Expanded Gaming Helps All Of NH Cities And Towns (SB 366 Testimony by Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH)

roulette wheel casino

aft sqaureI am here today in support of SB 366. AFT-NH is affiliated with NH AFL-CIO and we stand in support of our union brothers and sisters for whom this bill will create thousands of badly needed New Hampshire jobs.

We know that expanded gaming will:

  • create thousands of construction jobs,
  • create even more good jobs to  operate the facilities,
  • bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in non-tax state revenue,
  • boost economic development by hundreds of millions of dollars as well.

We also know that this bill:

  • Is a responsible NH solution for expanded gaming, and includes robust regulations crafted by the bipartisan Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority..
  • Protects the New Hampshire charities who depend on charitable gaming.
  • Provides that the gaming commission may not delegate its rulemaking authority to any other person.
  • Prohibits the use of credit, debit or ATM cards at a slot machine or table game.
  • The gaming commission must enforce the prohibition on the use of EBT cards for gambling.

But the same could be said about previous casino bills that failed to pass the House. SB 366 is different because it includes a new provision to guarantee revenue, and to make sure every community in New Hampshire sees the benefits. SB366 uses casino revenue to reinstate revenue sharing for cities and towns, to the tune of $50 million per biennium.  Revenue sharing means much needed funding for cities and towns across the state. City and town officials who struggle to adequately fund schools, roads, public safety, and other basic services will be pleased to know this bill will directly help their communities.

For example, in my hometown of Rochester, the Rochester School Department has to cut $2.8 million from their budget, with significant cuts will be made to personnel. With SB 366 revenue sharing the city of Rochester would receive $530,950 to help stop layoffs.

In the city of Nashua over the past several years the school department has eliminated 83 positions and has only been able to restore a few of these positions. They are planning to cut another 12 positions in the coming year. These cuts in services will be very difficult decisions, but there is no doubt they will directly impact students in the Nashua school system.. With SB 366 revenue sharing the city of Nashua would receive a little over $2.4 million. Just imagine the benefit the citizens of Nashua would realize with that revenue.

In fact, every single city and town in our state would receive substantial revenue sharing under SB 366. Just imagine the cuts in services and layoffs your community could avoid if we pass this bill..

In Closing, I ask that you support SB 366 and recommend Ought To Pass.

Laura Hainey,
President of AFT-NH

3-31-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Smarter Balance Testing and A ‘Thank You’ To Legislators

AFT NH Legislative Update

Now that crossover has come and gone both chambers will start working on each other’s bills.  Both chambers have till May 15th to act on these bills.

I would like to thank all the representatives that supported us on the following bills:

AFT-NH supported the recommendation of Ought To Pass as amended on HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. The amended version ensures this is just a housekeeping bill that establishes a procedure for the determination of the costs of purchase of service credits, clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan, changes the date for the approval of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), adds a penalty for employers who fail to timely remit data on compensation paid to retired members, and repeals obsolete provisions.

AFT-NH was also in support of the Inexpedient To Legislate on HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining. There have been many committees/commissions that have studied this issue and too often, it only seems to open the door for destructive legislation.  Rather than risk opening a Pandora’s Box with a study commission, let’s prepare specific legislation to remedy some of the problems already identified in previous study committees.

We are disappointed that the following bills were defeated: 

HB 1105-FN-L, relative to aid to school districts for costs of special education. AFT-NH supported this bill because it would have lifted the current cap of 72% on catastrophic special education funds and fully funded it. With this cap of 72% the state has downshifted roughly $8 million to communities. Catastrophic aid is a state fund that helps local district with exorbitant special education costs for our severely disabled children.

HB 1114: which sought to establish a minimum state expenditure for school building aid of $50,000,000 per fiscal year. This bill would have put a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many district have not been able to afford completing upgrades, repairs or build new buildings because of the cost. Keep in mind, 50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

Common Core and The Smarter Balance State Assessment

There were several bills voted on in the House that were related to the Common Core and the Smarter Balance state assessment. Knowing that both of these will be moving forward in New Hampshire we need to ensure that all schools have the following in place:

  • 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.
  • We must 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, AND
  • 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, AND
  • 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 needs to be offered, AND
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.
  • We need to make sure the assessments inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning.
  • Assessments need to support teaching and learning, and must align 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.
  • The development and implementation of assessments must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.
  • These assessments 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.

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

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Please visit www.aft-nh.org and AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”?
Late breaking news appears on our web site and on Facebook!

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 1

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1146, establishing a committee to study the feasibility of funding a kindergarten
to college/career ready program and a universal college savings account.
1:30 p.m. HB 1489-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the establishment of a fund to
reimburse costs associated with firefighters who have cancer.
Executive Session May Follow

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
10:30 a.m. HB 1435, requiring law enforcement officials to disclose specific information relating
to a police checkpoint.

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306
10:30 a.m. SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the Director of the Division
of Forests and Lands.
11:30 a.m. SB 418, relative to the proclamation of firefighters memorial day.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
11:30 a.m. SB 236, relative to delivery of the final budget and recommendation of the municipal
budget committee to the governing body.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 100, SH
9:30 a.m. HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen
administered by the New Hampshire retirement system.
10:00 a.m. HB 1398-FN, allowing the retirement system to make payments in lieu of payments
to estates in certain instances.
10:30 a.m. HB 1617-FN, permitting the retirement system to access death, marriage, and
divorce records of the division of vital records administration for the administration of
RSA 100-A.
Executive Session May Follow

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to
reporting by political committees.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:30 p.m. SB 295, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.

THURSDAY, APRIL 3

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 1488-FN, establishing the New Hampshire program on educational support for
military children.
9:20 a.m. HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of student data.
Executive Session May Follow

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
11:15 a.m. SB 339-FN, relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in which fees
received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability.

House FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:30 p.m. Work session on SB 339-FN, relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in
which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability.

TUESDAY, APRIL 8

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 335-FN, (New Title) establishing a commission to study career and technical
education centers.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.

12:30 p.m. LOB 305-307: All legislators are invited to a showing of the acclaimed documentary “Inequality for All” which features Robert Reich, economics professor, best-selling author, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap is having a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is described as “a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class.” The showing is open to all. This event is part of the film’s “50 State Capitals Tour” this winter and spring, designed especially for Legislators and policy-makers.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of
juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.
Executive Session May Follow

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 343, relative to the duties of the statewide education improvement and
assessment program legislative oversight committee and repealing the school
administrative unit legislative oversight committee.
11:00 a.m. SB 350, relative to the transfer of adequacy aid calculation data from the
Department of Education to the Department of Revenue Administration.
1:15 p.m. SB 348, establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in
elementary and secondary schools.

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions.
11:00 a.m. SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s
individualized education program.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

12:30 p.m. 62 North Main Street:  Big Money and Politics – New Hampshire is the highest per-capita recipient of outside special-interest money. Learn about the efforts to address this issue at the state level, understand the federal landscape and what you can do about it. This presentation, including a panel discussion led by the Coalition for Open Democracy and Americans for Campaign Reform, is part of New England College’s education series to take place at the college’s new Concord facility. Walk south on North Main, Located on the clock tower side, near the Norway Bank, three-minutes from the steps of the State House.

THURSDAY, APRIL 17

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

MONDAY, APRIL 21

CHARTER SCHOOLS AND OPEN ENROLLMENT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 194-B:21), Room 100, State House
11:30 a.m. Regular meeting. Presentation by Paul Leather, Deputy Commission Department of Education on HB 435.

Governor Hassan Signs Bipartisan Health Care Expansion Legislation into Law

2014-03-27 medicaid expansion

Compromise Measure Accepts Federal Funds to Expand Health Care Access to 50,000 Granite Staters

2014-03-27 medicaid expansionCONCORD – Enacting the most significant measure in decades to strengthen the health of New Hampshire’s families and communities, Governor Maggie Hassan has signed into law SB 413, bipartisan legislation that accepts federal funds to expand access to health coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters.

“Our bipartisan health care expansion plan is a historic step forward for the health and financial well-being of Granite State families, businesses and communities,” Governor Hassan said. “It is a fiscally responsible, uniquely New Hampshire solution that will inject $2.5 billion in federal funds into our state’s economy and improve the lives of 50,000 hard-working people who deserve the security of health insurance.

“By reaching bipartisan consensus to expand health coverage, we have demonstrated again that, in New Hampshire, we are able to work across party lines to solve problems and make progress for our people and our economy,” Governor Hassan said.

The bipartisan plan will use federal Medicaid funds available through the Affordable Care Act to help New Hampshire citizens at or under 133 percent of the federal poverty level – around $16,000 for an individual – access health insurance. The plan will help reduce levels of uncompensated care at hospital emergency rooms, encourage primary and preventive care, and provide coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Under the health care expansion plan, if a qualifying individual has access to private coverage through an employer, he or she will be able to enroll in the employer-based coverage through the state’s Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) program, which will pay for the individual’s premium and cost-sharing. For other eligible individuals, coverage will be available through a private managed care company beginning as soon as July 1, 2014.

Beginning in 2016, the plan moves the newly eligible individuals who are not participating in HIPP onto the state’s federally facilitated health insurance marketplace to purchase private coverage through a new premium assistance program funded by the federal government. Elements of the plan are subject to the state securing federal waivers from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

“Helping low-income workers purchase private coverage through the health insurance marketplace will support our efforts to attract competition in order to improve affordability and increase choices for coverage for all New Hampshire citizens,” Governor Hassan said.

“I want to thank Senate President Morse, Speaker Norelli and all of the legislators from both parties who worked together to pass this legislation,” Governor Hassan said. “Our continued collaboration is essential throughout the federal-waiver and implementation process. We must continue to put ideology aside and focus on our common purpose and common vision in order to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for our people and our economy.”

“I’m so proud of our state legislators for working across the aisle to expand health coverage for some of our most vulnerable Granite Staters,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster.  ”This bill will help ensure that another 50,000 Granite Staters will now have access to the health care services they need. I look forward to working on the federal level to help the state implement this expansion, which will improve our state’s overall economy by creating jobs, reducing uncompensated care at hospitals, and alleviating the cost burden on small businesses.”

“I want to congratulate Governor Hassan, President Morse, Senator Larsen, Speaker Norelli, and all those involved in this historic accomplishment,” said Senator Jeanne Shahhen.  ”The legislation Governor Hassan signed into law this afternoon showcases just how much we can accomplish when we work together on behalf of the people of New Hampshire.  This bipartisan plan is not only great for our economy but for a countless number of people across our state, including the approximately 50,000 people who now stand to receive health care, and I remain committed to doing everything I can to assist New Hampshire implement this plan.”

New Hampshire House Passes Bill to Protect Consumers From Destructive Utility Transactions

Telecom workers applaud legislative action

photo by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) via Wikimedia CommonsConcord, NH—By a voice vote, the New Hampshire House of Representatives today passed HB 1314, which will work to ensure better oversight of large telecommunications utility mergers and acquisitions. The bill, introduced by Rep. Linda DiSilvestro (D-Manchester), would create a legislative committee to study the process by which the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reviews large telecommunications utility transactions on behalf of consumers. The bill came about as a direct response to the 2007 merger between Verizon and FairPoint Communications. 

When FairPoint took over Verizon’s landline operations, consumers suffered,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320, which represents approximately 700 telecom workers at FairPoint Communications across the state. “Calls were dropped, services were unavailable, and wait times were very lengthy. If this bill were in place then, the PUC could have done its due diligence, seen that FairPoint was unprepared for this merger, and stopped the sale.”

Many other states, including Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, currently require the PUC to find that public utility mergers or sales are in the public interest before they can proceed. HB 1314 would bring New Hampshire in line with its neighbors.

“We believe the hedge funds that control FairPoint are looking to flip it to other Wall Street investors,” Brackett added. “New Hampshire’s communities need a public interest standard to protect consumers from the next big merger.

HB 1314 now goes to the Senate for approval, followed by signature or veto by the governor. If signed into law, the study committee – made up of five members of the New Hampshire legislature – would meet in June to study the introduction of a public interest finding, with a report due in November.

For more information, visit www.fairnessatfairpoint.com.

 

NH House Approves Bill to Extend Health Insurance to More than 50,000 Granite Staters

NH Senate Medicaid Vote 6-6-13 Inzane Times

NH Senate Medicaid Vote 6-6-13 Inzane TimesCONCORD, NH – In a show of bipartisan support, the House of Representatives today approved SB 413 by a vote of 202 to 132, enabling New Hampshire to accept federal funds to provide affordable health insurance to more than 50,000 low-income Granite Staters.

“Today is a great day for thousands of New Hampshire residents who will now, for the very first time, have access to affordable health care,” said Deb Fournier, policy analyst for the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute.

“Members of the House and Senate should be commended for their steadfast dedication and commitment to reaching a solution that works for everyone,” said Fournier. “By enabling the state to accept these federal funds, Legislators have made a fiscally responsible decision that will save millions in state budget costs and pave the way for millions of federal dollars to enter the state economy and benefit communities across the state.”

SB 413 is a bipartisan compromise which utilizes federal Medicaid funds to support a program of privately-delivered health insurance for low-income individuals. The compromise is the result of months of discussion and debate regarding how best to design a program that solves a critical health policy issue for New Hampshire.

SB 413 creates a three-stage Health Protection Program to extend affordable health insurance to low-income Granite Staters: the Health Insurance Premium Program, the Bridge to Marketplace Premium Assistance Program, and the Marketplace Premium Assistance Program. Federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs associated with the Health Protection Program, which will be repealed at the end of 2016 unless future legislatures vote to extend it.

For more information, see the NHFPI Health Protection Program fact sheet.

 

The New Hampshire House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

NHhouse

The New Hampshire House of Representatives today by a vote of 173 to 118 approved HB 1403, a bill to increase the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour over two years and apply cost of living adjustments in future years. New Hampshire’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the wage has remained at this level since 2008.

“New Hampshire’s current minimum wage leaves workers struggling to get by,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “Raising the minimum wage and ensuring it is adjusted for the cost of living in future years would help families make ends meet, boost sales at local businesses, and put New Hampshire on a path towards an economy that works for everyone.”

HB 1403 would increase the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015, and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index).

An analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that HB 1403 would either directly or indirectly increase the wages of 76,000 Granite Staters. Of those who would be affected, 72 percent are adults age 20 and older; 32 percent work full-time; 59 percent are women; and 14 percent are parents.

On average, those who would be affected by a $9.00 minimum wage would see their pay go up by $870 per year. As minimum wage workers spend every dollar they earn, this spending will boost the bottom lines of stores, shops, and businesses in communities across the state while adding $64 million to the New Hampshire economy over the next two years.

The WMUR Granite State Poll released on February 6 found that 76% of state residents support increasing the minimum wage to $9.00. The poll question asked respondents if they supported an increase to $8.25 in 2015 and to $9 an hour in 2016. Across the political spectrum, the majority of Democrats (91%), Republicans (64%), and Independents (70%) favored this proposed increase to the minimum wage.

“I applaud members of the House of Representatives for their recognition of the need to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage,” said Governor Hassan. “In order for economic growth to truly accelerate, working families and individuals must be confident in their own financial circumstances and able to afford critical goods and services.”

Governor Hassan continued, “This measure will help improve the financial security of working families and people of all ages and will support businesses by putting more money in the pockets of their consumers. I look forward to working with members of the Senate, as well as workers, businesses and all stakeholders, to strengthen our state’s economic future by restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage.”

“The legislators were not swayed by false testimony or attempts to weaken the bill,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We all know that a strong minimum wage means more money in the pockets of families and more money in the cash registers of local businesses. Raising the wage is a win-win situation for our whole economy and we strongly encourage the Senate to support it.”

“The vote in the House today signals a strong desire to help working people and we are proud of the legislators who voted with us,” continued Rice-Hawkins.  “Three-quarters of Granite Staters, including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, also support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour.”

Now everything lies in the Senate.  Will they do what is right for Granite Staters or hold fast to the anti-worker ideology of the current Republican Party?

The Video That Could Change Your Entire Outlook On The Casino Gambling Bill And The Gas Tax

Diana Lacey Screen Shot Video

Once a week the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) sends out their Statehouse Bulletin. The bulletin highlights what the SEA is doing legislatively in Concord.  Every week they post a summary of what bills passed, what bills failed, and what bills are coming in the next week.  This week had all of that, and a little more.

This week’s bulletin had a special video message from SEA President Diana Lacey.  The video is a ‘call to arms’ for all of the SEA members to help convince their state legislators to pass two very important bills, the Gas Tax bill (SB 367), and the Casino bill (HB1633).

While this video was intended for the SEA membership, I feel that everyone in New Hampshire should listen to what President Lacey has to say.

Whether you support expanded gambling and the gas tax increase or not you should know what this will mean to hundreds of state workers. Will it mean more devastating cuts, and more layoffs, or will it mean new jobs for public and private workers?

Please take five minutes to listen to Diana’s message.

Share this post with your friends and family throughout the Granite State to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is at stake if these two bills do not pass this week.

The SEA has started a ‘Save Our Roads’ petition, which you can sign here.

Use this link to find your State Senator and ask them to support the gas tax increase (SB 367).

Use this link to find your State Representative and ask them to support the expanded casino gambling bill (HB 1633).

 

 

2-23-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update : Issues of the Week — Charter Schools and Common Core

AFT NH Legislative Update

The House Education Committee held several hearing and made recommendations on many bills this week, but many more bills remain to be worked on by the Committee.

Several of these bills dealt with charter schools. I will start calling them public charter schools when they:

•    Accept all children that walk through their doors,
•    The entire teaching staff should be certified,
•    They would take on all the responsibility of educating special education students and not rely on the local school system to offer services,
•    They would take on the responsibility of transporting the students to school.
•    In short they would have to follow all the laws and rules that current public schools follow.

Let’s keep in mind that the funding for charter schools comes from Federal grants, the state of New Hampshire, and in some cases from local property tax dollars.  Unlike public schools, most charter schools are approved by the State, not the local community,in which they operate, thus eliminating local control but requiring local taxpayer support.

When a charter school opens, your local tax dollars, taken from your local school district budget, must pay for services for special education students attending the charter school.  If a charter school opens in your community your tax dollars are going to transport any student that lives in your community attending the charter school.  All of this is mandated by State law, and in a time when budgets are tight charter schools seem to be coming back and asking for more and more. And you have no say in the matter unless our local elected state leaders stand up and say “No more!”

What we need are laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools.

After their Winter break the House Education Committee will be making recommendations on several Common Core and Smarter Balance assessments and data collections.  Let me repeat where we stand on this issue:

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.  Because each district is at different stages in their teacher/staff development and student curriculum changes that meet Common Core Standards and the assessment of their students, the Department of Education should waive the Smarter Balance testing deadline for at least another two years. – See more at: http://nh.aft.org/legislation/aft-nh-legislative-update-february-9-2014-0#sthash.wtI9u20y.dpuf
Elsewhere, the full Senate voted to defeat SB 322: relative to the renomination of teachers. AFT-NH believes it is time we move back to supporting our teachers in New Hampshire. Three years is long enough to deny teachers their due process when non-renewed. When decisions with such high stakes are being made, all staff should be given reasons why, and should be given time to improve though an improvement plan.  We are disappointed in this vote and would like to thanks all the Senators who did vote with us. To see which senators voted with us click here.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.
Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Please visit www.aft-nh.org and AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”?
Late breaking news appears on our web site and on Facebook!


UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS


MONDAY, MARCH 3

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 492-FN-L, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1206, relative to juvenile placement in shelter care facilities and at the youth development center,
HB 1236, establishing a committee to study supervised visitation centers,
HB 1260-FN-L, relativeto communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards.

10:00 a.m. subcommittee
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.

10:30 a.m. Subcommittee
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.

11:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards,
HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy,
HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials,
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1101-FN, relative to the recovery of overpayments by the retirement system and establishing a committee to study the policies and procedures of the retirement system for benefits wrongfully paid,
HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact,
HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen administered by the New Hampshire retirement system,
HB 1493-FN-L, relative to members of the retirement system working after retirement, and relative to membership of political subdivision officials appointed for fixed terms.

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1189, relative to temporary worker rights,
HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1285, relative to recommendations by the department of revenue administration regarding municipal fund balance retention,
HB 1560-FN-L, prohibiting the use of funds received from a political subdivision of the state to lobby.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

WEDNESD AY, MARCH 5

Senate Executive Departments and Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

10:00 a.m. House in session

THURSDAY, MARCH 6
1:00 p.m. House in session

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Full committee work session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

TUESDAY, MARCH 18
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

NH State Reps Make Strong Case For Raising The NH Minimum Wage

NH House-2

By Rep. Jan Schmidt, Rep. Rebecca Emerson-Brown, and Rep. Sally Kelly

The House Labor Committee held a hearing this week on HB 1403, a bill that would increase the minimum wage in New Hampshire from the current rate of $7.25 per hour to $8.25 next January and $9 per hour in January 2016, with modest increases indexed to inflation in the future.

If we pass this bill, it would mean a raise for one in every eight workers whose wages haven’t kept pace with cost of living for more than 30 years and allow them to join the economic mainstream. Since 1979, one hour of work at New Hampshire’s minimum wage could purchase the equivalent of $9.47 in today’s dollars. In other words, inflation has eaten away more than $2 per hour in purchasing power in the last 35 years and has impacted 76,000 of our friends, family and neighbors.

When they hear others talk about raising the minimum wage, many people think back to their first jobs, working in a convenience store or fast food place after school or on weekends. Everybody brings their own experiences to debates in the Legislature, but in this case, anecdotes from one’s own life can be deceiving. The average minimum-wage worker is no longer a teen beginning their working life. They’re adults – with adult responsibilities and adult expenses like utilities, housing, food for their families and transportation costs.

Some basic facts about Americans currently working at minimum wage jobs are in order here.

• The majority – 72 percent – are not teens. They’re 20 years old and above, and 36 percent are older than 30.

• Fifty-nine percent are women.

• Fourteen percent are parents.

• Roughly 21,000 children in New Hampshire have a mother or father who would experience a pay raise if the minimum wage were raised.

With a higher minimum wage, these workers will have more money to spend which, in turn, gives virtually every New Hampshire business more customers – helping them hire more workers and kick-starting a cycle of prosperity. This cycle, driven by $64 million in additional wages paid out over the next two years to low-income households – households that, by necessity, spend every dollar they earn – would put our economy on a steady basis as we move out of the Great Recession.

When opponents claim that a minimum wage hike leads to fewer jobs, what they’re missing is that most jobs are created by middle class consumers buying what businesses large and small are selling; growth comes from the middle out, not the top down. By putting more money in the pockets of hardworking families in New Hampshire, we are building a more durable economy going forward.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Recent polling finds that 76 percent of Granite Staters – including a majority of Republicans, Democrats and undeclared voters – support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour. People across the ideological spectrum realize that raising the minimum wage would help lift thousands of Granite State workers out of poverty, stimulate the economy and help families across the state leave behind dependence on food stamps, heating oil assistance and Medicaid.

The time has come to realize that our neighbors currently working for minimum wage deserve a raise, and that our economy will be improved by bringing these workers back into the economic mainstream.

Rep. Jan Schmidt is from Nashua, Rep. Rebecca Emerson-Brown is from Portsmouth, and Rep. Sally Kelly is from Chichester. All three are Democrats.

Mass Confusion In The NH House Over ‘Background Check’ Bill

Gun

NH House votes FOR Background Checks bill before voting against it, amid confusion of NRA Lobby misdirection

Or, how do you vote down a policy you passed twice and refused to table three times?

GunCONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today 174-166 to support an amended version of HB 1589, a background checks bill that would expand criminal background checks to all commercial gun sales—including online sales. However, following the initial vote, opponents to the bill introduced several motions to stop the bill and an amendment to send it to a destined-to-fail study committee, absent community stakeholders. In the confusion that followed, the New Hampshire House surprisingly and ultimately failed to pass any version of the bill – despite previous roll call votes expressing clear support from the majority of State Representatives.

Below is a timeline of the House discussion and votes. It paints a very different story than the final vote outcome makes it appear.*

NH House Refuses to Table Criminal Background Checks Bill: House votes 163-165 against tabling HB 1589

NH House Supports Criminal Background Checks Bill: House votes to support HB 1589, as amended, by a strong vote of 174-166

NH House Supports Criminal Background Checks Study Committee: Amendment introduced to replace HB 1589 with a study committee; House votes 177-175 to adopt study committee motion

NH House Refuses to Table Criminal Background Checks Bill: Motion introduced to table study committee motion, possibly to allow for an amended version of it; NH House votes 173-183 against tabling study committee version of the bill

NH House Refuses to Indefinitely Postpone Criminal Background Checks Bill: Motion made to indefinitely postpone HB 1589 for the rest of the session; House rejects motion by vote of 133-226

Pro-Public Safety Legislators Reject Study Committee After Learning It Is Designed to Fail: After learning that the study committee would be stacked with anti-background check legislators – essentially making it designed to fail – House votes 165-195 against study committee motion

After the slanted study committee motion failed – and in the absence of another amendment on the floor – a motion to vote the bill Inexpedient to Legislate was introduced. In a rapid and confusing series of votes, with many State Representatives mistakenly believing they had run out of other options, the NH House of Representatives ultimately and surprisingly voted 242-118 to end the bill – despite voting several times to support earlier versions of it and refusing motions to table.

“The final vote was abrupt and surprising given several roll call and division majority votes in support of criminal background checks,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “There was a lot of confusion on the floor about the order of the votes, and immediately after the final vote a member even questioned the next step for the bill.”

“We applaud the State Representatives who stood by the 89 percent of Granite Staters who support criminal background checks. While the final vote was disappointing, the earlier votes demonstrate strong support in the New Hampshire House to pass a background checks bill. Granite State Progress is committed to reducing gun violence in our communities and improving public safety. All of the votes gave us a list of elected officials to work on as we consider next steps.”

 

* For reference: In the NH House, legislators vote OTP – Ought to Pass or ITL – Inexpedient to legislate on committee amendments, before voting OTP or ITL on the bill itself. In the case of HB 1589, the committee amendment replaced the entire bill. Thus, support for the committee recommendation indicated support for HB 1589, as a whole, as well.