• Advertisement

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

Hassan_AFT_Endorsement_2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

About AFT-NH

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

###

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

AFT NH Legislative Update

EDUCATION TAX CREDITS –VOUCHER PROGRAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school. The committee recommended Ought to Pass, Vote 5-0.  AFT-NH is asking that Senators not support the Senate Health, Education & Human Services committee recommended Ought To Pass but instead, support a recommendation of Inexpedient To Legislate. There has been no past problem for any student wishing to attend a charter school. Furthermore, the unintended consequence could negatively impact the public school by depleting a grade level of attendance or curriculum options.

HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of student data.The committee made the recommendation of Ought to Pass. AFT-NH supports the committee’s recommendation. We believe that this bill will help protect the privacy of students in New Hampshire.

THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HELD A HEARING ON THE FOLLOWING

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

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

To read more on this bill click here.

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

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

10:00 a.m. House in session

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

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

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

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

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 17

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

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

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

MONDAY, APRIL 21

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

THURSDAY, APRIL 24

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

THURSDAY , MAY 1

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

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

roulette wheel casino

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

We know that expanded gaming will:

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

We also know that this bill:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura Hainey,
President of AFT-NH

1-28-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update

AFT_Logo-2

aft sqaureFrom Laura Hainey, President AFT-NH

UPCOMING VOTE IN THE SENATE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS PAST WEEK AFT-NH TESTIFIED IN SUPPORT OF:

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

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

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

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

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

THE HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE HELD HEARINGS ON THE FOLLOWING BILLS:

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

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

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

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

AFT-NH Updates Us On Retirement Law Suit

aft sqaure

aft sqaureCurrently the NH Retirement Security Coalition, which AFT-NH is part of,  is under litigation in 3 suits dealing with significant changes made to the NH Retirement System from 2007-2012. These are referred to here as the AFT Case, the NH3 Case and the NH4 Case and are explained below:
AFT Case: This case challenges the changes in the pension law made by HB 1645 in 2008, specifically (1) Changes to the definition of “earnable compensation”, which is cash in lieu of health insurance and clothing allowances, and (2) the elimination of COLAs and the change in the funding mechanism of the Special Account, which was designed to fund COLAs, as well as the transfer of $250 million in funds out of the Special Account to suppress employer rates.

  • Rulings: Judge McNamara has ruled it is unconstitutional for the definition of earnable compensation to have changed for members with 10 or more years of service at the time of the changes, but denied the COLA claims.
  • Current Status: The state has appealed the ruling to the NH Supreme Court and we filed a motion to dismiss the state’s appeal, and filed a motion to reconsider. The Supreme Court has granted our motion to dismiss.
  • Next Steps: We await a ruling from McNamara on our motion to reconsider.

NH3: This case deals with the 2-2.5% rate increase across all current and future members that took place July 1, 2011 as a result of Senate Bill 3, which became part of HB2. Rates for Group I members went from 5% to 7%, Group II Police from 9.3% to 11.55%, and Group II Fire from 9.3% to 11.8%.

  • Rulings: Judge McNamara again ruled that it is unconstitutional for employee rates to increase for members with 10 or more years of service at the time of the changes, as it is a substantial impairment of vested rights.
  • Current Status: The state is likely to appeal as its definition of vesting is that it occurs only at retirement. We are ready to appeal to the Supreme Court that vesting occurs after attainment of permanent employment status.
  • Next Steps: Appeals must be filed by Oct. 16th.

NH4: This case deals with all of the other benefit changes that took place in HB2 in 2011 (most went into effect 1/1/12). These include: changes to earnable compensation for members with fewer than 10 years of service, increasing average final compensation from 3 to 5 years, the lowered limit on the maximum initial pension benefit for members with fewer than 10 years of service, the increased Group II normal retirement age with reduced multiplier, and repeal of the Group II accidental disability retiree exception to the gainful occupation reduction.

  • Rulings: Judge Gillian Abramson ruled in our favor regarding vesting, agreeing it occurs after attainment of permanent employment status.
  • Current Status: Abramson has stayed further proceedings until McNamara’s ruling on our motion to reconsider in the AFT case.
  • Next Steps: We are working to get this case to a final hearing.

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

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

4-22-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update From President Laura Hainey

aft sqaure

IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Given the week we just had, take a moment to thank all our first responders who keep us safe and help those in need.  Please stay safe!  And please, keep in your thoughts and prayers those who lost their lives or were injured in the tragic events of this past week.

EVENTS LIKE THIS CAN BE TRAUMATIC TO CHILDREN.

Here are free resources from Share My Lesson to help children cope with traumatic events. Schools are the most important places in a community for an educator or student to receive support when a crisis occurs. Schools provide a familiar environment where the many needs of grieving students and faculty can be met in one place. Administrators and educators need to be prepared to deal with any crisis that might arise; such preparation will better equip them to respond to students’ emotional needs in the wake of a crisis.

FULL SENATE VOTES TAKEN ON APRIL 18TH

The Senate tabled HB 370the repeal of the education tax credits, on Thursday. We might have lost this one but the fight is not over. Within the budget there is no funding for the education tax credit program.  Both HB 1 and HB 2: the state budget bills, are still being worked on in the Senate and we will need to monitor the progress to see if the voucher money is put back into the budget.

2014-2015 STATE BUDGET

The Senate is working its way through putting together their version of the State budget for the next two years. Much of their time has been spent hearing from Department Commissioners on the needs of their departments. From this they will start putting together final proposals for the full Senate to vote on. The Senate has till June 6th to take this vote. We do know that just like in other years, the budget bills (HB 1 and HB 2) will be sent to a Committee Of Conference. This is where members for the House and Senate will hash out a deal. They will have till June 20th to sign  off on the final deal and both chambers will have till June 26th to vote on the Committee’s report. AFT-NH will continue to monitor this as it works its way through the Senate and Committee of Conference.

UPCOMING FULL HOUSE VOTES ON APRIL 24TH

The House will be voting on SB 132, establishing a committee to study police special details. The House Executive Departments and Administration committee made the recommendation of inexpedient to legislate by a vote of 14 to 3. AFT-NH is in support of this recommendation and asks that all House member vote in support of this recommendation.

Rep. Dianne E Schuett said it best: “This bill proposed to study the efficacy of police special details, particularly at traffic construction sites. The committee was presented with a recent department of transportation study delineating use of police details versus flag persons at state construction sites. The committee also believed that decisions on whether to employ police or flag persons on municipal construction sites should be left to local control. Therefore, the committee could see no need for this study.”

HEARING HELD THIS PAST WEEK

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs held a hearing on SB 166: relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services. This bill establishes that information divulged during critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services is confidential, with limited exceptions specified in the bill. AFT-NH supports the passage of this bill. We feel it is important that we do something for our first responders to support and help them thought difficulty times.

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

UPCOMING HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK
Note the ones in
red are priority bills for AFT-NH

MONDAY, APRIL 22

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Public Employee Labor Relations Board

TUESDAY, APRIL 23

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on SB 129-FN, relative to court-ordered placements in shelter care facilities and at the Sununu Youth Services Center, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program, and establishing a committee to study programs for children in need.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 18, conferring degree-granting authority to the American University of Madaba.
11:00 a.m. SB 27-FN, relative to monitoring by the Department of Education of programs for children with disabilities.
1:15 p.m. SB 82, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for developing and implementing a competency-based public education system.
2:00 p.m. SB 48, relative to school performance and accountability.
2:30 p.m. SB 97, relative to high school equivalency and relative to illiteracy.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 166, relative to critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services,

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
9:30 a.m. HB 178-FN-L, relative to public employer collective bargaining agreements.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
1:00 p.m. Or one hour after the House session ends, executive session on SB 129-FN, relative to court ordered placements in shelter care facilities and at the Sununu Youth Services Center, relative to the children in need of services (CHINS) program, and establishing a committee to study programs for children in need.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 303, LOB (Please note room change.)
1:00 p.m. Or after the end of the House session, executive session on
SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

TUESDAY, APRIL 30

JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:40 a.m. HB 433, relative to procedures for juvenile delinquency petitions filed by a school district or school official.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 134-FN, relative to the division of higher education and the higher education commission,
SB 162-FN, repealing the student tuition guaranty fund and making provisions for the disbursement of remaining funds, and relative to the membership of the higher education commission.

THURSDAY, MAY 2

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils, HB 243, relative to the board of trustees of a chartered public school, HB 424- FN, relative to review of chartered public school applications by the state board of education.

An Update on Retirement System Legislation From AFT-NH Pres. Laura Hainey

aft sqaure

This year we are not facing the attacks we did last year on our retirement system but there are eight bills we are tracking. The NHRSC (NH Retirement Security Coalition) is the driving force in introducing and advocating for the passage of three of these 8 bills. When these three bills were introduced, we did so keeping in mind that we support efforts to maintain a defined benefit pension provided by the New Hampshire Retirement System for retired public employees and to ensure the long-term viability of the plan for current and future public employees.  These benefits are essential tools for recruiting and retaining a skilled and qualified workforce—educators, police, fire fighters, and other essential public servants—to provide vital services in the citizens of New Hampshire.
These three bills are:

HB 341
: relative to the cost of fiscal analysis of legislation relating to the retirement system.

  • This bill requires that the administrative and professional cost of the fiscal analysis of proposed legislation done by the retirement system not be paid from retirement system assets or charged as an expense of administration.
  • In the last two sessions it cost the New Hampshire Retirement System over $100,000 to fund the costing of bills put in. This is money coming out of our system that could fund close to three pensions.
  • If a legislator puts in a bill then the funds to cost this should come out of their budget not ours.
  • This bill was retained in committee and will be worked on and brought back next session.

HB 342: relative to part-time employment of retired members of the retirement system.

  • This bill has been amended in its entirety into a reporting requirement,
  • It will provide valuable information regarding NHRS retirees. Employers will report the number of hours worked and the compensation earned to the NHRS on a quarterly basis, so NHRS can collect and maintain data that is unavailable now.
  • The bill does not take effect until 120 days after passage to allow time to prepare, and includes a sunset provision in 2018, which allows time for sufficient data to be developed.
  • The New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition (NHRSC) hired, Thomas Lowman from Bolton Partners and he provided us his actuarial opinion stating that the practice of “double-dipping” is setting the state up for greater costs down the road. He included numerous reasons why employers who either hire more part-time positions than full-time, or encourage full-time employees to retire and then hire them back part-time, are negatively impacting the overall state retirement system and the Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability. To read the full letter click here.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended passage as amended. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

HB 364: relative to notice required concerning employment of a retired member of the New Hampshire retirement system of the limitations on part-time employment.

  • This bill was amended its in entirety.
  • This bill requires New Hampshire retirement system employers to notify existing and prospective part-time employees, who are retired members in the retirement system, of the annual limitations on hours for part-time employment. The bill also requires the retirement system to provide similar notice to all retired members.
  • An employer shall provide written notice of the hourly limitations on part-time employment and the potential effect that exceeding such hourly limitations could have on the retired member’s retirement benefits.
  • The retirement system shall annually provide written notice to all retired members of the retirement system of the hourly limitations on part-time employment and the potential effect that exceeding such hourly limitations could have on the retired member’s retirement benefits.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended passage as amended. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

OTHER RETIREMENT BILLS

HB 124: relative to the determination of gainful occupation for a group II member receiving an accidental disability retirement allowance from the retirement system.

  • This bill reinserts a provision which removes the application of the gainful occupation reductions to retirement allowances of group II accidental disability beneficiaries who have years of service plus years of accidental disability retirement which total at least 20 and who have attained the age of 45.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee is still working on this bill. AFT-NH supports the recommendation of passage.

HB 455: establishing a committee to study the use of a cash balance retirement plan for new state employees.

 

  • This bill establishes a committee to study the use of a cash balance retirement plan for new state employees and other groups electing to participate.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended defeating this bill. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.

HB 620: relative to the adjustment of member and employer contribution rates in the retirement system.

  • This bill provides that contribution rates for members in the retirement system and employers shall be calculated by assigning one half of the biennial change to the liabilities of the system to each.
  • The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended defeating this bill with a vote of 18 to 0. It will go to the full house on March 13th for a full vote. AFT-NH supports this recommendation.


HB 627
: requiring unused vacation and sick leave to be converted to service time for purposes of calculating retirement system benefits.

  • This bill provides that at retirement the accrued but unused sick and vacation time of a retirement system member shall be converted to hours and applied as additional creditable service.
  • This bill changes current over 10 years of services and it’s not counted into your earnable comp when you retire.
  • This bill was retained in committee and will be worked on and brought back next session.

SB 132: relative to part-time employment in the retirement system and establishing a committee to study police special details.

  • This bill was amended by the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee to establish a committee to study police special details and will move to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage.
  • The committee is tasked with studying the use and efficacy of police special details, and alternatives which may be available to towns, cities, and the state.

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org.

In Solidarity
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

UPCOMING HEARINGS FOR NEXT WEEK
Note the ones in red are priority bills for AFT-NH

MONDAY, MARCH 11

FINANCE
White Mountains Regional High School, 127 Regional Road, Whitefield.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments ofthe state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and
HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst Street, Nashua.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and
HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 12

PLEASE SUPPORT FELLOW AFT-NH MEMBERS
Town Election Day is Tuesday, March 12th

We have AFT-NH locals that have contracts coming before the voters on Tuesday March 12th. Your colleagues need your support! We also support our other Union colleagues who have contracts on the ballots in these towns and ask you to support them. For example, in Hudson many of the town employees have been without contracts for several years.  Please review the voting information below and vote on Election Day!
As fellow union members, we know we can make a difference in local elections! We are asking that if you live in one of the towns listed below that you support your fellow union members.
Please pass the word along and encourage others to get out and vote. Our members have negotiated extremely reasonable contracts. Any support you can provide would be great!

Ellis School Support Staff, AFT Local #6223  (Fremont)
Fremont Safety Complex  7am-8pm
Yes on Articles #5 and #6 (Please support the Fremont Teachers as well!)

Hudson Federation of Teachers , AFT Local #2263 and Hudson Federation of Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel, AFT Local #6245

Lions Hall (Community Center) 7am-8pm
Yes on Articles #2 and #3  (Please also support the town employee contracts!)

Raymond Educational Support Staff  AFT Local #4863
Iber Holmes Gove Middle School Gymnasium 7am-7pm
Yes on Articles #3 and #4

Timberlane Teachers’ Association, AFT Local #4796
(Atkinson, Danville, Plaistow and Sandown)
Atkinson: 7am-8pm: Atkinson Community Center
Danville: 8am-7pm: Danville Fire Association
Plaistow: 7am-8pm: Pollard School
Sandown:  8am-8pm: Sandown Town Hall
Vote Yes on Articles #4 and #5

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 113-L, relative to a school district’s transportation responsibility for pupils of divorced parents with joint decision making responsibility.

9:15 a.m. HB 160, relative to a school district’s transportation responsibility for pupils of divorced parents with joint decision making responsibility.

THURSDAY, MARCH 14

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 246, relative to falsity by employer.
10:30 a.m. Or immediately following the hearing, executive session on HB 246, relative to falsity by employer.

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
Budget Work Sessions:
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, 2014 and June 30, 2015,
HB 2-FN A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FRIDAY, MARCH 15

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
Budget Presentations:
11:00 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, 2014 and June 30, 2015,
HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Full committee work session on revenue items contained in HB 2 -FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds revenues, and expenditures (currently in Finance).

MONDAY, MARCH 18

FINANCE
Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center, 111 South Street Claremont.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Rochester Community Center, 150 Wakefield Street, Rochester.
5:00 p.m. Public hearing on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 and HB 2 FN-A-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

 

“Fighting For Our Future”
www.aft-nh.org

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

AFT-NH Puts Out Call For NH Retiree’s To Take Action To Restore COLA’s For NH Retirees

aft sqaure

CALLING ALL RETIREES OR SOON TO BE RETIREES
IT’S TIME FOR ACTION!

The New Hampshire House is hosting public meetings on Governor Hassan’s proposed budget, and we must take this opportunity to make our case publicly and vocally for the restoration of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for New Hampshire retirees.

As it stands today, no retiree will ever receive a Cost of Living Adjustment unless the NH Legislature decides to put one into their biannual budget. Prior to 2011, COLAs were paid through the Special Account. This account held excess earnings in order to pay for COLAs from 1-5%.  Since 2008, all of the money in the special account has been taken out to help employers keep their costs down.

Because the legislature has taken away the funding mechanism and funding for your Cost of Living Adjustments, it is now your time to demand they give you what you earned each and every day you were on the job.

We are requesting that every one of you turn out on Thursday, March 7, at Representatives Hall in the State House in Concord. The budget hearing runs from 4pm to 7pm.

Turnout is key. Our goal is to have as many members – both active and retired – as possible to project a unified voice that COLAs are necessary, deserved, and overdue. This event will not succeed without everyone’s support.

While there is a Court case making its way through the system to bring back your COLA, we do not have an answer at this time. Retirees have gone years without a COLA. It needs to stop today!

Please plan to arrive with plenty of advanced time
. Other community members will be turning out, and we want to guarantee there are seats for you.

We will be providing brief talking points for you to use for your public testimony, and encourage you to tell your personal stories about how the lack of a COLA has personally affected you and your family.

Once again, this event cannot succeed without your help. This is a critical opportunity for your voice to be heard.

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

In Solidarity
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Legislative Update For Feb 22nd From Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH

aft sqaure

This week the full House took up HB 370, the repeal of the education tax credit. With a vote of 188 to 151 HB 370 passed, putting the House on record for repealing the “voucher plan.” Through our Red Alert system, we sent over 200 emails to state representatives asking that they support the passage of HB 370. However, we know that we have a long way to go to get the NH Senate to support this bill and will need many more letters sent to Senators at the appropriate moment.

AFT-NH would especially like to thanks Rep. Marjorie Porter for her floor testimony in support of HB 370. To read her full testimony click here.

The subcommittee on HB 178 will be meeting again on February 26th and 28th. This is the bill regarding binding arbitration in labor relations disputes. Keep in mind that at the first subcommittee meeting the sponsor clarified that this is not binding but more of a modified binding arbitration. It cannot be binding if either side can vote not to accept it which this bill as written permits. AFT-NH continues to support the following recommendations to amend this bill:

  • Extend the time line to 180 days as to when negotiations can start. Currently it is 120 days before the submission of the town’s budget.
  • Put into law that if a contract is not approved that a special meeting will take place without having to go to court.
  • Set up a system for reporting to the NHPLRB on how negotiations are progressing.

This week the House Education committee recommended the passage of HB 142 as amended. As I read this bill, any teacher evaluation and support system will be developed with teacher involvement and is to be adopted by both the local school board and the teachers. The State teacher evaluation model may serve as a guide and reference only, meaning that it is not mandated that you adopt this State model at the local level. To protect current negotiated provisions in contracts, language was added to the bill, reading “Nothing in this paragraph shall supersede collective bargaining rights under RSA 273-A.” This bill has come a long way from when it was introduced, and AFT-NH will continue to monitor this as it works its way over to the Senate.

As we have said many times the best teacher evaluation systems are those wherein each district works with all stakeholders as they develop, implement and modify an evaluation system meeting the needs of the children of the community and which is fair to our teachers. When something is imposed it is usually not well-received.

OTHER HAPPENINGS AT THE STATE HOUSE AND WHAT WE KNOW!

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs held the public hearing on HB 494 which permits other school personnel to administer a glucagon injection to a pupil. AFT-NH stands with our fellow organization New Hampshire School Nurses Association in opposition to this bill. President Nancy Wells said it best when she sent the following email regarding this bill:“Teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff should not have to add emergency medication administration onto their already full plates! We, as school nurses, always have the safety and appropriate medical/health care in mind for all of our students.”

AFT-NH is also supporting the efforts of the New Hampshire Child Alliance Network on HB 260. This bill authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to provide voluntary services to a child who would otherwise be found to be a child in need of services under RSA 169-D. This bill passed the House Children and Family Law Committee 19-0. The next stop is a vote by the full House which is scheduled for February 27th. Following this, the bill would be sent to the House Finance Committee, where they will discuss the cost of the bill. Governor Hassan did put in her budget $7.5 M in total funds for CHINS over the next two years. For more background information on this click here.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on HB 609: relative to possession of a firearm on school property. AFT-NH is in opposition to this bill, as there are far too many unanswered questions on this bill. Where and how are these guns to be stored? Who would have access to the guns? Would it really prevent a shooting at a school or increase the risk of one? Would there be any training for those who have guns at the schools? What about the liability if something goes wrong?

Lastly, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will be making a recommendation on HB 381: relative to citizen complaints against a police officer. AFT-NH is in opposition to this bill. AFT-NH believes this is an unnecessary interference with the management function of cities and towns. There is already a process in place for complaints, and this bill would just provide a tool to those who want retribution against police officers who have faithfully performed their duties.

Under no circumstances should delicate personnel matters be disclosed in the manner proposed in HB 381. There are either personnel rules, collective bargaining requirements or statutory procedures that outline how police personnel issues are handled. It is most essential that these issues are handled through the chain of command.

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

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

AFT-NH Wants Your Help To Save Our Public Schools: A message from Laura Hainey (Pres. AFT-NH)

aft sqaure

AFT-NH RED ISSUE ALERT
SAVE OUR NH PUBLIC SCHOOLS and support HB 370

Last year the legislature passed two bills diverting public money for education to religious and private schools as well as home schoolers. This session, HB 370 aims to repeal this education tax credit program.

The tax credit program initiated in 2012 is an ill-disguised attempt to begin dismantling and privatizing our public education in NH while weakening our good schools. We are justly proud of our schools in NH and these vouchers will only harm public education.

It’s time for you to contact members of the House Ways and Means Committee and ask that they vote to pass HB 370 and repeal the education tax credit program.

Please click here TODAY  and ask the House Ways And Means committee to support NH public schools and defend the NH constitution by voting to pass HB 370.

If you care about public education in NH, please take this action.

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today


“Fighting For Our Future” 
www.aft-nh.org

 

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement