affects New England Stores: “DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. has agreed to correct all hazards and take steps to enhance safety and health at all of its Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The settlement resolves litigation involving citations and nearly $600,000 in fines issued by OSHA last year.

DeMoulas initially contested the citations to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. As a result of settlement discussions with the Labor Department solicitor, DeMoulas will make changes and pay a reduced fine of $400,000.

The improvements include a full-time safety and health director, a written safety and health program for each workplace, a written disciplinary program, formal training, and inclusion of job safety in annual performance reviews of stores and managers.”

Sugar Hill post office cut to half-hour each day | New Hampshire NEWS: “SUGAR HILL — Residents going to the post office were met with a rude shock over the weekend.

“Effective Saturday, May 26, 2012 the Rural Carrier will service this facility from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. each day,” a notice posted on the door read. “Customers will be able to purchase Stamps only. No other retail services will be provided.”

Brenda Aldrich of the Harman’s Cheese & Country Store said the post office was not on any of the United State Postal Service’s closure lists. Harman’s leases the building to the post office. The facility has postal boxes for residents and businesses.

“It’s a very vital part of our town,” Lissa Boissonneault, town clerk, said Tuesday. She called the manner in which the announcement was made “horrendous.”

The window hours had been 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.”

Bettencourt Makes National News
Fake law school record topples New Hampshire legislator – chicagotribune.com: “Republican wunderkind D.J. Bettencourt’s rise to the top of New Hampshire politics was meteoric. His fall has been even more spectacular.

Bettencourt, first elected as a state representative at 20, last year at 27 became majority leader of New Hampshire’s 400-member House of Representatives after Republicans won a two-thirds majority in the 2010 election.”

This article also has a video clip from the press conference
O’Brien calls Bettencourt situation “shocking;” claims to have had no knowledge – NashuaTelegraph.com [Video]: “CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien said it was “shocking” to learn Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, had falsified documents about a law school internship he had taken under a fellow state legislator.
O’Brien, a Mont Vernon Republican, held a press conference in his office Tuesday and told reporters he had not even been aware Bettencourt, 28, was taking an 11-week internship under Rep. Brandon Giuda, R-Chichester, until Giuda recently told him that Bettencourt has falsified documents about those studies.
“It was the first I heard of the issue; first I heard of the internship, quite frankly,” O’Brien said.”

From House GOP leaders: lies upon lies | Concord Monitor: “The first thing that struck the Portsmouth Herald editorial board last week when disgraced House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt came in with Speaker Bill O’Brien for a meeting was his youth.

At 28, he was the youngest House majority leader in the state’s history, and he looks his age. The most memorable comment he made was that he was graduating from the University of New Hampshire School of Law with $140,000 in debt.

Our overall impression was that he and O’Brien told the Herald editorial board a lot of half truths and that both simply refused to take responsibility for leading the House’s turn to the ideological right wing of the GOP.”

N.H. House speaker looks to move past Bettencourt flap – Fosters: “O’Brien is criticized by Democrats and at least one House Republican for his apparent willingness to allow Bettencourt to depart from the House without disclosing the full nature of the circumstances.

On Tuesday, the top Democrat in the House, Portsmouth Rep. Terie Norelli, called on O’Brien to give a full explanation of his involvement in Bettencourt’s resignation.

Norelli also drew attention to the activities of former House staffer Bob Mead, another familiar face in the State House who was forced to give up his position amid controversy.

Earlier this month, The Concord Monitor reported Mead was being reimbursed with taxpayer money for traveling to Republican events across the state where he sought to recruit GOP candidates.

“These are not issues that can be just swept aside for political purposes,” Norelli said in a written statement released Tuesday. “Speaker O’Brien must give the people of New Hampshire, and the members of the House, a full and clear accounting of his role in both of these scandals.””

Bettencourt supporters: There’s more to the story: “Former House majority leader D.J. Bettencourt resigned from another position yesterday — Salem’s Economic Development Action Committee, a position he held for about a week. It’s probably the least of his losses, which include a new job, House membership and possibly a law degree.

Giuda, Bettencourt and O’Brien met before Bettencourt’s announcement Friday and he claims the young lawmaker agreed to resign and cite personal reasons. Bettencourt is marrying House GOP spokeswoman Shannon Shutts Saturday.

But, in making his announcement, Bettencourt cited personal reasons and his new job. That angered Giuda who told Bettencourt if he didn’t resign immediately he would go public with the internship problems.

Bettencourt resigned Sunday and acknowledged he misrepresented what he had done for the internship. O’Brien said yesterday his former proté©gé©’s actions were “unacceptable,” but didn’t say whether he would have spoken out, had Giuda not gone public.”

Rep’s lie spoils job opportunity, could spur charges | SeacoastOnline.com: “Since 2001, New Hampshire has had a state law classifying false academic documentation as a misdemeanor offense that could result in one year’s jail time and a $2,000 fine. Under the law (RSA 638:15-a), “A person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly … makes a false written representation relating to the person’s academic degree” and “in the application for … the issuance of an academic degree to the person himself.”

Three legal sources contacted by the Herald had differing interpretations about whether the law could apply to the allegations of submitting false academic paperwork. Two lawyers said it could apply in terms of a fraudulent pursuit of a degree. Another longtime criminal defense attorney believed the law was focused on forgery or a false presentation of an academic degree.”

Silva to be announced as new House Majority Leader | New Hampshire NEWS06: “CONCORD — Two-term state Rep. Pete Silva, R-Nashua, will be announced as the new House Majority Leader by Speaker Bill O’Brien Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Silva has been Deputy Majority Leader under resigned Rep. D.J. Bettencourt.”

N.H. Legal Rights Foundation severs ties with Bettencourt | New Hampshire NEWS06: “The NHLRF board of directors made the decision after a meeting called over the Memorial Day weekend. Bettencourt, who resigned last week from the New Hampshire State House of Representatives after alleged improprieties surfaced relating to his enrollment in law school, was being considered by the board for the executive director position.

“We don’t know the full story yet,” said board Chairman Timothy Condon. “However, it appears that the allegations are serious enough that we feel it’s necessary to sever our emerging relationship with Mr. Bettencourt for the good of the organization.””

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