4-14-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Supreme Court On School Vouchers, NHRS, and more

AFT NH Legislative Update

EDUCATION TAX CREDITS –VOUCHER PROGRAM

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 16th in the voucher tax credit case. AFT-New Hampshire is asking the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court decision overturning the Education Tax Credit Program that provides money to students attending religious schools:

“The New Hampshire Constitution prohibits public funds to religious institutions. The tax-credit law was really a subterfuge, a voucher-like effort in which public dollars eventually would find their way to private schools, most of which,in New Hampshire,are religious schools. Further, there is evidence from all over the country that these voucher-like programs don’t actually help children. If the Legislature genuinely is interested in helping, it should work with teachers on ensuring that public schools have the programs and services needed to help all students succeed, not just some.”

Click here to read brief: http://nh.aft.org/files/voucherbrief.pdf

THE FOLLOWING BILLS WILL BE VOTED ON BY THE FULL SENATE THIS COMING WEEK

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. Senator Watters states:

“This legislation allows the retirement system to make payments of $15,000 or less to the next of kin of deceased member of a beneficiary when no probate proceedings are pending. This legislation was requested by the NH Retirement System.”

HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school. The committee recommended Ought to Pass, Vote 5-0.  AFT-NH is asking that Senators not support the Senate Health, Education & Human Services committee recommended Ought To Pass but instead, support a recommendation of Inexpedient To Legislate. 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.The committee made the recommendation of Ought to Pass. AFT-NH supports the committee’s recommendation. We believe that this bill will help protect the privacy of students in New Hampshire.

THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HELD A HEARING ON THE FOLLOWING

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.

To read more on this bill click here.

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

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

9:30 a.m. NH Supreme Court Oral Argument –voucher case

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 396, relative to child restraint practices.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions.

10:30 a.m. Rescheduled SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a
child’s individualized education program.
1:15 p.m. Presentation by the Department of Education: Perspectives on Accountability and
Assessment.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:00 a.m.  Regular meeting of Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Retirement.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 193-FN, (New Title) establishing a commission to study pathways to oral health
care in New Hampshire.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 236, relative to delivery of the final budget and
recommendation of the municipal budget committee to the governing body.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

10:00 a.m. House in session

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
1:00 p.m. or 1 hour following House session:  Executive session on SB 395-FN, relative to the
retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 193-FN, (New Title) establishing a commission to study
pathways to oral health care in New Hampshire.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:30 p.m. Executive session on SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:15 p.m. Full committee work session on SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table
gaming.

12:30 p.m. 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, 62 North Main Street. 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

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

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
9:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 24

STATE FEDERAL RELATIONS AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, Rooms 201-203, LOB
1:00 p.m. SB 307, establishing a committee to review Citizens United amendments to the United
States Constitution.

THURSDAY , MAY 1

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.

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

roulette wheel casino

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

We know that expanded gaming will:

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

We also know that this bill:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura Hainey,
President of AFT-NH

4-7-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Retirement System Bills, Charter Schools, and Special Education

AFT NH Legislative Update

The following bills were acted upon in the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee this past week:

The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1152: This amended bill repeals the optional benefit program available to eligible call, substitute, or volunteer firefighters through the retirement system, and provides for the refund of remaining funds after the completion of payments to the two remaining beneficiaries. AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring. This bill transfers to a subtrust the assets required to fund this benefit. All individuals who are entitled to benefits will continue to receive them in full.

The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1398: This bill allows the retirement system to make a payment of $15,000 or less to the next of kin of a deceased member when no probate proceedings are pending. Like the bill above AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring.

The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1617: This amended bill grants NHRS electronic access to a limited data set of death, marriage, and divorce information of members and beneficiaries held by the Division of Vital Records Administration for purposes of administering RSA 100-A.  Again, AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring.

The House Finance Committee is still working on SB 339: This amended bill authorizes the NH  Department of Administrative Services to contract for a credit card affinity program in which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability. The committee will be meeting again April 10th at 1:40 p.m. in room.

This bill allows the Department of Administrative Services to contract with a credit card issuer to establish a credit card affinity program in which the fees received by the state are dedicated to reducing the retirement system’s unfunded liability. This is a “feel good” bill, that will have little impact on the unfunded liability.

The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee will be hearing testimony on:HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees.  AFT-NH was 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.

The Senate Health, Education and Human Services committee will be hearing testimony on the following:

HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application.  What we need are laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools. AFT-NH believes that this bill is a small step in increasing transparency in Charter Schools.

HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school.  The duties of this committee include studying issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered school, including responsibility for funding and provision of special education services, and any other issue deemed relevant by the committee.

Around 2011-2012 the state passed a bill which mandated that local districts must pay for support services for special education students enrolled in Charter schools. This means that a district must send someone to the charter school, contract out the service, or pay the Charter school to provide the services. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

AFT-NH supports this bill.  We need to have a clear picture on what it is costing districts to educate special education students enrolled in a Charter school in or out of their home district. Because this is a mandate from the State we also need to have the discussion on who should be paying for these services.

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 HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 8

ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 378, relative to identification information contained in political advertising.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
1:30 p.m. Executive session on:
SB 376, requiring pooled risk management governing board members to comply with financial disclosure requirements,
SB 418, relative to the proclamation of firefighters memorial day.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.  Please note Rooms 305-307, LOB.
3:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 295, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.

12:30 p.m. LOB 305-307:  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.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9

Senate Executive Departments And Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 1447, prohibiting discrimination in educational standards for certain students.
9:20 a.m. HB 533, relative to the mathematics requirement for high school graduation.
9:40 a.m. HB 1141, requiring chartered public schools to share enrollment information with school districts.

10:00 a.m. HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application.
10:20 a.m. HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school.

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.

WAYS AND MEANS, Rooms 202-204, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

9:30 a.m. NH Supreme Court Oral Argument –voucher case

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the Department of Education.

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 part of a child’s individualized education program.
1:15 p.m. Presentation by the Department of Education: Perspectives on Accounting and Assessment

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executives session on
SB 236, relative to delivery of the final budget and recommendation of the municipal budget committee to the governing body,

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

10:00 a.m. House in session

12:30 p.m. 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, 62 North Main Street. 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.

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

AFT NH Legislative Update

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

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

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

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

We are disappointed that the following bills were defeated: 

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

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

Common Core and The Smarter Balance State Assessment

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

  • There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice.
  • We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class.
  • We must provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
  • Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
  • Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students, AND
  • Develop best practices and strategies along with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply.
  • We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments, AND
  • Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers.
  • Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards needs to be offered, AND
  • We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.
  • We need to make sure the assessments inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning.
  • Assessments need to support teaching and learning, and must align with curriculum rather than narrow it.
  • Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn.
  • Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.
  • The development and implementation of assessments must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.
  • These assessments must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing.

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

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 1

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2

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

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

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 3

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

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

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

TUESDAY, APRIL 8

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

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

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 10

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

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

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 17

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

MONDAY, APRIL 21

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

3-9-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Videotaping Public Officials, NHRS, Charter Schools, and Town Voting Information

AFT NH Legislative Update

“AFT-NH, dedicated professionals serving NH individuals and families through collaboration with others, striving to advance NH communities and improve the workplace with integrity and commitment.”

REPORT ON LAST WEEK’S FULL HOUSE VOTES

The full House overturned the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommendation on HB 1550, permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties by a vote of 88 to 200. The recommendation of Interim Study was passed, which means the bill is dead for at least the remainder of this legislative session.

AFT-NH requested that the Representatives considered the public employee when voting on this bill. All employees, both public and private, should have a reasonable understanding that when they are performing their jobs that they are not intimidated or harassed and should have a safe working environment. We want to thank all the representatives that supported employees in the state of New Hampshire.

The full House also defeated HB 1126, establishing a committee to study alternative public employee retirement plans.  There have been several committee / commissions that have studied this topic and at this time it is not needed.

Lastly, on a simple voice vote, the House defeated HB 1394-FN-A, relative to funds for chartered public school facilities and making an appropriation therefor.  AFT-NH supports this action, since it would not be fair to pass this bill when for the past 6 years there has not been any new money given to public schools for building aid.  Thank you to all the representatives that supported defeating these two bills.

UPCOMING HOUSE VOTES MARCH 12TH AND 13TH

The following bills are on the consent calendar, meaning they will likely go the way each committee recommends (unless a House member insists on a debate).  AFT-NH is in support of the committee recommendations and ask that representatives support these recommendations.

The House Education committee recommended Ought To Pass on HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school. The duties of this committee would include studying responsibility for funding and provision of special education services, and any other issue deemed relevant by the committee.

Around 2011-2012 the state passed a bill which mandated that local districts must pay for support services for special education students enrolled in Charter schools. This means that a district must send someone to the charter school, contract out the service, or pay the Charter school to provide the services. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

On another bill, the House Education committee recommended Inexpedient To Legislate HB 1180.  This bill increases the minimum number of days of school from 180 to 190 and authorizes up to 10 of those days to be completed online in a manner to be determined by the school board. We know that this bill is unnecessary because increasing the school year is something that can be done now if negotiated between the district and the union. If districts and the State want to improve education they can, as I have often stated, offer school employees appropriate and useful staff development opportunities, giving us the tools and materials to do the jobs and trust us as professionals.

THE FOLLOWING ARE ON THE REGULAR CALENDAR

AFT-NH is asking that representatives not support the House Education committee recommended Ought To Pass but instead, support the minority report of Inexpedient To Legislate on  HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school. AFT-NH agrees with Representative Mel Myler:

The Minority was not convinced that the 10% restriction limiting students to transfer from a public school to a public charter school was warranted. 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.

AFT-NH supports the House Education committee of Inexpedient To Legislative on HB 1393-FN-L, relative to tuition payments for students attending a chartered public school in the student’s district of residence.  AFT-NH believes that this bill is unnecessary. The state should not force or mandate an agreement onto the local district in regards to charter schools. If the local district wants to do this they can at the local level with the local citizens voting to approve or not.

AFT-NH agrees with the House Education committees’ recommendations of Inexpedient To Legislate on HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application. This is one law that moves to more transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools.

The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee moved without recommendation on a 9-9 vote HB 1399 FN, relative to the application for a vested deferred retirement allowance in the retirement system.  Given the following facts, AFT-NH asks Representatives to support Inexpedient to Legislate because:

  • The term “vested” is currently in litigation. We must let the courts handle the outcome of this definition; and to manipulate it further would be unwise.
  • Before 2011, this is the only part of the RSA100-a statute that specifically mentions the term “vested.” Any change must be carefully examined, and given the status of the court cases, should be left alone at this time.
  • This bill was brought forward on behalf of the New Hampshire Retirement System as a house keeping bill—we believe that this is a policy change.

FULL SENATE VOTES ON THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014

AFT-NH supports the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate on SB 218-FN-L, relative to group I retirement system membership for all members hired on or after July 1, 2014. AFT-NH knows that if you close a group it would cost cities and towns millions of dollars.

AFT-NH does not support the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate on SB 364-FN, relative to group II service retirement allowances and relative to establishing a supplemental. We ask that the full Senate overturns this recommendation and put forth a recommendation of Ought To Pass for the following reasons:

  • SB 364 establishes real pension reform by creating a new hire benefit program that is responsible and follows a reasonable approach,
  • If we do nothing, New Hampshire is in a situation where 30 years down the road, we are going to have public employees – at the end of a career – eligible to apply for food stamps, and other social services. This puts a strain on working families by forcing our public employees into social services. This is financially irresponsible for New Hampshire and undignified for our public employees.
  • New Hampshire has enough trouble recruiting young and talented employees into our workforce – who would sign on to a career in public service, making typically lower salaries than counterparts in the private sector, and not even have retirement security to rely on?
  • Since the changes made in 2011, our new hires have been stripped of any hope for COLAs or medical insurance subsidies. With such a reduced benefit being offered, the employers are paying next to nothing.
  • SB 364 adds in a supplemental savings plan component to Group I members (teachers, support staff, state employees and municipal employees), which allows free market utilization and personal responsibility to prevent these employees from enrolling in social services.
  • We all share the goals of lower taxes and fiscal responsibility, as tax-paying residents of New Hampshire ourselves.
  • We need a plan that is predictable for the employers, and provides a fair benefit that recognizes long-term public sector service.
  • Our state is stronger, and our economy more stable when all retirees have the ability to live independently – a benefit that we should all strive towards.

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!
COMMITTEE HEARINGS WEEK OF MARCH 10, 2014

TOWN MEETING ALERT—Voting information

MONDAY, MARCH 10

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
11:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
1:00 p.m. Work session on SB 413, relative to access to health insurance coverage.

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

TUESDAY, MARCH 11
VOTING INFORMATION

Farmington School District
Farmington School Custodians, AFT Local #6212
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #9 and #10.
Farmington Town Hall: 8:00am-7:00pm

Fremont School District  
Ellis School Support Staff, AFT #6233
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #4 and #5.
Ellis School: 7:00am to 8:00pm

Hudson School District
Hudson Teachers AFT #2263, Hudson PSRP’s, AFT#6245, and
Hudson School Secretaries, AFT Local #6260
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #2, #4 and #5.
Hudson Community Center:   7:00am – 8:00pm

Timberlane Regional School District  
Timberlane Support Staff Union, AFT #6530
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Atkinson:    Atkinson Community Center     7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Danville:    Danville Community Center     8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Plaistow:    Pollard School            7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sandown:    Sandown Town Hall         8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Weare School District
Weare Educational Support Staff, AFT #6349
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Weare Middle School   7:00am to 7:00pm

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12
Henniker School District
Henniker Community School Support Staff, AFT #6314
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Henniker Community School     7:00pm

10:00a.m. House Session

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
12:00 p.m. or at lunch break from session Executive session on HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.

THURSDAY, MARCH 13
9:00 a.m. House in Session

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

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

SATURDAY, MARCH 22
VOTING INFORMATION

Barnstead School District
Barnstead Educational Support Team, AFT #6332
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #7 and #8.
Barnstead Elementary School       9:00am

This Tuesday (March 11th) Remember To Vote FOR Local AFT-NH Contracts In Your Town

AFT - NH Red Alert

AFT members around the state have spent countless hours negotiating fair and reasonable contracts with their employers. On Tuesday, March 11th many contracts will be presented to voters. There are also additional school district meetings on March 12th and March 22nd in two districts.  We are asking that if you live in one the towns below that you take the time to be sure to vote in support of these contracts and encourage your friends and family to vote. When we act in unity, we make a difference every time!

Please remind folks that they can register to vote at the polls with proper identification and proof of residency! Voting locations and times are provided below!

Together by supporting those who work with our children and adequately funding our schools, we can reclaim the promise of public education.

Thank you for supporting your fellow union members.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

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!

VOTING INFORMATION FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 11TH

Farmington School District
Farmington School Custodians, AFT Local #6212
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #9 and #10.
Farmington Town Hall: 8:00am-7:00pm


Fremont School District  
Ellis School Support Staff, AFT #6233
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #4 and #5.
Ellis School: 7:00am to 8:00pm

Hudson School District
Hudson Teachers AFT #2263, Hudson PSRP’s, AFT#6245, and
Hudson School Secretaries, AFT Local #6260

Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #2, #4 and #5.
Hudson Community Center:   7:00am – 8:00pm  

Timberlane Regional School District  
Timberlane Support Staff Union, AFT #6530
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Atkinson:    Atkinson Community Center     7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Danville:    Danville Community Center     8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Plaistow:    Pollard School            7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sandown:    Sandown Town Hall         8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Weare School District
Weare Educational Support Staff, AFT #6349

Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Weare Middle School   7:00am to 7:00pm


VOTING INFORMATION FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12TH

Henniker School District
Henniker Community School Support Staff, AFT #6314
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #6 and #7.
Henniker Community School     7:00pm

VOTING INFORMATION FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 22ND

Barnstead School District
Barnstead Educational Support Team, AFT #6332
Please vote YES on Warrant Articles #7 and #8.
Barnstead Elementary School       9:00am

 

3-3-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Recording Public Officials On Duty, NHRS, Charter Schools, and More

AFT NH Legislative Update

UPCOMING FULL HOUSE VOTES-WEDNESDAY MARCH 5TH & THURSDAY MARCH  6TH

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended passing HB 1550, permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties.  AFT-NH asks that this recommendation of Ought to Pass be defeated and a motion of Inexpedient to Legislate be brought forward.  AFT-NH asks the Representatives to consider the public employee when voting on this bill. All employees being public or private should have a reasonable understanding that when they are performing their jobs that they are not intimidated or harassed, that they should have a safe working environment.

Representative Geoffrey D Hirsch shares many of our concerns with this bill as he stated in his minority report:

“While recognizing the need for open and accountable records of public officials conducting the duties of their office, this bill as written expands the realm of public officials beyond law enforcement (as in the Glick v. Cunniffe decision) to all public officials. This expansion exceeds what the Constitution requires, creating problems of potential interference with duties as well as potential invasion of privacy. The term “physically interfere” is too broad and can lead to costly court time over interpretation. The terms “public official” and “generally accessible” are also open to varied interpretations. This bill has unintended consequences. If defined as within this bill, public officials (town clerks, school teachers, counselors, for example) could easily be intimidated by the prospect of audio recording and might be reluctant to perform even routine duties. Issues of privacy can arise when the official is recorded interacting with a private citizen getting a ticket, receiving medical treatment, being calmed at an accident or fire, registering to vote, or any activity where public officials are performing their duties. This bill contains no provision to protect the privacy of citizens as the recording must be returned to the owner within 10 days. This bill is too problematic to become law.”
AFT-NH supports the recommendation of ‘Inexpedient to Legislate made by the Executive Departments and Administration Committee on HB 1126, establishing a committee to study alternative public employee retirement plans.  There have been several committee / commissions that have studied this topic and at this time it is not needed.

AFT-NH also supports the recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate made by the Finance Committee on HB 1394-FN-A, relative to funds for chartered public school facilities and making an appropriation therefor. We ask that the full House support this recommendation and defeat this bill.  Would it be fair to pass this bill when for the past 6 years there has not been any new money given to public schools for building aid? Please see AFT-NH’s statement on charter schools by clicking here.

The Legislative Administration Committee made the recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislate on HB 1207, relative to identification of the source of legislative bill proposals. AFT-NH is in support of the bill and would have like it to pass but will work with the House leadership to make sure this makes it into House rules next session.

This bill as written would require disclosure when sponsoring legislation. Too often now, we are seeing national cookie-cutter model legislation coming through the halls of our State House. Not drafted in response to any local interest or community concern, this ‘cookie-cutter’ legislation is instead often intended solely to benefit the bottom line of the special [corporate] interests writing the bill. Often, legislators or constituents don’t even know who was originally behind the bill.  Knowing who is writing our state laws is an important part of having an open and transparent government. That’s why it’s important to know who drafted a bill and why.

This committee has also made the recommendation to engage in further study on HB 1440-FN, which includes the writing, promoting, or distributing of model legislation to elected officials as lobbying and requiring disclosure of scholarship funds, money, or other financial support received from such lobbyists by elected officials.

How legislation is drafted is the most fundamental purpose of lobbying, yet New Hampshire’s lobbying requirements leave a huge, gaping hole for reporting and disclosure of this lobbying activity. Reporting and disclosing lobbying exists to ensure legislators, the public, and press knows who is behind how our public policies are being crafted and introduced in New Hampshire. Transparency and accountability in our legislative process are an important part of ensuring the integrity of how public policies are adopted, and in preventing the corporate corruption of our legislative process.

AFT-NH will work with the subcommittee to address areas of concerns in the language of this bill and are hopeful we can reach an agreement and bring an amendment forward.

Upcoming Labor, Industrial And Rehabilitative Services Committee
Executive Session March 4th

The full Committee will be making a recommendation on HB 1228: establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.  AFT-NH opposes this bill and asks the Committee to recommend Inexpedient to Legislate on this bill. 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, AFT-NH urges legislators to consider some suggestions from the past which have been ignored or set aside:

•    Change the start date when negotiation can commence with towns from 120 days to 180 days out from when budgets must be submitted.
•    The NH Public Labor Relation board should offer training for all employers participating in local negotiations on the skills and process of negotiations.
•    If local contracts are not approved on towns’ traditional voting days there should be a way to call for a special meeting to bring forward a new tentative agreement for the community to vote on.

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

Thank you!
In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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


UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS


MONDAY, MARCH 3

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

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 414-FN,relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s individualized education program.

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

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards, HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.
10:30 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data, HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.
11:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials, HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.
1:00 p.m. Executive session on:
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards,
HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy,
HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials,
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

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

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5

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

10:00 a.m. House in session

THURSDAY, MARCH 6

10:00 a.m. Senate in session

1:00 p.m. House in session

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

TUESDAY, MARCH 18

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

AFT-NH RED ALERT On SB 364 (NH Retirement System)

AFT - NH Red Alert

It is time to contact your state senator if you live in the following towns (see sample letter below):

Auburn, Hudson, Londonderry: Senator Carson: sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us

Allenstown, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom, Loudon, Northwood, Nottingham, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Raymond, and Strafford: Senator Reagan: john.reagan111@gmail.com

Alton, Barnstead, Farmington, Gilmanton, New Durham and Rochester: Senator Cataldo: casac@worldpath.net

Please bcc me at lhainey@aft-nh.org when sending these emails—it is very important for us to keep track of the number of emails sent and any response from them. I will be more than happy to help with a response if needed.


AFT-NH supports
SB 364: relative to group II service retirement allowances and relative to establishing a supplemental savings plan in the retirement system.

If we do nothing, New Hampshire is in a situation where 30 years down the road, we are going to have these public employees – at the end of a career in public service – eligible to apply for food stamps, and other social services. According to the NHRS’ own calculations, teachers who retire in 2043 will be retiring on $12,000 a year, with minimal social security. Add inflationary increases, and this information is deeply troubling. To put a strain on working families and force our public employees into the social services net is financially irresponsible and undignified. New Hampshire has enough trouble recruiting young and talented employees into our workforce – who would sign on to a career in public service, making typically lower salaries than counterparts in the private sector, and not even have retirement security to rely on?

Here are reasons why AFT-NH supports this bill:

1)Recruitment and Retention of a talented and experienced workforce

  • It is more cost-effective to retain good workers than hire new ones.
  • There are many more appealing jobs in the private sector that offer higher salaries.
  • Studies have found that public sector workers’ compensation – including benefits – is slightly lower than that of their peers in the private sector with the same education and experience.
  • Since the changes in 2011’s HB2 took effect, New Hampshire is likely to become less competitive for skilled workers in the long run.


2) Economic engine

  • When workers have more disposable income, the economy flourishes.
  • Each dollar “invested” by New Hampshire taxpayers in the pension system supported $7.55 in total economic activity in the state.
  • SB 364 balances the needs of employers with the needs of employees, without adding to the unfunded liability.
  • This bill provides New Hampshire’s economy with a predictable and affordable retirement outlook that will make it easier for businesses to plan.

3)Brief comments on Unintended Consequences of “Pension Reform of 2011”

  • Legislature was well-intended, but overreached:
  • Everyone has concern about the UAAL, but this new model left huge gaps that are just now being realized.
  • Average pensions in 30 years are going to be $2-4,000 less than they are today:
  • When we think about what 30 years of inflation will do by 2044, this is deeply troubling.
  • Police/Fire are not eligible for Social Security, but will not make enough to live comfortably on in 30 years unless we do something now.
  • The current benefit will provide only 45-49% salary replacement in retirement. Experts say one should receive 80-85%.

Here is a sample letter that you can cut and paste and send to your state senator (please note emails above). Please take various bullet points from below or above that fit your story when sending this to your senator. We want each email to be personalized.
Dear Senator ________:
 
I write to you as a taxpaying constituent and (state your occupation, town, any personal story that you feel is important).

Please support SB 364, real pension reform going forward for the following reasons:

•    Prospective and preventative legislation that affects new hires, those hired on or after January 1, 2012
•    Predictable and affordable pension benefit
•    Balances cost of employee and employer
•    Everyone deserves a dignified pension; recent legislative changes took this away from public employees.
•    If we do not pass this bill, 30 years down the road public employees will be eligible for social services when they retire.

Thank you for your support on this very important issue.

Sincerely,

Thank you for taking the time to help out with this very important piece of legislation. 
In Solidarity,
Laura

2-3-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update And Bills To Watch This Week

AFT NH Legislative Update

It seemed to be a long week with not much accomplished at the State House. The House is still working its way through retained bills from the 2013 session, while the Senate held its first full session on their 2014 bills.

The positive note of the week is that the Senate defeated SB 217 the right to work for less this week by a vote of 13 to 11. AFT-NH thanks all the senators who stood with us.

The Senate Health, Education and Human Services committee held a hearing on SB 322: relative to the renomination of teachers. This bill reduces from 5 to 3 consecutive years of teaching required for a teacher to be entitled to notification and a hearing when the teacher is not reappointed. AFT-NH supports this bill. It is time we move back to supporting our teachers in New Hampshire. Three years is long enough to deny teachers their due process when nonrenewed. When decision with such high stakes are being made,  all staff should be given reasons why, and should be given time to improve though an improvement plan.

A House Education subcommittee made the recommendation to defeat HB 1180, a bill increasing the minimum number of days of school from 180 to 190 and authorizing up to 10 of those days to be completed online in a manner to be determined by the school board.  AFT-NH supports this recommendation and we ask the full House Education committee to support this recommendation. We know that this bill is unnecessary because increasing the school year is something that can be done now if negotiated between the district and the union. If districts and the State want to improve education, offer school employees appropriate and useful staff development opportunities.  Give us the tools and materials to do the jobs and trust us as professionals!

The House Finance committee made the recommendation to defeat HB 1394, which would appropriate $600,000 to the Department of Education for the maintenance and repair of facilities for chartered public schools. We ask that the full House support this recommendation and defeat this bill.  Would it be fair to pass this bill when for the past 6 years there has not been any new money given to public schools for building aid?

The House Legislative Administration committee held a hearing on HB 1122, which would establish the crime of knowingly filing a false lien or encumbrance in a public record or private record against the real or personal property of a public official or public employee on account of the performance of such public official or public employee’s official duties.  AFT-NH is in support of this bill. 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 notice 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.

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 HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the divisionof forests and lands.

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions.

House CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 1260-FN-L, relative to communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1306-FN, prohibiting a law enforcement officer from soliciting another person to participate in criminal activity,
HB 1435, requiring law enforcement officials to disclose specific informationrelating to a police checkpoint,
HB 1565-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien or encumbrance against public servant.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy.
10:30 a.m. HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials.
11:00 a.m. HB 1321, relative to reporting of Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores.
11:30 a.m. HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school
districts.
1:15 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1147, permitting school districts to advertise,
HB 1180-FN-L, relative to days of school,
HB 1187, relative to an appeal of a change of school assignment decision by a superintendent,
HB 1191, establishing a commission to study manufacturing education in New Hampshire,
HB 1199-L, excepting certain students from authorized regional enrollment area agreements,
HB 1211, relative to the use of force by persons with special responsibilities,
HB 1507, relative to university system of New Hampshire in-state tuition rates for students domiciled in New Hampshire,
HB 1588-FN, requiring suicide prevention education in schools,

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
1:30 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1126, establishing a committee to study alternative public employee retirement plans,
HB 1148-FN, relative to the reduction in the calculation of state retirement system annuities at age 65,
HB 1398-FN, allowing the retirement system to make payments in lieu of payments to estates in certain instances,
HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees,
HB 1563-FN, granting group II retirement system status to certain positions in the department of corrections,

House FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 525-FN, raising the age of minority for juvenile delinquency proceedings
from 17 to 18 years of age.

House SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY, Room 304, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 1265, relative to coordinating and funding broadband infrastructure information by the
enhanced 911 system.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5
House in session

House LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
12:00 p.m. or at the lunch break from session-Executive session
HB 1122-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien statements against public officials and
employees,

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on
HB 1212, relative to social media privacy in higher education,
HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.
10:45 a.m. HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.
11:30 a.m. HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards.
1:15 p.m. HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.
2:00 p.m. HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.
2:30 p.m. HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 1364-FN, relative to political expenditure and contribution
reporting requirements and relative to political expenditure limitations for state representative
and county office candidates,

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:45 a.m. SB 390, relative to protection of employees who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault,
stalking, or criminal harassment.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the
effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.
10:45 a.m. HB 1488-FN, adopting the interstate compact on educational support for military children.
1:15 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1132-FN, relative to school building inventory reports,
HB 1140, establishing a commission to study merit-based free tuition for certain residents
attendingschools in the university system of New Hampshire,
HB 1208, relative to the number of first 31year college students from New Hampshire high
schools required to take remedial classes,
HB1377, authorizing conferral of degrees by private entities,
HB 1388, relative to student religious liberties,
HB 1397, establishing a committee to study whether the department of education is operating
within its statutory authority,
HB 1463, relative to the definitions of “priority school”and “focus school.”,
HB 1469, requiring each school district to establish a special educationparent advisory council,
HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school districts.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on
HB 1212, relative to social media privacy in higher education,
HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.

1-28-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update

AFT_Logo-2

aft sqaureFrom Laura Hainey, President AFT-NH

UPCOMING VOTE IN THE SENATE:

On Thursday the Senate Finance Committee held its hearing on SB 217 the “right to work for less bill”. They voted 4 to 2 to pass the bill, but if it had been referred instead to the Senate Executive Departments And Administration Committee, we might have seen it defeated by a 3-2 margin.  The next step is for the full Senate to vote on January 30th when they are in full session. As in the many years past AFT-NH is opposed to this bill and asks that it be defeated.

Thank you to all who took action by sending a letter to the committee members. It is very much appreciated.

By a vote of 5 to 0 the Senate Health, Education And Human Services made the recommendation to pass SB 343 as amended: establishing a commission to study the common core standards. This bill authorizes the Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Legislative Oversight Committee to examine common core standards and New Hampshire’s current educational standards. AFT-NH support this bill and will advocate that this committee reached out to our teachers and have an honest conversation as to what their needs are moving forward. We know we need appropriate and useful staff development opportunities, the tools and materials to do our jobs, and the trust in us as professionals.

The full Senate will also be voting on SB 193 on January 30th. AFT-NH is in support of this bill which would allow a new, specially trained type of dental provider called Dental Hygiene Practitioners to join the dental team.

Oral health affects a child’s overall health — their ability to eat nutritious foods, to learn, to play. Sadly, pain and infection can prevent a child from just being a kid. These practitioners would expand the dental workforce, and improve access to routine dental care for children and others who face difficulty getting such care.

AFT-NH is in support of the committee recommendation to pass this bill for the following reasons:

  • Access to basic dental care is a challenge in NH, and expanding the dental workforce is one of several policy solutions recommended in the state’s 10-year Oral Health Plan.
  • These practitioners are a proven, safe and efficient way to provide core dental care services;
  • SB193 offers a critical path forward for thousands of NH residents who can’t access care right now and turn to hospital ERs when pain and infection set in;
  • There is no reason to delay getting vulnerable children and adults in our state the care they need – waiting only adds to the cost and human suffering associated with a known public health crisis.

THIS PAST WEEK AFT-NH TESTIFIED IN SUPPORT OF:

HB 1440: Requiring Lobbyist Reporting and Disclosure. This bill requires that organizations that formally adopt and distribute cookie cutter legislation in more than one state – and do not have a registered lobbyist in the state – must file reports after meetings, conferences, or events attended by New Hampshire legislators in which model act(s) were distributed.

Drafting legislation is the most fundamental act of lobbying, yet New Hampshire’s lobbying requirements leave a huge, gaping hole for reporting and disclosure of this lobbying activity. Reporting and disclosing lobbying exists to ensure legislators, the public, and press knows who is behind how our public policies are being crafted and introduced in New Hampshire. Transparency and accountability in our legislative process are an important part of ensuring the integrity of how are public policies are adopted, and in preventing the corporate corruption of our legislative process.

There is a new class of lobbying that takes place outside of the State House and beyond  the public view. This needs to be fixed and HB 1440 does just that.

HB 1207:  This bill as written would require disclosure when sponsoring legislation. Too often now, we are seeing national cookie-cutter model legislation coming through the halls of our State House. Legislation that is not drafted in response to any local interest or community concern, it is instead often intended solely to benefit the bottom line of the special [corporate] interests writing the bill. Often, legislators or constituents don’t even know who was originally behind the bill.

Knowing who is writing our state laws is an important part of having an open and transparent government. That’s why it’s important to know who drafted a bill and why.

THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE HELD HEARINGS ON THE FOLLOWING BILLS:

HB 1180: This bill increases the minimum number of days of school from 180 to 190 and authorizes up to 10 of those days to be completed online in a manner to be determined by the school board. AFT-NH testified in opposition to this bill.  We know that this bill is unnecessary because increasing the school year is something that can be done now if negotiated between the district and the union. If districts and the State want to improve education they can, as I stated above, offer school employees appropriate and useful staff development opportunities, give use the tools and materials to do the jobs and trust us as professionals.

HB 1128: This bill establishes a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school. The duties of this  committee is to study issues related to students receiving special education services who attend a chartered  school, including responsibility for funding and provision of special education services, and any other issue deemed relevant by the committee.

Around 2011-2012 the state passed a bill which mandated that local districts must pay for support services for special education students enrolled in Charter schools. This means that a district must send someone to the charter school, contract out the service, or pay the Charter school to provide the services. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

AFT-NH support this bill.  We need to have a clear picture on what it is costing districts to educate special education students who are enrolled in a Charter school in or out of their home district. Because this is a mandate from the State we also need to have the discussion on who should be paying for these services.