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:
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.
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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.