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4-21-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Common Core Standards And Pension Reform

Things moved slowly this week at the State House. The full House met on Wednesday and passed the following bill:

SB 101: prohibiting the State from requiring implementation of Common Core standards. This bill prohibits the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core standards in any school or school district in this state. This bill clarifies that districts don’t have to adopt the Common Core Standards but a district still needs to have high quality standards. AFT-NH believes that if any standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing them:

  • 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

This coming Thursday, April 23, 2015 the Special Committee On Employee Pensions will be meeting at 10 am in LOB 104. They have two bills that they will be discussing

  • HB 369: establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees and
  • HB 556: establishing a cash balance plan for public employees in the retirement system.

We need to keep in mind the following about our pension system:

  • New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.
  • Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state.  Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone of the NH economy.
  • The current annual pension benefit is just over $19,000.  Nearly 70% of the state’s 28,000 pensioners receive less than $25,000 per year.
  • Each dollar “invested” by New Hampshire taxpayers in the pension system supports $7.55 in total economic activity in the state
  • 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.
  • Police officers and fire fighters are not eligible for Social Security.
  • All of our public employees contribute their own money into pension funds.
  • Defined-benefit pensions held by public employees are much more cost effective than 401(k)-style retirement plans, costing roughly half as much to provide the same level of retirement benefit to workers such as police officers and firefighters, librarians and teachers, and other public-sector workers.
  • Pensions help reduce employee turnover and thus boost worker productivity.

AFT-NH will continue to advocate for:

Security in retirement is something every worker deserves after a long, successful career in public service.  Our workers, after dedicating their working life to educating children, enforcing the law, fighting fires and helping our communities function every day, have earned a benefit that must allow them to retire with dignity.

The benefit should ensure a predictable cost for the employers and employees, who pay into it throughout their careers. It should create, and sustain, a high-quality workforce. It should attract talented younger workers to invest a lifetime in public service, in turn adding value to the state’s economy.

In exchange for a lifetime of service, our workers need to rely on defined and predictable retirement security that is protected against inflationary pressures. Their benefit should ensure sound, long-term investment options and strategies that will result in post-retirement stability, despite the economic concerns of today.

Instead of encouraging the idea that working for the public sector is less valuable than working for the private sector, New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.

Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state. It is service that adds value to the quality of life for NH citizens and visitors. Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone for the NH economy.

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

Monday, April 20

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
Department of Health and Human Services:
9:00 a.m. Budget Overview
10:00 a.m. Public Health
11:00 a.m. Medicaid Business & Policy (including Medicaid Managed Care)
12:00 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. Continuation of Medicaid Business & Policy
2:00 p.m. Commissioner’s Office
3:00 p.m. Office of Human Services
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
9:00 a.m. HB 347, relative to payment of wages of certain hourly school district employees.
9:20 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school busses by special education pupils.
9:40 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.
10:00 a.m. Hearing on proposed amendment #2015-1333s – establishing a children’s savings account program, and relative to the bonding authority of the city of Dover to HB
577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
2:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 72, relative to confidentiality of police personnel files and establishing a commission to study the use of police personnel files as they relate to the Laurie List,

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on 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 MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting. The public hearing will include consideration of a non-germane amendment which ratifies the result of a warrant article in the town of Franconia. Copies of the amendment are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms’ office and online.

House TRANSPORTATION, Room 203, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 234, establishing a committee to study the use of law enforcement details and flaggers for traffic control on municipally maintained roads.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
2:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

Wednesday, April 22

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 Transportation
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
1:00 p.m. Work session on SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting,

House SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYEE PENSION PLANS, Room 104, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session.

Tuesday, April 28

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on SB 213-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the formula for distribution of meals and rooms tax revenues.

Wednesday, April 29

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 30

10 am Senate in Session

Tuesday, May 5

Senate FINANCE, Representatives’ Hall, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Please note: These hearings will be streamed live via the Internet at the following web address:
http://nhgencourt.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

Friday, May 15

Every Child Matters in NH and Child and Family Services of NH are pleased to extend an invitation to all members for “Walk a Month in My Shoes” Poverty Simulation on Friday, May 15th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Breakfast and registration will open at 8:00 a.m. The simulation will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Please stay for lunch and an afternoon discussion about poverty in our state with NH experts on this topic. Our goal is to simulate the challenges faced by low-income children and their families as they try to survive from month to month on limited resources. We guarantee that this event will have you talking and thinking about poverty in new ways. There is no cost to attend this event. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to our guests. Space is limited so please RSVP by April 24th by calling (603) 856-7517 or emailing mlbeaver@everychildmatters.org

Friday, May 22

In recognition of your support, the New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Association cordially invites you to the 23rd Annual New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Friday, May 22, 2015, beginning promptly at 10:00 a.m., on the Memorial Site in front of the Legislative Office Building. The ceremony will proceed rain or shine. Refreshments will be served immediately following the ceremony. Please do not hesitate to contact Major Kevin Jordan of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at 602-271-3128 if you have any questions.

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

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

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

3-24-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: 2015-16 State Budget

AFT NH Legislative Update

The three divisions of the House Finance Committee have been meeting to develop their version of the State budget. There have been many stories regarding what is going on and none of them offer good news. We need to keep in mind that this is just one step of many and there will be several changes before the final budget is voted on in June.  The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) has put out the most detailed report as to what the committees have recommended. To read this click here. The full House will be voting April 1st  (no I am not kidding), on their version of the budget.

Throughout the budget process AFT-NH has supported 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. But both chambers of the Legislature have voted on reducing much needed revenue.

After the full House votes on HB 1 and HB 2 it will move over to the Senate. They will hold a public hearing and then start their work on recommendations for the budget. We know the Senate version will be different from the House’s version which means a Committee Of Conference will be formed. This committee will work towards resolving differences and will bring a final version for both chambers to vote on.

This Wednesday or Thursday the full House will be voting on HB 215-FN, relative to school building aid grant payments.  AFT-NH is not in support of the committee’s recommendation and asks that it be overturned and a recommendation to pass this bill be voted on.

It is shocking that Representative Weyler feels this bill is unnecessary. For the past eight years many districts 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 building are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

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

Monday, March 23

House FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Divisions I, II & III may meet from time to time, throughout the day.

STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM LEGISLATIVE
OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 193-C:7), Room 207, LOB
3:00 p.m. Regular meeting.

Tuesday, March 24

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 126, establishing a commission to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school.

9:20 a.m. HB 142, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.

9:40 a.m. HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students.

10:00 a.m. HB 662-FN-L, relative to property taxes paid by chartered public schools leasing property.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Rooms 206-208, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 116-FN, repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:30 a.m. SB 166, relative to facilitated individualized education program meetings.

9:50 a.m. SB 71, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for children in schools.

10:15 a.m. SB 194-FN, relative to epinephrine administration policies in postsecondary educational institutions.

10:40 a.m. SB 69, establishing a commission to study social impact bond funding for early childhood education for at-risk students.

11:15 a.m. SB 101, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.

House FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued executive session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Divisions I, II & III may meet from time to time, throughout the day.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 264, relative to tipped employees.
11:30 a.m. SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.

Wednesday, March 25

10 am House in Session

Senate PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB

9:00 a.m. HB 102, relative to consideration of warrant articles.

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
12:00 p.m. or at session lunch break. Executive session on
SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.
SB 264, relative to tipped employees.

Thursday, March 26

10 am Senate in Session

10 am House in Session if needed

Wednesday, April 1

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 2

10 am House in Session if needed

Monday, April 6

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

AFT-NH Legislative Update 3-10-15: Right To Work Goes Down In The Senate But The Fight Is Far From Over

THE SO CALLED RIGHT TO WORK—FOR LESS DEFEATED!

On a 12 to 12 vote the State Senate defeated the ‘SO-CALLED’ RIGHT TO WORK—‘FOR LESS’ bill (SB 107.) Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.


AFT-NH would like to thank the following Senators for standing with working families!

David Boutin,
Sharon  Carson
Lou D’Allesandro
Dan Feltes
Martha Fuller Clark
Andrew Hosmer
Molly Kelly
Bette Lasky
David Pierce
Donna Soucy
David Watters
Jeff Woodburn

However, the full House will be voting on their version of the bill this coming Wednesday. The Labor Committee recommended ‘Ought to Pass” on  HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. This bill comes from Wisconsin and Scott Walkers play book.  It excludes Police Officers and Firefighters. I think the statement by Representative Doug Ley sums it all up: “…Furthermore, the decision to carve out exceptions for police officers and firefighters was justified on grounds of the need for unit cohesion. That same logic can apply to any workplace including those where employers and labor organizations agree to allow the union to recover the costs of negotiating for and defending non-union employees. Such interference in the freedom to contract is unacceptable to the minority.”

AFT-NH is calling on all Representatives to overturn the Committee recommendation and make a recommendation to defeat this bill and any other bill that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

On a side note:  Scott Walker will be in New Hampshire on March 14th.  The NH AFL-CIO is putting together “Stand Up for America’s Middle Class Visibility Action”, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.  If interested in attending please call NH AFL-CIO, (603) 623-7302 and ask for Dan Justice.

This Wednesday and Thursday
the full House will be voting on over 246 bills, it will be a very busy two days. Here are some of the bills that they will be voting on that might be of interest:

HB 323, relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program. The House Education Committee recommended that this bill pass.  The bill changes when local school districts administer the required state assessments. Currently we have to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11th grades; this would change to testing only in the 4th grade, 6th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade for the state assessments. Keep in mind that AFT-NH believes:

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.   We are calling for a moratorium on the high stakes testing—for students, teachers and schools, that are linked with Common Core assessments, until an implementation plan is developed in partnership with teachers, parents and the community and is field tested in classrooms in each district.

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.

AFT-NH ask that all Representatives consider the above when voting on any bill that deals with students assessments at the local or state level.

The full House will also be voting on many bills that deal with educational standards. We ask that you keep in mind the following:

If any 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,
  • 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,
  • Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
  • 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, 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.

The House will be voting on HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.This bill adds provisions relating to the protection of teacher personally identifiable data and adds in language that no school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval after a public hearing, and without written consent of the teacher and the parent or legal guardian of each affected student. AFT-NH supports the House Education recommendation to pass this bill as amended.

And then there is HB 491:relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor.This bill permits a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.  AFT-NH supports the House Education Committee’s recommendation to pass this bill.

The last two bills have to do with revenues and funding of charter schools. First the House Ways and Means recommended that HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens, be defeated. AFT-NH is opposed to defeating this bill and would ask that the recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to pass be voted on.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limits companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, can still avoid paying taxes by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and the State loses millions every year in taxable corporate revenue.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “water’s edge” loophole and require that companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. A US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this is true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

And lastly, the House Finance committee recommended that HB 563-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils pass with an amendment. The amended version is less harmful than some of the other proposed amendments, yet AFT-NH has serious concerns with this bill. This increased funding to charter schools comes from the adequacy fund. In turn this leaves less for public schools. If the state truly supports charter schools then they would find a way to pay for it by not robbing Peter (public schools) to pay Paul (charter schools). They would come up with a dedicated fund just for charter schools and find the revenue to support it without dipping into any other dedicated fund.

AFT-NH  asks that the Committee’s recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to defeat this bill be voted on.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org or call 603-661-7293.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President



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Upcoming hearings for the week of March 9, 2015

MONDAY, MARCH 9

FINANCE, Kennet High School Auditorium, 409 Eagles Way, North Conway
6:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state  for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. *Please note time change.

FINANCE, Derry Town Hall, 14 Manning Street, Derry
5:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FINANCE – (Division I), Room 212, LOB
Operating Budget presentations as follows:
9:30 a.m. Public Employees Labor Relations Board.
10:00 a.m. Department of Labor.
10:30 a.m. Developmental Disabilities Council.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10

FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

SENATE TRANSPORTATION LOB 103
1:00 p.m. SB 234, relative to police details on public ways.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

10 am House in Session

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 101, LOB
9:20 a.m. SB 164, relative to the independent investment committee in the New Hampshire retirement system.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

9 am House in Session

10 am Senate in Session

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
9:00 a.m. Full committee work session to consider revenue items contained in HB 2.

MONDAY, MARCH 16

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:30 p.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures, and
HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

AFT-NH RED ALERT: Right To Work Is Back In The NH House

YES, THAT IS CORRECT; THE SO CALL RIGHT TO WORK IS BACK!
It hasn’t even been a week!

The full House will be voting on their version of the bill this coming Wednesday the 11th . The Labor Committee recommended ‘Ought to Pass” on  HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. This bill comes from Wisconsin and Scott Walkers play book.  It excludes Police Officers and Firefighters. I think the statement by Representative Doug Ley sums it all up: “…Furthermore, the decision to carve out exceptions for police officers and firefighters was justified on grounds of the need for unit cohesion. That same logic can apply to any workplace including those where employers and labor organizations agree to allow the union to recover the costs of negotiating for and defending non-union employees. Such interference in the freedom to contract is unacceptable to the minority.”

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out of state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. Your Representative(s) need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Your immediate action will send a strong message to your Representative(s).

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Take Action To Message Your NH State Senator Voicing Your Opposition To Right To Work

YES, THAT IS CORRECT; THE SO CALL RIGHT TO WORK IS BACK!
It hasn’t even been a year!

The SENATE COMMERCE Committee made the recommendation of ought to pass on SB 107-FN: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union by a vote of 3 to 2. It now moves to the full Senate on March 3, 2015.

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. These Senators need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle-class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Thank you for taking action!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Union Members Helping Each Other By Supporting Them In Your Local Elections

aft sqaureAFT-NH 2015 TOWN MEETING GUIDE

Union Members Helping Each Other

Your fellow Union members across the state have union contracts being presented to voters in March. You can help by voting. They are counting on your support. It is also important we support school and municipal budgets to avoid harmful layoffs or loss of programs and services. Remember, if your town is voting on March 10th, you can register to vote on Election Day. If you will be out of town, please be sure to get an absentee ballot by contacting your town clerk. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, March 10th         Election Day  (Senate Bill 2 Districts)

 

Fremont (Ellis School Support Staff) AFT #6223            YES on Articles 4 and 5

(Para-educators, secretaries and custodians)

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Ellis School, 432 Main Street, Fremont

Polls are open from 7:00am – 8:00pm

 

Hudson PSRP’s   AFT #6245                                              YES on Articles 2, 4 and 5

(para-educators and café employees)

Hudson School Secretaries

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Hudson Community Center, 12 Lions Ave, Hudson

Polls are open from 7:00am – 8:00pm

 

Oyster River Paraprofessionals and Support Staff AFT #6213

(paraprofessionals and cafeteria employees)

                                                                                  YES on Articles 5 and 7

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Durham          Oyster River High School              7:00am – 7:00pm

Lee                  Lee Safety Complex                        7:00am – 7:00pm

Madbury       Madbury Town Hall                     11:00am -7:30pm

 

Timberlane Support Staff Union AFT #6530               YES on Articles 2, 6 and 7

(paraeducators)

Voting Locations and Polling Hours

Atkinson   (Community Center, Rte. 121)        7:00am-8:00pm

Danville   (Community Center, Rte. 111)         8:00am-7:00pm

Plaistow   (Pollard School, Main St.)            7:00am-8:00pm

Sandown   (Sandown Town Hall, Main St.)     8:00am-8:00pm

 

Tuesday, March 3rd        Traditional  School District Meeting     

Campton Educational Support Personnel Association, AFT #6004 

Campton Elementary School District Meeting     7:00pm

 

Tuesday, March 10th         Traditional Town Meeting (Evening)        YES on Article 11

Hillsborough Town Employees, AFT #3912 

Hillsborough Town Meeting

Tuesday, March 10th

7:30pm

Hillsboro-Deering Middle School

 

Wednesday, March 11th        Traditional    School District Meeting 

Henniker Community School Support Staff, AFT #6314     YES on Article 4

Henniker Community School

Wednesday, March 11th

Henniker School District Meeting     7:00pm

 

Saturday, March 14th         Traditional Town Meeting    YES on Articles 20 and 21

Pittsfield Town Employees, AFT #6214

Pittsfield Town Meeting

Saturday, March 14th

10:00am

Pittsfield Elementary School

 

Here is a PDF copy of this post for you to print and bring with you for reference or share with your friends and family. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Terri Donovan at terridd@metrocast.net.

AFT-NH Testimony On HB 551 A Bill To Prevent Diversion Of Business Income To Tax Havens

aft sqaureLaura Hainey, President of the New Hampshire American Federation of Teachers (AFT-NH), spoke out in favor of HB 551, a bill to “prevent diversion of business income to tax havens.”  Read her official testimony submitted to the Ways and Means Committee.

Dear House Ways and Means Committee Members:

AFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

AFT-NH asks that your support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limit’s companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, can still avoid paying tax by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and state loss millions every year in taxable corporate revenue. Here in New Hampshire a study by the U.S Public Research Interest Group (PIRG) estimated that we had a revenue loss of $98 million in 2011.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “waters edge” loophole and require companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. This bill HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens does just that. Montana and Oregon have enacted legislation to treat a proportionate share of the income that corporation’s book to know tax havens as domestic income and have collected millions in additional tax revenue. The US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this remains true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

In closing please support HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens.

Laura Hainey (AFT-NH): Right To Work Weakens Collective Bargaining And Hurts All Workers

 

I am here today to ask that you defeat HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

aft sqaureAFT-NH represents 4,000 employees in NH, mostly public employees who work in your cities, towns and school districts. The members of AFT-NH are teachers, Para educators, secretaries, librarians, cafeteria staff, and custodial staff. Some of us are police officers who work to ensure safe and orderly communities. Our members work in higher education preparing new generations of citizens and leaders. And our members provide vital public services in towns all over New Hampshire. In short, AFT New Hampshire members ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow citizens and help build stronger communities throughout our state.

Keep in mind, a union cannot unilaterally require nonmembers to pay their fair share. The employer and the union must negotiate and agree that workers are required to pay their fair share for representation.

Right now, either private or public employers and employees can freely negotiate to make sure everyone who benefits from a union contract pays their fair share of the costs of obtaining and protecting those benefits. But a “Right To Work” (RTW) law would allow the government to interfere unfairly in the freedoms of private and public employers and restrict the right to negotiate with their employees. Employers should be free to negotiate contracts without government intrusion.

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.

We all know there is no evidence to suggest that passing a RTW bill will improve our economy or create jobs for NH’s working families. As a matter of fact, I know you’ve heard that RTW 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.

The so called RTW proposal hurts everyone. By many measures, the quality of life is worse in states with so-called 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.

Lower Wages and Incomes

  • The average worker in states with RTW laws makes $1,540 a year less when all other factors are removed than workers in other states.1
  • Median household income in states with these laws is $6,437 less than in other states ($46,402 vs. $52,839).2
  • In states with RTW laws, 26.7 percent of jobs are in low-wage occupations, compared with 19.5 percent of jobs in other states.3

Less Job-Based Health Insurance Coverage

  • People in states with RTW laws are more likely to be uninsured (16.8 percent, compared with 13.1 percent overall; among children, it’s 10.8 percent vs. 7.5 percent).4
  • They’re less likely to have job-based health insurance than people in other states (56.2 percent, compared with 60.1 percent).5
  • Only 50.7 percent of employers in states with these laws offer insurance coverage to their employees, compared with 55.2 percent in other states. That difference is even more significant among small employers (with fewer than 50 workers)—only 34.4 percent of them offer workers health insurance, compared with 41.7 percent of small employers in other states.6

Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates

  • Poverty rates are higher in states with RTW laws (15.3 percent overall and 21.5 percent for children), compared with poverty rates of 13.1 percent overall and 18.1 percent for children in states without these laws.7
  • The infant mortality rate is 15 percent higher in states with these laws.8
  • Less Investment in Education
  • States with RTW laws spend $3,392 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than other states, and students are less likely to be performing at their appropriate grade level in math and reading.9

Higher Rates of Death on the Job

  • The rate of workplace deaths is 36 percent higher in states with these laws, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.10

In closing, industries locate in a state for many reasons, but RTW laws are not among them. Factors like workforce productivity, availability of skilled workers, transportation, closeness to markets and materials, quality of life and proximity to research universities are the keys to economic growth. We need to create good jobs throughout the state, but an RTW law will not persuade companies to move here.

Please recommend ITL on HB 402-FN: establishing the Franklin Partin right-to-work act.

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey

AFT-NH President

 

1 Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-michigan-economy/.

2 U.S. Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State, www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/2010/H08_2010.xls.

3 CFED, Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/low-wage-jobs.

4 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Census Bureau, POV46: Poverty Status by State: 2010, related children under 18, www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032011/pov/new46_100125_04.htm;

Table 19. Percent of Persons in Poverty, by State: 2008, 2009 and 2010, www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/hstpov19.xls.

8 Kaiser Family Foundation, www.statehealthfacts.org.

9 National Education Association, Rankings & Estimates–Rankings of the States 2011 and Estimates of School Statistics 2012, December 2011, www.nea.org/assets/docs/NEA_Rankings_And_Estimates_FINAL_20120209.pdf ;

CFED, Asset & Opportunity Scorecard, http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/math-proficiency-8th-grade , and http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2012/measure/reading-proficiency-8th-grade .

10 AFL-CIO, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, April 2012, www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report .

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


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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.

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