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Senate Republicans Push Through Budget That Democrats Say “Fails Granite State Families”

CONCORD – Today, the Senate Finance Committee approved their version of the budget on a party line 4-2 vote. After the vote, Senate Democrats released the following comments:

“Senate Democrats have been clear that we are willing to work with our Republican colleagues toward a bipartisan, fiscally responsible budget. But the budget passed this afternoon does not address the challenges of everyday Granite Staters and fails to make critical investments in priorities that expand opportunity for all, not just those at the top,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “Unfortunately, our Republican colleagues have chosen to pass a partisan budget that rewards the wealthiest among us at the expense of working families and our state’s most vulnerable.”

“Despite many attempts by Senate Democrats to amend the budget to allocate dollars where they are most needed, the Senate Republican budget pushes the same out-of-touch, tone-deaf agenda that failed miserably in the House,” Sen. Woodburn continued. “This budget fails to reduce tuition at our colleges and universities, fails to preserve the benefits of our successful, bipartisan NH Health Protection Program, and prioritizes more tax cuts for the wealthy over hard working families. Senate Democrats will continue to fight for a budget that makes a difference in the lives of everyday people, bolsters our businesses, and fuels our economy.”

“The budget is the bill that affects every person in New Hampshire and is the most important piece of legislation that we vote on. And while the budget approved today makes steps in the right direction, it simply leaves too many needs unmet,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro. “This budget fails to fully fund full-day kindergarten, fails to fully fund our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and fails to adequately meet the needs of those suffering from mental illness. Make no mistake, this is not the budget I wanted and I will continue to work to ensure that the critical needs of the people of New Hampshire are met.”

“What it comes down to is that budgets are about priorities and the priorities laid out in the Senate Republican budget do not match those of hard working Granite Staters. This budget fails to include job training programs that would boost our workforce and close our skills gap, breaks promises made to our retirees and increases health care costs for our seniors,” added Sen. Dan Feltes. “It fails to live up to our obligations to Granite Staters living with disabilities by failing to fund our developmental disability waitlist and does not adequately deal with childhood mental health. And it fails to provide resources to reform DCYF and protect our most vulnerable children. Quite simply, this budget fails to adequately address the critical and time-sensitive challenges facing our state. ”

 

NH Senate Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Potentially Saving Law Enforcement Agencies $6.5 Million

Image by Global Panorama FLIKR CC

Yesterday, the Senate passed HB 640, legislation to decriminalize marijuana in the state of New Hampshire, with a bipartisan vote of 9 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The bill reduces the penalty for possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana from a criminal penalty to a violation. Legislators and advocates anticipate that this language will address inequalities in the criminal justice system and allow law enforcement to focus resources on combatting the state’s heroin, opioid and fentanyl epidemic.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) offered the following comments after passage:

“The decriminalization of marijuana happened today because Democrats pushed marijuana decriminalization through the legislature – it is a proud progressive achievement that moves New Hampshire forward by creating a serious, sensible pathway to marijuana legalization.”

“Given the severity of our state’s opioid, heroin and fentanyl public health crisis, it’s prudent to relieve law enforcement from the burden of processing small marijuana possessions as criminal cases and free up resources to address our most urgent substance misuse cases. I’m very pleased with the outcome of today’s vote; I only wish more of our Republican colleagues could have joined us.”

Under HB 640, as amended by the Senate, an adult 18 years or older in possession of three quarters of an ounce or less of marijuana would be guilty of a violation for their first three offenses and not subject to arrest. Their fourth offense committed within a three year period would constitute a class B misdemeanor. The bill now goes back to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

“It is past time for New Hampshire to join the rest of New England in adopting more sensible marijuana possession laws,” stated Devon Chaffee, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. “We applaud the New Hampshire Senate and urge the House to concur with the Senate version of the bill and send it to the Governor’s desk without delay.”

Governor Chris Sununu has indicated his support for the marijuana decriminalization effort.

“I want to thank the legislature for passing common sense marijuana reform. I look forward to signing House Bill 640 into law,” stated Governor Sununu.

According to an ACLU 2013 study, New Hampshire spent over $6.5 million in a single year enforcing marijuana possession laws. In New Hampshire blacks are 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana possession offense than whites.

Every other state in New England has had laws decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for many years. Moreover, last November voters in Maine and Massachusetts passed ballot measures to legalize and regulate the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.  Just yesterday the Vermont Legislature sent a legalization bill to Governor Phil Scott’s desk.  A poll released on Tuesday by the University of New Hampshire shows that 68% of Granite Staters support New Hampshire following its neighbors and adopting marijuana legalization.

State Senator Lou D’Allesandro Endorses Cavanaugh in Special Election

Manchester, NH – Today, Kevin Cavanaugh’s campaign announced the endorsements of State Senator Lou D’Allesandro and other local leaders. Cavanaugh is running in the NH Senate District 16 special election.

“It’s an honor to have the support of Senator D’Allesandro. I’m running for the Senate so that together, we can fight for working families, support our schools, and stand up for all Granite Staters,” said Kevin Cavanaugh.

“I’m proud to be supporting Kevin’s campaign – he will bring an important voice and a fresh perspective to the Senate,” said Lou D’Allesandro. “I’m impressed by his commitment and dedication to serving the people of his district – the people of New Hampshire will benefit greatly by having a person with his background in Concord.”

Kevin was born and raised in Manchester and has spent the past 32 years as a union employee. He has coached High School Football at Memorial and West as well as multiple youth hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball teams. Kevin was first elected to the Board of Alderman in 2015. He lives in Manchester Ward 1 with his wife and three teenage children who have all gone through the public school system.

Newly announced endorsements also include State Representative Linda DiSilvestro, Bow Board of Selectmen Chair Harold Judd, former Manchester Alderman Garth Corriveau, and progressive activist Kate Corriveau.

Area leaders who have endorsed Kevin Cavanaugh:

 

  • Patti McGilvray, wife of the late Senator Scott McGilvray
  • Lou  D’Allesandro, State Senator*
  • Glenn Brackett, labor leader
  • Bob Backus, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Linda DiSilvestro, State Representative (Manchester)*
  • Mary Heath, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Christopher Herbert, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Pat Long, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Mark MacKenzie, State Representative (Manchester) & Former AFL-CIO President
  • Bill O’Neil, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Dan Sullivan, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Bill Barry, Manchester Alderman
  • Garth Corriveau, Former Manchester Alderman*
  • Harold Judd, Bow Board of Selectmen Chair*
  • Mike Kaminski, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Chair
  • Bob Martel, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Co-Chair
  • Dan O’Neil, Manchester Alderman & Former State Senator
  • Tony Sapienza, Manchester Alderman
  • Timothy Tsantoulis, Hooksett Councilor
  • Sarah Ambrogi, Manchester School Board Member
  • Erika Connors, Manchester School Board Member
  • Mary Ngwanda Georges, Manchester School Board Member
  • Maura Ouellette, Former Hooksett School Board Chair
  • Kim Royer, Candia School Board Member
  • Leslie Want, Manchester School Board Member
  • Kate Corriveau, progressive activist*
*previously unannounced endorsements

Another Busy Day In Concord

NH House Acts On A Number Of Bills Including Full Day Kindergarten, Water Testing, Increase Civics Course Requirements, And Action To Censure Rep Fisher.

Yesterday was another very busy day in Concord as the House acted on many of the bills put forth by the Senate earlier in the year.

First, the House restored funding to the amended SB 191, agreeing to spend $14 million dollars to fully fund full day kindergarten.  Because the bill was changed from the one that passed the Senate, it will have to go back to the committee to finalize the details between the two bills.

“The House’s vote today in support of full-day kindergarten is a long-overdue recognition of the value that kindergarten programs provide to the development of our children.  This bill simply provides full funding for kindergarten programs in communities that offer it, finally giving kindergarten the support it deserves,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook).  “The business community recognizes the importance of early childhood education and strongly supports this bill.  I am hopeful that the House Finance Committee will reach the same conclusion in their review of this legislation.”


Another issue that has already hit the wires is the censuring of Rep Fisher for his involvement in the online “Reddit Red Pill”.  The House agreed to send the matter to the Legislative Adminstration committee for review where they will recommend reprimand, censure, expulsion, or no action.

“I was shocked to see a report linking the creation of the ‘Red Pill’ online forum to a New Hampshire State Representative,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook). “A brief search of the ‘Red Pill’ reveals that it’s central purpose is to train men how to manipulate and dominate women.  Misogynist beliefs about the intelligence of women are prevalent in ‘Red Pill’ discussions.  It is particularly troubling that Representative Fisher has shown no contrition for his actions since being revealed as the creator of this forum.”

“Referring this matter to the Legislative Administration Committee will allow for an investigation into Representative Fisher’s involvement with this forum since his election to the New Hampshire House.  As elected officials it is our duty to act with honor both inside the State House and out, and I am confident that the Legislative Administration Committee will give this serious matter the consideration it deserves,” Shurtleff added.

“The NH GOP is sending a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Rep. Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “There should have been no hesitation in calling out Fisher’s action and no hiding behind false equivalences.”

In an attempt to shield Rep Fisher, the House Majority Leader, Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack), stated there would be a “statute of limitations on the rape culture comments” and the committee would only investigate comments “Fisher made during the current legislative session” even though he founded and contributed to the website Red Pill over the course of many years.

The Republican’s in the House also pushed for similar actions against State Rep Sherry Frost who for making what some deemed inappropriate comments on Twitter earlier this year.  Rep Frost did already apologize for her comment.

“The NH GOP didn’t want to hold Fisher accountable, so they chose instead to target a female legislator who speaks her mind. This is the same playbook that encourages rape culture in the first place – blame the woman,” stated Rice-Hawkins.


The House approved legislation to significantly increase protections for children from lead in paint and drinking water. Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord), prime sponsor of the legislation, offered the following comments after the bipartisan House vote:

“Today’s vote is the culmination of many months of bipartisan work by many committed stakeholders. I’m pleased that the House has joined the Senate to make this happen to protect our kids from the lifelong effects of disabling lead exposure.”

“Each year, several hundred children in New Hampshire test positive with dangerous and disabling levels of lead in their blood,” said Senator Feltes.

“SB 247 focuses on lead poisoning prevention by increasing testing, disclosures, and through modernization of our safety standards, addressing both lead in paint and lead in water. This bipartisan effort will save money in the long-run (for every dollar invested in prevention and abatement we save at least $17 dollars), help close the opportunity gap between low-income and upper-income children, and help combat a major public health problem.”

“This victory today is what it’s all about: getting things done for people that make a real difference in their lives, especially our kids.”


In an overwhelming vote of 328-30, the House of Representatives voted today to pass SB 9, which strengthens the Rape Shield Law.  SB 9 ensures that rape shield protections include the victim’s past, and apply throughout the entire criminal justice process.  The bill will now head to Governor Sununu’s desk for signature.

“Today’s vote to strengthen New Hampshire’s Rape Shield Law is critically important for victims of sexual violence.  Only 16% of rapes are currently reported to police, largely because victims fear retaliation and the public scrutiny they would endure by coming forward,” stated House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook). “Ensuring that victims’ privacy rights are protected will allow people to come forward and seek justice without fear of their private life being broadcast to the world.”

“The strength shown by the Marriott family in their advocacy will ensure that other families are not forced to endure uncertainty, fear, and denial of rights as they seek justice.”


The House unanimously passed SB 45, legislation to increase civics course requirements for high school students. Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), prime sponsor of the bill, offered the following comments after passage:

“I’ve been advocating for more robust civics education in New Hampshire’s schools for years,” said Senator D’Allesandro. “Today’s students are graduating with limited knowledge of the systems and processes of the society they live and work in and without grasping their powers and responsibilities within that system. The key to increasing citizen participation and resolving some of the frustration with government that we’re seeing lately is to give people the knowledge they need to participate.  I’m glad we’ve taken this step to elevate the importance of civics education for our students.”

SB 45 creates a uniform framework for the administration of civics courses to include instruction on the U.S. Constitution, the New Hampshire Constitution, the structures and functions of federal government and how those branches interact with state and local government, opportunities and responsibilities for civic involvement and the skills to be an effective citizen.


The House passed SB 157, legislation to make clear all substance use disorder services shall be considered as part of network adequacy, and that carriers properly notify consumers of their rights, including the right to appeal and the right to access services out-of-network at the same cost as in-network. Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord) offered the following comments after the bill was passed by unanimous consent:

“To make progress on our opioid and mental health crises, it is critically important that the New Hampshire Insurance Department finish its network adequacy rules, and promptly complete and make public its analysis of insurance carrier treatment of persons with mental health impairments,” said Senator Feltes, prime sponsor of the bill. “In the meantime, SB 157 makes it abundantly clear that substance use disorder services shall be considered as part of network adequacy analyses.  It also helps make sure consumers and their families know where to turn to for help, including when critical services are not available in their network. The first number many folks call when struggling to find mental health or substance use disorder services is the number on the back of their insurance card. SB 157 ensures that the right information is provided at the right time.”

Area Leaders Endorse Kevin Cavanaugh For State Senate (District 16)

Candidate for New Hampshire Senate special election garners broad support

Cavanaugh Filing April 15

Manchester, NH – Today, Kevin Cavanaugh’s campaign announced the endorsements of local community leaders, including representatives from across District 16.

“I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that our campaign has received from voters from across District 16,” said Kevin Cavanaugh. “I’m incredibly grateful have the backing of these great community leaders.”

“Kevin and I both grew up in Manchester, I’ve known him for a long time. I’m confident that he will bring many of Scott’s same priorities to the Senate, and I’m proud to support him,” said Patti McGilvray.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Kevin on the Board of Aldermen,” said Manchester At-Large Alderman Dan O’Neil. “Having seen firsthand the kind of person Kevin is and the responsible representative he is for his constituents, I know he is the State Senator that we need. I’m excited to cast my vote for him on June 6th.”

Kevin was born and raised in Manchester and has spent the past 32 years as a union employee. He has coached High School Football at Memorial and West as well as multiple youth hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball teams. Kevin was first elected to the Board of Alderman in 2015. He lives in Manchester Ward 1 with his wife and three teenage children who have all gone through the public school system.

Area leaders who have endorsed Kevin Cavanaugh:

  • Patti McGilvray, wife of the late Senator Scott McGilvray
  • Glenn Brackett, Labor leader
  • Bob Backus, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Mary Heath, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Christopher Herbert, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Pat Long, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Mark MacKenzie, State Representative & Former AFL-CIO President
  • Bill O’Neil, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Dan Sullivan, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Bill Barry, Manchester Alderman
  • Mike Kaminski, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Chair
  • Bob Martel, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Co-Chair
  • Dan O’Neil, Manchester Alderman
  • Tony Sapienza, Manchester Alderman
  • Timothy Tsantoulis, Hooksett Councilor
  • Sarah Ambrogi, Manchester School Board Member
  • Erika Connors, Manchester School Board Member
  • Mary Ngwanda Georges, Manchester School Board Member
  • Maura Ouellette, Former Hooksett School Board Chair
  • Kim Royer, Candia School Board Member
  • Leslie Want, Manchester School Board Member

Yesterday Was Big Day In Concord For The Future Of Education In NH

Senate Stops Edelblut’s Power Grab, House Kills Voucher Bill And Funds Full Day Kindergarten

Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Edelblut requested broad new authority to make unilateral decisions impacting the future of education in New Hampshire 

Concord, NH – The NH State Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 yesterday to reject an amendment requested by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The amendment to otherwise non-controversial bill HB 356 would have given the new Commissioner broad authority to make unilateral decisions impacting education in the Granite State.

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins applauded the Senate’s actions:

“We applaud the Senate Education committee for rejecting the attempted power grab by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. Much of the public opposition to Frank Edelblut’s nomination and confirmation highlighted concerns over how he would operate within the Department of Education, and actions like this confirm Governor Sununu and the Executive Council should have listened to their constituents. This amendment was not the routine organizational realignment Commissioner Edelblut tried to characterize it as but a naked power grab for political purposes. Since taking office Edelblut has consistently used his Commissioner status to act in a unilateral manner to try to implement the strongly held beliefs he downplayed during the confirmation process.”

Just two months into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has already made waves for trying to re-open the Next Generation Science Standards that were just approved last year; he initially refused to come clean about making a donation to a school privatization lawsuit against the Department he now leads; he forwarded an internal job posting to one of his Free State Project friends and then sent that individual’s resume to the HR director (that individual is also on the Board of an off-shoot group organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country); he is using his position to lobby for SB 193, school vouchers/privatization; and he tried to usurp the State Board of Education’s rule-making responsibilities by injecting himself between the State Board and JLCAR – all without informing the State Board.

The NH Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said the Senate made the right move:

“After promising to be ‘an implementation guy’ who wouldn’t create policy, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut went back on his word in an attempted agency power grab. Edelblut would have taken this massive increase in power to radically transform the education system in his distorted image and seriously damaged education for children in the Granite State.

Edelblut is anti-transgender rights, supports conversion therapy, and opposes full-day kindergarten on the basis of a crackpot theory that it would increase misdiagnoses of ADHD.  Most recently, Edelblut broadcast his views that climate change is mentioned too often in science classes, openly disagreeing with the state Board of Education, in an interview with NHPR. The Senate Education Committee’s vote rightly prevents Edelblut from implementing these destructive policies.”

On the other side of the Capitol, the House was making some big decisions as well.

Yesterday, the House Education Committee voted to retain SB 193, a bill that sought to establish taxpayer-funded vouchers for religious schools, private schools, and home school parents. The bill was defeated amidst backlash from concerned Superintendents, School Boards, teachers, and parents throughout New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu and former Governor Jeb Bush both penned op-eds in favor of exactly the type of legislation House Republicans retained today, supporting public money for private schools and home schoolers. The bill also appears to violate the New Hampshire Constitution. The Committee’s vote to retain SB 193 effectively kills its prospects for another year.

“No matter how quietly Governor Sununu tries to back away from this bill, the defeat of SB 193 is a big blow to his education agenda. Sununu’s own party effectively killed legislation that he campaigned on, and that he and former Governor Jeb Bush penned op-eds in favor of. Governor Sununu and his unqualified Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut are trying to reshape the education system in their image and Edelblut, a homeschool parent, would have been eligible to receive taxpayer dollars had this bill passed,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley.

“New Hampshire parents are breathing a sigh of relief with SB 193’s bipartisan retention. This ill-conceived bill would have cost taxpayers an additional $25 million dollars to remove students from our public schools. SB 193 would have violated the New Hampshire Constitution in the name of benefits for private and religious schools with no mandate to comply with education standards, decreased funding towards public schools, and limited options for families in rural towns,” added Buckley.

Lastly, The House Education Committee also moved forward on SB191 a bill to fund full day kindergarten for all New Hampshire children.

Governor Sununu who campaigned on Full Day Kindergarten surprised many when his budget only funded the program for a select few areas in the state.

SB191 would set aside $14 million to fund full day kindergarten for all students in New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu is said to be in support of SB191, but did not advocate for the to provide all children in NH access to full day kindergarten. The bill will move to the full house soon.

SB 3 Is Only About One Thing: Voter Suppression

Voter intimidation leads voter suppression and that leads to people losing their voice in our democracy.

The New Hampshire House is now considering a bill, SB 3, that was forced through the Senate, straight down party lines, would make it harder for people to vote.

For years the Republican Party has been pushing to “strengthen” our voting laws. By “strengthening” I mean they are trying to block typically Democratic voters from being able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

Research shows that in higher turnout elections Democrats do better. So Republicans will do anything to keep the voter turn out small in an effort to gain a political advantage.

First they passed the restrictive Voter ID law requiring every voter have a valid New Hampshire ID in order to vote.

Now they are working to change the “domicile” language to protect New Hampshire elections from they myth of voter fraud.

Much of this voter fraud debate has stemmed from the false accusations by Donald Trump, and echoed by Governor Chris Sununu, that “busloads” of voters are being brought into New Hampshire from Massachusetts to sway our elections. Trump, Sununu, and the entire NH Republican Party are using the sheer number of same-day voter registrations as the basis for their claim of voter fraud.

SB 3 requires new voters to show proof of their “domicile” by providing supporting documentation like a utility bill with their name and address on it.

This alone is difficult for college students who live in the dormitories, as their mailbox is not specific to where they reside on campus.

Does this minor detail enough to confuse a college student about their eligibility to vote? Is this enough to keep them from voting entirely?

Proponents of the bill say that all you need to do is sign the form and then return to the town hall with proper documentation within 10 days. If you fail to do this, you could be subject to fines or possible jail time. The town may even send someone to you home to verify your address. At one point the Senate wanted to send armed police officers to your house if you filed a domicile affidavit.

So why are so many people against this bill?

For starters, the GOP are attempting to solve a problem that does not exist. They are spreading wild accusations that out of staters coming to NH on Election Day to vote. Over the last decade there has only been 2 cases of voter fraud out of thousands and thousands of ballots cast.

They are trying to suppress the vote through intimidation and threat of jail time for those who register to vote on Election Day. Our domicile laws are pretty straight forward now: If you are domiciled in New Hampshire on Election Day you can vote in local elections. This means that students at UNH can claim NH as their domicile and vote in NH elections.

Republicans continue to say that they one want people to vote who “have a stake in the community.”   Are Republicans trying to say that a college student who lives in NH, attends school in NH, and works in NH for more than nine months of the year, does not have a stake in the community?

Both parties should be working on expanding access to the polls not restricting it. We should make it easier for people to register to vote by tying voter registrations to driver’s licenses and allowing people to register to vote online.   This alone could reduces long lines at polling places and is much easier to track that paper copies.

But because Republicans really only want to rig the system for their own gain, they refuse to make online registration available.

Intimidating voters and attempting to suppress the vote is the foundation of SB 3 and that is why our elected representatives must reject this harmful piece of legislation.

Kevin Cavanaugh Officially Files for Senate To Replace The Late Senator McGilvray

Community leader files for special election, surrounded by supporters

Manchester, NH – This afternoon, Kevin Cavanaugh officially filed his candidacy for State Senate in the District 16 special election. Surrounded by friends and family at the Secretary of State’s office while filing, Cavanaugh expressed excitement about the upcoming campaign.

“I look forward to getting out to talk with folks about bringing their ideas to Concord. It’s one of the aspects I love most about campaigns,” said Kevin Cavanaugh. “I’ve always looked for ways to give back to my community and I think this is a way I can do a lot of good for our area.”

Ward 1 Alderman, long time coach, and working families advocate Kevin Cavanaugh announced his plans to run in the special election for the District 16 Senate seat last week.

“My whole life has been dedicated to this community. As an Alderman, a coach, and a father, I have worked daily to help our area reach its full potential. That’s exactly why I am running for the state senate: to continue fighting for our community and working families in every way I can,” said Kevin Cavanaugh.

A lifelong Granite Stater who has spent the past 32 years as a union employee at New England Telephone and later Fairpoint Communications, Kevin has a deep understanding of our state and the struggles facing many hard working families.  As an Alderman in Manchester, he demonstrated that successful leaders listen to and become involved in the ideas coming from their community.

“I grew up in Manchester and always knew I wanted to raise my family here because I believe in our state. I believe in the way we get things done, by working together to lift up everyone in our community. But hard working families are being held back by policies that unfairly benefit only those at the top. As our State Senator, I will never stop fighting for those families and will make it clear that their voice matters in Concord. I am proudly running on an agenda that fights the opioid epidemic by protecting the Medicaid expansion, supports a family friendly economy, and will attract and retain a young workforce. But most importantly, I am excited to get out and meet with as many District 16 residents as possible to talk about how we can lift up our working and middle class families,” Cavanaugh concluded.

Kevin was born and raised in Manchester and graduated through the Manchester public school system. He has coached High School Football at Memorial and West as well as multiple youth hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball teams. Kevin was first elected to the Board of Alderman in 2015. He lives in Manchester Ward 1 with his wife and three teenage children.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin 4-8-17: Budget Failure And School Vouchers (Action Needed)

April 8, 2017

House Budget Fails   The deadline for the NH House to pass a state budget was April 6th. Despite having a 53-vote margin majority, the NH House Republicans failed to pass a budget to send to the NH Senate by the deadline for the first time in at least 50 years. The House met over two days and recessed on Thursday, April 6th with no budget. Speaker Shawn Jasper was unable to garner the votes of the republican caucus to approve a budget after the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House balked at the budget citing too much spending. The NH Senate begins the process of dealing with the budget. 

Town Elections The NH State Senate passed an amendment to HB 329 on Thursday that will give those towns who rescheduled their March 14th elections, due to the blizzard, an opportunity to have the local governing bodies (school board or selectmen) after a public hearing, ratify the results of the rescheduled elections. Minority leader State Senator Jeff Woodburn (D) has worked tirelessly on this issue since the chaos and confusion was launched on Election Day. Along with his colleague, Sen. Donna Soucy (D) and Majority leader Sen. Jeb Bradley (R), this solution was crafted to help the approximately 80 communities who needed to reschedule their elections. Unlike the failed attempt by House Speaker Shawn Jasper, there would not be the requirement of a town wide vote to ratify the results of the elections which include elected officials, bonds, budgets and collective bargaining agreements. The bill will now pass over to the NH House where one would hope it will be met with a quick passage so our towns and school districts can move forward with the work approved by local voters.

SB 193-School Vouchers (ACTION NEEDED!) The House Education Committee heard testimony this week on SB 193, the school voucher bill. I testified in strong opposition to the bill. I also presented thoughtful written testimony from the President of the Hillsboro-Deering Federation of Teachers’, AFT#2348, Alex Luhtjarv. The testimony by members of the public was overwhelmingly in opposition to this scheme to defund public schools.

House Education Committee member, Rep. Linda Tanner (D) provided a synopsis of the hearing which underscores that testimony included the impact of funding cuts to local school districts and the important role played by our public schools, “I was never so impressed or proud of the educators, citizens, parents, school board association, disabilities community, the principals association, the superintendents, AFT’s Doug Ley, and all the parents and retired teachers for their statements to our committee. You told stories about your schools, your communities, your families and how they might be effected by taking money from the public schools and sending those students and dollars to private and parochial schools with no accountability, no oversight, no representation from the people who are sending their money through taxation while leaving the public system to be poorly funded safety net. You told how schools especially in small communities are the center of the community and a source of pride and civic involvement.”

Again, we know that this is a bill driven by out of state interests and will divert necessary public tax dollars away from our public schools causing an increase in local property taxes and/or reduced services to the public school students. We must be heard on this bill and do everything in our power to stop this attack on public education. Here is an AFT-NH HANDOUT VS. SB 193 on why we oppose SB 193. Please feel free to share far and wide and ask others join in our campaign to save public schools. Over the next two weeks, we need to make certain our opposition is duly recorded with our representatives.

Your Action Needed Now   So, if you have not already done so, please join us in opposing SB193 by completing the two following actions:

  1. The House Education Committee has scheduled the committee vote for Tuesday, April 25th at 9:30am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 207, 33 North State Street, Concord, NH. We still have plenty of time to reach out to committee members before they vote. You can email the full House Education Committee directly at HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. For more resources on this issue to assist you with writing a quick note, please visit our web site at: http://nh.aft.org/2017-nh-state-house-news#.

AND

  1. Regardless of what happens in the Committee, SB 193 will be voted on by the full House after the committee vote. So let’s get ahead of this and contact your State Representative(s) by clicking the following one-click action to stop school vouchers!

Defeat SB 193           

The NH House and Senate will both next convene on April 20th. In the meantime, let us be sure to keep up the great work by letting your elected officials know that you are engaged and care deeply about the issues they are considering.

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

New SB 3 Amendment Could Sent Vigilantes To Verify Residency

Amended Version of SB 3 Much Worse Than Original Bill, Still Sends Police to Voter Doors and Now Authorizes Vigilantes Too

In a rushed amendment vote, Senate Republicans try to replace section of bill that caused largest public outcry but instead leave same result and 10x worse 

Concord, NH – The NH Senate Election Law committee amended SB 3 on Tuesday to remove sending police to voter doors by name, but the amended version uses covert language to still actually allow the supervisor of the checklist to send police to your door – and now goes even further by allowing them to deputize the local town conspiracy theorist or vigilante group to do it as well.

There’s a section in the amended SB 3, as passed by Senate Republicans on the Election Law Committee yesterday, that states “agents” can be sent to voter doors to verify that they live there. There is no limit on who can be designated an agent for this purpose, nor are there any provisions for proper training or how to conduct these checks; an open carry activist or an individual ideologically opposed to college students voting could be among those deputized.

In the latest version of SB 3 the following was removed: “Requesting local law enforcement during their routine patrols to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled there on election day” and the bill language modified from “Requesting 2 or more supervisors or other municipal officials to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled there on election day” to “Requesting 2 or more supervisors or municipal, county, or state election officers or their agents to visit the address and verify that the individual was domiciled  there on election day.” (SB 3 Amendment #2017-0978s, Senate Election Law Executive Session on Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“SB 3 has been poorly written from the start but this latest amendment makes it ten times worse. Senate Republicans attempted to quiet public outcry over the provision of sending police officers to voter doors but in doing so they passed an amendment that actually allows that and more. Under the amended version, checklist supervisors can still send law enforcement or they can deputize others to conduct the checks, which could include deputizing voter suppression activists or even vigilante groups. In fact, there are now no limits whatsoever on whom they could send. It is shameful that Senate Republicans took credit during committee for removing the police officer provision by name while simultaneously opening the back door for the same activity and worse. SB 3 is nothing more than an attack on voting rights. It creates a poll tax by requiring financial transactions for many of the verifiable acts listed, and it penalizes voters $5,000 for being a day late with paperwork even if they did nothing wrong when registering to vote. In the hours-long public hearing, testimony highlighted that the bill will disproportionately impact eligible voters including students, low-income people, homeless veterans, and domestic violence survivors. New Hampshire politicians have many more pressing issues to deal with than needlessly attacking voting rights with harmful bills like SB 3.” 

Senate Republicans offered the amendment in committee Tuesday morning and called a vote less than 30 minutes later, denying Senate Democrats and voting rights advocates an opportunity to review the language and provide feedback prior to the vote. It is unclear whether the poorly written amendment was intentional or a result of Senate Republicans jamming the bill forward without regard for public input or voter impact.

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