• Join the NH Rebellion

    Take the PLEDGE to Fight Big Money in Politics

Governor Hassan Urges House Committee to Oppose Legislation Prohibiting State Implementation of Clean Power Plan

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to protect the environment and to ensure that New Hampshire remains a leader in combating climate change, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee in opposition to House Bill 1659, relative to the implementation of the clean power state implementation plan, which would prohibit a state implementation plan. 

“New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.” 

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which has brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, including reducing harmful emissions and helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy. She also helped enact the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law and consistently fights for clean air and water.

As Governor, she has signed bipartisan legislation to help maximize the benefits of RGGI for New Hampshire ratepayers, to update the RPS law and to establish a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy. New Hampshire also joined the Under 2 MOU in October 2015, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide that supports the state’s efforts to combat climate change. 

“At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.” 

In November 2015, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office joined 24 states, cities and counties in filing a motion to intervene to defend the Clean Power Plan.

The full text of the Governor’s letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee is below.


February 2, 2016

The Honorable Robert Introne

Chairman, House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee

Legislative Office Building, Room 304

Concord, New Hampshire 03301

 

Dear Chairman Introne and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in opposition to HB1659, a bill that would prohibit the Department of Environmental Services from expending funds to develop or implement a state implementation plan under the Clean Power Plan.

New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions. Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.

At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward. Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.

From our mountains to our lakes to our beautiful seacoast, New Hampshire’s natural resources are critical to our economy and define us as a state. Addressing climate change and the harmful impacts of carbon emissions are economic imperatives. We must continue to work to address these issues while ensuring that we have the tools to invest in new energy resources as we develop our own plan to implement the Clean Power Plan.

I respectfully urge you to vote this legislation inexpedient to legislate. Thank you for your consideration.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan

Governor

 

 

Senator Andrew Hosmer Introduces a Bill to Reduce Child Care Costs

Children in preschool (Flickr US Army)

Children in preschool (Flickr US Army)

For too many working families the cost of child care has become unbearable. The Boston Globe reports that the average annual cost of child care in New Hampshire is between $11,000 and $15,000.  Given that a full time minimum wage earner in New Hampshire only make $15,050 per year and that the average tipped worker makes even less ($14,000) how can they possibly afford to pay the high cost of child care.

This creates a double edged sword. Parents must work more hours to pay for child care, which results in higher child care costs and less time with their children.  Parents should not be forced to work just to pay their child care expenses.

Today, Senator Andrew Hosmer (D- Laconia) introduced SB 511, establishing a refund of a portion of state education property taxes for child and dependent care expenses.

Following the Senate Ways and Means public hearing on SB 511, Senator Hosmer released the following comments: 

“One of the largest costs for families is child care and this legislation starts helping to reduce that cost. I firmly believe that if we can afford to give businesses tax breaks we certainly afford to help our hard working families,” said Senator Hosmer. “This legislation is part of a public-private partnership that supports working families by reducing the costs of child care, but also good for businesses by helping them retain good employees who might otherwise have to choose between working and taking care of their children.” 

22 states have already adopted a similar supplement to the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. If SB 511 passes, families who claim the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would be eligible for a property tax refund of 50% of the federal amount. 

“New Hampshire’s working families need the state government to be responsive to the rising costs of child care services. I urge the Ways and Means Committee to pass SB 511, as it is imperative to provide access to affordable child care to our Granite Staters.”

Making child care more affordable is only one step we can take to help lift people out of poverty and strengthen our economy.  We must also raise the minimum wage so that workers will have more money to spend in our local economy. We must also pass a “paid sick leave” bill so that parents are not forced between having to work or taking care of their sick child. We must also reauthorize the state’s Medicaid Expansion program to ensure these low-income families are protected from catastrophic injury and have routine checkups to maintain their health.

NH House Kills Planned Parenthood Investigation And Defunding Bill

Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgBipartisan majority rejects HJR 3, which called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood and defunding for all health centers providing abortion services

87 Republican Representatives join Democratic Colleagues in Rejecting Attacks on Reproductive Health Provider

Today, a bipartisan majority in the New Hampshire House rejected HJR 3, a bill that called for a state investigation into a variety of inflammatory and disputed allegations directed at Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  The bill also would have blocked funding for women to get basic preventive services at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state — including affordable birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and other essential care. The measure was soundly defeated on a vote of 227 – 100.

“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted source of high-quality, compassionate and affordable health care in New Hampshire for 50 years — and that’s not going to change, no matter what our opponents throw at us,” said Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

“Today we saw our elected leaders from both parties stand up for New Hampshire women and families and reject the false and fraudulent attacks that are coming from a group of extreme legislators. That’s because despite what some politicians and pundits might say — access to reproductive health care is not a partisan issue in the Granite State,” continued Frizzell.  

“New Hampshire is a solidly pro-choice state and we applaud the House for standing up for their constituents to reject HJR 3. HJR 3 relied on the edited videos and claims of extreme, ideologically driven organizations that seek to interfere in a woman’s access to the full range of reproductive health options. We continue to stand with our allies at Planned Parenthood and other community health centers as they face a barrage of attacks from extreme politicians and organizations. Instead of protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women and limiting reproductive rights, our priority in New Hampshire should be to guarantee fair opportunities for women to succeed and to take care of their families, and this vote is a step in the right direction,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance.

“Having children has huge personal, health, and economic impacts on women and their families, so guaranteed access to reproductive health care, including birth control, abortion, pre-natal and maternity care, is tied inextricably to a woman’s economic security,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “We thank Planned Parenthood and other community health centers for their dedication to ensuring women and their families, particularly those in medically underserved areas, have access to quality health care. Today’s vote against a nationally orchestrated smear campaign was the right one.”

Today’s vote comes just days after a 3-month investigation wrapped up in Texas, where the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of breaking any law. Of note, that same grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against Planned Parenthood public via covert recordings and illegal tactics. These findings and the similar exoneration of Planned Parenthood affiliates in more than 10 other state investigations in recent months has led to a national call for the GOP to give up its crusade against Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care services it provides.

“The citizens of our state want their elected officials to keep us moving forward – not backward – on women’s health. Today’s vote demonstrates that legislators from both parties reject these coordinated attacks that seek to end access to safe, legal abortion, ” concluded Frizzell.

More than 14,000 women, men and young people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire for high-quality, affordable health care. With 33 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide, Planned Parenthood serves as an essential source of primary and preventive health care in New Hampshire.

NH Senate Democrats Blast Republicans For Passing Bill To Restrict Voting Rights

Senate Democrats’ Statement on Passage of Unconstitutional Legislation to Restrict Voter Rights 

CONCORD — Senator Bette Lasky, Senator David Pierce and Senator Molly Kelly condemned the passage of Senate Bill 4, which imposes an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. Senate Bill 4 as amended by the Senate is identical to Senate Bill 179, which was vetoed by Governor Hassan in 2015.

“As we have been stating since last year, this legislation will only serve to further complicate the voting process for New Hampshire citizens. SB 4 proposes a new standard for what constitutes a domicile that is more confusing and less concise than the current law,” said Sen. Bette Lasky. “Voters need consistency and clarity in their voting laws and this bill fails that test. It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues continue to push legislation that discourages and disenfranchises our citizens from exercising their fundamental right to vote.”

In 1972, the Supreme Court clearly ruled in Dunn v. Blumstein that durational residency requirements for voting in state and local elections were unconstitutional.  

“I am disappointed to see my Republican colleagues support such legislation even though the Supreme Court has been clear on this issue,” said Sen. David Pierce. “These unconstitutional assaults on our constituents’ right to vote in free and fair elections have got to stop. Unfortunately, the Republican majority continues to push these attacks to disenfranchise Constitutionally-eligible voters in order to produce election results that are more to their liking.”

“Unlike other states, New Hampshire’s Constitution explicitly guarantees the equal right of every citizen to vote,” said Sen. Molly Kelly. “As we approach the 100th anniversary of our cherished First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary, we should be encouraging all eligible citizens to vote instead of making the process more confusing and disenfranchising Constitutionally-eligible voters.”

Passing A Prevailing Wage Law Help Ensure Our Tax Dollars Go To Local Workers

 

(Image MidtownCrosing FLIKR)

(Image MidtownCrosing FLIKR)

Without a Prevailing Wage Law our local economy is losing millions to out-of-state contractors

Paying taxes is a fact of life. How we spend our tax dollars can make a big difference in our state and local economy.   We need to do more to ensure that the tax dollars spent to rebuild our local infrastructure are also benefiting local companies and local workers.

We can accomplish both by passing a state prevailing wage law. A prevailing wage law ensures that employers are paying workers what local workers, doing the same job, would make.

It may sound a little confusing but it is actually very simple. A prevailing wage law ensures that an electrician working on a project gets paid what other electricians in New Hampshire are making, not what an electrician from South Carolina is paid.

As we all know the cost of living varies by region and so to do the wages. Over the past few decades we have seen more and more, out-of-state construction companies, come into New Hampshire to do work on state construction projects. These out-of-state companies are bringing in their own workers at sub-standard rates and then take no only our jobs but then take our tax dollars with them when they leave.

Shouldn’t our state government work to ensure that our tax dollars are going to local workers not some cut rate out-of-state corporation?

By passing a prevailing wage law, New Hampshire would create upwards of 1,700 more jobs and would infuse $7.3 million in additional revenue from state and local taxes.

Over the next two years the State of New Hampshire is will be spending $94 million on state funded public works projects. A prevailing wage would ensure that all of that $94 million spent would stay right here in New Hampshire and help the local construction industry regain some of the jobs lost from the great recession.


If you support the passage of a New Hampshire prevailing wage law, come to Concord on Tuesday, January, 19th at 10am in Reps Hall of the State House.

Even if you do not want to speak on behalf of this proposed legislation please come and “sign in” that you are in favor of this legislation.

Having people in the audience during the hearing helps to show that we support our tax dollars going to local businesses and local workers.

Transportation Trades Department And Lawmakers Collaborate on Transportation Policy Concerns

Transportation Trade Department Logo

TTD Executive Committee Takes Aim at Pending Bills

WASHINGTON, DC — Transportation labor leaders — gathered today at the fall Executive Committee meeting of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) — met with key members of Congress to seek solutions to a woefully underfunded transportation system and to boost job creation in what remains a slow recovery that TTD’s leader said is “leaving too many working people behind.”

“The need for long-term investments in our transportation system and infrastructure will not ‘just go away,’” said Edward Wytkind, president of TTD, who added that the dialogue with congressional guests “focused like a laser” on ending the stalemate on crucial investment bills. “With the recent progress on a surface transportation bill and strong bipartisan display of support for the U.S. Merchant Marine, we may be witnessing a brief but important timeout from senseless partisanship.”

TTD hosted roundtable discussions with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

The high priorities during the discussion with lawmakers included keeping aviation and maritime issues out of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); fighting legislative assaults on longshore employees’ bargaining rights; passing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reauthorization; boosting the Maritime Security Program; and rejecting emerging hair specimen drug testing legislation.

“As Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I value input from my friends in the transportation labor community who bring a critically needed front-line employee perspective to our work,” Diaz-Balart said. “By seeking the views of both labor and business, community leaders and other important partners, we can develop real, long-term solutions to our nation’s transportation infrastructure challenges.”

“We need to increase investments in our infrastructure and focus on the areas that will truly help create jobs and support our economy,” Nelson said. “We also need to protect the men and women who are out there every day making our transportation systems work.”

“Transportation infrastructure is at the heart of the U.S. economy. Our economic competitiveness, our businesses and millions of American jobs depend on robust investments in our crumbling network of roads, bridges, highways and transit systems,” DeFazio said. “We must continue to push for legislation that will modernize our nation’s transportation infrastructure, create good jobs and enhance the rights and working conditions of the men and women who keep America moving. I thank TTD for joining in that effort.”

The Executive Committee also held a discussion about plans for member education in the 2016 presidential election.

TTD, which represents some 2 million workers in every sector of transportation, has been working with its affiliates on a flurry of key issues. Just today TTD and its maritime and aviation affiliates sent a letter to President Obama urging his Administration to keep maritime and aviation out of any TTIP negotiations. TTD has aggressively countered the trucking lobby’s agenda to bring “unscientific” hair specimen drug testing to front line bus and truck drivers. And TTD coordinated efforts with its member unions to advance a surface transportation bill out of committee last week that awaits House floor consideration.

“When you’re talking about transportation jobs, you’re talking about middle-class jobs — the types of jobs that elude too many Americans,” Wytkind added. “The policies that affect our sector have a real impact on working families, and that’s something Congress can’t forget despite working in the Washington bubble.”

New Report Shows Ways To Help Small Businesses And Economy Include Raising The Minimum Wage

“Economic Agenda for America’s Future” includes set of short and long-term policy recommendations Washington can act on now and in the future that will drive economic growth, job creation and competitiveness 

(Image Sam Howzit FLIKR CC)

(Image Sam Howzit FLIKR CC)

Washington D.C.–Today, Small Business Majority released its updated Economic Agenda for America’s Future, a set of short and long-term policy recommendations government leaders can follow to ensure an environment where entrepreneurs, and our economy, can thrive. The Agenda outlines things Washington can do to bolster small business – including simple actions that can be taken during the next few months.

The recommendations range from action on access to capital, taxes, infrastructure, healthcare, immigration and freelance economy to minimum wage, workforce training, clean energy and exports, and are all tied to creating economic opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“There is no denying the impact our 28 million small businesses have on our economy,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority. “Yet, small businesses too often find their needs being subordinated to those of big business, and sometimes even hijacked to support ideologically driven polices that don’t benefit them. Moreover, policymakers fail to recognize the rapid expansion of our new Internet-driven freelance economy, where much of the dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial activity happens today.”

Small businesses represent 99 percent of employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees and pay around 40 percent of U.S. private sector payroll. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have long been America’s engine for job growth and today more jobs are created by small businesses and the self-employed than any other way in America.

“Until we recognize and support the vital role of small businesses, we’re not giving our economy the best chance to flourish,” Arensmeyer said. “We must have a clear economic agenda that ensures we’re creating an environment where small businesses thrive, that provides the resources for small businesses to succeed and that ensures an economy that works for everyone. Focusing on small businesses and entrepreneurs is the surest way to drive the nation’s growth, job creation and competitiveness.”

The Agenda outlines things Washington can do over the next couple months that will create greater opportunity for entrepreneurs, which include:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission can release final rules for crowdfunding to provide more opportunities for small business to access capital.
  • Congress can expand support for the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which funds new and existing state programs that support lending to and investment in small businesses.
  • Congress can pass long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to ensure small businesses have access to global markets.
  • The Administration can facilitate the sharing of online tax data between the IRS and lenders, which will streamline the lending process for small businesses.
  • Congress can permanently raise the small business expensing (sometimes called Section 179 expensing) level to $500,000, and allow small businesses to deduct up-front the cost of purchasing new equipment, software and property.
  • Increasing the national minimum wage to $12 per hour.
  • Passing a comprehensive immigration law guaranteeing eventual citizenship for those who play by the rules and contribute to our economic success, coupled with appropriate and reasonable employment verification provisions

The list of things Washington can do to help small business over the next two years is even greater. To read the full agenda visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/economic-agenda

For an executive summary of the report, visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/economic-agenda/downloads/Economic-Agenda-2015-Executive-Summary.pdf

5-20-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Restoring Budget Cuts In The Senate

AFT NH Legislative Update

The Senate has had several hearings and meetings regarding their work on the state budget. When they held a public hearing several hundred citizens of New Hampshire showed up and spoke. Many expressed concern over the lack of funding in the House budget and its many cuts to programs needed by our most vulnerable citizens.

The Senate seems to have worked through much of what they want to do even before convening the Finance Committee meetings.  They have started with many noncontroversial items.

Again, I must repeat that we know that in New Hampshire we have few revenue sources and we have a regressive tax system, meaning that citizens who have the least to spare pay the most. To read more on this click here. AFT-NH supports incremental, common-sense reforms designed to make NH’s existing tax system fairer and to produce the revenue needed to preserve the public services essential to NH’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  All of this is vital to our shared economic success.

Once I know more on what the Senate is recommending I will send out an update.

This past Thursday the full Senate passed HB 507: relative to teacher personally identifiable data. This bill adds provisions relating to the protection of teacher personally identifiable data and adds in language that no school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval after a public hearing, and without written consent of the teacher and the parent or legal guardian of each affected student. AFT-NH is very pleased that both chambers have passed this bill and we ask that the governor signs this bill into law.

The full Senate will be voting on HB 323: relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program. AFT-NH believes that this will allow for some district flexibility with regards to state wide assessment. We have seen an over-emphasis on high stake testing across the country and think New Hampshire is moving in the right direction.

AFT-NH believes that assessments should support teaching and learning, and that they should be aligned with curriculum rather than narrow it.  Assessments should be focused on measuring growth and continuous development of students instead of arbitrary targets unconnected to how students learn. Assessments should be diverse, authentic, test for multiple indicators of student performance and provide information leading to appropriate interventions that help students, teachers and schools improve, not sanctions that undermine them.  Development and implementation of such tests must be age appropriate for the students, and teachers need to have appropriate computers to administer such assessments.

Further, AFT-NH believes that assessments should support teaching and learning. They must contribute to school and classroom environments that nurture growth, collaboration, curiosity and invention—essential elements of a 21st-century education that have too often been sacrificed in favor of test prep and testing. We know that collaboration with educators is necessary to ensure that high-quality instruction and content are given their proper emphasis.

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

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Have you visited the AFT-NH Facebook page and clicked “Like Us”? Please do so today!
You can also follow us on Twitter at @8027aftnh.
Late breaking news appears on Facebook!

UPCOMING HEARINGS

Wednesday, May 20

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

Thursday, May 21

10 am Senate in Session

JUDICIARY, Room 208, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on CACR 5, relating to legal actions. Providing that taxpayers have standing to bring actions against the government.

Friday, May 22

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

Thursday, May 23

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
3:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

Tuesday, May 26

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained bills
HB 527, establishing guidelines for school districts relative to the use of school resource officers,
HB 538-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new statewide education annual assessments,
HB 581-FN, requiring schools to continue the education of a child during the child’s suspension or expulsion, and
HB 243, changing the definitions of “focus school” and “priority school” in the school performance and accountability law.
1:00 p.m. Continued subcommittee work session on retained bills
HB 218-FN, relative to additional funding for third grade proficiency in mathematics,
HB 549-FN-A-L, allowing school building aid grants for certain authorized projects,
HB 242, relative to the statewide improvement and assessment program, and
HB 231, relative to applications for school building aid.

Monday, June 1

TASK FORCE ON WORK AND FAMILY (RSA 276-B:2, I), Room 207, LOB
1:15 p.m. Regular meeting.

Wednesday, June 3

10 am House in Session

Thursday, June 4

10 am House in Session

On The Senate Floor, Jeanne Shaheen Urges Action On Her Amendments To Trade Bill

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – During floor debate today about the Trade Promotion Authority legislation currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) urged her colleagues to support two of her amendments to the legislation: the first, would boost small business exports and make sure that trade agreements work for small businesses, and the second, would eliminate a wasteful and duplicative government program on catfish regulation.

Video of her remarks are available here.

More information on the Shaheen amendment to help Small Businesses trade in the international marketplace:

Senator Shaheen’s amendment takes a number of steps to help small businesses take advantage of trade, such as reauthorizing the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program through 2020 and increasing funding for the program by $5 million per year. The STEP programwhich Shaheen helped create, is an export initiative that has successfully helped small businesses to enter the international marketplace and create jobs.

One company that has benefitted from the program is Corfin Industries of Salem, New Hampshire. Before STEP was implemented, its international sales were just 2%. Now, that number is up to 12%, and as a result the company has added 22 employees.

The appropriations bill that funded the government for the 2015 fiscal year reauthorized and funded the program. The Shaheen amendment would reauthorize the program through 2020. The STEP program has supported more than $900 million in U.S. small business exports, producing a return-on-investment of 15 to1 for taxpayers.

Shaheen’s amendment, in addition to reauthorizing the STEP program, would require an assessment by the Small Business Administration on the impact of a potential trade agreement on U.S. small businesses.

More information on the Shaheen amendment to eliminate a wasteful and harmful catfish inspection program:

The Shaheen amendment would repeal a new program tasked with inspecting and grading catfish that places jurisdiction for catfish inspection with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), while leaving regulation of all other seafood with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

During a hearing in the Small Business Committee earlier this month, Senator Shaheen highlighted the impact creating a duplicative and wasteful catfish inspection program at the USDA would have on High Liner Foods, a seafood company with operations based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that employs more than 300 Granite Staters. As a seafood processor, High Liner currently deals with inspections from the FDA. The impending creation of a new inspection program just for catfish is preventing the company from expanding its offerings and operations, as the costs of complying with two different inspection regimes is prohibitive. A letter from High Liner is available here.

USDA has warned that the program may cost as much as $15 million a year to operate and has already cost $20 million without having inspected a single catfish. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, which evaluates risk for wasteful spending, has recommended eliminating the program in nine separate reports, calling it “duplicative” and “high-risk” for waste, fraud, and abuse.

Senator Shaheen wrote an op-ed “End the Catfish-Inspection Boondoggle,” that was published in Roll Call newspaper earlier this month.

Senators Shaheen & Cochran Introduce New On-The-Job Training Bill

Legislation Would Help Businesses and Job Seekers Through

Highly Successful Workforce Development Programs

Image from Senator Shaheen's Website

Image from Senator Shaheen’s Website 2014

(Washington, DC) ­– U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help Americans find new jobs and update their skills through on-the-job training (OJT) programs. The On-the-Job Training Act of 2015 authorizes the Department of Labor to award competitive grants to establish and support local OJT programs, which have been demonstrated to be the most effective training model to help people gain the skills they need to get and keep jobs.

“This legislation is about getting Americans back to work with the skills they need in today’s economy,” said Shaheen. “On-the-job training programs are a highly effective way to boost local economies and help the long-term unemployed get their careers back on-track. These programs have been a success in New Hampshire and across the country and this legislation would expand them to keep America’s workforce competitive.”

“In times of economic uncertainty, we should focus on programs with a proven track record of helping businesses and creating jobs. On-the-job training programs work.  They connect employers with future employees and ensure that they have the skills needed for career advancement in many fields,” Cochran said.  “I’m pleased to join with Senator Shaheen to promote this important, bipartisan legislation.”

In on-the-job training programs, participating employers sign a contract with a local workforce board agreeing to hire workers that need training. In exchange, the employers are reimbursed for a percentage of the wages they pay the employees undergoing training, until the workers gain the skills they need for the new occupation. The participating businesses are expected to keep the newly trained employees on after their on-the-job training has completed.

Last year, Senator Shaheen secured passage of two on-the-job training provisions as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that became law. The first increased the amount that businesses participating in on-the-job training can be reimbursed for wages they pay employees hired under the program and the second would enable more young people to participate in on-the-job training programs.

On-the-Job Training has the best results of all training programs that are part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ActIn 2013, 88 percent of OJT participants were still employed at their training sites or in other jobs three months after having finished the program, and 79 percent were still employed one year later.

On-the-job training programs have already demonstrated success helping the unemployed launch into new careers in New Hampshire, as demonstrated in this video made by New Hampshire Works featuring employers and employees who have used the program.

The bill text can be found here.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement