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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

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Upcoming hearings

Monday, April 6

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 8

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 9

10 am Senate in Session

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 10

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

AFT-NH Legislative Update 2-16-15: The Governor’s Budget, Dividends Tax, And Right To Work

Things are moving at the State House. The governor presented her budget on Thursday, with the theme of:  “Responsible Budget Builds on Bipartisan Progress to Encourage Innovation, Expand Middle Class Opportunity, Support Job-Creating Businesses, and Attract and Retain More Young People”. This year there will be many hard decisions that will need to be made and they will not be easy ones.  

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

AFT-NH is supporting the following bills which will bring in necessary revenues while closing loop-holes in our current tax system:

  • HB 634-FN-A; relative to applying the interest and dividends tax to trusts, increasing exemptions, and extending the tax to capital gains; and relative to homeowners property tax relief and
  • HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens

The Governor’s presentation of her budget is the first step in a long process. The budget will now move to the House where they will hold hearings and recommend a budget for the full House to vote on. Once this is done it will be the Senate’s turn. During all of this I am sure there will be many closed door meetings to try to reach some agreement.  The final step is the Committee Of Conference, where the House, Senate and the Governor will work on a final recommendation to be voted on by both chambers. This final vote will take place in late June.

There have been many bills on Common Core And State Assessments.  Just like last year, AFT-NH understands that local school districts are in different stages of development with regards to Common Core and assessment.  Therefore, for any new standard to work we need to ensure that:

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

To read AFT-NH the full statement on Common Core and state Assessments click here.

There were also several bill hearings on raising the minimum wage this past week. Here are a few facts gleaned from the hearings:   

Those earning minimum wage in NH who would benefit from an increase–

72% are not teens, they’re 20 or older

36% are 30 or older

59% are women

14% have children

32% work full time

New Hampshire workers cannot make ends meet on today’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

With a full-time schedule, minimum wage workers earn less than $300 a week. After buying groceries or paying the rent, there’s little or nothing left to buy other basic necessities like heat, clothing, or gas for the car.

The Granite State is consistently recognized as a top place to live, work, and raise a family. But for minimum wage workers, it’s a real struggle to get by, let alone afford the basics.

New Hampshire’s low-wage workers work hard, play by the rules, and deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The public agrees: the time to raise the minimum wage is now.

Poll after poll shows widespread support among the public for an increase in the minimum wage.

Public Policy polling results released January 15, 2014, found 60% of NH voters support increasing minimum wage to $10/hour, with only 29% opposed.

AFT-NH asks that the House Labor Committee make a recommendation to pass in increase in the minimum wage here in New Hampshire. It time we stand up and doing something that would benefit nearly 76,000 New Hampshire workers –or 12% of the labor force.

This coming week there are several hearing on the so called ‘Right To Work’.

The so called ‘Right to Work’ (RTW) proposal hurts everyone.  By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called “right to work” (RTW) laws. Wages are lower, poverty and lack of insurance are higher, education is weaker—even infant mortality and the likelihood of being killed on the job are higher.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a “Right To Work” bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that Right to Work legislation creates more jobs, presumably because a state becomes more attractive to employers when unions are not present or are weakened. The research does not support this point of view.

RTW laws create a loophole in our labor laws that allows workers who decide not to be a part of a union to fully benefit from union representation—including higher wages, benefits, training, safety and protection from unfair discipline—without having to pay a single penny for it. That’s unfair to their co-workers who play by the rules and pay their fair share. And it weakens all workers’ ability to stand up for themselves and each other. That’s why these laws are called “right to work for less” laws.

We must also ask whether it the place of state government to tell private companies what they can and cannot agree to with a union?  Please take the time to consider the implications on the current working relationships in the workforce which for the most part have been productive and collegial. Why upset this balance?

AFT-NH will be asking the both chambers to defeat this and any legislation that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President


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

Upcoming hearings for the week of February 16, 2015

Tuesday, February 17

Senate COMMERCE, Room 100, SH

2:20 p.m. SB 107-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB

9:00 a.m. SB 25-FN, relative to epinephrine administered in schools.

9:30 a.m. SB 152, requiring the state police to disclose the results of a criminal records check to school officials.

10:00 a.m. SB 190-FN, relative to payment of costs for career and technical education center programs and administration by the department of education, and establishing a tax credit against business profits taxes for donations to such centers.

10:30 a.m. SB 227, relative to calculating the cost of an adequate education.

11:00 a.m. SB 228-FN-L, relative to the maximum total education grant, adjustment of stabilization

Senate WAYS AND MEANS, Representatives’ Hall, SH

9:00 a.m. SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS, Room 302, LOB

1:15 p.m. HB 596-FN-L, relative to health insurance plans of public employers.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB

10:30 a.m. HB 568-FN, requiring a supervisory law enforcement officer to arrest a law enforcement officer when the supervisor knows that the law enforcement officer has committed a criminal offense.

11:00 a.m. HB 669-FN-L, requiring law enforcement agencies to report on the receipt of certain equipment and grants from the federal government and on the deployment of tactical teams.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

10:00 a.m. Executive session on

HB 116, relative to the renomination of teachers,

HB 124, relative to the implementation of new college and career readiness standards,

HB 126, establishing a commission to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school,

HB 142, relative to student social media policies by education institutions,

HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students,

HB237, requiring vocational education centers to prioritize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula as a condition for funding,

HB 243, changing the definitions of “focus school” and “priority school” in the school performance and accountability law,

HB 253, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application,

HB 283, requiring school districts to establish a policy permitting a pupil’s parent or legal guardian to observe his or her classes, and

HB 302, requiring a public hearing prior to the submission of a grant application by the department of education.

2:30 p.m. HA 1, for the removal of certain state officials in the department of education.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB

11:00 a.m. HB 488, relative to an abusive work environment and the health and safety of public employees.

FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB

Budget presentations as follows:

2:45 p.m. Department of Education

FINANCE – (DIVISION II),Room 209, LOB

11:15 a.m. Work session on HB 651-FN-L, transferring the portion of special education costs directly related to health issues to the department of health and human services.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB

In Representatives Hall

1:00 p.m. HB 402-FN, establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

WAYS & MEANS, Room 202, LOB

10:30 a.m. HB 386-FN-A, reducing the rate of the business profits tax.

Wednesday, February 18

10 am House in session

Thursday, February 19

10 am Senate in session

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

9:30 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school buses by special education pupils.

10:00 a.m. HB 519, establishing a committee to study department of education policies affecting dyslexic students.

10:30 a.m. HB 471, relative to the powers of the state board of education and the duties of school boards.

11:15 a.m. HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.

1:00 p.m. HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information.

1:45 p.m. HB 527, establishing guidelines for school districts relative to the use of school resource officers.

2:15 p.m. HB 375, relative to providing information about effective forms of child discipline to parents.

2:45 p.m. HB 555, relative to participation of chartered public school students in school district cocurricular activities.

3:15 p.m. HB 578-FN, relative to state board of education compliance with unfunded federal education mandates.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 206, LOB

10:00 a.m. HB 600-FN, relative to paid sick leave for employees.

10:45 a.m. HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.

Friday, February 20

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB

9:30 a.m. HB 603, relative to student exemptions from assessments, questionnaires, or surveys.

9:55 a.m. HB 566-FN-L, relative to consolidation of school administrative units.

10:20 a.m. HB 611-FN, requiring legislative approval of all agreements, contracts, grants, or waivers involving the department of education or the state board of education.

10:45 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.

11:10 a.m. HB 474, relative to grounds for denial of a chartered public school application.

11:35 a.m. HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on

HB 322, relative to protection of personally identifiable data by the department of education,

HB 323, relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program,

HB 332, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material,

HB346, relative to criminal history records checks for school employees and volunteers,

HB 375, relative to providing information about effective forms of child discipline to parents,

HB 424, relative to the accessibility of assessment materials, HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data,

HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information, and

HB 527, establishing guidelines for school districts relative to the use of school resource officers.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB

9:00 a.m. HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

10:00 a.m. HB 630-FN-A, establishing the New Hampshire video lottery.

11:00 a.m. HB 680-FN-L, relative to establishing the rate for and the collection of  the education property tax and establishing a homestead exemption from the education property tax.

AFT-NH Hosts “Working Women Speak Out” (Videos)

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This election is extremely important to working women and their families.  Ensuring that we elect representatives who support women in the workplace was what the Working Women Speak Out event was focused on.

Issues facing working women are the same issues effected every Granite Stater this election.  AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler said, “Women’s issues are shaping up to be the second biggest issue of this election.” Working women are facing enormous challenges in our struggling economy. “Women still only make $.77 cents on the dollar compared to man, and that is a shame,” said Shuler.  In her speech, Shuler focused on reelecting Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster who all support raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.  Shuler also talked about the need to pass “paid sick leave” for all workers, especially since most low wage jobs, like waiting tables, provide no paid time off when your sick.

View Liz Shuler video on YouTube

AFT-President Randi Weingarten also spoke at the event and focused how poverty and education effect working families. “Nearly half of all public school students are living below the poverty line, and one-in-four (25%) of all children nationally are living in poverty,” said Weingarten.  She also talked about how we need to ensure that we are properly funding our public school system. “The only reason we passed a nation budget was because the Republicans were embarrassed after they shut down the government,” said Weingarten. “How dare they say they support children when they cut public school budgets to give tax breaks to the 1%.”

(Randi also spoke in detail about the effects of spending caps like the one in Nashua in separate post here.)

View Randi’s speech on YouTube

Kelly Torosian, an IBEW 2320 member and an Executive Council member of the NH AFL-CIO, took a few minutes to update the crowd on the ongoing FairPoint strike. Torosian asked for people to show their support for workers standing on the picket line by donating gas cards and grocery store gift cards.  After hearing about the current struggle of striking workers, Weingarten stated, “AFT will donate $5,000 dollars to the FairPoint workers strike fund.”

The crowd of 70 people gave a standing ovation to Governor Hassan as she entered the room, showing their support for her strong leadership in the corner office.  “Building a strong innovative economy starts with a strong public schools system,” said Hassan.  Governor Hassan also spoke about the need to “restore and improve the state minimum wage.”

Hassan also brought attention to the importance of keeping Democrats in control of the NH House and not letting Bill O’Brien regain control.  As Speaker, O’Brien cut funding to public schools, the University of New Hampshire system, and repealed the New Hampshire Minimum Wage law.

Governor Hassan also talked about the importance of having access to quality healthcare and provide low income workers with healthcare through the Medicaid Expansion. “As of this week 20,000 Granite Staters now have healthcare thanks to the Medicaid Expansion,” said Hassan.

View Governor Hassan’s speech on YouTube.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also talked about the Bill O’Brien House and her opponent Marilinda Garcia, who was one of the select few to be a part of  O’Brien’s leadership team.  Kuster talked about her work in Congress to help working families by pushing for expanded access to healthcare, raising the minimum wage and passing a national Paycheck Fairness law.  Kuster noted that while she supports legislation that would help working women, her opponent, wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, opposes raising the minimum wage, and paycheck fairness is unneeded legislation.

Garcia also wants to abolish the Department of Education that would virtually eliminate the federal student loan program, even though Garcia currently owes tens of thousands of dollars in Sallie Mae student loans.

View Rep. Annie Kuster’s speech on YouTube.

Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH organized the event and spent a couple of minutes talking about working to ensure that Speaker Bill O’Brien does not regain power in Concord.  As President of AFT-NH, Hainey knows first hand the devastation that another O’Brien legislature would do to the public schools system in New Hampshire.

View Laura Hainey’s speech on YouTube.

Senator Shaheen was unable to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict — she was in Northern New Hampshire campaigning with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — her daughter Stacy gave a short speech on her behalf.  Stacy Shaheen talked about how hard her mother is working for the people of New Hampshire. “My mom is a workhorse,” said Shaheen.  “She has been working for the people of New Hampshire for a long time.”

Working families in New Hampshire need more representatives like this strong, women leaders.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and family members about how important this election is and then encourage them to vote on Nov. 4th.

AFT President Randi Weingarten Speaks At AFT-NH’s Working Women Speak Out Event

Randi Weingarten

AFT President Randi Weingarten (center) with members of the Nashua Teacher Union (AFT-NH)

Yesterday the American Federation of Teachers (NH) organized an event focusing on the importance of this election on the lives of working women.  The event entitled Working Women Speak Out featured propionate labor leaders and Congresswoman Annie Kuster talking about the issues effecting women this election.

Below are two videos from the event featuring American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

View video 1 on YouTube

After her rousing speech about the importance of getting out and voting this election, Gary Hoffman, a teacher in the Nashua School District asked Pres. Weingarten about local spending caps and their effects on public schools.  Nashua is currently considering changing the way that the city calculates their spending cap and the city will vote on this Charter Amendment on Nov. 4th.  Below is President Weingarten’s response.

View video 2 on YouTube.

 

American Federation of Teachers-NH Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan and Strong Education Record for Re-Election

Hassan_AFT_Endorsement_2014MANCHESTER—Citing her unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity for New Hampshire’s working families, the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) announced its endorsement of Governor Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Maggie Hassan has been a relentless fighter for the priorities of working families, particularly for strengthening our schools and making it easier for families to afford college. We must re-elect her so that we can continue striving to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed,” said AFT-NH President Laura Hainey. “It’s all too clear that Walt Havenstein does not share the priorities of working Granite Staters as he pushes a so-called ‘plan’ that would create a $90 million hole in the state’s budget to give more tax breaks to big businesses at the expense of middle class families. From working across party lines to expand health coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters, to freezing in-state tuition and preserving funding for K-12 education, Governor Hassan has proven that she will always be there for our state’s children and working families, and that’s why we’ll be there for her this November.”

“It’s an honor to have earned the support of AFT-NH, whose members help educate our children, protect our citizens, and strengthen our communities each and every day,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Over the past year and a half, we have proven that we can come together to balance our budget without a sales or income tax and invest in the priorities that will help create good-paying jobs and expand middle class opportunity. Our children and our state simply cannot afford to let my opponent take us back to the same devastating cuts to education, health care and public safety that hurt our economy and middle class families during the Bill O’Brien era. We must keep our New Hampshire moving in the right direction toward a brighter economic future for all children and families.”

Governor Hassan worked across party lines to pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that maintained funding for K-12 education and restored funding for higher education – making it possible to freeze in-state tuition at the university system and reduce tuition at our community colleges.

The Governor created a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education in our public schools, and launched a new effort to partner manufacturing companies directly with classes at local schools, building relationships that can lead to a stronger workforce pipeline. She also established a public-private initiative with Manchester-based Media Power Youth aimed at reducing the risk of violence and crime in our schools and communities.

The Governor will continue working to ensure that we maintain New Hampshire’s status as one of the safest states in the nation, and that our children have access to a world-class education in order to be prepared for success in the 21st century economy.

About AFT-NH

AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members here in New Hampshire. These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO which represents over 45,000 working men and women.

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AFT-NH Joins Growing Movement Of Teachers Boycotting Staples Over USPS Privatization Scheme

AFT-New Hampshire Calls for Boycott on Staples over Deal with U.S. Post Office Privatizing Work of Local Post Offices

Teachers union urges educators and school staff not to purchase school supplies from Staples

aft sqaureConcord, New Hampshire – The Board of Directors of AFT-New Hampshire, representing  4000 teachers, school staff, and public employees, announced today to boycott office supply and bulk goods retailer Staples. AFT-New Hampshire leaders said the union has taken this action to support the American Postal Workers Union’s battle against a deal struck between the United States Postal Service and the giant office supply chain for an 82-store pilot program in which postal counters providing most of the same services as local post offices would operate in Staples stores. In recent weeks, the USPS/Staples partnership has drawn outrage across the country, and a May 21 Boston Globe story indicated that Staples may want to consider backing out of the arrangement if public and labor opposition persist.[1]

“The decision to outsource neighborhood post offices across the country to a big-box retailer means potentially fewer good jobs and poorer service for our communities,” said AFT-New Hampshire President Laura Hainey. “Staples workers will staff these new postal counters, rather than trained, uniformed postal employees who are background-checked and take an oath to protect our mail.”

Hainey noted that, while official data on Staples pay is not available, one source puts the average wage of a Staples sales associate at $8.53 an hour, just $1.28 above the federal minimum wage.[2] Hainey said that according to the APWU, roughly one-third of Staples’ revenue come from the sale of school supplies.[3] “Our members teach and serve New Hampshire’s working families,” she said. “They don’t want to spend their money to transform decent-paying, living-wage jobs for New Hampshire families into low-wage jobs at Staples.”

Hainey cautioned that the USPS/Staples pilot program could be expanded across the country. “It could mean the death of your town’s post office,” she said. The Michigan and California affiliates of AFT have already moved to boycott Staples.

“Our local post offices belong to our towns and to the people of New Hampshire,” said Hainey. “Our members can decide where to buy school supplies, and we won’t shop at Staples until they reconsider this misguided program.”

Click here to read AFT-NH Resolution: Support U.S. Postal Workers; Boycott Staples

“President Coletti [NH Postal Workers Union & Manchester Area Local] & I are thrilled at the show of solidarity from our brothers and sisters at NH AFT. Their support and willingness to join in our boycott of Staples can really make a difference” said Janice Kelble, APWU NH Legislative Director.  “The executives at Staples were already watching when teachers in California, and Michigan came out vowing not to shop at Staples, in support of the postal workers. New Hampshire teachers and other labor supporters joining in support will help to spread our message. We wholeheartedly agree with making services convenient for our customers, but will not shop at a store seeking to privatize our services.  The U.S. Mail is NOT for sale. We will fight to Keep the Postal Service Public.”

4-28-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Retirement System, Charter Schools, and More

The following bill passed the full House last week and now returns to the Senate, who will decide whether to accept the House’s changes or send it to a Committee of Conference.

SB193: Expanding Access to Oral Health Care in NH. This bill forms a Study Commission that would examine barriers to oral health care for under-served NH residents. We believe this study will help build the case that addressing the dental workforce must be part of any long-term strategy to bridge the gaps in our system of oral care access.

The following bills passed the full Senate last week and have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  

HB 1494:  relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. See more at: http://nh.aft.org/legislation/aft-nh-legislative-update-april-21-2014#sthash.NWMn0ODH.dpuf

HB 1624-FN: modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.  AFT-NH is in support of this bill. This bill updates our current juvenile justice system by:

  • Raising the age at which youth are treated as adults in the justice system from 17 years to 18 years,
  • Improving procedures to determine competency of youth,
  • Clarifying a youth’s right to and waiver of legal counsel,
  • Determining the qualifications for legal counsel to defend youth,
  • Defining data to assess the effectiveness of current interventions and proposed changes.

The following bills passed both Chambers and now move to the Governor’s desk.

HB 1398-FN, allowing the retirement system to make payments in lieu of payments to estates in certain circumstances.AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring.

HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school.AFT-NH is not in support of this bill and asks that the Governor veto it. There has been no past problem for any student wishing to attend a charter school. Furthermore, the unintended consequence could negatively impact the public school by depleting a grade level of attendance or curriculum options.

HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of student data. We believe that this bill will help protect the privacy of students in New Hampshire.

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 29

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:30 a.m. HB 1198, relative to the procedure for filing a child in need of services (CHINS) petition and relative to the definition of sexual abuse under the child protection act.

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 396, relative to child restraint practices.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30

10:00 a.m. House in Session

THURSDAY, MAY 1

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Continued executive session on SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to reporting by political committees.

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 339-FN, (New Title) 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
2:00 p.m. Work session on SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands.

House STATE FEDERAL RELATIONS AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, Room 203, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 307, establishing a committee to review Citizens United amendments to the United States Constitution.

THURSDAY, MAY 8

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:00 a.m. Ad Hoc subcommittee on retirement.

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 395- FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands.

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

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.

3-23-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Retirement, False Claims against Public Employees, and More

AFT NH Legislative UpdateWe are now entering the final week prior to “crossover” on Thursday, March 27.  The House will be in session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday while the Senate will be in session on Thursday. Each will have to finish up on all their own bills by Thursday, after which they begin taking up those bills sent from the other chamber.

AFT-NH thanks the representatives that stood with us by voting to defeat:

  • 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 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.

We would have liked HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils to have been defeated as well but the House referred this bill to interim study.

HB 1122, (New Title) relative to the filing with a registry of deeds of a fraudulent document purporting to create a lien or claim against real property was tabled (which AFT-NH supported),  because HB 1565-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien or encumbrance against a public servant will be voted on this week with a recommendation from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee of ‘Ought to Pass As Amended’.

As public employees just wanting to do our jobs we should not have to worry that someone unhappy with us could go the county’s Register of Deeds and file a million dollar false claim against your property. Unless you go to the Register of Deeds in your county and fill out paperwork to be notified of such actions, you would never know this lien existed until you wanted to sell your home. It could take up to a year to clear this up and could be very costly.

THIS WEEK THE HOUSE WILL BE VOTING ON THE FOLLOWING BILLS:

CONSENT CALENDAR

The Finance committee recommended ‘Inexpedient To Legislate’ on HB 1105-FN-L, relative to aid to school districts for costs of special education. AFT-NH asks that this recommendation be overturned and a motion of Ought To Pass be brought forward. AFT-NH supports this bill because it lifts the current cap of 72% on catastrophic special education funds and fully funds 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.

The Finance recommended ‘Ought to Pass’ on HB 1494-FN,relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. AFT-NH supports this recommendation. We were originally opposed to this bill as it was a policy overreach by the NHRS, but Rep. Goley’s 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.

PART I OF THE CALENDAR

AFT-NH is in support of the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee’s recommendation of ‘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.

COMMON CORE AND THE SMARTER BALANCE STATE ASSESSMENT

There are several bills that will be voted on that are related to the Common Core and the Smarter Balance state assessment. I think it bears repeating where AFT-NH stands:

AFT-NH knows that a Recent AFT Poll found that 75 Percent of teachers support the Common Core standards, but it also found that they have not had enough time to understand them, put them into practice or discuss them with colleagues.

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

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice.
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
  • Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students, AND
  • Develop best practices and strategies alone 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 need to be offered, AND
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.

We also know that:

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

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

We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are aligned with curriculum rather than narrow it.  Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn. Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.  Development and implementation of such tests must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.  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.

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

PART II OF THE CALENDAR

The Finance committee recommended ‘Inexpedient To Legislate’ on HB 1114: which establishes a minimum state expenditure for school building aid of $50,000,000 per fiscal year. AFT-NH is in support of this bill and would like the committee recommendation to be overturned and a recommendation of Ought To Pass be brought forward. It puts a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many district have not been able to afford to complete upgrades, repairs or build new building because of the cost. Keep in mind 50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS WEEK OF MONDAY, MARCH 24

TUESDAY, MARCH 25
10:00 a.m. House in Session

Senate COMMERCE, Room 101, LOB
1:15 p.m. HB 1404, relative to payroll cards.
1:35 p.m. HB 1405, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.
1:55 p.m. HB 1407, relative to privacy in the workplace.
2:15 p.m. HB 1188, relative to paycheck equity.

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 1132-FN, relative to school building security.

9:20 a.m. HB 1260-FN-L, relative to communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.
9:40 a.m. HB 1113, requiring school districts to distribute a concussion and head injury information sheet to student-athletes and establishing a definition for head injury.
10:20 a.m. HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school.
EXECUTIVE SESSION

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:15 a.m. HB 1137-FN, relative to annulment of certain obstruction of justice crimes and relative to the crime of escape.
9:30 a.m. HB 1533-FN, requiring a warrant to search information in a portable electronic device.
9:45 a.m. HB 1144, establishing a committee to study information included in arrest records and access to information on the disposition of criminal cases.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26
10:00 a.m. House in Session

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 100, SH
10:00 a.m. HB 1102, relative to membership of the police standards and training council.
10:20 a.m. HB 1222, prohibiting commercial use of the law enforcement and fallen firefighters memorials.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

THURSDAY, MARCH 27
10:00 a.m. House in Session

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

TUESDAY, APRIL 1
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.

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2

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.
11:00 a.m. SB 183-FN, (New Title) relative to identification of voters, processing absentee ballots, and voluntary political expenditure limitations.

House JUDICIARY, Room 208, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 262-FN, revising the form for “summons instead of arrest” and prohibiting attachments in small claims actions.

THURSDAY, APRIL 3

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.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10
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.

3-17-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: School Building Aid Bill, Retirement, Charter Schools, and More

AFT NH Legislative Update

Both the House and Senate are finishing work on their bills prior to the crossover deadline of March 27th (after which bills from one chamber can no longer cross-over to the other chamber for consideration).  The House will be meeting on Wednesdays and Thursdays for the next two weeks to finish up on bills and the Senate will be meeting Thursday the 27th to finish up. Then we start all over again with the House holding committee hearings on passed Senate bills and the Senate holding committee hearings on passed House bills.

This coming Wednesday and Thursday the House will be considering the following bills:

CONSENT CALENDAR

The Finance committee made the recommendation of ‘Inexpedient To Legislate‘ on HB 1114: which establishes a minimum state expenditure for school building aid of $50,000,000 per fiscal year. AFT-NH asks that this be taken off the consent calendar and the recommendation be overturned and a recommendation of ‘Ought To Pass’  be presented. AFT-NH supports this bill for it puts a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many districts have not been able to afford 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.

REGULAR CALENDAR PART II

AFT-NH supports the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee’s recommendation of ‘Ought to Pass as amended’ on HB 1565-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien or encumbrance against a public servant. As public employees just wanting to do our jobs we should not have to worry that someone unhappy with us could go the county’s Register of Deeds and file a million dollar false claim against your property. Unless you go to the Register of Deeds in your county and fill out paperwork to be notified of such actions, you would never know this lien existed until you wanted to sell your home. It could take up to a year to clear this up and could be very costly.

AFT-NH supports the Executive Departments and Administration Committee’s recommendation of ‘Inexpedient To Legislate’  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. This bill is unnecessary for there is already a process in place for recouping overpayments, and this puts the entire onus on the employee, penalizing them when the error is more likely to be made on the other end.

AFT-NH is in support of the Executive Departments and Administration Committee’s recommendation of ‘Inexpedient To Legislate’  on 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. AFT-NH knows that this bill gives unprecedented authority to the executive director of the NHRS to apply punishments at his/her discretion to the employee, when part-time work reporting is both an employer and employee responsibility. To put all the onus on the employee is wrong.

AFT-NH would have like the Finance committee to recommend ‘Inexpedient To Legislate’  and not ‘Referred Interim Study’ on HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils. Keep in mind that Charter Schools:

  • Do not accept all children that walk through their doors,
  • They entire teaching staff are not certified,
  • They do not take on all the responsibility of educating special education students but they  rely on the child’s local school system to offer services,
  • They do not take on the responsibility of transporting the students to school.
  • They do not have to follow all the laws and rules that current public schools follow.

Also remembers 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!”

AFT-NH is in support of the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee’s recommendation of ‘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.

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

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARING FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 17, 2014

TUESDAY, MARCH 18

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on
HB 1122-FN, (New Title) relative to the filing with a registry of deeds of a fraudulent document purporting to create a lien or claim against real property, —this is the same as HB 1565 which AFT-NH supports

RULES, Room 303, LOB
2:30 p.m. Regular meeting

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

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:30 a.m. Executive Session May Follow

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19

10:00 a.m. House in session

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
10:30 a.m. HB 297, relative to the management of trust funds and capital reserve funds and pertaining to library trustees.

THURSDAY, MARCH 20

10:00 a.m. House in session

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