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NH Congressional Delegation Must Help In Flint Water Crisis

Granite State Progress Calls on New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to Take Immediate Action on Critical Flint Water Assistance 

Years into the crisis, Flint families still can’t drink the water

CONCORD, NH – In response to news that Republicans in Congress are blocking Flint funding from the budget bill they will vote on as early as Monday, Granite State Progress is urgently calling on the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to support a short-term federal funding bill that includes assistance for Flint, Michigan. Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet in helping the city and there are efforts underway this weekend to get Flint the help they need. Granite State Progress is one of twenty-two ProgressNow affiliates across the country standing in support of Flint residents and demanding action from their Congressional leadership.

“As we know all too well here in New Hampshire, access to safe, clean drinking water is critically important,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “What happened in Flint should serve as a warning to every community of what can happen when the bottom line is put above peoples’ lives. No American should be deprived of the basic human right to clean, safe water. Flint families have had to deal with this for far too long and our Congressional delegation needs to do the right thing and get the people of Flint the help they deserve.” 

The Flint Water Crisis began in 2014 when an unelected emergency manager decided to switch the city’s water source without applying the proper corrosion controls as a fiscal austerity measure. Lead and other harmful chemicals leached from the pipes into the drinking water supply causing a litany of health issues for families. To this day, people cannot safely drink the water from their taps without a filter, which often fail. Families continue to rely on bottled water for their daily needs. 

“Republicans in Michigan caused this mess but have done little to help Flint, so we need Congress to step up. The people of Flint are fighting every day for justice and access to clean water, but we cannot do it alone,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of ProgressNow. “We need allies from around the country to stand with Flint residents in this fight in Washington D.C. They can no longer live with inaction and bottled water and this funding is a step in the right direction. We need Congress to act immediately to provide relief for Flint.”

For Three Years, Ayotte Refused to Meet with Gun Violence Prevention Advocates In-State, So Two of Them Flew to Washington DC to Talk with Her

NH advocate, gun violence survivor attend “Coffee with Kelly” in Washington DC, ask Ayotte to meet with constituents about gun violence prevention; Meeting took place just one day before NH voters barred from Ayotte campaign town hall for wearing gun violence prevention t-shirts

WASHINGTON, DC – Gun violence survivor Clai Lasher-Sommers of Westmoreland and gun violence prevention advocate Sonia Prince of Nashua flew to Washington, DC last Thursday to attend U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s weekly constituent ‘Coffee with Kelly’ after Ayotte has refused to meet with gun violence prevention advocates in New Hampshire despite several requests over the last three years.

“Senator Ayotte sided with the gun lobby over the 89 percent of her constituents who support common sense background checks, and she’s avoided meetings about it ever since,” said Prince, a mother of three whose children attend school in the same district as Ayotte’s own children. “I told her that every time I buzz into the school I think of mass shootings, and that it’s sad our children are coming home concerned because they did a shooting drill at school. We need to take action to end gun violence.”

Lasher-Sommers, a gun violence survivor who was shot in the back when she was just 13 years old and who has become an outspoken advocate on gun violence prevention, talked to Ayotte about her personal experience and the need to close the background checks loophole and the terror gap.

“This is the second time I’ve been in Washington DC to meet with Senator Ayotte during a Coffee with Kelly this year,” said Lasher-Sommers. “It was the first time I felt that she really listened, although she did not make any commitments regarding future votes or conversations. I delivered a letter from Granite State Progress and other organizations asking the Senator to host a gun violence prevention town hall – a request that has been made for the past three years and echoed by many of her constituents – and offered my assistance in pulling it together. The public is ahead of politicians on gun violence prevention measures, and Senator Ayotte needs to sit down and hear directly from her constituents even if they do not have the time or funds to travel to Washington, DC.”

Lasher-Sommers and Prince said the meeting was a cordial one. The women are members of Granite State Progress and several other organizations working to reduce gun violence. The letter they delivered is a request for Ayotte to host a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention; Granite State Progress first issued the call on April 30, 2013 after Ayotte hosted three poorly publicized town halls where moderators such as former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley publicly admitted to screening out questions regarding Sen. Ayotte’s vote against background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them. Granite State Progress, OFA-NH, Project for Safer Communities, and other organizations have re-issued the call during August Congressional recesses since then, and Granite State Progress members additionally host periodic coffee sit-ins in the Senator’s district offices to highlight her absence and remind her of the meeting request. Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Brady Campaign joined in the call for a town hall this year. For 3 years, 4 months, and 15 days, Ayotte has refused and additionally has avoided constituents’ requests for meetings on gun violence prevention.

On Friday, New Hampshire voters were barred from an Ayotte campaign town hall because they were wearing t-shirts promoting gun violence prevention.

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Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Ayotte’s constituents shouldn’t have to fly to Washington, DC to talk with her about issues of national concern. We appreciate her new support to help close the terror gap just months after voting against it, but if Ayotte wants us to truly believe that she is interested in gun violence prevention and not just election year posturing she can prove it by accepting our invitation to meet with survivors of gun violence and the family members of victims, advocates, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, mental health advocates, and responsible gun owners.”

Rep. Mary Stuart Gile files for Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance

Concord – Today, Rep. Mary Stuart Gile filed a legislative service request for paid family and medical leave insurance. Rep. Gile has worked on this issue for almost two decades, including a number of study committees. Rep. Gile and Sen. Dan Feltes serve on the Taskforce on Work and Family, which helped work on a successful grant application to the US Department of Labor to study the costs and benefits of paid family and medical leave insurance in New Hampshire.

Recent research shows that 80% of Granite Staters support paid family and medical leave insurance, and 69% would be willing to allow a withdraw of $5 per week from their wages to establish the insurance.

Rep. Gile, and co-sponsor Sen. Feltes, released the following joint statement:

“After years of study, it’s time to finally move forward with paid family and medical leave insurance, and Granite Staters of all backgrounds and political affiliations agree – in fact, eighty percent (80%) of Granite Staters agree. This legislation will be uniquely New Hampshire, it will be bipartisan, and it’ll help us attract younger working families to New Hampshire. Insuring some short-term wage replacement will allow workers to care for an aging family member, care for a new child, and care for themselves, including getting needed substance misuse treatment. We look forward to working with members of both parties, the business community, and all stakeholders, including at the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Summit hosted by the N.H. Women’s Foundation on September 21,” said Rep. Gile and Sen. Feltes.

Granite State Progress and the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action helped to push for paid medical leave as part of their Stand With Women campaign last year.

“Workers need time off to care for themselves and their loved ones,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It’s unreasonable that most families in our country cannot take time off during medical emergencies or for the birth of a new child without fear of losing their job. Paid family and medical leave insurance is an opportunity to put systems in place so that during these limited but intense times, families can focus on staying strong and healthy instead of facing economic insecurity.”

In early 2016, Rep Gile and Sen. Feltes were successful in passing SB 416 (13-10), a bill to prohibit retaliation against employees who request “flexible work schedules.”

We will continue to follow this bill as it makes it way through the Legislature next year.

Activists Deliver Beach Balls To Senator Ayotte: Time To Do Your Job

SCOTUS Beach Ball Action, Sen. Ayotte Office Desk Filled, 8.31.16Beach Ball Delivery to U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte: Summer’s Over, Time to #DoYourJob and Fill the U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy 

PORTSMOUTH, NH – The Why Courts Matter New Hampshire coalition – including Granite State Progress and People For the American Way – delivered eight beach balls and ninth deflated one to U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office today with a message to get back to work and #DoYourJob.

“Congressional recess – summer break – is coming to a close and it’s time for Senator Ayotte to do her job and fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “A full 60 percent of New Hampshire constituents oppose the decision of Senator Ayotte and Senate Republican leaders to not hold confirmation hearings and an up-or-down vote. People are tired of Senator Ayotte playing politics with the Constitution by refusing to consider the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court.”

President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created earlier this year by Justice Scalia’s passing, but Ayotte and the Republican-led Senate refuse to hold a timely hearing and confirmation vote. Ayotte and her colleagues now hold the record for the longest number of days from nomination to confirmation in SCOTUS history, continuing their pattern of partisan obstruction for judicial confirmations in general.

“Senator Ayotte tries hard to brand herself as independent and bipartisan, but her continued obstruction around the U.S. Supreme Court nominee shows otherwise,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with progressive advocacy group People For the American Way. “Merrick Garland has received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association and has waited longer for a hearing than any nominee. Senate Republicans refusing to do their jobs and leaving the Supreme Court to operate with just eight justices means the Supreme Court is unable to do its job. Because of Republican obstruction, the Supreme Court finished this year’s term with a 4-4 tie on some of the most important issues to reach the court in recent years, denying justice to millions of our families and neighbors in the process.” 

The organizations delivered beach balls taped with headlines and editorials from across the state calling on Ayotte to stop obstructing the Supreme Court nominee, and with the message #DoYourJob when she returns to Washington, DC from Congressional summer recess next week.

Granite State Progress Renews Call For Ayotte To Host Town Hall On Gun Violence Prevention

Over 1,000 Days and Counting: Advocates Renew Call for Sen. Ayotte to Host Town Hall Specifically on Gun Violence Prevention 

It’s been 3 years since Sen. Ayotte voted against criminal background checks and 1,220 days since she first refused to meet with New Hampshire gun violence prevention advocates 

CONCORD, NH – Gun violence prevention advocates are renewing the call for U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte to host a town hall or forum specifically dedicated to the pressing issue of reducing gun violence. It’s been 1,220 days since the request was first issued and Senator Ayotte’s office has still refused to sit down and meet.

“Constituents have made phone calls, sent letters, signed petitions, and invited the Senator to their homes for dinner, but Senator Ayotte has repeatedly denied meeting requests from gun violence prevention advocates ever since she voted against background checks and the 89 percent of her constituents who support them,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director, Granite State Progress. “We renew our call for Senator Ayotte to host a town hall solely focused on gun violence prevention. In the three years since Senator Ayotte voted against common sense background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill, more shootings and more national tragedies have occurred. Senator Ayotte needs to stop hiding behind NRA lobby talking points and meet directly with her constituents. She has a responsibility as a U.S. Senator to participate in open town halls on these important topics instead of cherry-picking the issues she wants to discuss.”

In a letter to Senator Ayotte, Granite State Progress renewed its call for a town hall on gun violence prevention that would include participation from survivors of gun violence and the family members of victims, in addition to gun violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, mental health advocates, and responsible gun owners. Members of the organization are being asked to contact the Senator and call on her to engage in a community conversation about how we can work together to protect more children and families. 

Background: In April 2013, Senator Ayotte voted against the Manchin-Toomey background check bill – the only bill that would have required background checks for commercial gun sales and improved the background check system. Instead, Senator Ayotte voted for an amendment created by the gun lobby and sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz that would actually weaken the system and put more guns in the hands of the seriously mentally ill. Ayotte’s public approval ratings plummeted after her vote.

Granite State Progress first issued the call for a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention on April 30, 2013 after Ayotte hosted three poorly publicized town halls where moderators such as former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley publicly admitted to screening out questions regarding Sen. Ayotte’s vote against background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them. Granite State Progress, OFA-NH, Project for Safer Communities, and other organizations have re-issued the call during August Congressional recesses since then, and Granite State Progress members additionally host periodic coffee sit-ins in the Senator’s district offices to highlight her absence and remind her of the meeting request. Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Brady Campaign are joining in the call for a town hall this year. In August 2013, Sen. Ayotte responded with a generic form letter stating she would hold general town halls later in the year – but for 3 years, 4 months, and 2 days has ignored constituent requests for a conversation on gun violence prevention.

In contrast, during the national health reform debate in the Summer of ‘09, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation held town halls specifically focused on the pending health care reform legislation – also an issue of national debate and interest.

“Supreme Court Justices” Convene At Senator Ayotte’s Nashua Office

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 Constituents bring the court to Ayotte’s office, call on her to do her job and fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat

NASHUA, NH – Eight U.S. Supreme Court “Justices” held court outside of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Nashua district office today to highlight Ayotte’s continued obstruction to filling the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Senator Ayotte tries hard to brand herself as independent and bipartisan, but her continued obstruction around the U.S. Supreme Court nominee shows otherwise,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with progressive advocacy group People For the American Way. “Merrick Garland has received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association and has waited longer for a hearing than any nominee. Public polling shows that Ayotte is out of touch with her constituents who disagree with her handling of the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.”

President Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created earlier this year by Justice Scalia’s passing, but Ayotte and the Republican-led Senate refuse to hold a timely hearing and confirmation vote. Ayotte and her colleagues now hold the record for the longest number of days from nomination to confirmation in SCOTUS history, continuing their pattern of partisan obstruction for judicial confirmations. The Why Courts Matter New Hampshire coalition – including Granite State Progress and People For the American Way – are hosting events during Congressional Recess and beyond to highlight Ayotte’s obstructionism and call on her to #FilltheSeat because #WeNeedNine.

“Granite Staters are tired of Ayotte playing politics with the Constitution by refusing to consider the President’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Republicans refusing to do their jobs and leaving the Supreme Court to operate with just eight justices means justice is jeopardized or delayed for millions of Americans,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress.

Kelly Ayotte’s Misleading New Seniors Ad Features State Legislators Who Voted to Privatize Social Security, Cut Medicare Protections and Alzheimer’s Program Funding

Ayotte releases new ad to buffer her credentials on Social Security, Medicare, and Alzheimer’s research support, but instead features two NH State Representatives who supported privatizing Social Security, dismantling Medicare, and cutting funding for an Alzheimer’s caregiver respite program

photo of Sen. Kelly Ayotte by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

Concord, NH – Sensitive to a recent TV ad critical of her votes to dismantle key programs for seniors, Kelly Ayotte has released a misleading response ad intended to buffer her credentials on Social Security, Medicare, and Alzheimer’s research support. The ad, however, features two New Hampshire State Representatives who are in lockstep with efforts to dismantle key programs.

NH State Representatives Mary Griffin (R) and Walter Kolodziej (R) – along with Kolodziej’s wife and one other individual – claim that Ayotte has protected seniors despite an ample vote record that shows Ayotte voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program and raise the eligibility age. The ad and copy also attempt to bolster Ayotte’s record in other areas, such as Alzheimer’s research funding. However, the voting records of Ayotte and those she trusts on senior issues would harm seniors on issues regarding Medicare, Social Security, and Alzheimer’s support:

  • Ayotte effectively voted for FY 2012 Ryan Budget, which replaced Medicare with a premium support plan. The plan would more than double out-of-pocket costs for the average Medicare enrollee. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/7/11; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11)
  • Ayotte effectively voted for the FY2013 Ryan Budget, which replaced Medicare with a voucher program, increased the eligibility age, reopened the donut hole, and repealed the Affordable Care Act. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12; AARP, Letter to Congress, 3/21/12)
  • Ayotte voted for FY 2014 Ryan Budget plan which would “replace Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage with a premium-support voucher.” (Senate Vote 46, 3/21/13; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/15/13)
  • Ayotte voted for FY 2011 budget with deep cuts to agencies responsible for Alzheimer’s research. In congressional testimony on March 11, 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the proposed cuts would mean that “about half of the hundred largest clinical studies including those on cancer and Alzheimer’s would probably be canceled.” (Vote 36, 3/9/11; Politifact, 4/15/11)
  • Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for urging Congress to privatize all aspects of Social Security. Privatizing social security puts at risk benefits for New Hampshire’s current and future retirees. (HCR39, Roll Call #190, 3/21/2012)
  • Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for an Interstate Health Care Compact that sought to allow New Hampshire to opt-out of Medicare and other programs, and eliminate all federal minimum benefit guarantees and protections for New Hampshire seniors and others. (HB1560, Roll Call #87, 2/15/2012)
  • Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for suspending funding for the Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) program. The program provides temporary respite services to family members, partners and other informal caregivers who are caring for an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. (HB2, Roll Call #143, 3/30/2011; DHHS, Accessed 21.16)

“Kelly Ayotte’s votes hurt Granite State seniors,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Kelly Ayotte’s decision to feature individuals who support privatizing all aspects of Social Security and undermining protections for New Hampshire seniors and their caregivers sends a strong message regarding where her priorities sit.”

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 Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

Full Fact Check Citations

Ayotte effectively voted for FY 2012 Ryan Budget, which replaced Medicare with a premium support plan. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “CBO also finds that this beneficiary’s [a typical 65-year-old] annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double — from $6,150 to $12,500. In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/7/11] The Wall Street Journal wrote that “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

Ayotte effectively voted for the FY2013 Ryan Budget, which replaced Medicare with a voucher program, increased the eligibility age, reopened the donut hole, and repealed the Affordable Care Act. “The budget resolution developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would make significant changes to Medicare. It would replace Medicare’s current guarantee of coverage with a premium-support voucher, raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, and reopen the “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s coverage of prescription drugs. Together, these changes would shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries and (with the simultaneous repeal of health reform) leave many 65- and 66-year olds without any health coverage at all.” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/28/12) AARP CEO Barry Rand said: “ … the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” (AARP, Letter to Congress, 3/21/12)

Ayotte voted for FY 2014 Ryan Budget plan which would “replace Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage with a premium-support voucher.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “The Medicare proposals in the 2014 budget resolution developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) are essentially the same as those in last year’s Ryan budget.  Once again, Chairman Ryan proposes to replace Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage with a premium-support voucher and raise the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67.” The vote was largely along party lines; Ayotte voted with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. (Senate Vote 46, 3/21/13; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/15/13)

Ayotte voted for FY 2011 budget with deep cuts to agencies responsible for Alzheimer’s research. In congressional testimony on March 11, 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the proposed cuts would mean that “about half of the hundred largest clinical studies including those on cancer and Alzheimer’s would probably be canceled.” (Vote 36, 3/9/11; Politifact, 4/15/11)

Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for urging Congress to privatize all aspects of Social Security. Privatizing social security puts at risk benefits for New Hampshire’s current and future retirees. (HCR39, Roll Call #190, 3/21/2012)

Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for an Interstate Health Care Compact that – with permission from Congress – would give participating states the authority to opt out of all federal health care protections and programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. This would have taken away not just all federal oversight, but all federal minimum benefit guarantees and protections for New Hampshire’s most vulnerable populations: states could drop seniors from Medicare coverage, eliminate our Medicaid and CHIP protections for vulnerable children, end Medicaid-sponsored long-term care services for elders and people with disabilities, terminate protections for children with pre-existing conditions, and stop the enforcement of laws protecting medical privacy. A compact state would be free to replace any and all of these previous federal programs and protections with risky and/or inadequate state-based schemes or, if a state so chose, not replace them at all. (HB1560, Roll Call #87, 2/15/2012)

Ayotte surrogates Kolodziej and Griffin voted for suspending funding for the Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) program. The program provides temporary respite services to family members, partners and other informal caregivers who are caring for an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. (HB2, Roll Call #143, 3/30/2011; DHHS, Accessed 7.21.16)

Join Us At The 2016 NH Progressive Summit

NH Progressive Summit 2016 LogoSave the Date for the 2016 NH Progressive Summit, Saturday, June 25th at Southern NH University in Manchester!

Once again, Granite State Progress and the NH Citizens Alliance for Action will co-host the NH Progressive Summit, along with sponsoring organizations. This annual event provides space for new and existing activists to come together and hear from inspiring speakers, as we collectively learn, train, and mobilize for the many issue and electoral challenges and opportunities we face together.

Last year’s NH Progressive Summit theme was “Investing in Our Future.” This year’s theme is “Standing on the Brink.” Our state and country are at a critical juncture, and the decisions we make in the near future will have lasting implications for the legacy we leave behind us. Whether it’s advancing pro-active legislation at the state and federal level, guarding against conservative rhetoric, or challenging corporate political corruption of our legislative and electoral process – the 2016 NH Progressive Summit will confront the diverging paths forward and what we can do.

The 2016 NH Progressive Summit will be a jam-packed, action-oriented, day-long event, with workshops and fabulous speakers – you won’t want to miss it! Registration is $25 per participant for a full day or $15 for a half day in advance or $35 at the door, with a limited number of scholarships available.

Register for the 2016 NH Progressive Summit

Apply for a Scholarship

Submit a Workshop Proposal

Volunteer at the Summit

More information will be available shortly. In the meantime, visit the NH Progressive Summit website at https://nhprogressivesummit.org/ to learn more.

See you there!

House Passes Flexible Work Arrangements Bill, Awaits Governor Hassan’s Signature

woman working computer officeYesterday, the New Hampshire House took a big step toward helping working families in the Granite State.  The NH House passed SB 416, which prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request flexible work arrangements.  

Senator Dan Feltes, the bill’s prime sponsor, was pleased to hear the news and awaits the Governor’s signature.

“Hardworking Granite Staters should not have to choose between work and family,” said Senator Dan Feltes. “By prohibiting retaliation against workers who request a flexible work arrangement, SB 416 empowers workers to make those requests for flexibility, and it enables employers to keep good workers.” 

“This legislation sends a strong, positive message to our families, our businesses, and our economy. Workplace flexibility means greater worker retention and greater productivity, and it helps to attract and retain more young working families. I am pleased at the progress we’ve made on this important issue, and I thank our colleagues in the House for their support of this bipartisan legislation to continue our efforts to make New Hampshire the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” added Feltes.

The NH Citizens Alliance and the Granite State Progress Education Fund have been leading the charge to get this important legislation through the legislature.Together they formed the Stand With Women campaign that pushed for legislation that helped working women.  Kary Jencks of the NH Citizens Alliance and Zandra Rice-Hawkins of Granite State Progress further explain the benefits of this newly passed legislation.

“Currently if an employee asks an employer about flexibility in their schedule they have no obligation to consider that request, and there is nothing that stops them from retaliating because the employee asked,” said Kary Jencks, executive director for NH Citizens Alliance. “SB 416 encourages employers and employees to have an open and direct conversation when scheduling needs arise. This could be coming in 30 minutes early so you can leave in time for your child’s soccer game, or regularly adjusting your schedule for pick up or drop off times for children or elderly or disabled family members.  This bill will help with worker retention, worker productivity, and expand opportunity for all workers, especially women.”

“Forty-seven percent of New Hampshire’s workforce are women, the majority of whom are of sound reproductive age who due to family life may need at certain times in their career to request a flexible work arrangement without fear of being fired from their job,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund.  “The same legislators who voted against this bill in committee are the ones who voted against access to reproductive health care, including birth control, and who oppose opportunities to raise wages for workers. These politicians stand in the way of women by making it harder for them to decide when and if to start a family, and by opposing policies that ensure they have the economic stability and family friendly workplace policies to thrive if they do. We applaud the majority of the House for supporting SB 416.”

The bill expected to be signed by Governor Hassan in June.

NH House Labor Committe SB 416: Non-Retaliation for Flexible Work Schedule Requests

Bipartisan vote guards against retaliation for employees who request a flexible work schedule for child care or to take care of an elderly or disabled family member, among other things

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House Labor Committee voted 13-5 today to pass SB 416, a bill that guards against retaliation for employees who request a flexible work schedule for child care or to take care of an elderly or disabled family member, among other things. Amended and passed in the Senate, SB 416 simply states it is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for requesting a flexible work schedule.

“Currently if an employee asks an employer about flexibility in their schedule they have no obligation to consider that request, and there is nothing that stops them from retaliating because the employee asked,” said Kary Jencks, executive director for NH Citizens Alliance. “SB 416 encourages employers and employees to have an open and direct conversation when scheduling needs arise. This could be coming in 30 minutes early so you can leave in time for your child’s soccer game, or regularly adjusting your schedule for pick up or drop off times for children or elderly or disabled family members.  This bill will help with worker retention, worker productivity, and expand opportunity for all workers, especially women.”

“Forty-seven percent of New Hampshire’s workforce are women, the majority of whom are of sound reproductive age who due to family life may need at certain times in their career to request a flexible work arrangement without fear of being fired from their job,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund.  “The same legislators who voted against this bill in committee are the ones who voted against access to reproductive health care, including birth control, and who oppose opportunities to raise wages for workers. These politicians stand in the way of women by making it harder for them to decide when and if to start a family, and by opposing policies that ensure they have the economic stability and family friendly workplace policies to thrive if they do. We applaud the majority of the committee for supporting SB 416.”

The prime sponsor of SB 416 is Senator Dan Feltes, (D-Concord). Co-sponsors include Sen. D’Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21; Sen. Kelly, Dist 10; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Woodburn, Dist 1; Rep. LeBrun, Hills. 32; Rep. Webb, Rock. 6; Rep. Rosenwald, Hills. 30; Rep. Luneau, Merr. 10; and Rep. Gile, Merr. 27. The Senate previously passed the amended version of SB 416 by a roll call vote of 13-10.


The Stand With Women or Stand in the Way campaign of NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress Education Fund believes that instead of protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women and limiting reproductive rights, our priority in New Hampshire should be to guarantee fair opportunities for women to succeed and to take care of their families.

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