• Advertisement

NH House GOP Jeopardize Voter Privacy And Force Towns To Pay For Equipment In Voter ID Mandate

NH House Finance Republicans Vote to Pass Costly
Unfunded Voter ID Mandate on to Cities and Towns;
Jeopardize Voter Privacy

CONCORD, NH – In a party line vote yesterday afternoon, Republicans on the House Finance Committee voted to pass a costly and unfunded mandate on to cities and towns to implement the camera provision of the voter ID law. Amendment 2015-1103h eliminates the requirement that the Secretary of State provide each city and town the photography and printing supplies to implement the voter ID law. Each municipality will now be responsible for purchasing a camera, color printer, photo paper, and any other supplies necessary to comply with the provision of the law set to go into effect in September 2015.

“The House Republicans are passing a costly and unfunded mandate on to local towns and cities to implement an unnecessary camera provision of an already unnecessary voter ID law,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It is clear from the hasty introduction of this amendment that sponsor Rep. Dan McGuire and the other Republicans who voted for it did not even take the time to read the current statute. McGuire told the committee that the state does not need to provide the equipment because cameras and electronic communication are already so common, implying that election moderators should just take a photo with a smart phone and email it to the SOS. However, the voter ID law specifically says the photo must be printed out in color and then the electronic copy immediately deleted.”

“If House Republicans want to change the voter ID law to an electronic record-keeping version, this raises real concerns over privacy. Under that scenario, moderators could use private phones and email accounts to transfer or store images of the electorate with no data protections whatsoever,” Rice Hawkins said.

Granite State Progress and other election protection advocates are calling for the New Hampshire legislature to eliminate the costly camera provision of the voter ID law, saving taxpayer dollars and preventing long delays at the polls.

Transcript of Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom) remarks available here.

Video link 

After 5 Years Data Shows The ACA Is Working For Granite State Families

On 5th Anniversary of Affordable Care Act, Landmark Health Law is Covering More Families, Lowering Health Care Costs

CONCORD, NH – Today marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark health care law, the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“The Affordable Care Act has provided New Hampshire families and small businesses with the security and stability they need in health care coverage. More than 53,000 Granite State consumers have enrolled for private health care coverage through the ACA marketplace, and an additional 37,000 of our neighbors have signed up for expanded Medicaid and can now access preventive care instead of relying on emergency rooms which drives up health costs for everyone. The ACA, or Obamacare as it is known to some, is achieving its goal of providing quality, affordable health care coverage to more Americans and bending the health care cost curve that was previously wildly out of control.”

According to HHS, 70 percent of New Hampshire consumers who signed up on the marketplace qualified for an average tax credit of $244 per month. Reporters can access more information on the impact of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire here. HHS also announced that the ACA has reduced hospital uncompensated care costs across the country by an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014. A report detailing the economic impact of Medicaid expansion and the overall accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act over the past five years are available on the HHS website.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:
 

“Five years after the President signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it’s clear that the ACA is working here in New Hampshire.”

“To date, over 53,000 Granite Staters have enrolled in private coverage on New Hampshire’s Health Insurance Marketplace, not to mention the 37,000 Granite Staters and counting who have gotten covered through New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion plan.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, New Hampshire’s workforce is healthier and stronger and we’re already seeing a decline in the costs of uncompensated care, saving money for individuals and businesses.”  

“It is unconscionable that five years later, Kelly Ayotte and Frank Guinta are still fighting to take away health coverage from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and repeal critical new consumer protections that are not only saving money, but also saving lives. In 2016, voters across New Hampshire will hold them accountable for their backwards health care policies and elect Democrats who will fight for middle class families and small businesses.”

Ben Cohen Speaks About Corporations Buying Our Politicians At #WeRise Event In Concord

20150311_StateHouseWERISE

About 40 activists gathered at the New Hampshire State House as part of the nationwide #WeRISE Day of Action.

Stamp Stampede’s Ben Cohen speaks at “We Rise” Action at State House
National Day of Action to Put People and Planet First

The StampStampede.org joined with NH Citizens Action, the NH Rebellion, American Friends Service Committee, Open Democracy, Granite State Progress, People For the American Way, Every Child Matters and other New Hampshire organizations to protest “a political system rigged on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy.”

“Congress needs to stop acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of multinational corporations,” said Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben&Jerry’s Ice Cream and Head Stamper of StampStampede.org. “When billions of dollars are being poured into our elections, government stops serving the people and serves the corporations instead.”

031115StateHouseWERISE1207

Stamp Stampede Head Stamper Ben Cohen spoke about the movement to pass a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Cohen cited a Sunlight Foundation study showing that politically-active corporations get back $760 in government benefits for every dollar they spend influencing politics. “People watch this stuff happening, and they’re angry about it.  People in both parties are angry about it.  Our elected officials are supposed to be serving us, their constituents, and instead they’re spending our tax dollars subsidizing corporations.”

“It’s time to take our government back,” Cohen said.  “If ‘We the People’ can’t out-spend the corporations, we can at least out-shout them.  That’s why StampStampede.org is turning US currency into millions of miniature political billboards, by legally stamping it with messages like ‘Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.’” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  That means if one person stamps three bill a day for a year, the message will reach almost 1 million people.   “It’s a petition on steroids,” said Cohen.

There are over 30,000 stampers across the country and hundreds in New Hampshire.  StampStampede.org has also recruited over 50 small businesses in the state to set up small point-of-purchase stamping stations where customers can stamp their dollars, buy a stamp and learn more about the influence of money in politics.

“Our goal is to stamp 3.4 million bills – that’s 10% of the currency in New Hampshire – before next February’s presidential primary,”  said Cohen, “It’s monetary jiu-jitsu – we’re using money to get money out of politics”

The Concord “We Rise” rally was one of a nationwide series of actions organized in affiliation with National People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, and USAction.   “All across the country, families are taking to the streets, parks and state capitols to send a clear message: ‘Our statehouses and our cities belong to us.  It’s time for legislators to enact our bold agenda to put people and planet first.’”

#WeRise

Granite State Progress Statement on NH House Voting Down HB 404, Ballot Selfies

 Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House voted inexpedient to legislate 233-131 today on HB 404, relative to showing a ballot. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins

“Granite State Progress congratulates the New Hampshire House on this strong vote in favor of voter protection. HB 404 would have opened a slippery slope to voter intimidation and harassment, as well as social pressure to vote for a particular candidate or cause. New Hampshire’s current law protects an individual’s right to vote for the candidate or issue they feel most strongly about, without feeling accountable to anyone else. There are already several other ways for a voter to publicly show their support for a candidate – they can attend rallies, sign petitions, hold signs, distribute information, and publicly declare their intent to vote for or state that they actually did cast a ballot for a particular candidate. All New Hampshire’s law does is protect the privacy and secrecy of an individual’s actual vote by making it illegal to show or distribute pictures of one’s actual ballot.”

“This is not a freedom of speech issue as some may try to suggest as there are limitless other ways to demonstrate support for a candidate. There is one – and only one – thing that ballot selfies provide that other forms of democratic expression do not, and that is proof of your vote. New Hampshire should not endorse methods of proving who you voted for to others, and the House made the right decision with this vote.”

A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to HB 404 can be found online at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-release/statement-nh-house-voting-down-hb-404-ballot-selfies. It includes seemingly innocent examples of social pressure that could unfortunately harm the democratic process if ballot selfies were allowed.

About GSP and voter protection: Granite State Progress and its sister organization Granite State Progress Education Fund provide several forms of voter education and voter protection in New Hampshire – including publishing easy to access and understandable vote records of state legislators, hosting a website with information on how to register and rights at the polls, and manning a voter protection hotline on Election Day. Granite State Progress opposed both HB 404 and similar legislation HB 228, which will have a floor vote later today.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online atwww.GraniteStateProgress.org.

 

ICYMI: Coalition of NH Taxpayers Once Again Found Making False Accusations of Voter Fraud

Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, continue to make false accusations based on shoddy research 

Concord, NH – In an unsurprising development, Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayer’s latest “voter fraud” allegation has once again been soundly debunked. For the last month, Naile, CNHT, and the NH Tea Party have relentlessly alleged fraud by a former New Hampshire voter, using social media graphics and posts on Granite Grok and Girard at Large to defame an American citizen who did his civic duty to vote in every election. An in-depth article in The Cabinet this week, pasted below, gives the real story.

Quote from Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress:

“It’s clear that Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, and that they have once again based false accusations on shoddy research. Any allegations they make should continue to be scrutinized carefully, because even the simplest fact check quickly debunks their statements.”

The Cabinet story is below.

——————————

The Cabinet: Illegal voting allegations out of Wilton

Thursday, November 6, 2014

By JESSIE SALISBURY
Correspondent

WILTON – According to an organization called Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, and as shown on their website www.cnht.com, resident Jared Cram voted twice in presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, both in Wilton and near Philadelphia.

The website refers to Cram as a “Democratic Philly Lawyer,” and displays a picture apparently taken from a Facebook page. It offers no proof of the charge.

The accusation was also made at a recent candidates’ forum by Frank Edelblut, a Republican candidate for the state house of representatives, in answer to a question from the floor about voter fraud. He used Cram and his alleged voting record as proof there is a problem in the state.

He said, “Right here in the town of Wilton.”

Selectman Kermit Williams rebutted that accusation then, and is still doing so, pointing out that the accusations are false, that Cram had moved to Wilton well before the election.

On Monday, Oct. 29, Town Clerk Jane Farrell outlined what she had done in response to the case for the Board of Selectmen.

After the accusations were made, she said she had received a call from the Secretary of State’s Office asking for copies of the checked voter lists for the primary elections in those years in order to verify Cram’s voting history.

“Unfortunately, 2008 was a year we purged the checklist (as required periodically by state law).”

Checklists are scanned for the archives, and one appeared to show that Cram had voted twice.

However, further checking found that the scanned copy was of Cram’s father’s name and that Jared had not voted.

“We corrected that record,” she said.

As for 2012, she said, “It was alleged that he had voted in two state primaries, and he actually did, but Pennsylvania holds their primary in April in connection with municipal elections.” Cram was living there at the time and voted.

During the summer, he moved back to Wilton, where his parents live, to recuperate from a medical problem, and voted in the primary and general election here.

“None of the three races (in 2012) covered the same people,” Farrell said. She noted that New Hampshire state statutes allow for voting in different states if the elections are held on different dates.

“This is casting aspersions on us and on our secretary of State’s office,” Farrell said, and the “Secretary of State is very annoyed.”

http://www.cabinet.com/cabinet/cabinetnews/1051004-308/illegal-voting-allegations-out-of-wilton.html#sthash.xGfMqGTk.VCZUtbQt.dpuf

Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 5.51.30 PMSo-Called “Millennial” Candidate Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters Despite Polling, Evidence to the Contrary

Garcia, a 31-year old candidate for Congress, voted against marriage equality, voted to repeal marriage equality, and voted to keep gay couples from adopting

*** Also: Video of Garcia’s extreme House floor remarks on marriage equality *** 

Concord, NH –Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia (NH-02) says same-sex marriage and other issues of equality for gay and lesbian couples do not matter to millennial voters, despite widespread polling to the contrary.  On NHPR’s Morning Edition, Garcia recently told host Steve Inskeep that marriage equality is not an important topic for millennial voters, saying that “… it doesn’t really come up, you know, in elections and campaigns anymore because it’s just not an issue that they’re fighting about in the legislature anymore.”

But marriage equality and equal rights have been a topic of conversation, both in New Hampshire and nationally, and Garcia knows it. She voted against protecting or expanding LGBT rights as long ago as 2007 and as recently as 2014. In 2009, Garcia voted against passing marriage equality, and in 2010 and 2012 she voted to repeal it. National polls indicate that marriage equality is a priority for millennial voters. A Pew Research Center report in September 2014 found nearly 70% of millennial voters support same-sex marriage; a March 2014 report found 61% of young Republicans favor same-sex marriage. 

“Marilinda Garcia may be a young candidate but she is by no means a voice for the values of millennial voters,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, and a millennial voter. “Garcia opposes same-sex marriage and voted to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt. Nearly 70 percent of millennial voters nationwide support marriage equality and see equal rights as an important foundation, but if elected Marilinda Garcia will vote to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals.”

“Garcia also defines marriage as solely about procreation, a belief that is out of touch with many young couples today who are waiting to start families or who have chosen not to have children at all,” Rice Hawkins said.

GSP Video: Marilinda Garcia’s House Floor Statement Against Marriage Equality

http://youtu.be/4ZqDnPFPB6E 

(includes statements regarding Garcia’s definition of marriage)

Excerpt: “Thank you Mr. Speaker, honorable colleagues. I rise in support of this amendment merely to voice support for the traditional definition of marriage. The case for marriage is based on the facts of biology and sociology. Marriage was not established to validate emotional and romantic love, sexual attraction, and the promise of commitment in heterosexual relationships. That conception of it is a modern luxury. Instead, marriage exists to solve a problem. That problem is a societal problem that rises from sex between men and women, but not from sex between partners of the same gender. That problem is what to do about its generativity.”

Other choice lines: “Your concern, as a state and a society, is with my gender-based reproductive capability when men are involved.” and “[Same-sex marriage is] illogical and invasive, while completely missing the biologically specific point of marriage in the first place.” Garcia also calls marriage “an institution that makes no sense for them.” [NH State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, NH House Floor Speech Against Marriage Equality, 3/21/2012]

Background: Garcia’s Record on Marriage Equality, LGBT Rights

  • In March 2007, Garcia voted against allowing unmarried adults – including gay and lesbian couples – to adopt children. While New Hampshire law at the time already allowed gay individuals to adopt, same-sex couples faced discrimination in adoption due to different interpretations of the law across the state. [HB 51, Roll Call #37, 3/21/2007; Portsmouth Herald, Gay adoption passes House, 3/22/2007]
  • In May 2009, Garcia voted against the historic passage of marriage equality in New Hampshire. [HB 436, Roll Call #148, 5/6/2009]
  • In February 2010, Garcia voted to repeal marriage equality. [HB 1590, Roll Call #82, 2/17/2010]
  • In March 2012, Garcia again voted to repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire. Garcia argued at the time that repealing marriage equality would strengthen New Hampshire families. [HB437, Roll Call #188, 3/21/2012]
  • In April 2014, Garcia voted against a New Hampshire bill to clarify New Hampshire’s marriage equality law to ensure that all married couples in New Hampshire receive the fair and equal treatment under the law that they deserve. [SB 394, Roll Call #217, 4/30/2014]

Additionally, in September 2014, the NH GOP revised platform strongly called on New Hampshire to only “recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God, encouraged by the State, traditional to humankind, and the core of the Family.”

“Aggressive Progressives” Meet in Henniker (Via Arnie Alpert’s InZane Times)

Written by Arnie Alpert on InZane Times.

P6070066

Atlant Schmidt and Cathy Goldwater at Bird-dogging workshop

The third annual New Hampshire Progressive Summit brought 150 activists to New England College yesterday for a conference devoted to practical political skills and information in a wide range of P6070068topics.  Renewable energy, youth organizing, preserving Social Security and Medicare, poverty, GMOs, use of social media, and more kept the crowd moving for the day.  There was even time for debate over the Northern Pass powerline project, an issue about which there is not unity in the New Hampshire Left.  

The Summit included 19 workshops and another 6 “mini-workshops,” plus sessions for elected officials and candidates.  I was able to catch ones on LGBT issues (with Mo Baxley and Jamie Capach) and on the perils of privatization (with Diana Lacey and Janice Kelble) plus 20-minute “mini workshops” on the American Legislative Exchange Council (with Caitlin Rollo and Rep. Marcia Moody) and reducing gun violence (with Janet Groat of Moms Demand Action).  The presenters all were masters of their subjects and led effective discussions.

I also sat in on a presentation about the NH Rebellion, a growing project to put P6070028pressure on candidates to end the “system of corruption” caused by the flood of cash in the political system. The rebels are planning to join four July 4 parades and assemble hundreds of people to walk from Hampton Beach to New Castle on July 5, all in the spirit of Doris “Granny D” Haddock.  Their supporters at the Summit included several old friends from Occupy NH. 

With Olivia Zink and Addy Simwerayi, I led a session on P6070057“bird-dogging” skills, i.e. how to let candidates know what is on our minds and find out what is on theirs. These sessions are always lively, fun, and hopefully useful.  We had a great assortment of activists concerned about trans rights, climate, GMOs, money and politics, and other issues, all eager to hone their skills.  With the 2014 election campaign heating up and the campaign for the 2016 NH Presidential Primary already underway there is plenty of bird-dogging to be done. 

In fact, the lobby outside the main meeting room was filled with tables from Democratic Party groups, including “Ready for Hillary.” 

What it means to be an “aggressive progressive” was the theme of Richard Kirsch’s keynote.  The speech ran through dozens of popular progressive concepts like aP6070009 higher minimum wage, defeat of “right to work,” the use of the tax code by the 1% to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, the need for paid sick leave, and the importance of not only preserving but expanding Social Security.  “We all do better when we all do better,” he said.  

Punctuated with applause, Kirsch’s remarks were deliberately formulaic, and in fact, he said they were drawn from the key message points of “An America that Works for All of Us,” a glossy brochure included in everyone’s conference packet (and available online).  From the speaker’s perspective “repeating, repeating, repeating and telling the same story,” what he calls the “progressive narrative,”  is the P6070080key to political success.

Coming out of movements based on direct action, I’m not totally sold on this “narrative” concept.  I think we create the “narrative” by our actions as much as by our words, but I agree it’s important to communicate effectively and have always believed that the “progressive agenda” – good schools, fair taxes, protection of civil rights and liberties, decent wages for workers, etc. — ought to be popular with the majority of Americans.  But let’s give attention to actions beyond voting and appeals to those who get elected.  I hope there’s still room for direct action on the progressive agenda.  

New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act Heading to Governor’s Desk (Statement by Granite State Progress)

Also, notice to House Republicans: Granite State Progress pays attention to every vote

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House passed SB 207, New Hampshire’s Paycheck Fairness Act, by a vote of 233-103 today. The Senate previously passed the bill; it now heads to Governor Maggie Hassan (D) who has indicated she will sign it. Statement from Granite State Progress:

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will ensure women have the tools they need to challenge pay discrimination. These safeguards are good for women and good for families. Unfair pay practices harm everyone and New Hampshire was right to take steps to eliminate it,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress.

Today’s vote was the third in the House; state representatives previously voted on HB 1188, another version of a pay equity bill, and once before on SB 207. During the previous debate, Republican State Rep. Will Infantine (Manchester) made disparaging remarks about women’s motivation being a factor in pay discrimination. Those remarks sparked backlash and made local and national news. This time around, House Republicans instead attempted to weaken the bill. After that failed – and facing inevitable passage – many switched their roll call votes at the last minute to appear in support of equal pay.

“We recently praised the handful of House Republicans who stepped over party lines to join their Democratic colleagues in support of equal pay for an equal day’s work, despite the fact that over one hundred House Republicans still voted against women and their families,” Rice Hawkins said. “Let it be known that we watched each of those votes and aren’t fooled by politicians who stand with women only when there are no other options left. We always hope that politicians will see the light on critical issues, but we also recognize when they are only taking a vote for political expediency. We are not soon to forget where they really stand, or to be shy in advertising it.”

 

References

(GSP Video) NH State Rep: Women Earn Less Because Lack Men’s Motivation, Drive
Excerpt: “Men by and large make more because of some of the things they do. Their jobs are, by and large, more riskier. They don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements … Men are more motivated by money than women are.”

SB 207, the NH Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the law to define the conditions in which employers may legitimately pay different wages to men and women who perform equal work; prohibit policies that bar employees from disclosing information about their own wages, salary, and paid benefits as a condition of employment; and prohibit retaliation against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages. Sponsors include all Senate Democrats along with House Speaker Terie Norelli, Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

NH Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Increase (Statement by Granite State Progress)

Politician making $185,000 a year first to object to raising the wage for state’s lowest income earners

CONCORD, NH – The NH Senate voted 13-11 on party lines today to kill HB 1403, raising the state minimum wage. Statement from Granite State Progress:

“A Senate Republican making $185,000 a year called the minimum wage bill ‘feel good legislation’ but refused to spend even one day living in the shoes of his constituents who makes less than ten percent of his salary, even when they are working full-time,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, in reference to Senator Peter Bragdon’s opening remarks. “Senator Bradley chose to use industry talking points instead of rely on economic data, and Senator Sanborn voted against the bill without disclosing the conflict of interest that he pays some of his workers minimum wage.”

“In contrast, several Senate Democrats took the Minimum Wage Challenge to live on minimum wage before voting on this bill. That experience illustrated for them the lack of affordable housing options, the slim budgets, and the constant anxiety that a minimum wage earner lives with every day. Questions about how to put gas in your tank and food on the table become very real when you don’t have a $185,000 golden salary to live on. Minimum wage earners work hard and play by the rules, but Senate Republicans sent a message loud and clear that they don’t care,” Rice Hawkins said.

In an online poll yesterday Granite State Progress asked whether Senate Republicans would table the bill, vote it down immediately, or vote it down after making misleading arguments. Option C won online and in reality. Below is a round-up of key political statements from today’s floor debate:

Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford called the bill “feel good legislation”. Bragdon signed a contract this week for an $185,000 per year job.

Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro said that raising the wage would harm teenagers and entry level workers. In New Hampshire, 72 percent of minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old and have real breadwinner responsibilities. Bradley has previously refused to answer whether he believes in a minimum wage at all.

Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford claimed that raising the minimum wage would harm small businesses, particularly restaurants. Sanborn did not mention that he pays minimum wage to some of his workers at The Draft – nor did he declare a conflict of interest before voting against the bill.

Previously … Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield told the Laconia Citizen he “thinks it’s ‘silly’ to say that someone couldn’t be supported on minimum wage as they can take on multiple jobs.”

In contrast, Senate Democrats spent an hour urging their colleagues to support the bill: 

Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord called the legislation “one of the most important issues this session.”

Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators you must “walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you make you decision.” Of the experience he said: “The minimum wage challenge produced such anxiety for me … I was shaken by the experience.”

Sen. David Watters, D-Dover also took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators:

“Taking the Minimum Wage Challenge this week, it quickly became obvious to me that I couldn’t live and work in Dover without public support for food and housing.  The usual amount provided for food is $37.75 a week, so I went to Janetos, a local downtown market where people without transportation can shop at good prices, and, given the kind of community Dover is, everyone feels welcome and accepted.  $5.45 a day meant careful meal planning. A loaf of bread, peanut butter, eggs, lots of potatoes and pasta, a can of tomatoes, some cheese, two pieces of chicken, a head of broccoli, carrots, milk, and toiletries.  As the funds dwindled, I felt that anxiety of not having enough, putting things back on the shelf, buying by lowest price for a smaller quantity, and seeing that any staple, such as flour, oil, coffee, would mean not enough food for meals.  In planning for one peanut butter sandwich a day for lunch, I recalled when I was working in a factory or in construction filling my lunch box with four to six sandwiches, fruit, cookies, milk, and eating every crumb to keep up strength for hard work.  There’s just not enough to keep body and soul together …

Everyday experiences become a crisis on minimum wage.  I had some surgery this week—would Medicaid have covered the procedure and the $25.00 copay, or would I have had to put it off, try to ignore the problem, and hope for the best?  Or when to fill the tank, looking for a gas station with prices a few pennies less, and seeing the $40.13 it cost just to get to work for a week meant 5-1/2 hours of pay. My old car’s due for an oil change, too. Every day becomes an emergency when the tank runs low.

Video of Sen. Watters participating in the Minimum Wage Challenge grocery shopping trip is below.

Paycheck Fairness Advocates Applaud House Vote to Approve the NH Paycheck Fairness Act

 

Equal Pay for Equal Work (lilly ledbetter act)Paycheck Fairness Act has one last stop at House Criminal Justice Committee before being sent to Governor’s desk 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 187 to 134 today to pass SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. The entire Democratic caucus present* and eleven House Republicans joined the unanimous and bi-partisan vote from the Senate in support of the legislation that will eliminate loopholes, increase transparency in wages, and ensure that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation. The legislation has one last stop at the House Criminal Justice Committee and another floor vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk; Governor Maggie Hassan has previously indicated her support for the bill.

The NH AFL–CIO, NH Citizens Alliance for Action, Granite State Progress, NH Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative, Women’s Fund of New Hampshire, and the National Women’s Law Center applaud the New Hampshire House’s bi-partisan adoption of SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. The organizations released the following statements on today’s House vote:

Mark MacKenzie, President, New Hampshire AFL-CIO: “We applaud the 187 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives who today stood with working families by voting to pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Equity Act. Senate Bill 207 will help close the gender wage gap in the Granite State by giving women access to the tools and information they need to make sure they are being paid fairly. New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to be a leader in the diverse coalition of women’s organizations, labor unions, and grassroots action groups that led the fight to win this important and timely progress for New Hampshire’s working women.”

Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “Today the NH House voted for a New Hampshire and an America that works for all of us, with liberty and justice for all.  Ensuring equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, heritage, or marital status is a critical component in protecting and expanding our state’s middle class and driving a successful economy.”

Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress: “We commend the House bipartisan adoption of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. This law will give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps and help create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated. We are eager to see the legislation move through the final steps in the House and then to the desk of paycheck fairness supporter Governor Maggie Hassan.”

Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “Today the House took New Hampshire one step closer toward eliminating unfair gender paycheck inequities in our state. The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will help provide women with the tools they need to get fair pay in the workplace, and the NHCLU welcomes its passage by both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature.”

Dawn Andonellis, Public Policy Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “Closing the wage gap in New Hampshire is an economic return on investment that will help to keep our college graduates, particularly women, in the state. We applaud the New Hampshire House for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and for taking this important step toward ending gender discrimination in the workplace.”

Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative: “Today we have moved one giant step closer to eliminating the gender wage gap in New Hampshire. We would like to thank our stakeholder partners, the Senate and the legislative champions of SB 207 in the House for all of their hard work to make New Hampshire an even better place to retain employees and for all families across the state. We look forward to Governor Hassan signing this important piece of legislation.”

Marianne Jones, Executive Director, Women’s Fund of NH: “The paycheck transparency that is addressed in SB 207 is one more tool that can help minimize the persistent wage gap in New Hampshire. We know that this will ensure that women and girls prosper in the future, and that entire communities will have the potential to thrive.”

Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center: “Pay discrimination is alive and well across America.  Millions of working women suspect they’re being paid less than their male counterparts but have no way of confirming it. And some don’t realize they’re being shortchanged because company policies prevent them from discussing their wages. We applaud the New Hampshire House for moving swiftly to improve their pay discrimination laws and call on Congress to follow its lead.”

SB 207 sponsors include all Senate Democrats along with House Speaker Terie Norelli, Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

 

* The sole House Democrat in opposition was Free State Project member Tim O’Flaherty.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement