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Concord Monitor On The Damaging Consequences Of Unpaid-For Tax Giveaways

GOP Speaker Shawn Jasper Sends Lawmakers On Vacation

Concord, N.H. – As New Hampshire Republicans continue to push for unpaid-for corporate tax giveaways that would blow a $90 million hole in future budgets, the Concord Monitor examines the damaging consequences of unpaid-for tax giveaways. 

The Monitor reported, “So how did the cuts work out for Kansas? Did Brownback’s predictions come true? They didn’t. The state found itself with a gaping deficit and with shortfalls as far as the eye could see. Lawmakers this session had to figure out how to plug a $400 million budget hole, and their session stretched to an epic 113 days.” And in order to preserve the business tax giveaways, “the Kansas legislature ended up increasing sales taxes to the second-highest rate in the country.” 

The Monitor concluded that contrary to Republicans’ claims, if tax cuts for businesses “contribute to instability in state budgeting, such cuts could actually drive businesses away.” 

While Governor Hassan continues to reiterate her willingness to return to work immediately to pass a balanced, compromise budget that is fiscally responsible and meets the needs of New Hampshire, GOP House Speaker Shawn Jasper sent members on vacation, telling lawmakers “there will be no legislative activity this month and no mileage payments for traveling to and from Concord.” 

Governor Hassan and Executive Council Proclaim Earth Day

CONCORD – Highlighting the importance of protecting New Hampshire’s natural resources, Governor Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council proclaimed today as Earth Day in New Hampshire.

“On Earth Day, we recognize that we must always preserve what has made New Hampshire such a special place to live, work and raise a family – our beautiful natural resources. Our unmatched natural beauty attracts visitors from around the globe and has always been critical to our economy, our culture and our high quality of life. We must always be vigilant in our conservation efforts, and today, I encourage all Granite Staters to recommit themselves to protecting our natural resources for future generations.”

The full text of the Governor and Council’s proclamation is below and attached.

State of New Hampshire

By Her Excellency

Margaret Wood Hassan, Governor

 

A Proclamation

EARTH DAY 

APRIL 22, 2015

 

WHEREAS, This year marks the 45th Anniversary ofEarth Day; and

WHEREAS, The protection of our forests, air and water quality, fisheries, and other natural resources are important to the health and quality of life of our citizens and to the economy of New Hampshire; and

WHEREAS, By the late 21st century, climate change could cut New Hampshire’s winter snow season in half, cause sea levels to rise, and increase summer temperatures; and

WHEREAS, Greenhouse gas emissions and other man-made pollutants are the key contributors to climate change and negatively affect our air and water quality; and

WHEREAS, New Hampshire state government has taken steps to lead by example by reducing energy use of state operations; and

WHEREAS, In addition to our commitment to control harmful emissions that negatively affect our air, our water, and our earth, important programs like the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program provide vital funds to support land conservation efforts and help support our goals to protect wildlife habitat, water quality, and other natural resources; and

WHEREAS, Every resident and business has the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact and protect our environment by taking small steps like conserving energy, using reusable water bottles, walking, biking or carpooling when possible, recycling at home and in the work place, and buying local products;

NOW, THEREFORE, I MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, do hereby proclaim APRIL 22, 2015, as EARTH DAY in the State of New Hampshire and urge all citizens and businesses to take actions to address climate change and improve our air and water quality, as well as protect our wildlife and environment in order to maintain the high quality of life in our state.

Stamp Your Money While You Eat Free Ice Cream!

2015-04-14 Free Cone DayToday, April 14th is “Free Cone Day” at Ben & Jerry’s nationwide.  At the 940 Elm Street location in Manchester, NH, ice cream lovers coming by for their free scoop between noon and 8:00 pm will also be able to Stamp their money and learn more about the Stamp Stampede.

StampStampede.org is tens of thousands of Americans supporting the movement to get money out of politics by legally stamping messages onto US currency.

Here in New Hampshire, more than 60 small businesses have already joined the Stampede and are hosting “stamping stations” where customers can stamp their currency and learn more about the issue.  Almost 1,000 Granite Staters are beautifying their bucks with messages like “Not to be Used for Bribing Politicians.”  Each stamped bill is seen by an estimated 875 people as it circulates through the local economy.

At the grassroots level, there is broad bipartisan support for overturning Citizens United and ending the influence of special interests. Four out of five New Hampshire Republicans think Congress is more interested in special interests than its constituents.  More than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters support a Constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.  So far, 68 of the state’s cities and towns have passed local resolutions asking for a Constitutional amendment.

The state Legislature is considering two measures about Citizens United.  The House passed a bipartisan measure calling for a Constitutional Convention.  The Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for an amendment and setting up a study committee to recommend which proposed amendment to support.  So far, 16 other states have called for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get special interest money out of politics.

The Stamp Stampede was founded by Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Free Cone Day & Stamp Your Money!
Tuesday, April 14th 12noon to 8:00 pm
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
940 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101

For other Ben & Jerry’s locations celebrating Free Cone Day, click here.

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The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

At MLK Vigil Tomorrow, MASS Nurses Call For Support of Passing the Inclusive Prosperity Act

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Massachusetts Nurses and Allies to Hold Vigil in Remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and in Support of Passing the Inclusive Prosperity Act in Honor of His Legacy

Nurses and other allies will gather in front of Congressman Richard Neal’s Springfield office to express their support of the bill, and encourage the Representative to be a supporter

On April 4 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee.  Just prior to his death, he had turned his attention to issues of poverty and income inequality, an effort he called the Poor People’s Campaign.  It is in remembrance of Dr. King’s work on this issue, that members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United and allies from Western MA Jobs with Justice, the Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, and the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, will gather in Springfield this Wednesday April 8. The event is one of 25 similar vigils being held outside Congressional offices in 25 U.S. cities.

When:    Wednesday, April 8 at 11a.m.

Where:   Office of Congressman Richard Neal
300 State St. Springfield, MA 01105

In addition to honoring Dr. King’s legacy, the group will encourage Congressman Richard Neal to sign on to a bill, recently filled in the House of Representatives, which would generate $300 Billion. The Inclusive Prosperity Act, sponsored by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), which is also known as the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street, would place a small tax on Wall Street, which would generate funding for things like: infrastructure, education, ending student debt, healthcare, housing and retirement security, and go a long way to reducing the obscene income and wealth inequality in our nation. By co-sponsoring this legislation, Congressman Neal will be honoring the struggle that Dr. King gave his life for 47 years ago this week.

Economists estimate that a tiny surcharge of no more than a nickel on every $10 in trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives —a tax that is proportionally smaller than what most Americans pay for a pair of shoes – could increase revenues collected by the Treasury Department by as much as $350 billion annually. That revenue, in turn, can be re-directed from wealthy investors who have surplus income, to poor and working-class Americans who don’t have nearly enough income.

“Inequality in health, still rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty continue to devastate far too many families. The climate crisis puts our planet at risk and is rapidly accelerating extreme weather events, droughts, and epidemics that threaten public health. We need the Robin Hood Tax, best embodied in Rep. Ellison’s bill, to raise the revenues we desperately need to protect our health, our families, our communities, and our nation,” said Patricia Healey, RN, chair of MNA Regional Council 1, and a member of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses that is organizing similar events across the nation.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is endorsed by 172 national organizations and prominent economists. HR 1464 is patterned after a similar measure  being implemented by 11 countries in the European Union, and already in place in every major financial world market except the United States.

“America¹s working families need their country to invest in them again,” Rep. Ellison said. “The money raised from a wafer-thin tax on  Wall Street¹s high-frequency trades could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in our families, protect our environment, and increase opportunity for all Americans. If the United States joins the  dozens of other nations already benefitting from a financial  transaction tax, we can create millions of jobs, while also reducing  dangerous market volatility.”

For more information on the Robin Hood Tax campaign, visit:  http://www.robinhoodtax.org/media/vigils-legislative-offices-25-cities

Newspapers Across NH Scold O’Brien for Destructive Antics, When Will Kelly Ayotte & GOP Leaders End Their Silence?

Concord, N.H. – Newspapers across the state have repeatedly blasted Bill O’Brien for his childish and harmful behavior, begging the question, when will Kelly Ayotte, Chuck Morse, and Republican Party leaders end their silence and stop endorsing O’Brien as he fights to destroy the New Hampshire House from within.

“Bill O’Brien’s increasingly desperate attempts to grab power for himself and further his own radical anti-middle class agenda are no longer just hurting the Republican Party, they’re threatening the well-being of our middle class families and our economy,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Kelly Ayotte, Chuck Morse, and Republican Party leaders need to act responsibly and finally call on O’Brien to quit his destructive tactics and radical anti-middle class agenda before he’s able to take our economy backwards again.”

See below for a roundup of editorials from across the state blasting O’Brien’s destructive antics.

Nashua Telegraph: Politics: Dignity is not too much to ask

“The state faces too many important issues over the next two years to have Concord turned into a clown show. Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to work together – as they have done the past two years – to solve problems. That means O’Brien and his minions need to demonstrate a little dignity in defeat.”

Click here for full Nashua Telegraph Editorial.

Nashua Telegraph: They can cry if they want to

“Jasper isn’t the real culprit here. The larger problem is a party mind-set that thinks Bill O’Brien could possibly be an answer to any question New Hampshire voters might be asking. […] voters don’t much care about petty party considerations. They expect the jilted to grow up, get over the heartbreak and put the good of the state first.”

Click here for full Nashua Telegraph Editorial.

Concord Monitor: Tantrum is hurting GOP and the state

“Children see the world in black and white. The O’Brien faction and their leader are acting like spoiled children. Their tantrum is hurting their party, and if it continues, it will embarrass a state that is moving closer to the center of the national spotlight.”

Click here for full Concord Monitor Editorial.

Portsmouth Herald: O’Brien will do anything to gain power

“At first, former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and his rabid supporters, including the outspoken Pam Tucker of Greenland and Fred Rice of Hampton, just looked like a bunch of sore losers throwing a temper tantrum. But their efforts on Thursday to change House rules in order to anoint O’Brien as Republican majority leader fly in the face of the New Hampshire Constitution and show the desperate lengths O’Brien and his cronies will go to grab power from legally elected House Speaker Shawn Jasper and his leadership team. […] These latest actions show O’Brien is not simply a former Massachusetts Democrat who has become a far right-wing ideologue, he is a dangerous demagogue who will stop at nothing to get the power he seems to so desperately crave.”

Click here for full Concord Monitor Editorial.

Keene Sentinel: Republican House members need a time out

“At no point have we heard the put-out GOP leaders indicate anything they’re doing is for the good of the state. Rather, nearly every rebuke of the elected speaker has noted his actions as being detrimental to “the party.” Well, that would be a reasonable stance if only the Republican Party mattered — or governed — in New Hampshire. But those days have long since passed. What needs to happen now is to put aside these very petty squabbles in favor of serving the best interests of the state. […]The next two years will be hard enough to navigate. The GOP-led Legislature will need to find common ground with Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. That seems unlikely if its House members can’t even work and play amongst themselves without needing to be sent to the corner.”

Click here for full Keene Sentinel Editorial.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript: O’Brien denial a coup for voters

“It’s time for O’Brien to let go of the reins of the N.H. House. There is a reason, perhaps many, why he wasn’t elected again to serve as speaker. […] given how our Legislature was run when O’Brien was in charge, Granite Staters should be happy to have someone — anyone — else leading the way for the majority party.”

Click here for full Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Editorial.

Valley News: The O’Brien Rebellion

“In the course of the proceedings, O’Brien demonstrated that this particular leopard had not changed spots, as his backers sought a rule change requiring a roll call vote instead of the traditional secret ballot. […] End of story? No, beginning of GOP civil war.”

Click here for full Valley News Editorial.

Senator Shaheen Votes For CROmnibus Bill While Objecting To Certain Provisions

Immediate Release:

Legislation funds the government while making strategic investments in job creation and economic growth in New Hampshire

(Washington, DC) – Tonight U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) voted in favor of a bipartisan appropriations bill that funds most government operations through the 2015 fiscal year.

“The spending bill we passed tonight invests in strategic priorities that will support job creation, economic growth and our national security,” said Shaheen. “It is far from perfect, but it is the product of a bipartisan compromise that in my mind was better than any alternative. I’m disappointed by certain provisions included in this bill – including the rolling back of important taxpayer protections from risky behavior on Wall Street. But I’d rather pass this imperfect, bipartisan compromise now, than face a partisan Republican bill next year, one that would be more at odds with the priorities I believe best serve New Hampshire’s economy and middle-class families. This legislation will help to continue our economic growth and avert another costly government shutdown.”

Shaheen provisions and priorities included in the final spending bill include:

New Hampshire’s Economy

The bill includes funding for another round of State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program. The STEP program, which Shaheen helped create, is an export initiative that helps states assist small businesses to enter and succeed in the international marketplace. The bill also provides funding to complete the activation of the Berlin Prison which will boost the economy in Northern New Hampshire. Shaheen has fought for the opening of the prison since its funding became at risk and has continued to be a leader in the fight to fully open the facility. She has repeatedly pressed Congress and the Obama Administration to prioritize funding and has highlighted the economic boost the prison would have on one of the most economically distressed areas of the state. The facility is expected to create 340 local jobs and provide a $40 million economic boost to Northern New Hampshire.

Pease Air National Guard Base and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

The spending bill includes funding for the new KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tanker that will be housed at Pease Air National Guard base in New Hampshire. The new tankers will replace the Air Force’s current fleet of 1950’s era KC-135s, and Pease – home to the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Air Refueling Wing – is slated to be the first Air National Guard unit to receive the next generation tanker in fiscal year 2018. Shaheen has advocated for Pease to receive the tanker since 2011, and last year, announced that the Air Force had designated Pease as the first Air National Guard unit to receive the KC-46A.

The bill also includes $41 million in infrastructure upgrades to prepare the Pease Air National Guard Base for the new tankers, as well investments in further energy efficiency upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which will reduce costs and improve performance at the shipyard.

Veterans

The spending bill also provides support for service men and women and addresses issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill increases funding for the Beyond Yellow Ribbon Program, which connects service men and women and their families with community support, training, and other services, by $15 million.

The bill also supports job opportunities for veterans by incorporating several of Shaheen’s veteran small business priorities included in her legislation the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act. The bill includes fee waivers for veteran small business owners applying for Small Business Association (SBA) loans who are looking for loans to start or expand their small businesses. The bill also makes important investments to continue reducing the backlog of veterans’ benefits and appeals claims.

Peace Corps

The bill gives victims of rape who serve in the Peace Corps health care equity by providing them with health care coverage to terminate a pregnancy. Peace Corps volunteers will now receive the same basic health care benefits provided to other women on federal health care plans.

Heroin Abuse Intervention Funding

The bill will help local communities in New Hampshire address the growing heroin abuse crisis. It provides critical resources for communities by setting aside $7 million to strengthen law enforcement efforts in states with high incidences of heroin abuse. Shaheen has been working with local, state and federal officials as well as law enforcement and public health experts to identify ways to address the growing heroin and prescription drug problem in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, she announced Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program funding for New Hampshire, which will educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse to ultimately reduce youth substance use. The Senate Appropriations Committee also unanimously adopted several provisions Shaheen proposed and which were a direct result of her outreach with federal, state and local officials along with public health and treatment professionals.

Children and Families

The spending bill invests in important programs for children in New Hampshire such as Head Start, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.  It allocates $430 million for the Violence Against Women Act, which is a record level of funding.  These resources are critical to providing the support needed by the millions of women who are the victims of violence.

Wave of Actions by FairPoint Strikers Continues Friday in Manchester

FairPoint strikers converge on company’s Elm Street offices calling for good jobs, quality service, and a Fair Deal for New England

Workers escalating their campaign after negotiators from North Carolina-based FairPoint made no movement at meeting earlier this week

Manchester protest marks the third major action by FairPoint strikers in two days, following events Thursday in Montpelier and Boston

WHEN: Friday, November 21, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: 770 Elm Street, Manchester, N.H.

Fairness at Fairpoint BannerMANCHESTER — A wave of actions by striking FairPoint workers continues Friday in Manchester. Strikers and supporters from across New England are rallying on the picket line outside FairPoint’s Elm Street offices.

The striking workers are calling on the company, which is headquartered in North Carolina, to reach a Fair Deal for New England. They say that deep and damaging cuts the company is seeking in negotiations would make it impossible to deliver quality service to customers.

“The executives back in North Carolina don’t get it, but they’ve created a crisis here in New England,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320, which represents FairPoint workers in New Hampshire. “By attacking their skilled workers, FairPoint has left our customers relying on unqualified contractors who can’t do the work.”

The Manchester protest will mark the strikers’ third major action against FairPoint in two days. On Thursday morning, a delegation of strikers and supporters protested against FairPoint’s biggest shareholder — Wall Street hedge fund Angelo, Gordon & Co. — at an investor conference in Boston. At noon, the strikers held a major rally at the Vermont state capitol in Montpelier.

Earlier this week, union representatives participated in an effort to jump-start the deadlocked talks. They attended a meeting Tuesday with the company arranged by a federal mediator. But the meeting broke up quickly after FairPoint officials refused to modify demands for severe cuts that they’ve been seeking since bargaining began this spring.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan issued a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, saying, “I know that FairPoint workers, who stood by the company throughout its bankruptcy proceedings, have brought a constructive approach to the table and offered real concessions, and I encourage FairPoint’s leadership in North Carolina to do the same.”

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke at Thursday’s rally in Montpelier, and said he had talked to the CEO of FairPoint two days earlier. Shumlin said he had urged the CEO to return to the table with the FairPoint strikers so they could “get service back to a level that is acceptable.”

Since the strike began on October 17, FairPoint has been struggling to maintain its northern New England systems with replacement workers hired from out of state. On Monday, Vermont’s Department of Public Service reported that it has received 271 complaints from Fairpoint customers during the strike, a significant increase.

The negotiations for a new contract at FairPoint began in April, and from the outset company officials pressed to increase outsourcing, cut pay for new workers and slash benefits for all employees. The workers have offered more than $200 million in cost-saving compromises during the talks. But the company has not altered its initial demand for $700 million in deep and damaging cuts.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.FairnessAtFairpoint.com.

In Portsmouth, Jeanne Shaheen Continues “GOTV-New Hampshire Tour” With Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin

HRC LogoPortsmouth – This afternoon, Senator Jeanne Shaheen continued her “Get Out The Vote New Hampshire Tour” in Portsmouth, where she campaigned with Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. Shaheen and Griffin attended a canvass kick off and addressed grassroots organizers and volunteers about what is at stake in this Tuesday’s election, including protecting equal rights for all Americans.

“The government has no place preventing two people who love each other from getting married and I am proud to have fought for marriage equality throughout my first term in the Senate,” said Shaheen. “When Scott Brown was in the Senate representing Massachusetts, he stood on the wrong side of history and voted against repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Here in New Hampshire, we value equal rights for all, and Scott Brown’s record is just further proof that he is not for us.”

“I couldn’t be more proud to have the support of Chad Griffin and the Human Rights Campaign,” Shaheen added. “There are serious differences between my record and Scott Brown’s, and with their help, we’re going to make sure voters across the state now know what’s at stake when it comes to equal rights for LGBT Americans.”

Jeanne Shaheen has been a champion for LGBT equality. In the Senate, she cosponsored legislation to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented same-sex couples from having their marriages recognized by the federal government. She was the first U.S. Senator to call on the Democratic Party to include a freedom-to-marry plank in its 2012 party platform. Scott Brown opposes repealing DOMA, proving he can’t be trusted to stand up for equal rights for LGBT Americans.

Shaheen also cosponsored legislation to expand federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by gender or sexual orientation. She led the fight to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect Americans from losing their jobs based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and cosponsored a bill to protect students from bullying and harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Shaheen campaign’s robust grassroots organization is paving the way to victory on Tuesday. Thousands of volunteers have been knocking on doors and making phone calls. Since early this summer, the campaign has been busy building the infrastructure needed to turn out voters on November 4th, including a seven-figure investment in the field operation that has opened 20 field offices in critical communities across the state.

AFT and National Nurses United Praise New CDC Ebola Guidelines For Healthcare Workers

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Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Ebola guidance for U.S. healthcare workers.  AFT and National Nurses United have been pushing for more restrictive guidance to protect the millions of healthcare providers in the US.

After the news broke AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement:

“At hospitals throughout our nation, nurses and healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to be ready to care for whoever comes through their doors. The CDC’s new guidance for healthcare workers and the positive actions taken by the Obama administration fall directly in line with what our members called for last week: infection-control protocols and worker-preparedness plans; dedicated, specially trained teams of willing staff; and the proper equipment for nurses and healthcare professionals working in America’s hospitals.

As the second-largest nurses union in the United States, the AFT is working to keep our communities safe and healthy. That is why we are calling on the CDC to issue additional Ebola guidance for non-hospital healthcare settings and expanded guidance to guarantee wages and benefits for quarantined healthcare workers—so workers won’t have to choose between safety and living expenses. And we renew our call for hospitals to incorporate the voices of nurses and healthcare workers in the development and implementation of Ebola protocols.

We look forward to being a partner with the CDC to expand and improve guidance on Ebola or any other health issues facing America.”

The National Nurses United released the following:

National Nurses United today welcomed the call in the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for “rigorous and repeated training” for nurses and other health workers responding to the Ebola virus as NNU has been urging for two months, but said some substantial questions and concerns remain.

“It is clear from the abrupt change in position of the CDC in some areas that the registered nurses have moved the country and the CDC as the nurses champion protection for their patients and articulate the vulnerabilities for themselves. Nevertheless, the optimal standards should be in place tomorrow and, regrettably, they will not be,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

With still significant questions regarding the most effective personal protective equipment, and the ongoing lack of any mandate on the hospitals to comply with the highest standards and protocols, “it is clear that nurses are going to have to continue to fight every step of the way to demand that every patient, every nurse, every frontline healthcare worker has the protection they need,” DeMoro said.

“The governing theme must be the precautionary principle, the highest safety standards in the face of this virulent disease, so that no nurses, other frontline health workers, or patients have to put their lives in jeopardy,” DeMoro said.

DeMoro noted that the call for continuous training, especially in group sessions with everyone practicing putting on and taking off the protective equipment, echoes a key demand of nurses.

“Most hospitals continue to fall far short of that standard,” she said. A national NNU survey, which now has nearly 3,000 responses from nurses in over 1,000 facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that 84 percent of nurses say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola with the ability for nurses to interact and ask questions.

Second, DeMoro called the guideline that any protective equipment leave ‘no skin exposed,’ a “direct testament to the courage of Briana Aguirre,”  the Texas Presbyterian Hospital RN who “made the incredibly brave decision” to publicly disclose that the suits at her Dallas hospital left exposed the necks and other skin of nurses who cared for Ebola-infected patients.

“Briana will be remembered as the Karen Silkwood of our time,” DeMoro said.  The gap in the suits was also revealed in a statement from Aguirre and other Dallas RNs released by NNU last week.

However, the CDC guidelines remain unclear on the most effective protective equipment, and, significantly, have their own gaping hole in the option offered to hospitals to select which protective equipment to use “based on availability” and other factors.

DeMoro called that loophole “an open invitation for hospitals to choose the cheapest protective equipment that will continue to put nurses and other health workers at considerable risk. Years of experience with our private hospital industry have demonstrated that far too many hospitals routinely put their budget goals and profit margins ahead of public safety, including in access to protective equipment.”

“We are contacting the CDC for specifics on the proper protective equipment and whether it meets the precautionary principle and the highest standard, in particular, full body coverage that prevents any blood or viral penetration,” DeMoro said.

Finally, she noted, “CDC readily admits it is not a regulatory agency. It has no authority to compel hospitals to comply with any guidelines.

“That is why we will continue to insist that Congress and the White House should mandate all hospitals meet the optimal uniform, national standards and protocols in order to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers and the public,” DeMoro said.

The public is invited to join that call by signing an NNU petition online at:

http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/s/national-nurses-united-urges-you-to-take-action-now?utm_source=nnu&utm_medium=btn&utm_campaign=petition

Shea-Porter Announces TIGER 2013 Grant Agreement Reached for Northcoast Railroad

ROCHESTER, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced that a Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) 2013 grant agreement has been formally reached for the New Hampshire Northcoast Rail Improvement Project.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) has awarded $1.4 million to be used to make repairs and improve sections of the rail line between Ossipee and Rochester.

In 2013, Congresswoman Shea-Porter and the entire New Hampshire delegation urged then-DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to support NHDOT’s competitive grant application for the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad Project, which will enable the railroad to expand its freight service on the line and operate it more efficiently.

“The Northcoast line connects to the national freight rail network via Boston and is a vital transportation link for the Granite State. These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line in partnership with local communities and the private sector,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “We must invest in the transportation infrastructure necessary to move the New Hampshire economy forward, and I will continue to fight to bring more TIGER grant dollars to our state.”

The full text of the letter follows:

May 29, 2013

The Honorable Ray H. LaHood, Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC  20590

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We write in support of the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) V grant application submitted by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) for the upgrade and repair of 42 miles of main line rail between Rochester and Ossipee, NH in Strafford and Carroll Counties.

The New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad is a short-line freight railroad that provides service through Rochester, Ossipee and the southeastern and central regions of New Hampshire.  The Northcoast line connects to the national freight rail network via Boston and is a vital link for an economically-distressed area of our state.  Industrial sector companies depend on services from this railroad, but are impacted by low weight limits that necessitate additional shipments and deter some suppliers from using the line.  

NHDOT is applying for support to repair this section of rail to allow car shipments of up to 286,000 pounds, the North American standard, to travel the full length of this corridor.  These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line undertaken in partnership with the local community and the private sector.  The upgrades to the track will improve safety and reliability while enabling increased speeds for trains traveling through the corridor.  The higher weight limit will enable existing customers to more efficiently access markets and help spur economic growth in the region.

We support NHDOT’s competitive grant application for the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad Project and urge your serious consideration of this proposal.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

                                                                  Sincerely,

Jeanne Shaheen                                                              Kelly A. Ayotte
United States Senator                                                    United States Senator

Carol Shea-Porter                                                           Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress                                                       Member of Congress

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