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AFT’s Weingarten Celebrates Teachers, Nurses and Public Employees

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WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the occasion of Teacher Appreciation Week, National Nurses Week and Public Service Recognition Week. The AFT represents teachers, nurses and public employees from across the country.

“Many of us have had teachers who changed our lives, nurses who saved our lives or public employees who improved our lives. For me, I often talk about Mr. Swift at Clarkstown High School North, who taught me how to be both confident and responsible, while opening the door to theater and art. Then there’s Jill Cohenour, a chemist from Montana who keeps the drinking water safe for her neighbors. And Christina Enriquez, a public health nurse in Washington who provides support services to expecting and new moms. This week is our chance to say ‘thank you’ to these teachers, nurses and public employees who make a difference every day in the lives of kids, families and communities.

“As our economy bounces back from the recession, it is increasingly clear that great education, healthcare and public services are rungs on the economic ladder to the American dream. That’s why we are celebrating teachers, nurses and public employees this week: They are the heart of our communities, providing vital public services, healing the sick and paving a path of opportunity for all children.

“Unfortunately, these workers have too often been the scapegoat for larger problems—like poverty in our communities, understaffing in our hospitals and austerity measures in our states. Or worse, these workers have been the target of attacks by those who wish to silence their voices and eliminate these essential public services. Let me be clear: Appreciation alone is not enough. As we celebrate these workers, we need to listen to them. We need to give them the tools, resources and support they need to do their jobs well. That’s the way to really show our gratitude.

“All this week, we will join parents, students and communities in lifting up teachers, nurses and public employees both in person and online. So, #thankateacher, #thankanurse and support a public employee by sharing how #governmentworks for you.”

AFT-NH Red Alert: Right To Work Is Back!

YES, THAT IS CORRECT; THE SO CALL RIGHT TO WORK IS BACK! 

The full Senate will be voting on a version of the bill this coming Thursday, April 30th. The Senate Finance Committee recommended ‘Ought to Pass” on HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. This bill comes from Wisconsin and Scott Walker’s play book.  It excludes Police Officers and Firefighters.   I think the statement by Representative Doug Ley sums it all up: “…Furthermore, the decision to carve out exceptions for police officers and firefighters was justified on grounds of the need for unit cohesion. That same logic can apply to any workplace including those where employers and labor organizations agree to allow the union to recover the costs of negotiating for and defending non-union employees. Such interference in the freedom to contract is unacceptable to the minority [Democrats on House Labor Committee].

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. Your Senator needs to hear from you. Simply put, this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Your immediate action will send a strong message to your Senator.

Thank you.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

4-21-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Common Core Standards And Pension Reform

Things moved slowly this week at the State House. The full House met on Wednesday and passed the following bill:

SB 101: prohibiting the State from requiring implementation of Common Core standards. This bill prohibits the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core standards in any school or school district in this state. This bill clarifies that districts don’t have to adopt the Common Core Standards but a district still needs to have high quality standards. AFT-NH believes that if any standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing them:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
  • Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
  • Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards

This coming Thursday, April 23, 2015 the Special Committee On Employee Pensions will be meeting at 10 am in LOB 104. They have two bills that they will be discussing

  • HB 369: establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees and
  • HB 556: establishing a cash balance plan for public employees in the retirement system.

We need to keep in mind the following about our pension system:

  • New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.
  • Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state.  Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone of the NH economy.
  • The current annual pension benefit is just over $19,000.  Nearly 70% of the state’s 28,000 pensioners receive less than $25,000 per year.
  • Each dollar “invested” by New Hampshire taxpayers in the pension system supports $7.55 in total economic activity in the state
  • Studies have found that public sector workers’ compensation – including benefits – is slightly lower than that of their peers in the private sector with the same education and experience.
  • Police officers and fire fighters are not eligible for Social Security.
  • All of our public employees contribute their own money into pension funds.
  • Defined-benefit pensions held by public employees are much more cost effective than 401(k)-style retirement plans, costing roughly half as much to provide the same level of retirement benefit to workers such as police officers and firefighters, librarians and teachers, and other public-sector workers.
  • Pensions help reduce employee turnover and thus boost worker productivity.

AFT-NH will continue to advocate for:

Security in retirement is something every worker deserves after a long, successful career in public service.  Our workers, after dedicating their working life to educating children, enforcing the law, fighting fires and helping our communities function every day, have earned a benefit that must allow them to retire with dignity.

The benefit should ensure a predictable cost for the employers and employees, who pay into it throughout their careers. It should create, and sustain, a high-quality workforce. It should attract talented younger workers to invest a lifetime in public service, in turn adding value to the state’s economy.

In exchange for a lifetime of service, our workers need to rely on defined and predictable retirement security that is protected against inflationary pressures. Their benefit should ensure sound, long-term investment options and strategies that will result in post-retirement stability, despite the economic concerns of today.

Instead of encouraging the idea that working for the public sector is less valuable than working for the private sector, New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.

Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state. It is service that adds value to the quality of life for NH citizens and visitors. Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone for the NH economy.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

Upcoming Hearings

Monday, April 20

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
Department of Health and Human Services:
9:00 a.m. Budget Overview
10:00 a.m. Public Health
11:00 a.m. Medicaid Business & Policy (including Medicaid Managed Care)
12:00 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. Continuation of Medicaid Business & Policy
2:00 p.m. Commissioner’s Office
3:00 p.m. Office of Human Services
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
9:00 a.m. HB 347, relative to payment of wages of certain hourly school district employees.
9:20 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school busses by special education pupils.
9:40 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.
10:00 a.m. Hearing on proposed amendment #2015-1333s – establishing a children’s savings account program, and relative to the bonding authority of the city of Dover to HB
577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
2:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 72, relative to confidentiality of police personnel files and establishing a commission to study the use of police personnel files as they relate to the Laurie List,

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 186, reestablishing the commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation and to study the feasibility of developing a first responder’s critical injury fund.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting. The public hearing will include consideration of a non-germane amendment which ratifies the result of a warrant article in the town of Franconia. Copies of the amendment are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms’ office and online.

House TRANSPORTATION, Room 203, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 234, establishing a committee to study the use of law enforcement details and flaggers for traffic control on municipally maintained roads.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
2:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

Wednesday, April 22

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Department of Transportation
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
1:00 p.m. Work session on SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting,

House SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYEE PENSION PLANS, Room 104, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session.

Tuesday, April 28

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on SB 213-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the formula for distribution of meals and rooms tax revenues.

Wednesday, April 29

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 30

10 am Senate in Session

Tuesday, May 5

Senate FINANCE, Representatives’ Hall, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Please note: These hearings will be streamed live via the Internet at the following web address:
http://nhgencourt.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

Friday, May 15

Every Child Matters in NH and Child and Family Services of NH are pleased to extend an invitation to all members for “Walk a Month in My Shoes” Poverty Simulation on Friday, May 15th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Breakfast and registration will open at 8:00 a.m. The simulation will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Please stay for lunch and an afternoon discussion about poverty in our state with NH experts on this topic. Our goal is to simulate the challenges faced by low-income children and their families as they try to survive from month to month on limited resources. We guarantee that this event will have you talking and thinking about poverty in new ways. There is no cost to attend this event. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to our guests. Space is limited so please RSVP by April 24th by calling (603) 856-7517 or emailing mlbeaver@everychildmatters.org

Friday, May 22

In recognition of your support, the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Association cordially invites you to the 23rd Annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 22, 2015, beginning promptly at 10:00 a.m., on the Memorial Site in front of the Legislative Office Building. The ceremony will proceed rain or shine. Refreshments will be served immediately following the ceremony. Please do not hesitate to contact Major Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at 602-271-3128 if you have any questions.

Tell Congress NO To Fast Track: A Special Message From AFT

This is a special message from AFT Secretary Treasurer Loretta Johnson.

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Yesterday, I spoke at a rally here in D.C., where hundreds gathered to urge Congress to put the brakes on “fast-track” trade deals that will hurt American workers. I don’t need to convince you that transparency is important when it comes to making decisions about our economy, jobs, safety and the environment. Unfortunately, just a few hours ago, the Senate introduced legislation that undercuts the public’s voice on free trade agreements through this fast-track legislation.

Click here to tell Congress NO to fast-track.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. And legislation granting fast-track authority would enable corporate power-grabs like the TPP to be rushed through Congress, circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.

The TPP will create rules and obligations that govern an estimated 40 percent of the world’s economy, yet few Americans are aware of its impact or even its existence. Unfortunately, the last 20 years of corporate-driven free trade policy have created a downward spiral in which jobs have been shipped overseas and worker, environmental and consumer protections have been eroded.

We cannot allow corporate interests to determine trade policy like the TPP. We must urge Congress to fend off the corporate call for fast-track.

Smart trade policy has the potential to promote shared global prosperity, which is why our communities—NOT multinational corporations—must be the driving force in shaping trade policy.

Please urge your members of Congress to protect our economy, jobs, environment and public health by opposing fast-track legislation.

In unity,

Lorretta Johnson

AFT Secretary-Treasurer

One more thing: Would you help us by sending this tweet?: To preserve & protect US jobs Congress must stop Fast Track for the TPP! #StopFastTrack

4-15-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: The Budget 

The State budget is now in the hands of the Senate Finance committee. They have set up several meeting with agency heads (see below for the schedule).

There have been many news articles stating that the Senate has several goals when putting together the budget:

  • uphold previous commitments, including using dedicated money for its intended purpose,
  • protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens,
  • add money to the rainy day fund, and
  • improve the business climate, in part by reducing business taxes.


AFT-NH can agree with the first three goals, but as to the fourth we need to remember that by cutting business taxes there will be less revenue for the State. 

We know that in New Hampshire we have few revenue sources and we have a regressive tax system, meaning that citizens who have the least to spare pay the most. To read more on this click here. AFT-NH supports incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  All of this is vital to our shared economic success.

AFT-NH believes that the Senate should consider passing or including the following bills when putting their version of the budget together:

HOUSE BILL 634-FN-A;AN ACT
 relative to applying the interest and dividends tax to trusts, increasing exemptions, and extending the tax to capital gains; and relative to homeowners property tax relief.

Dramatic revenue shortfalls are having a devastating effect on funding for public services at the State and local levels. While our economy is now growing, the recent economic downturn, sometimes called the Great Recession, has limited our communities’ ability to provide the healthcare, schools, colleges, public safety and transportation that people take for granted in good years but that they increasingly rely on in bad times.

HB 634 will generate as much as $100 million in revenue each year once fully implemented, while providing approximately $25 million annually to cities and towns with the creation of a dedicated funding source for general revenue sharing. These are revenues which are much needed in New Hampshire. This revenue could also help to offset the increases in local property taxes that communities were forced to impose when the state no longer contributed its share to the NH retirement system for local government workers.

HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire can still avoid paying tax by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and our State loses millions every year in taxable corporate revenue.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “water’s edge” loophole and require companies not only to report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this remains true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

The Senate Education Committee will be holding public hearings on:

HB 491:  relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor. This bill would permit a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.  AFT-NH will continue to support and advocate for this bill to pass.

HB 323: relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program.

AFT-NH believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and align with curriculum rather than narrow it; that are developed through collaborative efforts, not picked off a shelf; that are focused on measuring growth and continuous development instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn; that rely on diverse, authentic and multiple indicators of student performance rather than filling in bubbles; and that provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools to improve, not just impose sanctions that undermine them.

Further, we believe that assessments designed to support teaching and learning must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing. Specifically, we call on the consortia currently developing assessments aligned to the standards to do their part in solving this by including the crucial voices of teachers in the development of these assessments. We know that collaboration with educators is necessary to ensure that high-quality instruction and content are given their proper emphasis.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook pageand clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!

You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.

Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

UPCOMING HEARINGS 

Wednesday, April 15

10 am House in Session

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Public Employee Labor Relations Board
9:30 a.m. Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food
10:00 a.m. Liquor Commission
10:30 a.m. Department of Corrections
11:30 a.m. University System
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Thursday, April 16

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 5, relative to transfers into the revenue stabilization reserve account,

Friday, April 17

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
11:00 a.m. Department of Justice
12:00 p.m. BREAK
1:00 p.m. Judicial Branch
2:00 p.m. Judicial Council
2:30 p.m. Department of Information Technology
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amendingthe budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting.

Tuesday, May 5

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

4-5-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: The NH House’s Devastating Budget Cuts

The full House voted on their version of the budget (HB 1 and HB 2) on this past Wednesday, passing it by a vote of 212 to 161 and 194 to 179 respectively.  The vote pretty much followed party lines, with Republicans providing the majority and passing the proposed State budget, which now moves on to the Senate.

Here are some of the “highlights” contained within this devastating budget supported by House Republicans:

  • Municipalities will see $11.5 million less from the meals and room tax, which likely means higher local property taxes (downshifting).
  • The House siphoned monies out of the Highway Fund that are intended to support the Department of Safety and moved the money into the General Fund, which means fewer state troopers on the road and less assistance to small municipalities.
  • They delay the opening of the new Women’s prison to September 2017.  Keep in mind, the State already lost a lawsuit over conditions and programming in the current women’s prison.
  • They removed $3.7 million in General funds for the Department of Resources and Economic Development each year, money slated to promote tourism in New Hampshire.
  • $28.7 million was cut from the Department of Transportation. $8 million of this is a cut to block grants that municipalities would have received and $11.4 to municipalities to help with construction and repaired of state highways. A total of $19.4 million less for municipalities (more downshifting).
  • $5.7 million downshift to counties for nursing homes.

The House allocated $119 million less than what the Governor recommended for Health and Social Services.  Among the list of items reduced or eliminated, we have

  • $30.4 million less for the Bureau of Developmental Services,
  • $10.5 million less for Social Services for the elderly,
  • Elimination of Servicelink
  • $2 million less for community Health Centers,
  • $4 million less for emergency homeless shelters,
  • They did not reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program ,
  • Mandates that DHHS consolidate its district offices,
  • The House budget assumes that Medicaid caseloads will decline by 2.5 percent over the course of the biennium

As for Education Funding the House at the last minute amended the budget to restore some Education funding, maintaining for 2016 the Adequate Education Funding formula and the stabilization grants.

However, for 2017 the cap of 108% of what is allocated would be removed and there would be no cap. This means that if enrollments in districts go up they will receive full funding to cover the costs, while other Districts will suffer as stabilization grants will be reduced.  For example,

  • Barnstead would receive $88,841 less in 2017
  • Campton would receive $66,921 less in 2017
  • Farmington would receive $291,459 less n 2017
  • Fremont would neither receive less or more in 2017
  • Henniker would receive $83,919 less in 2017
  • Hillsboro would receive $233,791 less in 2017
  • Hudson would neither receive less or more in 2017
  • Nashua would receive $479,394 less in 2017
  • Rochester would receive $871,681 less in 2017
  • Weare would receive $312,590 less in 2017
  • Atkinson would receive $16,839 less in 2017
  • Plaistow would neither receive less or more in 2017
  • Sandown would receive $139,772 less in 2017
  • Danville would receive $108,213 less in 2017
  • Durham would receive $24,678 more in 2017
  • Lee would receive $67,264 less in 2017
  • Marbury would receive $77,132 more in 2017


A footnote to the source of these numbers does remind us that these are only preliminary estimates and therefore, could be higher or lower.

This increase of $35 million in 2016 to the stabilization grants might seem like good news but it comes at a price in other areas of the budget.  To provide for the $35 million in 2016, the House budget does the following:

  • $2.5 million less over the biennium for the Community College System of NH.
  • Keeps Special Education Catastrophic aid at the current level of around 70%, $7.5 million was needed to make this whole.
  • $4 million is cut from the Department of Corrections.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will need to eliminate seven nursing positions at the NH Hospital.
  • Took $1.3 million from the Renewable Energy Fund on top of the $50.8 that was already taken.
  • Found another $2 million in General Funds.
  • And lastly, emptied out the State’s ‘Rainy Day fund,’ taking all $9.9 million and leaving a balance of  $0.00.

From what I understand, the House Ways and Means and Finance Committees, when setting revenue projections, only looked at numbers from July-December 2014 and refused to consider updated (and more robust numbers) from 2015.  Therefore, the House projection for General Fund and Education funding were well below what the Governor projected, a $160 million difference.

AFT-NH has advocated for incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors, and vital to our shared economic success.

The budget still has several steps and AFT-NH hopes that the Senate will work to approve a budget that does not downshifts costs onto municipalities, school districts and counties and does no harm to our State’s most vulnerable citizens.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

Upcoming hearings

Monday, April 6

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
10:00 a.m. House Finance Committee Chair and Division Chairs’ Presentation on Budget to Senate Finance Committee.

1:00 p.m. Office of Legislative Budget Assistant Presentation on Budget passed by the House to Senate Finance Committee.

TASK FORCE ON WORK AND FAMILY (RSA 276-B:1), Room 207, LOB
1:15 p.m. Regular meeting.

Tuesday, April 7

House WAYS AND MEANS, Rooms 202-204, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
Executive session on pending legislation may follow.

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
9:00 a.m. HB 124, relative to the implementation of new college and career readiness standards.

9:20 a.m. HB 519, establishing a committee to study Department of Education policies affecting dyslexic students.

9:40 a.m. HB 578-FN, relative to State Board of Education compliance with unfunded Federal education mandates.

10:00 a.m. HB 563-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 157-FN, relative to encouraging high school students to take and pass a United States citizenship test.

10:15 a.m. SB 190-FN, relative to payment of costs for career and technical education center programs and administration by the Department of Education.

11:00 a.m. SB 227, relative to calculating the cost of an adequate education.

1:00 p.m. Continued executive session on
SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance, and
SB 265-FN, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program.

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 92, establishing a committee to study public access to political campaign information.

House JUDICIARY, Room 208, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 44, relative to nonpublic sessions of public bodies under the right-to-know law,

SB 149, relative to nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law.
1:00 p.m. SB 167, relative to filing of small claims.

2:00 p.m. SB 243, relative to nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 255, establishing a low-wage service worker task force.

10:30 a.m. SB 186, reestablishing the commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation and to study the feasibility of developing a first responder’s critical injury fund.

House LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 136, establishing a committee to review constitutional amendments pending in Congress regarding the Citizens United decision and related cases that have been introduced in the United States Supreme Court.

Wednesday, April 8

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Department of Safety
Highway Safety Agency
10:00 a.m. Police Standards & Training Council
10:30 a.m. Lottery Commission
Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 5, relative to transfers into the revenue stabilization reserve account.

10:15 a.m. SB 8-FN-L, relative to appropriations for nursing homes.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on revenue projections.

Thursday, April 9

10 am Senate in Session

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 157-FN, relative to encouraging high school students to take and pass a United States citizenship test,

SB 190-FN, relative to payment of costs for career and technical education center programs and administration by the department of education, and

SB 227, relative to calculating the cost of an adequate education.

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 5, relative to transfers into the revenue stabilization reserve account.

11:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 13, relative to the disposition of dedicated funds.

Friday, April 10

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
11:00 a.m. Executive Office
Governor’s Office
Office of Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Health
Governor’s Commission on Disability
Office of Energy and Planning
11:45 a.m. Developmental Disabilities Council
12:00 p.m. BREAK
1:00 p.m. Executive Council
1:15 p.m. Secretary of State
1:45 p.m. Boxing & Wrestling Commission
2:00 p.m. Board of Tax and Land Appeals
2:30 p.m. Cultural Resources
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

3-31-15 AFT – NH legislative Update: The New Hampshire House Budget

The full House will be voting on their version of the State budget HB 1 and HB 2 this Wednesday. To review all the amendments and spread sheets click here.

I think Rep. Mary Jane Wallner (Democrat) has written a great summary for the minority report as to what this budget does:

  • The proposed budget fails the citizens of New Hampshire in several important ways. It ignores the warnings of major economists that we must invest in our future to attract a well-educated workforce that will help move our economy forward.
  • The budget reduces K-12 education aid by $27 million, risking the readiness of our students to be college- and career-ready. To read more on this click here.
  • Both community colleges and the University system receive less than the recommended funding in the governor’s budget, by a combined total of more than $32 million.
  • The University system will receive less money in 2016 than it did in 2015, despite our students facing some of the highest college costs and one of the highest debt burdens in the nation.
  • The budget cuts investment in our livesinfrastructure and, at the same time, downshifts the costs of maintaining crumbling roads and bridges to our communities.
  • By sweeping $50 million from the Renewable Energy Fund, the budget breaks the promise made by Republicans in January not to raid dedicated funds; at the same time it eliminates virtually all funding to develop new energy infrastructure projects that offer good jobs and lower municipal energy costs.
  • By diverting $14 million from last session’s gas tax increase to the General fund, this budget breaks the legislature’s promise to spend all of the added revenue fixing our eroding transportation infrastructure.
  • The proposed budget also downshifts nearly $6 million to our counties for long term care by raiding the “bed tax” funds.
  • Broken promises and downshifting are magnified as revenue sharing to cities and towns is frozen, restricting state funding at the same time some communities will see the loss of up to $750,000 in education stabilization grants and all communities will see the fiscal impact of cuts to vital safety net programs that help vulnerable seniors and individuals with mental illness or disabilities.
  • Programs that enable the elderly to remain in the community with dignity and stay off the more expensive Medicaid program are reduced.
  • Funding for developmental disabilities programs is reduced below the current biennium’s level, decreasing the availability of community services that prevent institutionalization, and increasing the risk both of personal harm to individuals and litigation for the State.
  • Cuts to mental health services will add to the number of people experiencing a mental health crisis, held in emergency rooms across the state while they wait for a psychiatric hospital bed.
  • This budget cuts access to emergency shelter for homeless veterans, families, and victims of domestic violence.
  • This budget refuses to address the epidemic of drug abuse that affects employers along with families, increases the strain on law enforcement and corrections budgets, and puts public safety at risk.
  • The Sununu Center, which provides services to our most troubled youth, is cut by nearly a third with no feasible plan to maintain operations.
  • In addition, the budget eliminates funding at the end of 2016 for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. Ending this program, currently helping almost 40,000 Granite Staters, may lead to destabilization of both the health care provider system and our insurance markets along with greater burden on local welfare offices.
  • All of these cuts to safety net programs can be expected to be downshifted to local communities as the needs will certainly not disappear.
  • In addition to all other broken promises, the budget effectively increases the tax burden on business as energy costs continue to rise without investment in new energy projects and private nursing home payments are cut by $26 million in bed tax payments.
  • The State Employees collective bargaining agreements are not funded in this budget, undermining our state employees and breaking our promise to them.
  • The minority believes these short-sighted cuts will make it harder for vulnerable individuals to live decently and with human dignity, and the lack of investment in our economy will hurt New Hampshire long into the future.


There is a petition “Protect NH Communities: Stop the Reckless Budget Cuts” that has been circulating. If you have not signed it please take the few seconds. Copies will be given to Speaker Jasper and Senate President Morse.  

There is also a “Protect NH Communities from Reckless Budget Cuts, State House Visibility to STOP reckless budget Cuts” on April 1st starting at 9:30amFor more information click here.

Keep in mind that this is just one step in the budget process. The next step is that it moves to the Senate Finance committee next week. There are many moving parts and things change quickly. For the quickest updates please go to AFT New Hampshire Facebook page and like us.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook pageand clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!

You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.

Late breaking news appears on Facebook!



Upcoming Hearings

Monday, March 30

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Reps Hall., budget briefings on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures in Representatives

Tuesday, March 31

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 662-FN-L, relative to property taxes paid by chartered public schools leasing property.

9:20 a.m. HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information.

9:40 a.m. HB 276, providing that school districts shall not be required to adopt the common core standards.

10:20 a.m. HB 322, relative to protection of personally identifiable data by the department of education.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
2:00 p.m. HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 195-FN, encouraging instruction in cursive handwriting and memorization of multiplication tables.

10:00 a.m. SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance.

10:30 a.m. SB 265-FN, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program.

11:15 a.m. Executive session on
SB 71, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for children in schools,

SB 166, relative to facilitated individualized education program meetings and

SB 194-FN, relative to epinephrine administration policies in postsecondary educational institutions.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on
SB 69, establishing a commission to study social impact bond funding for early childhood education for at-risk students,

SB 101, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards,

SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance,

SB 195-FN, encouraging instruction in cursive handwriting and memorization of multiplication tables, and

SB 265-FN, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program.

Wednesday, April 1

10 am House in Session

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
2:00 p.m. HB 332, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material.

2:20 p.m. HB 346, relative to criminal history records checks for school employees and
volunteers.

2:40 p.m. HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials.

3:00 p.m. HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
Sen. Birdsell (C), Sen. Boutin (VC), Sen. Stiles, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Kelly
9:15 a.m. HB 155, relative to municipal contracts for police chief.

Thursday, April 2

10 am House in Session if needed

Monday, April 6

TASK FORCE ON WORK AND FAMILY (RSA 276-B:1), Room 207, LOB
1:15 p.m. Regular meeting.

Tuesday, April 7

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 255, establishing a low-wage service worker task force.

10:30 a.m. SB 186, reestablishing the commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation and to study the feasibility of developing a first responder’s critical injury fund.

11:00 a.m. SB 45, relative to opioid treatment agreements under workers’ compensation law.

WAYS AND MEANS, Rooms 202-204, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
Executive session in pending legislation may follow.

 

3-24-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: 2015-16 State Budget

AFT NH Legislative Update

The three divisions of the House Finance Committee have been meeting to develop their version of the State budget. There have been many stories regarding what is going on and none of them offer good news. We need to keep in mind that this is just one step of many and there will be several changes before the final budget is voted on in June.  The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) has put out the most detailed report as to what the committees have recommended. To read this click here. The full House will be voting April 1st  (no I am not kidding), on their version of the budget.

Throughout the budget process AFT-NH has supported incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors, and vital to our shared economic success. But both chambers of the Legislature have voted on reducing much needed revenue.

After the full House votes on HB 1 and HB 2 it will move over to the Senate. They will hold a public hearing and then start their work on recommendations for the budget. We know the Senate version will be different from the House’s version which means a Committee Of Conference will be formed. This committee will work towards resolving differences and will bring a final version for both chambers to vote on.

This Wednesday or Thursday the full House will be voting on HB 215-FN, relative to school building aid grant payments.  AFT-NH is not in support of the committee’s recommendation and asks that it be overturned and a recommendation to pass this bill be voted on.

It is shocking that Representative Weyler feels this bill is unnecessary. For the past eight years many districts have not been able to afford to complete upgrades, repairs or build new building because of the cost. Keep in mind 50% of our school building are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

Upcoming Hearings

Monday, March 23

House FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Divisions I, II & III may meet from time to time, throughout the day.

STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM LEGISLATIVE
OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 193-C:7), Room 207, LOB
3:00 p.m. Regular meeting.

Tuesday, March 24

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 126, establishing a commission to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school.

9:20 a.m. HB 142, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.

9:40 a.m. HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students.

10:00 a.m. HB 662-FN-L, relative to property taxes paid by chartered public schools leasing property.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Rooms 206-208, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 116-FN, repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 166, relative to facilitated individualized education program meetings.

9:50 a.m. SB 71, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for children in schools.

10:15 a.m. SB 194-FN, relative to epinephrine administration policies in postsecondary educational institutions.

10:40 a.m. SB 69, establishing a commission to study social impact bond funding for early childhood education for at-risk students.

11:15 a.m. SB 101, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.

House FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued executive session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Divisions I, II & III may meet from time to time, throughout the day.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 264, relative to tipped employees.
11:30 a.m. SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.

Wednesday, March 25

10 am House in Session

Senate PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB

9:00 a.m. HB 102, relative to consideration of warrant articles.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
12:00 p.m. or at session lunch break. Executive session on
SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.
SB 264, relative to tipped employees.

Thursday, March 26

10 am Senate in Session

10 am House in Session if needed

Wednesday, April 1

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 2

10 am House in Session if needed

Monday, April 6

TASK FORCE ON WORK AND FAMILY (RSA 276-B:1), Room 207, LOB
1:15 p.m. Regular meeting

AFT-NH Legislative Update 3-18-15: Charter Schools and Right To Work

It was a very busy two days at the State House. The full House needed to act on 245 bills. Two bills of interest were the so called right to work for less bills. The first was HB 658: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor. Like all the other right to work bills this would do nothing to create jobs, improve the economy or guarantee a job for anyone. Unlike the Senate the House passed this bill by a vote of 149 to 146, just 3 votes from a tie.

The other right to work bill was pulled from the Consent calendar by none other than Representative O’Brien. Of course he and his followers got up and spoke on how wonderful this bill is and how if it were passed, jobs and prosperity would shower down on New Hampshire.  Not true, and it failed, by a vote of 184 to 79.

On a positive note both the following bills passed the House and will move over to the Senate, where AFT-NH will continue to support and advocate for their passage.  HB 491:  relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor, would permit a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.   HB 507:  relative to teacher personally identifiable data was the second bill passed by the House and will now move to the Senate. This bill adds provisions relating to the protection of a teacher’s personally identifiable data and adds in language that no school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval after a public hearing, and without written consent of the teacher and the parent or legal guardian of each affected student.

However HB 563-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils passed with an amendment by a vote of 222 to 116.  AFT-NH has serious concerns with this bill and will advocate that it be defeated in the Senate.

The next few weeks the House will be working on their budget and it is becoming clear that Republicans are pushing for many cuts to critical programs in our state. What is equally disturbing is that both chambers have been passing bills that would decrease the revenues received by the State.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

Upcoming hearings for the week of March 15, 2015

Wednesday, March 18

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
Sen. Birdsell (C), Sen. Boutin (VC), Sen. Stiles, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Kelly
10:30 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting.

FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 215-FN, relative to school building aid grant payments,

HB 562-FN-L, repealing the limitation on the total education grant distributed to a municipality in a fiscal year and reducing the stabilization grants to certain municipalities, and

HB 577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program.

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:00 p.m. or immediately following full committee executive session. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
*Please note time change

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
1:00 p.m. or immediately following full committee executive session. Work session and final decision on
HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Thursday, March 19

10 am Senate in Session

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. Work session and final decisions on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Friday, March 20

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. Work session and final decisions on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Tuesday, March 24

FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Monday, March 30

10:00 a.m. The Finance Committee will hold budget briefings on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the
expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017
and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures in Representatives Hall

Friday, April 3

FISCAL COMMITTEE (RSA 14:30-a), Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. Regular meeting.

AFT-NH Legislative Update 3-10-15: Right To Work Goes Down In The Senate But The Fight Is Far From Over

THE SO CALLED RIGHT TO WORK—FOR LESS DEFEATED!

On a 12 to 12 vote the State Senate defeated the ‘SO-CALLED’ RIGHT TO WORK—‘FOR LESS’ bill (SB 107.) Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.


AFT-NH would like to thank the following Senators for standing with working families!

David Boutin,
Sharon  Carson
Lou D’Allesandro
Dan Feltes
Martha Fuller Clark
Andrew Hosmer
Molly Kelly
Bette Lasky
David Pierce
Donna Soucy
David Watters
Jeff Woodburn

However, the full House will be voting on their version of the bill this coming Wednesday. The Labor Committee recommended ‘Ought to Pass” on  HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. This bill comes from Wisconsin and Scott Walkers play book.  It excludes Police Officers and Firefighters. I think the statement by Representative Doug Ley sums it all up: “…Furthermore, the decision to carve out exceptions for police officers and firefighters was justified on grounds of the need for unit cohesion. That same logic can apply to any workplace including those where employers and labor organizations agree to allow the union to recover the costs of negotiating for and defending non-union employees. Such interference in the freedom to contract is unacceptable to the minority.”

AFT-NH is calling on all Representatives to overturn the Committee recommendation and make a recommendation to defeat this bill and any other bill that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

On a side note:  Scott Walker will be in New Hampshire on March 14th.  The NH AFL-CIO is putting together “Stand Up for America’s Middle Class Visibility Action”, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.  If interested in attending please call NH AFL-CIO, (603) 623-7302 and ask for Dan Justice.

This Wednesday and Thursday
the full House will be voting on over 246 bills, it will be a very busy two days. Here are some of the bills that they will be voting on that might be of interest:

HB 323, relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program. The House Education Committee recommended that this bill pass.  The bill changes when local school districts administer the required state assessments. Currently we have to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11th grades; this would change to testing only in the 4th grade, 6th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade for the state assessments. Keep in mind that AFT-NH believes:

When assessing students, we need to make sure these tests inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning. All children deserve a rich, meaningful public education that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that await them as they become contributing members of a democratic society.  Growing our nation’s future citizens and workers is a serious undertaking that calls for a thoughtful focus on teaching and learning. Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined that focus, putting at grave risk our students’ learning and their ability to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and fulfill their personal goals.

We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are aligned with curriculum rather than narrow it.  Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn. Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.  Development and implementation of such tests must be age-appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.   We are calling for a moratorium on the high stakes testing—for students, teachers and schools, that are linked with Common Core assessments, until an implementation plan is developed in partnership with teachers, parents and the community and is field tested in classrooms in each district.

Further, we believe that assessments designed to support teaching and learning must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing. We know that collaboration with educators is necessary to ensure that high-quality instruction and content are given their proper emphasis.

AFT-NH ask that all Representatives consider the above when voting on any bill that deals with students assessments at the local or state level.

The full House will also be voting on many bills that deal with educational standards. We ask that you keep in mind the following:

If any standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing the Standards:

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.

We also know that:

States and districts must work with teachers to develop a high quality curriculum and professional development, provide teachers with the time needed to try out new methods of teaching to the standards in their classrooms, commit financial resources to ensure success, and engage parents and the community.

The House will be voting on HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.This bill adds provisions relating to the protection of teacher personally identifiable data and adds in language that no school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval after a public hearing, and without written consent of the teacher and the parent or legal guardian of each affected student. AFT-NH supports the House Education recommendation to pass this bill as amended.

And then there is HB 491:relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor.This bill permits a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.  AFT-NH supports the House Education Committee’s recommendation to pass this bill.

The last two bills have to do with revenues and funding of charter schools. First the House Ways and Means recommended that HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens, be defeated. AFT-NH is opposed to defeating this bill and would ask that the recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to pass be voted on.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limits companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, can still avoid paying taxes by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and the State loses millions every year in taxable corporate revenue.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “water’s edge” loophole and require that companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. A US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this is true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

And lastly, the House Finance committee recommended that HB 563-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils pass with an amendment. The amended version is less harmful than some of the other proposed amendments, yet AFT-NH has serious concerns with this bill. This increased funding to charter schools comes from the adequacy fund. In turn this leaves less for public schools. If the state truly supports charter schools then they would find a way to pay for it by not robbing Peter (public schools) to pay Paul (charter schools). They would come up with a dedicated fund just for charter schools and find the revenue to support it without dipping into any other dedicated fund.

AFT-NH  asks that the Committee’s recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to defeat this bill be voted on.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org or call 603-661-7293.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President



Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!


Upcoming hearings for the week of March 9, 2015

MONDAY, MARCH 9

FINANCE, Kennet High School Auditorium, 409 Eagles Way, North Conway
6:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state  for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. *Please note time change.

FINANCE, Derry Town Hall, 14 Manning Street, Derry
5:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FINANCE – (Division I), Room 212, LOB
Operating Budget presentations as follows:
9:30 a.m. Public Employees Labor Relations Board.
10:00 a.m. Department of Labor.
10:30 a.m. Developmental Disabilities Council.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10

FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

SENATE TRANSPORTATION LOB 103
1:00 p.m. SB 234, relative to police details on public ways.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

10 am House in Session

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 101, LOB
9:20 a.m. SB 164, relative to the independent investment committee in the New Hampshire retirement system.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

9 am House in Session

10 am Senate in Session

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
9:00 a.m. Full committee work session to consider revenue items contained in HB 2.

MONDAY, MARCH 16

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:30 p.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures, and
HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

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