Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Support John R. White in Senate District 3

Image by Marc Nozell (CC Flickr)

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Logo (Via Facebook)The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire proudly endorse John R. White for State Senate in District 3 in the coming November Election. The PFFNH represents over 2,000 active and retired fire fighter and paramedics across the state in 43 locals.

“We are proud to back John R. White in this election, because he will stand up for working families and for fire fighters in the district, and across New Hampshire,” stated Dave Lang, President of the PFFNH. “We need leaders like Mr. White in the Senate who understand that actions have real consequences to the hard working people of this state.”

John R. White will face Senator Jeb Bradley in November. The district consists of all of Carroll County, and includes Waterville Valley, Middleton, and Milton.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of our professional fire fighters and paramedics. I have always supported them, and will continue to do so when elected. Supporting fire fighters is more than just saying the words, it is also taking actions. If elected I will fight for strong public safety. I will work with fire fighters, and not against them. I will work to insure that after a long career fire fighters can retire with dignity. I will make sure the state keeps its promises. ” said John R. White, candidate for State Senate District 3.

Beware Of The Free Staters Running For Office

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In case you missed it, the Nashua Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1tJQE9j) and the Concord Monitor (http://bit.ly/1tJQPRU) both ran an Op-Ed written by me, about the Free State Project and Dan Hynes a “Free State Mover” who is running for the NH Senate in Merrimack, Amherst, and Milford.

Here is an excerpt from the Op-Ed. Please visit one of these two site to read the full editorial.

You see, New Hampshire is the focus of a unique political experiment, started in 2001 by then-Yale University doctoral student Jason Sorens. His idea was to get 20,000 activists to move to a single state with a small population and an easily-accessible government.

As he said in his introduction to The Free State Project: “Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

Snowplowing? Bridge safety? An adequately-funded judicial system? Public colleges? These things are nowhere on the Free Staters’ priority list.

Free Staters – at least those in Keene – seem more interested in marijuana and videotaping the city’s parking enforcement officers.

Current Wages, An American Dream Or A Nightmare

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Every day millions of Americans wake up and go to work.  They are always chasing their own version of the American Dream:  that long-held ideal that if you work hard enough and long enough you can succeed.

For many, this dream is having the financial security to own that suburban house with the white picket fence.  Two little kids and the dog running through the back yard, while mom and dad are prepping for a barbeque dinner on the patio.

This Norman Rockwell vision of the American family has pushed people to always try harder, and to do whatever it takes to reach the ultimate goal of financial security.

Sadly for many Granite Staters, every day they go to work that dream is turning into a nightmare.  They slave at work for hours on end, while their paychecks are being stretched thinner and thinner.  Every day is a struggle to pay their bills and they are constantly falling further and further behind.  A $15,000 a year salary does not go very far when you have family.

Nobody who has tried to live on a minimum wage income would ever say that these people are lazy.  Just surviving on a minimum wage income is hard work.

Low-wage workers are not “just teenagers” as some may imply; they are adults. 70% who will benefit from minimum wage increase in NH are over the age of 20, 36% of them are over the age of 30, and over 14% of them have at least one child. Many of them work two or three jobs just so their children do not have to go to bed hungry, every night.  Unfortunately going to bed hungry is a stark reality for too many children.

We are the richest nation in the world, yet we have children in our own country who are literally starving.  How is this even possible?  I do not have the answer to this question, but I know that we can do something about it.

Raising the minimum wage is a simple and effective solution to help millions of working families.  States across the country have pushed legislation to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour, to $9.00 an hour. Some cities have even gone as high as $15.00 per hour.

When you are living in poverty, every penny matters.   For the 75,000 Granite Staters who would be helped by an increase in the minimum wage, an increase to $9.00 would add $300 a month to their take home pay.  I guarantee you that every dollar of that additional $300 would be spent right here in our local shops and businesses.  If you are struggling to pay your bills today, there is not much saving for tomorrow.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire would add an additional $64 million to our local economy over the two years.

This is a political slam-dunk.  It is good for the 75,000 people who are living in poverty and trying every day to just survive.  It is good for our economy, because when low-income workers have money, they will spend it.  It is good politics, seeing that over 70% of Granite Staters support raising the minimum wage.

People do not want a hand out, they want to earn what they bring home.  They want to work for an honest pay that actually will pay the bills.  That is the real American Dream, and by raising the minimum wage, we can make that dream a reality.

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If you are interested we will be holding a “lobby day” at the NH State House on Tuesday April 22nd.  Details here 

NH Senate Moves Forward With A ‘Study Committee’ Instead Of Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

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New Hampshire State Senate Moves Forward Hollow Bill, Legislature Needs to Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

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Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Today the New Hampshire state Senate defeated proposed language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of politics. Instead they moved forward a hollow bill, SB 307, creating a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

New Hampshire residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The amended language was voted down 12 to 12 by a near party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all but one Republican – Senator Russell Prescott – voting against.

Thirty-six of the 48 towns that voted to pass a resolution were in Senate Republican districts, showing bipartisan support for a constitutional amendment. Polls have also shown that the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll (PDF), 72 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the Citizens United ruling (81% Democrats, 70% Independents, 64% Republicans) and 69 percent of New Hampshire residents support a constitutional amendment that limits campaign contributions and spending (75% Democrats, 73% Independents, 61% Republicans). This shows the Republican Senators are out of step with their constituents on this issue.

The bill that was passed today now moves to the New Hampshire House of Representatives for a vote. The House has the opportunity to amend the bill to include the statement that the New Hampshire Legislature recognizes the need for a constitutional amendment – essentially the backbone of the bill. If the House passes a version of this bill including that powerful statement, the bill would then move back to a conference committee.

It is important that the House listens to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, which would set New Hampshire on the path to becoming the 17th state to calling for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire visit www.nh4democracy.org.

ANHPE Asks Why Do Even Need A Voucher Law, It Is A Proven Failure

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Why do you keep after the New Hampshire voucher program? Won’t it just die on the vine? (Answer: It’s a bad seed.)

We have a lower court decision saying that New Hampshire’s voucher tax credit program can’t fund religious schools, where most of the money would have gone, and the Supreme Court may well agree.

Business and public school parents have shown little interest in the program, though it’s hard to know how much of that is a result of the controversy.

There’s only one active scholarship organization to collect donations and hand out the money and, without the capacity to run a publicly funded program, it probably won’t be able to do much with the program.

So why keep after it? Why not let it just die on the vine or trundle along getting a little money to some families who could use it?

It’s true, the voucher program is not worth all the air time it takes up.  Education funding, the role of charter schools in the State, support for early childhood development, the State’s role in the current education reform debates – these are all much more important topics.

And doing a better job educating our low income students, as the voucher program purports to do, is an important topic.  But the voucher program has proved a random and unsystematic way to do that.  Giving money to a group that helped write the law (“We want as many students as possible out of the ‘system’”) to select a small number of children to go to unaccredited religious schools is not a solution to that problem.  There are many more purposeful and direct ways to help low income families get better educations for their children.

However, the voucher law will not go away by itself.  It may continue to function even if the Supreme Court agrees that it cannot fund religious schools.  Supporters assert that the kind of slow start we are seeing here has been the normal experience in other states and that the program will grow large over time.  Any future legislature could expand the program overnight but even with no attention at all it will grow automatically if it gets enough use.

There is no legitimate public purpose for this law, no public support, no state oversight for the money and now we’ve had an opportunity to see the result of this kind of ill-conceived legislation.  There is no reason to leave this kind of failed program in place.

Cross-posted from ANHPE

6-10-13 AFT-NH Legislative Update By President Laura Hainey. Included SB100, HB1 and HB2, and More

aft sqaureLET THE GAMES BEGIN

This past Thursday the State Senate attached SB 100: AN ACT authorizing electronic payment of payroll to HB 357: AN ACT prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions and authorizing electronic payment of payroll. HB 357 has strong support from labor, working families and the unemployed.

It seems that SB 100 is a priority of Senator Bradley and it is a shame he would jeopardize a much needed and supported bill.

Keep in mind that SB 100 will affect all public employees in New Hampshire. This bill will do the following:

  • Deletes the requirement that an employer who pays wages by electronic fund transfer offer employees the option of being paid by check.
  • Permits an employer to pay wages with a payroll card after offering employees the option of being paid by direct deposit.

We understand that many employees do receive their paycheck by direct deposit but there are many who prefer the paper check and they should still have this option. What is most shameful is that if this passes it can be imposed on employees, thus taking away their voice at the work place.

Now that the bill has been amended and the House is not in session until June 26th this will be sent to a committee of conference.  We ask the committee make the recommendation to pass HB 357 without the amendment of SB 100.

BUDGET UPDATE

There will be a presentation on June 11th at 1 p.m. in LOB 210, by the LBA regarding Senate changes to HB 1 and HB 2, followed by a presentation by the House Ways and Means Committee, on revised revenue estimates.

As I stated last week there is good and bad in this budget and AFT-NH will monitor this presentation and the Committee of Conference. To review all the documents on the proposed budget click here.

HB 142 RELATIVE TO TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEMS.

The first Committee of Conference on HB 142 has been scheduled for June 11th at 10 a.m. in LOB 207. The house appointed Representatives Anne Grassie, Mary Gile, Mary Gorman, and Rick Ladd, while the senate appointed Senators Nancy Stiles, John Reagan, and Molly Kelly.

AFT-NH is opposed to this bill as amended. It does include the involvement of teachers but it left out “Nothing in this paragraph shall supersede collective bargaining rights under RSA 273-A”.  We ask that the committee reinstate this language back into the bill.

2013 HOUSE COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE PROCEDURES
(This section was taken from House Calendar Volume 5, Number 44, date June 7, 2013).

The Chairmen of the policy committees will receive bills amended by the Senate and should check with their committees to determine whether to recommend that the House concur, non-concur, or non-concur and request a Committee of Conference.

When a committee requests that the bill be sent to a Committee of Conference, the Chairman will recommend members for appointment. If the bill has gone to more than one committee, the members may come from the different committees as determined by the Speaker. Chairmen should recommend only those members from their policy committees. The Speaker shall make the final decision of Conference committee members, and the committee choices are generally limited to those who support the House position.

The first named House member shall serve as Chairman of the House Conferees. For House bills in Committee of Conference, the House Conferee Chairman shall set the time and place of the first meeting with the Clerk’s Office and shall chair each meeting of the Committee of Conference. Each meeting shall be posted in the Clerk’s Office and outside the committee room at least 24 hours in advance. [House Rule 43 (c)]. If a Committee of Conference meeting recesses, the reconvening time shall be posted in the Clerk’s office and outside the committee room.

The House and Senate Conferees on a bill shall meet jointly but vote separately while in conference.

The Committee of Conference may not change the title of the bill. The Committee also may not add amendments that are not germane to the subject matter of the bill or contain subject matter that has been indefinitely postponed. A non-germane amendment is one in which the subject matter is not contained in either the House or Senate version of the bill. [House Rule 49 (g)]

The sponsor of a bill that is in Committee of Conference shall, upon request, be provided an opportunity to be heard.

A unanimous vote of both the House and Senate Conferees, voting separately, is necessary for an agreed upon report to be sent to the House and Senate.

Reports of all Committees of Conference must be filed with the Office of Legislative Services by the June 20, 2013 deadline adopted by the House. All Committee of Conference members must sign their reports in the Office of Legislative Services by June 20, 2013 by 4:00 p.m.

The first-named House member on all bills in Committee of Conference must prepare an analysis of the report. This “blurb” should contain a complete explanation of all changes made to the bill since it was passed by the House and must be submitted to the House Clerk for printing in the calendar.

All Committee of Conference reports shall be distributed in seat pockets to be acted on some subsequent day. [House Rule 49 (f)].

See House Rule 49 for more information.

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

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

Sign The Petition To The NH Senate To Pass HB595 (VoterID) As It Was Introduced

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The NH Senate voted to restrict the number of allowable ID in HB 595 (Voter ID).  The Senate also made some amendments to the bill forcing a ‘committee of conference’ with the NH House.

They want to force polling places to take a picture of you with a digital camera if you do not have an ID. These cameras and training will cost the state nearly $11 million of dollars.   The Senate is cutting $20 million from Health and Human Services yet they want to spent $11 million dollars to buy cameras for every polling place in New Hampshire? What are their priorities if helping the low-income families looses to digital cameras to solve a Voter fraud problem that does not exist.

We need the Senate to come to their senses and compromise with the House to pass HB595 as it was introduced.

My good friend Jess has started a petition online to encourage all of these Senators to change their minds and compromise with the House on HB595.

Sign the petition here

The petition reads:
By Jessica Clark

I am writing today to ask you to go to a committee of conference and support HB 595 as introduced.

Making it harder to vote by restricting the number of IDs that were acceptable just one year ago isn’t fair and doesn’t make any sense. I ask you to restore all of the IDs that were acceptable in 2012 to get a ballot.

I also don’t want a mugshot of me or my neighbors if I only have one of the very few IDs that are acceptable. It will only cause long lines and cost us millions of dollars.

You are fighting for an unnecessary law that will cost New Hampshire $11 million in the short term, while at the same time you are drastically cutting essential health services for the elderly and disabled. You have misplaced priorities. You should be working to help Granite Staters instead of attacking voting rights in our state. The right to vote is important – no one should take away my right to vote.

Governor Hassan Takes Aim At Senate Over Healthcare and Budget

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Governor Hassan came out harshly today against the Senate Republicans. Today they voted to kill HB 668 that would allow NH to maintain control over the health care regulations.

“Once again, Senate Republicans have decided to put ideology ahead of the interests of the people, businesses and families of New Hampshire, and have given away control of our health insurance market to the federal government. HB 668 ensures that New Hampshire will continue to control our own health care and prevents the federal government from taking control of all health insurance products in New Hampshire for individuals and small employers.

“By killing HB 668, the Senate would make it more difficult to protect Granite State consumers, cause unnecessary confusion for all those looking to sell and purchase insurance, and potentially increase health insurance costs for families, businesses and individuals. I urge the full Senate to reject the committee’s recommendation and take action to maintain state-level control of New Hampshire’s health insurance market.”

Even the NH Insurance Department urged the Senate to approve HB 668.  Read the letter sent to the Senate Commerce Committee. Irony of this vote is that many of these Republicans are talking about the government taking control of their healthcare, yet now they are deferring the federal government to regulate the new system.

Governor Hassan also commented on the Senate Finance Committee’s budget.

“In order to support business growth and create good jobs that can sustain a strong middle class, we must invest in the priorities that will build the foundation for a more innovative economic future.

“While the Senate Finance Committee has begun to recognize in its revenue estimates New Hampshire’s strengthening economy and has made some progress on restoring priorities, they have unfortunately chosen the fiscally irresponsible approach of sweeping, across-the-board cuts instead of being forthright about the programs they would eliminate. These deep cuts to Health and Human Services and employees will cost hundreds of jobs and put at risk critical areas, including mental health care, funding the waitlist for people with developmental disabilities, the CHINS program, and the ability to deliver basic services.

“Additionally, the Committee’s rejection of $2.5 billion from the federal government to expand health coverage to thousands of working families is a shortsighted decision that will undermine the health of our communities and hurt our economy.

“As the process moves forward, I will continue to work with members of both parties in both chambers to make improvements and finalize a balanced budget that encourages job creation, spurs innovative economic growth, and protects the health and well-being of New Hampshire’s families and communities.”

In the last budget it was Bill O’Brien who lead the charge for cuts to the budget.  What people seemed to overlook is that the Senate accepted many of these cuts.  Now the Senate is pushing for more cuts that will lead to more jobs lost.  This is not the direction we should be moving in.

Bridge In Washington State Collapses: When Will NH Start Taking Our Infrastructure Problems Seriously

Via KIRO-TV
Via KIRO-TV

Via KIRO-TV

Last night the  Skagit River Bridge (WA) collapsed sending a semi-truck into the frigid waters below.

How long until we have another serious situation like this here in New Hampshire? A little over a year ago the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth was closed down after is started to fall apart.

In February the  Telegrapgh reported that “almost a third of state bridges, 31 percent, show some wear or don’t meet current design standards. Without further funding, that number will rise 16 percent by 2016.”

This is a great risk to the public safety of Granite Staters.  Yet our State Senate, who refuses to raise any revenue to fix this problem, has pushed the problem aside.  By tabling the proposed ‘gas tax’ increase they are telling Granite Staters that fixing our crumbing infrastructure is not a concern to them.  It is a problem that can wait yet another year.

What will it take for these Senators to see that our bridges and roads must be fixed and we need a serious plan to make that happen.  We needed that plan yesterday not next year.

It was good to hear that nobody was injured in the bridge collapse in Washington last night but next time we may not be so lucky.  What are they waiting for, another highway bridge collapse like the one in Minnesota a few years back, before they take action? I hope it does not come to that before the NH Senate comes to their senses and develops a serious comprehensive plan to fix our crumbling infrastructure.

(read more on the Skagit Bridge Collapse)

NH Senate Republicans Vote Against State Minimum Wage & Senator Jeb Bradley’s Refusal to Answer Whether He Supports a Minimum Wage

from http://standupfl.org/event/national-raise-the-wage-day/

NH Senate Republicans Vote Against State Minimum Wage & Senator Jeb Bradley’s Refusal to Answer Whether He Supports a Minimum Wage

Former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley refuses to answer question posed on floor of Senate

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress releases the following statement regarding New Hampshire Senate Republicans’ uniform vote against a state minimum wage law today, and lead opponent former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley’s refusal to answer whether he supports a minimum wage at all. Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Our organization believes that working people should be able to pay their bills and we support a minimum wage that reflects the real needs and economic climate in our state. HB 501 would have restored local control in New Hampshire. Several of those who spoke in opposition to this bill in committee don’t believe in a minimum wage, period. Senator Jeb Bradley was the lead opponent to New Hampshire having its own minimum wage, and he twice refused to answer whether he supports a minimum wage at all.

“The working families and small businesses of New Hampshire deserve leaders who understand the importance of a strong middle class. The Senate Republicans have signaled, once again, that they are out of touch with Granite State values.”

GSP Video: NH Sen. Jeb Bradley Refuses to Answer Whether He Supports a Minimum Wage


 

The NH Senate voted 13-11 along party lines to kill HB 501, which would have simply restored New Hampshire’s ability to set its own minimum wage. According to media reports, New Hampshire had its own minimum wage law from 1949 until 2011, when the Republican-led House and Senate repealed it.