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4-21-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Retirement, Oral Health Care, and Finishing Up The Session

Overall it was a quite week at the State House. Both chambers have till May 15th to act on all remaining bills. All committees are working their way through them.

The full House will be voting on SB193: Expanding Access to Oral Health Care in NH. The House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee recommended Ought to Pass as amended. AFT-NH is in support of the recommendation and asks that it be supported on Wednesday, April 23rd.  This bill forms a Study Commission that would examine barriers to oral health care for under-served NH residents. We believe this study will help build the case that addressing the dental workforce must be part of any long-term strategy to bridge the gaps in our system of oral care access.

This Commission presents an opportunity for partners to educate the Legislature and the public about how a Dental Hygiene Practitioner would help address these needs. To read more click here.

The full Senate will be voting on HB 1494:  relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended Ought to Pass as amended This bill is on the consent calendar and will be voted on this coming Thursday, April 24th .  AFT-NH is in support of this recommendation.

  • This amended bill (1) adds definitions of terms used in RSA 100-A and clarifies existing definitions; (2) revises the procedure for calculating the cost of purchasing credit for certain types of prior service; (3) clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan; (4) corrects an inconsistency in the statute regarding the approval date of the comprehensive annual financial report; (5) adds penalties for employers who fail to remit correct data in a timely manner; and (6) repeals obsolete provisions.
  • Senator Soucy successfully amended the bill to address our concerns. The amendment eliminated a study committee, a suggestion of the NHRS which we opposed as there is no data collected yet to study. The amendment also changed the following paragraph in section 8 of the bill:
  •  “(a) Every employer shall report to the retirement system monthly, in a format provided by the retirement system, all compensation paid by the employer to retired members of the retirement system, including the name of, and the total hours worked, for each retired member of the retirement system, except that an employer shall not include in the report the compensation and hours worked by a retiree for serving as an elected state official or as an elected official of a political subdivision.”

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 MEETINGS

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

TUESDAY, APRIL 22

Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION
9:30 a.m. HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions.
9:45 a.m. HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.
10:15 a.m. HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school
districts.

House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on:
-SB 343, (New Title) relative to the duties of the statewide education improvement and assessment program legislative oversight committee and repealing the school administrative unit legislative oversight committee,
-SB 348, establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in elementary and secondary schools,
-SB 350, (New Title) relative to the transfer of adequacy aid calculation data from the department of education to the department of revenue administration,
-SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions,
-SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as a part of a child’s individualized education program.

1:15 p.m. Rescheduled Presentation by the Department of Education: Perspectives on Accountability and Assessment

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:15 a.m. Executive session on
-SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to reporting by political committees,

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Continued executive session on
-SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23

10:00 a.m. House in Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 24

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

FRIDAY, APRIL 25

House FISCAL COMMITTEE (RSA 14:30-a), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Audits: 1) State of New Hampshire Management Letter year ended June 30, 2013.
2) State of New Hampshire Single Audit of Federal Financial Assistance Programs for the year ended June 30, 2013.

TUESDAY, APRIL 29

Senate JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
9:30 a.m. HB 1198, relative to the procedure for filing a child in need of services (CHINS)petition and relative to the definition of sexual abuse under the child protection act.

EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

THURSDAY, MAY 1

House 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.

THURSDAY, MAY 8

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:00 a.m. Ad Hoc subcommittee on retirement.

5-19-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update From Pres. Laura Hainey

UPCOMING FULL SENATE VOTES MAY 23rd

The following bills will be voted upon this coming week:

The Senate Executive Departments and Administration committee recommends passage of 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 recommendation came on a 3-2 vote in committee, and AFT-NH is in support of this recommendation and asks that the full Senate support the committee’s recommendation. This bill does the following:

I. 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.
II. Allows the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Department of Safety the option to rejoin the retirement system as a member and to continue group II retirement status based on prior service and group II membership, and allows the Assistant Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to continue group II retirement status based on prior service and group II membership.
III. Provides for the appointment of the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for terms of 3 years.

The Senate Executive Departments and Administration committee recommends passage as amended (by a 3-2 vote) of HB 342, relative to reporting of compensation paid to retired members of the retirement system.  The committee combined HB 364 into this bill. AFT-NH is in support of the recommendation.

Likewise, AFT-NH is in support of defeating HB 364 relative to notice required concerning employment of a retired member of the New Hampshire retirement for it was combined with HB 342.

The Senate Education committee made the recommendation of ought to pass 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.  This bill would do the following:

I. Expands the definition of a child in need of services under RSA 169-D, revises circumstances under which the court may order various services or placements, and gives the department discretion to offer voluntary services.
II. Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to collect certain data regarding the CHINS program.
III. Provides for the suspension of voluntary services if appropriated funds will be insufficient to support voluntary services.
IV. Requires school board truancy policies to include certain information relative to student attendance.

AFT-NH is in support of the committee recommendation.

And lastly, we hope that the full Senate will finally vote on HB 187: relative to deliberative sessions in towns that have adopted official ballot voting. This bill was submitted by retired AFT-NH member Marjorie Porter. This bill provides that the dollar amount agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement between a public employer and an employee organization shall not be modified by the legislative body of the public employer and that amount is what the voters should vote on.

AFT-NH is in support of this bill and the committee’s recommendation of ought to pass; we believe that what is negotiated in good faith should go before the voters for a vote and not be sidelined by a few. We hope that the Senate will pass it as well.

FULL HOUSE VOTES ON MAY 22ND

AFT-NH supports the recommendation of defeat on SB 100, authorizing electronic payment of payroll.

AFT-NH member Rep. Douglas A Ley says it best:
“This bill authorizes employers to limit pay options to either direct deposit or issuance of digital payroll cards. It thereby reduces employee wage payment options, eliminating payment via a paper check. At present, nothing prevents employers from incentivizing payroll choice options and thereby encouraging employees to choose electronic methods over paper checks. Consequently, the majority prefer incentives and choice rather than mandate.

Finally, there were repeated concerns expressed before the committee regarding hidden and excessive fees tied to payroll card usage and the vulnerability of less digitally savvy groups to incur such fees imposed by “brand” cards such as Visa or MasterCard. As for small employers, their cost savings would likely be minimized with a changeover to payroll cards, as they will not be in as strong a position to negotiate lower costs with the companies issuing payroll cards. Therefore, on grounds of choice, incentive, and costs to employees, the majority supports ITL” (inexpedient to legislate—i.e., do not pass).

STATE BUDGET

The Senate will be holding executive sessions all week on HB 1: making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the State for fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015, and on HB 2: relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. They have till June 6th to act on these two bills. AFT-NH will continue to monitor this as it works its way through the Senate and Committee of Conference.

To review all the documents that have been discussed click here.

If you have any questions or concerns 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, MAY 20

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Forrester (VC), Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Larsen, Sen. Odell
10:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION
TUESDAY, MAY 21

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Forrester (VC), Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Larsen, Sen. Odell
10:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 27-FN, relative to monitoring by the Department of Education of programs for children with disabilities,
SB 48, relative to school performance and accountability and continued executives session and continued executive session on
SB 82, establishing a commission to identify strategies needed for developing and implementing a competency-based public education system,
SB 97, relative to high school equivalency and relative to illiteracy.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained HB 494, relative to the administration of glucagon injections for pupils.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 22

10:00 a.m. House in session

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Forrester (VC), Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Larsen, Sen. Odell
10:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION


THURSDAY, MAY 23

10:00 a.m. Senate in session

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Public hearing on proposed amendment to 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. The proposed amendment (2013-1655h) adds the House-passed language for the Children in Need of Services program as contained in HB 260 as amended by the House. Copies of the proposed amendment are available from the Sergeant-at-Arms office on the 3d floor of the State House.

FRIDAY, MAY 24

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Morse (C), Sen. Forrester (VC), Sen. Bragdon, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Larsen, Sen. Odell
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION


WEDNESDAY, MAY 29

FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. 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.

MONDAY, JUNE 3

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

Rep. Mary Stuart Gile’s Senate testimony on her voucher repeal bill, HB 370

“Good afternoon. For the record, I am Mary Stuart Gile and I represent Merrimack District 27, which includes Concord Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, & 7. I am the prime sponsor of HB 370-FN, an act repealing the education tax credit program. There are multiple reasons for doing so. Mine are as follows:

1. Constitutionality, The NH Constitution (Part I-Art 6 and Part II-Article 83) specifically prohibits public funds from going to religious schools. The Education Tax Credit program as enacted is dependent on revenue intended for the general fund as Business Profit Tax (BPT) or Business Enterprise Tax, (BET) and diverting it through an intermediary, non-profit, scholarship organization, to be used as tuition to private schools, out-of-district public schools and possibly religious schools. Currently, the constitutionality of the education tax credit/voucher is before the Superior Court with a decision anticipated in mid-April.

2. Fiscal impact – 3.4 million this year; 5.1 in 2014 and up to 135 million in a decade, given our current fiscal constraints, can NH communities afford this? And the $2500/student scholarship may sound tempting to parents but it falls far short of tuition for secular schools, which range from $5000/student to $25,000/student in NH.

 

3. Research – Studies over twenty years show no statistical difference in student achievement between students attending private school on vouchers and those in public schools. In fact public school students in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Washington, DC outperformed students with vouchers when test scores were weighted to reflect socioeconomic level, race and disability. Further, in a 2011 audit report on Milwaukee‘s parental choice program, which is the nation’s oldest, established in 1990, little difference was found in the achievement scores between students in the City‘s private school voucher program and a matched sample attending Milwaukee‘s public schools. But the voucher program cost more per pupil.,

4. Accountability -Prior to the Education Tax Credit/voucher legislation, the BPT and BET went into the State Education Trust Fund and General Fund and were accountable to NH tax payers. There is absolutely no educational or fiscal accountability plan in the 2012 Education tax credit statute for any of this money to anyone!

5. History: The education tax credit is risky education policy and a poorly conceived piece of legislation that was initiated in 2011 by the Network for Educational Opportunity, (NEO), formerly known as the ‘Alliance for the Separation of Schools and State.’

The Alliance or NEO was incorporated in California in 2000 as a non-profit organization and its current board of directors all reside outside of NH. NEO’s stated purpose is ‘provide and support a variety of educational programs and promulgate publications designed to increase public understanding and acceptance of school systems independent of government funding and control.’ Many of the Proclaimations asserted by NEO or the Alliance are particularly inflammatory regarding our Nation’s public schools. The legislation creating NH’s education tax credit was crafted in collaboration with NEO and introduced and passed in both the House and the Senate in 2012 .

After the legislation passed, NEO registered as a non-profit in NH in August, 2012 and is the only non-profit scholarship organization that has applied so far. Beyond their stated purpose, NEO’s goals are to discredit and preferably dismantle public education. In their literature, this is because public schools are controlled by the government and subject to all the ills of government bureaucracy and power, including the ‘use of force to secure their audience,’ (their language, not mine).

Obviously, NEO was unfamiliar with the fact that NH is a local control state, that while local, state and federal funds provide support for educational programs, decisions about accepting such funds, curriculum, teacher evaluation, student activities etc are all made by local school boards made up of community folks who dedicate their time to ensure that their students have the best education possible. Often at the same town meetings that have just been held around NH. Hardly big government

NEO/ Alliance promotes parent choice. NH parents already have choices…publicly funded charter schools, including the Virtual learning Academy School which is a model for the country, home schooling , open enrollment schools, public schools and any combination of these. All of these opportunities are inclusive to students of all income levels, and learning styles and abilities. Public schools unlike private schools are not selective

NEO may also have been under the impression that NH students are behind others in the nation which is far from the truth. NH students in the most recent NAEP tests scored in the top ten in the country in mathematics and reading. NH is not a Mississippi, or Alabama or even a Louisiana.

Of Course there’s always room for improvement, but 20 years of research and data do not support vouchers or education tax credits as the way to improve student learning.

The education tax credit legislation was created by an organization from California that knew nothing about our education system, How it was funded or how it worked. They proposed a plan that disregards our commitment to funding an adequate education for every NH child and includes targeted funds for children receiving free and reduced lunch, and that students who meet specific criteria receive the support that they need.

And the irony in all of this is, as a non-profit organization registered in NH, there is nothing to stop NEO from raising funds and establishing a foundation to provide scholarships to anyone. It would take more time and the scholarships might be much smaller in amount, but they could do it, without taking money from NH’s general fund and Education Trust Fund. There would be no limitations on how the scholarships were distributed and many of the religious schools could benefit.

In closing, I have served in this House for 17 years. In December, 2012, I was appointed chair of the House Education Committee, which tells you that my primary concern is Education Policy in NH. I have been an educator for over 45 years, including 17 years in the classroom, preK-college, (all income groups); 16 years as a consultant with the NH Dept of Education in ECE and Title 1,ESEA; ( state-wide responsibilities and parent involvement); 6 years as VP for Education and Development for the AAS (gifted and talented)and chair and professor of Early Childhood Education at NHTI, Concord’s Community College. I have three degrees including a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Vanderbilt University. I am also a Mother of 4 adult children and 2 adult grandchildren, (all graduates of Concord’s public schools, with some private school and home schooling as well). I am a parent, an educator and an advocate for public education. History has proven that with all its challenges, our Nation’s commitment to public education is what has made America, the greatest Nation in the World.

Lastly, our primary responsibility as legislators is to ensure that our public schools and the students who attend them are receiving the best education that we can provide and the financial assistance as required by current law, which includes adequacy funding, catastrophic aid, vocational education tuition, transportation and building aid. These are our priorities. It does not make sense to continue a program where we voluntarily decrease state revenue collection in business taxes. We cannot ask our local communities to absorb any more loss of funding and we should not continue a program that so far has proven of no educational value.

Madam Chair, and Honorable Senate Colleagues, the education tax credit is bad legislation that we simply cannot afford. I hope you will support the House of Representatives majority vote of OTP on HB 370. Thank you

Reposted from ANHPE

There are more statements on the ANHPE site

1. http://wp.me/p2OKqy-BA

2. http://wp.me/p2OKqy-Br

3. http://wp.me/p2OKqy-Bm

Strong Labor Opposition To Senate Bill 37 (The bill to restrict collective bargaining in NH)

When you talk about cutting collective bargaining rights for public employees, the labor unions come out in droves.  As they should. Thats why we form unions.  One solid voice to speak for the membership.

Today was no different.  At the committee hearing for Senate Bill 37, “an act relative to management rights under collective bargaining” members and representatives from many of the public sector unions came out in strong opposition to this bill.  To speak against the bill was Kurt Ehrenberg from the NH AFL-CIO. Glen Milner from the Professional Fire Fighters Association (PFF-NH).  James Allmenginger spoke on behalf of NEA-NH. Harriet Spencer spoke on behalf of AFSCME.    Even the unions who were unable to attend, like AFT-NH, submitted written testimony against the bill.

All of the testimony was pretty much the same.  Why are we attacking the collective bargaining process that has worked so well for everyone in New Hampshire for the last forty plus years.

“It guts much of collective bargaining and much of the collective bargaining agreements in existence,” said James Allmenginger,  NEA New Hampshire.

“We see this as an attack on public employees in New Hampshire,” said Kurt Ehrenberg, political and legislative field director for the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

“It is a radical piece of legislation that upsets the apple cart and takes the state back 40 years” said Glen Milner of the PFF-NH

SB37 basically gives all the power to management by making everything ‘management rights’.  This means that the ‘management’ can set all the rules around, evaluations, disciple, layoffs, and much more.   According to Senator Bragdon “all these things is still subject to negotiations”.  If management sets the rules why would they ever need to negotiate about it?

At the hearing it also became more evident who was pushing for this type of restrictive legislation.  The NH School Boards Association was one of the organizations advocating for the this bill. Their ‘concern’ is all about teacher evaluations. They would want more control in creating (and imposing) their version of teacher evaluations.

Norma Love of the Associated Press paraphrased it perfectly when she wrote:

Betsy Miller, executive director of the New Hampshire Association of Counties, said her group supports anything that increases managerial prerogative. The changes — if adopted — would give more authority to managers, she said”

Collective Bargaining works when both sides have something to win and something to loose.   There must be give and take from both sides.  This type of legislation is contrary to the collective bargaining process.

If the NH School Boards Association has an issue with teacher evaluations, they should look at some of the contracts that other cities and towns have passed.  The Nashua Teachers’ Union (AFT), the Rochester Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Hillsboro Federation of Teachers (AFT) negotiated a teacher evaluation as part of their contract.  This allowed the city and the union to compromise on how the process should work.

Even after all of this information today, I am still confused as to why a very moderate Senator Bragdon would be sponsoring this bill?  Sen Bragdon was the former chairman of the Milford School Board (now just a member).  What is the real goal of this legislation?  Is it really about evaluations or is it about layoff procedures (another negotiated process)? Or disciplinary procedures (another negotiated process)?   Only time will tell.

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