Come Support “Equal Pay Day” And Join Us For A Viewing Of ‘Inequality For All’

Equal Pay for Equal Work (lilly ledbetter act)

A message from Olivia Zink, Community Organizer for the NH Citizens Alliance.

Tuesday, April 8, is Equal Pay Day – the symbolic day in 2014 when women’s earnings catch up to men’s earnings from 2013. Sad, but true. Fifty-one years after passage of the Equal Pay Act and five years after passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, we are still fighting to close the gender wage gap.

But here in New Hampshire, we’re close!

Please join us for part or all of the day! Wear red!

9:30am Press Conference at Legislative Office Building (LOB) – Meet in the Lobby, 33 N. State Street, Concord, NH 03301

10:15am Hearing Legislative Office Building, room 307

12:00pm Inequality for All Movie

We will join Governor Hassan, Senator Larsen, House Speaker Terri Norelli and former state Representative Jackie Weatherspoon at an Equal Pay Day Press Conference on Tuesday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. Will you join us in Concord so we can make our voices heard together? RSVP here.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives Labor Committee will hold a public hearing on the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act (SB 207) on Tuesday, April 8 at 10:15am. NHCA will join fair pay advocates from across the state to testify in support of this legislation. RSVP here.

IFA New Hampshire InvitationAlso on Tuesday, April 8 – Representatives Andrew White and Ed Butler will host a special showing of “Inequality for All” at noon in rooms 305-307 at the LOB.  Free!  Let  Arnie know if you plan to attend.

With a record number of women in the workforce and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-bread winners for their families, equal pay for women is critical to families’ economic security.

In 2012, New Hampshire women working full time, year round, were paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. The 23 cents in lost income adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages over a woman’s lifetime. This wage gap ultimately translates to less money for education, food, health care, and childcare.

Stand with your fellow Granite Staters at the press conference and public hearing on April 8 to make it clear that un-equal pay is not okay. You can’t miss us: we’ll be wearing red to symbolize that the gender pay gap puts women “in the red.”

Let’s eliminate the need to recognize “Equal Pay Day” next year!

Statement on NH House Democrats & Republicans Decision to Allow Corporate Special Interests to Write State Law Behind Closed Doors

NH House-2

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House voted HB 1207, disclosure of model acts, inexpedient to legislate today. The bill would have simply required model bills to list their origin. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Drafting legislation is the most fundamental act of lobbying, yet New Hampshire has a huge, gaping hole for reporting and disclosure of this lobbying activity. Corporate and other special interests are allowed to write state laws behind closed doors, often without any disclosure or transparency as to who is writing them and why. Knowing who is writing our state laws is an important part of having an open and transparent government. We are disappointed by the House’s decision. Otherwise strong public servants, who rally at length against special interest influence in their campaign speeches, missed a key opportunity to act on those values this week.”

“This law would have applied equally to conservative and liberal groups, to Democrats and Republicans, to partisans and non-partisans. Good government should be a shared democratic value regardless of political party or persuasion, and no one should shy away from identifying who is drafting our state laws and why. We appreciate that the committee that heard this bill agreed, but their recommendation to put this into House rules instead of law means bills originating in the Senate will not have the same disclosure, and House Rules also change with administrations. This policy needs to be law.”

Background on HB 1207:

Right now national cookie-cutter model legislation, designed to promote a particular interest, has no disclosure requirements. This allows special interests to unduly influence laws behind closed doors. In the 2011-2012 session, Granite State Progress identified 30 model bills from one national organization alone, 16 of which became law. Many of the bills had no visible involvement from the entities who designed them meaning, often, legislators and constituents didn’t even know who was originally behind the bill or why – a key part of understanding the intent and potential impact of a policy.

HB 1207 would have simply required bill sponsors to let the Office of Legislative Services know when they were using a model act, and OLS would note that in the bill analysis. To be considered a model act, the legislation has to be national cookie-cutter legislation that is officially voted on and adopted by an organization or corporation, then distributed in more than one state. Home-grown New Hampshire bills would not be impacted. Laws from other states are not formally distributed by those states and, thus, are not considered model acts. Model legislation is not inherently bad, but the special interests promoting it – regardless of political persuasion – should be disclosed as part of an open and transparent legislative process. Granite State Progress supported having this disclosure on all model legislation to lessen the corruption of our legislative process.

 

Bill Text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2014/HB1207.html

 

The Video That Could Change Your Entire Outlook On The Casino Gambling Bill And The Gas Tax

Diana Lacey Screen Shot Video

Once a week the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) sends out their Statehouse Bulletin. The bulletin highlights what the SEA is doing legislatively in Concord.  Every week they post a summary of what bills passed, what bills failed, and what bills are coming in the next week.  This week had all of that, and a little more.

This week’s bulletin had a special video message from SEA President Diana Lacey.  The video is a ‘call to arms’ for all of the SEA members to help convince their state legislators to pass two very important bills, the Gas Tax bill (SB 367), and the Casino bill (HB1633).

While this video was intended for the SEA membership, I feel that everyone in New Hampshire should listen to what President Lacey has to say.

Whether you support expanded gambling and the gas tax increase or not you should know what this will mean to hundreds of state workers. Will it mean more devastating cuts, and more layoffs, or will it mean new jobs for public and private workers?

Please take five minutes to listen to Diana’s message.

Share this post with your friends and family throughout the Granite State to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is at stake if these two bills do not pass this week.

The SEA has started a ‘Save Our Roads’ petition, which you can sign here.

Use this link to find your State Senator and ask them to support the gas tax increase (SB 367).

Use this link to find your State Representative and ask them to support the expanded casino gambling bill (HB 1633).

 

 

2-23-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update : Issues of the Week — Charter Schools and Common Core

AFT NH Legislative Update

The House Education Committee held several hearing and made recommendations on many bills this week, but many more bills remain to be worked on by the Committee.

Several of these bills dealt with charter schools. I will start calling them public charter schools when they:

•    Accept all children that walk through their doors,
•    The entire teaching staff should be certified,
•    They would take on all the responsibility of educating special education students and not rely on the local school system to offer services,
•    They would take on the responsibility of transporting the students to school.
•    In short they would have to follow all the laws and rules that current public schools follow.

Let’s keep in mind that the funding for charter schools comes from Federal grants, the state of New Hampshire, and in some cases from local property tax dollars.  Unlike public schools, most charter schools are approved by the State, not the local community,in which they operate, thus eliminating local control but requiring local taxpayer support.

When a charter school opens, your local tax dollars, taken from your local school district budget, must pay for services for special education students attending the charter school.  If a charter school opens in your community your tax dollars are going to transport any student that lives in your community attending the charter school.  All of this is mandated by State law, and in a time when budgets are tight charter schools seem to be coming back and asking for more and more. And you have no say in the matter unless our local elected state leaders stand up and say “No more!”

What we need are laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies.  We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools.

After their Winter break the House Education Committee will be making recommendations on several Common Core and Smarter Balance assessments and data collections.  Let me repeat where we stand on this issue:

We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are 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.  Because each district is at different stages in their teacher/staff development and student curriculum changes that meet Common Core Standards and the assessment of their students, the Department of Education should waive the Smarter Balance testing deadline for at least another two years. – See more at: http://nh.aft.org/legislation/aft-nh-legislative-update-february-9-2014-0#sthash.wtI9u20y.dpuf
Elsewhere, the full Senate voted to defeat SB 322: relative to the renomination of teachers. AFT-NH believes it is time we move back to supporting our teachers in New Hampshire. Three years is long enough to deny teachers their due process when non-renewed. When decisions with such high stakes are being made, all staff should be given reasons why, and should be given time to improve though an improvement plan.  We are disappointed in this vote and would like to thanks all the Senators who did vote with us. To see which senators voted with us 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


MONDAY, MARCH 3

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on HB 492-FN-L, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

TUESDAY, MARCH 4

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1206, relative to juvenile placement in shelter care facilities and at the youth development center,
HB 1236, establishing a committee to study supervised visitation centers,
HB 1260-FN-L, relativeto communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards.

10:00 a.m. subcommittee
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards.

10:30 a.m. Subcommittee
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.

11:00 a.m. subcommittee:
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.

1:00 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools,
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards,
HB1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data,
HB 1508-FN, terminating state participation in the common core educational standards,
HB 1262, relative to student assessment data privacy,
HB 1496, relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials,
HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials,
HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1101-FN, relative to the recovery of overpayments by the retirement system and establishing a committee to study the policies and procedures of the retirement system for benefits wrongfully paid,
HB 1130-FN-L, relative to the Northeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact,
HB 1152-FN, terminating the benefit program for call, substitute or volunteer firemen administered by the New Hampshire retirement system,
HB 1493-FN-L, relative to members of the retirement system working after retirement, and relative to membership of political subdivision officials appointed for fixed terms.

FINANCE – (DIVISION III), Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1189, relative to temporary worker rights,
HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1285, relative to recommendations by the department of revenue administration regarding municipal fund balance retention,
HB 1560-FN-L, prohibiting the use of funds received from a political subdivision of the state to lobby.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

WEDNESD AY, MARCH 5

Senate Executive Departments and Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

10:00 a.m. House in session

THURSDAY, MARCH 6
1:00 p.m. House in session

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:30 a.m. Full committee work session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

TUESDAY, MARCH 18
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the department of education.

NH House Committee Passes Study Commission on Gun Violence and Background Checks

Granite State Progress

Proposed 10-member commission would study impact of firearms violence, background checks, and other firearms safety measures

CONCORD, NH – The NH House Criminal Justice committee voted 12-6 in a bipartisan fashion to pass an amended bill today establishing a study commission on gun violence and background checks, among other firearms safety measures. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“We appreciate the dedicated legislators who are as concerned as we are about gun violence for moving forward with a commission to study gun violence and remedies for it. We all know that 89% of Granite Staters already support background checks, but frankly the public is ahead of some politicians on this one. Study commissions are a common way for the New Hampshire legislature to address heated political topics, and while public safety shouldn’t fall into that category, the legislature will benefit from a dedicated study of firearms violence and remedies for our state.

“The proposed commission will include a diverse set of stakeholders from law enforcement, the mental health community, domestic and sexual violence experts, gun violence prevention advocates, gun owners, and retail firearm businesses in addition to legislators. This fair and balanced representation of interests will make the study commission insightful and fruitful. We look forward to its passage.”

Background:

The amendment was added to HB 1264, which originally sought to allow a nonresident from a state that does not require a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver to carry in New Hampshire. Rep. JR Hoell is the sole sponsor of the underlying bill. Rep. Hoell last week introduced an amendment to HB 1589, the background checks bill, which would have replaced it with a committee to study the “correlation between current New Hampshire law and the low violent crime rate in this state.”

HB 1264, as amended, establishes a commission to study the impact of firearms violence, explore options to strengthen the background check system for firearms sales, and consider measures to promote firearms safety.

NH House Shows Strong Support For Working Families With Today’s Votes

NH House

NH House Shows Strong Support for Working Families on Votes to Pass Paycheck Fairness, Paycheck Protections & Raise the Wage

GRANITE STATE PROGRESS PRAISES HOUSE, COMMITTEE VOTES ON HB 1188, HB 1404, AND HB 1403

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House voted today to pass a paycheck fairness bill and strengthen worker payroll protections; in addition the House Labor Committee voted to support a bill to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire. Statements from Granite State Progress:

Paycheck Fairness (HB 1188)

The NH House of Representatives voted 183-125 in bi-partisan support of HB 1188 today, which provides stronger protection for employers by clarifying the conditions when wage disparities between men and women performing the same work are allowable. The legislation also strengthens the protections of current equal pay laws by prohibiting employers from adopting workplace policies that bar employees from voluntarily disclosing earnings information, and by prohibiting retaliation against employees who opt to share information about their wages, salaries, and benefits.

Statement from Granite State Progress Political and Research Director Caitlin Rollo:

“This is an important piece of legislation that provides employees with the legal tools they need to challenge the wage gap in New Hampshire. According to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, full-time female workers in New Hampshire make 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts, which mirrors the national pay gap average. Today, 40% of women are the sole providers for their family and another 20% are co-providers. The existence of such disparities in pay equity reduces the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all the workers in the family to make ends meet. There are current barriers in the workplace that make it hard for women and other workers to determine whether they are being paid in an equitable fashion, and HB 1188 remedies that situation. We applaud the legislature for their work on the important issue of paycheck fairness.”

(Also read the statement from NH House Leadership on the passage of HB 1188)

Payroll Cards (HB 1404)

The NH House of Representatives also voted 201-104 in bi-partisan support of HB 1404 today, which provides more consumer protections for payroll cards. Payroll cards act as a form of debit cards, often carrying a brand such as Visa or Mastercard, and are used as such – right down to the fees for withdrawals, payments and balance checks. At American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings in 2010 and 2011, Visa introduced model bills and resolutions on payroll cards to encourage their use. In response, HB 1404 updates New Hampshire consumer protections for payroll cards to eliminate a number of “gotcha” or surprise fees, provide better access to card balances, and mandate disclosure of all payment options in clear, plain language.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Corporations like Visa have been eager to transition workers from paychecks to payroll cards to collect more fees from the transactions, including transaction fees charged at local businesses who accept the cards for payment. HB 1404 is a smart piece of legislation that will update New Hampshire’s consumer protections and eliminate the additional fees and expenses for workers to collect and use their paycheck. It also requires that all payment options be shared with workers upfront, in clear, plain language. Granite State Progress is proud of the House members who stood strong to protect workers and small businesses in our state.”

Raise the Wage (HB 1403)

The NH House Labor committee voted 10-8 in support of HB 1403 today, raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire.  HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two stages and provide for annual cost of living increases in the future.  It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.  Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index.

Statement from Granite State Progress Political and Research Director Caitlin Rollo:

“Our organization absolutely believes that working people should be able to pay their own bills rather than rely on taxpayer assistance, and because of that we support having a strong minimum wage that reflects the real needs and economic climate in our state. Raising the wage will benefit thousands of workers and families across our state with a modest increase set in two stages then indexed to the cost of living. These are primarily adults who work at least half or full time, who have real responsibilities and families. We applaud the House Labor Committee for its support to raise the wage and encourage the full House to move forward with this bill.”

Note: Three-quarters of Granite Staters – including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats – support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour, according to the Granite State Poll.

NH State Reps Make Strong Case For Raising The NH Minimum Wage

NH House-2

By Rep. Jan Schmidt, Rep. Rebecca Emerson-Brown, and Rep. Sally Kelly

The House Labor Committee held a hearing this week on HB 1403, a bill that would increase the minimum wage in New Hampshire from the current rate of $7.25 per hour to $8.25 next January and $9 per hour in January 2016, with modest increases indexed to inflation in the future.

If we pass this bill, it would mean a raise for one in every eight workers whose wages haven’t kept pace with cost of living for more than 30 years and allow them to join the economic mainstream. Since 1979, one hour of work at New Hampshire’s minimum wage could purchase the equivalent of $9.47 in today’s dollars. In other words, inflation has eaten away more than $2 per hour in purchasing power in the last 35 years and has impacted 76,000 of our friends, family and neighbors.

When they hear others talk about raising the minimum wage, many people think back to their first jobs, working in a convenience store or fast food place after school or on weekends. Everybody brings their own experiences to debates in the Legislature, but in this case, anecdotes from one’s own life can be deceiving. The average minimum-wage worker is no longer a teen beginning their working life. They’re adults – with adult responsibilities and adult expenses like utilities, housing, food for their families and transportation costs.

Some basic facts about Americans currently working at minimum wage jobs are in order here.

• The majority – 72 percent – are not teens. They’re 20 years old and above, and 36 percent are older than 30.

• Fifty-nine percent are women.

• Fourteen percent are parents.

• Roughly 21,000 children in New Hampshire have a mother or father who would experience a pay raise if the minimum wage were raised.

With a higher minimum wage, these workers will have more money to spend which, in turn, gives virtually every New Hampshire business more customers – helping them hire more workers and kick-starting a cycle of prosperity. This cycle, driven by $64 million in additional wages paid out over the next two years to low-income households – households that, by necessity, spend every dollar they earn – would put our economy on a steady basis as we move out of the Great Recession.

When opponents claim that a minimum wage hike leads to fewer jobs, what they’re missing is that most jobs are created by middle class consumers buying what businesses large and small are selling; growth comes from the middle out, not the top down. By putting more money in the pockets of hardworking families in New Hampshire, we are building a more durable economy going forward.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Recent polling finds that 76 percent of Granite Staters – including a majority of Republicans, Democrats and undeclared voters – support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour. People across the ideological spectrum realize that raising the minimum wage would help lift thousands of Granite State workers out of poverty, stimulate the economy and help families across the state leave behind dependence on food stamps, heating oil assistance and Medicaid.

The time has come to realize that our neighbors currently working for minimum wage deserve a raise, and that our economy will be improved by bringing these workers back into the economic mainstream.

Rep. Jan Schmidt is from Nashua, Rep. Rebecca Emerson-Brown is from Portsmouth, and Rep. Sally Kelly is from Chichester. All three are Democrats.

2-10-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Common Core and Smarter Balance Assessments

AFT NH Legislative Update

This past week there were several hearings regarding the Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balance Assessment with several others scheduled for this coming week. AFT-NH knows that a recent AFT poll found that 75 Percent of teachers support the new standards, but it also found that they have not had enough time to understand them, put them into practice or discuss them with colleagues.

If these standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing the Standards:

•    There needs to be planning time for understanding the Standards and time to put them into practice,
•    We need opportunities to observe colleagues implementing Standards in class,
•    Provide teachers with model lesson plans aligned to Standards,
•    Ensure textbooks/other curricula materials align with Standards,
•    Communicate with parents on the Standards and the expectations of students,
•    Develop best practices and strategies alone with coaching to help teachers teach content more deeply,
•    We need to ensure all districts have the equipment and bandwidth to administer computer-based assessments,
•    Make sure we have fully developed curricula aligned to Standards and available to teachers,
•    Assessments need to be aligned to Standards indicating mastery of concepts,
•    Professional development and training in the Standards need to be offered,
•    We need to develop tools to track individual student progress on key Standards.

We also know that:

States and districts must work with teachers to develop a high quality curriculum and professional development, provide students with the time needed to try out new methods of teaching to the standards in their classrooms, commit financial resources to ensure success, and engage parents and the community.

When assessing students, we need to make sure these tests inform teaching, not impede teaching and learning. All children deserve a rich, meaningful public education that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that await them as they become contributing members of a democratic society.  Growing our nation’s future citizens and workers is a serious undertaking that calls for a thoughtful focus on teaching and learning. Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined that focus, putting at grave risk our students’ learning and their ability to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and fulfill their personal goals.

We believe in assessments that support teaching and learning, and that are 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.  Because each district is at different stages in their teacher/staff development and student curriculum changes that meet Common Core Standards and the assessment of their students, the Department of Education should waive the Smarter Balance testing deadline for at least another two years.

Further, we believe that assessments designed to support teaching and learning 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.

UPCOMING HOUSE VOTES WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2014

The House Legislative Administration Committee made a recommendation of ought to pass with an amendment on HB 1122-FN, establishing the crime of filing false lien statements against public officials and employees. Rep. Joel F Winters states “this bill as amended would make it a crime to file a fraudulent lien. These fraudulent liens can take considerable time and money to clear up, and could prevent someone from buying or selling a home. The register of deeds would still accept the document but would have discretion about filing it if the lien was clearly fraudulent. AFT-NH is in support of the Committee’s recommendation and asks that it be supported.

The House EducationCommittee recommended that HB 1105-FN-L, relative to aid to school districts for costs of special education, Ought to Pass. AFT-NH supports this recommendation because it lifts the current cap of 72% on catastrophic special education funds and fully funds it. With this cap of 72% the state has downshifted roughly $8 million to communities. Catastrophic aid is a state fund that helps local district with exorbitant special education costs for our severely disabled children.

The House Education Committee also made a recommendation of ought to pass on HB 1114-FN, relative to limits on state expenditures for school building aid. AFT-NH is in support of this bill. It puts a floor to building aid not a cap. For the past six years many district have not been able to afford to complete upgrades, repairs or construct new buildings because of the cost. Keep in mind 50% of our school buildings are over 60 years old and many need infrastructure upgrades necessary for a 21st century learning environment.

The House Executive Departments and Administration committee recommended referring to interim study HB 1148-FN, relative to the reduction in the calculation of state retirement system annuities at age 65. Rep. Jeffrey P. Goley stated: “In 1988, the legislature decoupled group I pension benefits from Social Security, but left a statutory pension reduction of approximately 10 percent that took effect upon reaching the age of 65, then the full retirement age for Social Security. The normal retirement age for Social Security has now been increased to age 67. This bill would change the statutory reference from age 65 to “the members full retirement age for Social Security.”Committee members felt more time was needed to study if the intent in 1988 was to mirror the normal retirement age for Social Security.”AFT-NH would have liked a recommendation of ought to pass, as we understand the hardship this 10% reduction places on our retirees who have not received a cost of living adjustment in several years.

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 HEARINGS WEEK OF FEBRUARY 10TH

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session:  HB 1260-FN-L, relative to communication of the cost of services provided under the children in need of services (CHINS) program to parents.

1:00 p.m. Executive session:  HB 1198, relative to the procedure for filing children in need of services (CHINS) petition,

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session:  HB 1550, permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties,

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session:  HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application,
HB 1298, relative to additional criteria for review of chartered public school applications,
HB 1141, requiring chartered public schools to share enrollment information with school districts.

10:00 a.m. HB 1432, delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.

11:30 a.m. Continued public hearing:  HB 1252, establishing a committee to study and propose a recodification of the education laws currently in RSA title 15.

1:15 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1132-FN, relative to school building inventory reports,
HB1377, authorizing conferral of degrees by private entities,
HB 1388, relative to student religious liberties,
HB 1397, establishing a committee to study whether the department of education is operating within its statutory authority,
HB 1463, relative to the definitions of “priority school” and “focus school.”,
HB 1469, requiring each school district to establish a special education parent advisory council,
HB 1534, establishing a commission to study fiscal disparities between public school districts, Continued executive session:  HB 1180, relative to days of school.

ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Executive session on
HB 1462-FN, relative to electioneering by public employees,

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Rooms 305-307, LOB
10:15 a.m. HB 1403-FN, establishing a state minimum hourly wage.
1:00 p.m. HB 1349, relative to the definition of independent contractor.

2:30 p.m. Full committee work session:  HB 1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining.

2:45 p.m. Executive session on
HB 1188, relative to paycheck equity,
HB 1404, relative to payroll cards,
HB 1405, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions,
HB 1407, relative to privacy in the workplace,
HB 1592-FN, relative to requiring prevailing wages on state-funded public works projects

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session:  HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12

10:00 a.m. House in Session

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION,Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. SB 364, relative to group II service retirement allowances and relative to establishing a supplemental savings plan in the retirement system.
9:45 a.m. SB 398, relative to employment negotiations between the state and individual bargaining units.

LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
12:00 p.m. or at the lunch break from session.
Executive session:  HB 1207, relative to identification of the source of legislative bill proposals,
HB 1440-FN, including the writing, promoting, or distributing of model legislation to elected officials as lobbying and requiring disclosure of scholarship funds, money, or other financial support received from such lobbyists by elected officials,
HB 1551, relative to the employment of elected officials

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
9:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session:  HB 1212, relative to social media privacy in higher education,
HB 1200, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions,
HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school,
HB 1393-FN-L, relative to tuition payments for students attending a chartered public school in the student’s district of residence,
HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school.

1:15 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing:  HB 1586-FN, relative to student and teacher information protection and privacy.

2:00 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing:  HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of pupil data.

2:30 p.m. Rescheduled public hearing:  HB 1238, relative to access to assessment materials.

3:00 p.m. HB 1508 termination of state participation in the common core educational standards.

FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
11:00 a.m. Work session:  HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 206, LOB
9:30 a.m. Full committee work session:  HB 1633-FN-A-L, relative to expanded gaming in New Hampshire.

Feb. 11th Is Your Chance To Help Raise The Minimum Wage In NH

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

The fight over raising the minimum wage is heating up.  During President Obama’s State of the Union address he announced that he would use an executive order to mandate that all government contractors pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour.  This falls in line with the $10.10 per hour proposal that the President and Democrats have been pushing for months.

During the State of the Union called for more local legislation to push for a higher minimum wage since Congress in unable to pass the proposed increase.

Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act.”

Now is your chance to help pass a minimum wage increase right here in New Hampshire.

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

On February 11th the NH House Labor Committee will hear testimony for and against raising the minimum wage.  This is where you can help.  We need people to show up and talk with legislators about why it is important to raise the minimum wage.

The specifics of HB 1403 are to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 in 2015 and then to  $9.00 per hour in 2016.  The bill will also tie the NH minimum wage to inflation, which insures that workers will continue to see an increase as their cost of living increases.

Even if you are not comfortable testifying to the committee about raising the minimum wage, we still need your help.  Just being there to show your support is important.

There are multiple events going on Feb 11th as part of this consolidated push to pass HB 1403.  The Voices of Faith for Humane Public Policy and the NH Faith-Labor Dialogue Project are hosting an ‘Interfaith Prayer Breakfast Calling for the Dignity of All Workers’ at
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, (21 Centre Street, Concord) at 8am.
(Please RSVP if you are planning to attend:
economicjustice.nhcucc@gmail.com)

After the interfaith service the NH AFL-CIO is holding a Raise the Wage Press Conference.  Those who support raising the minimum wage are encouraged to attend the press conference, which begins at 9:30 am in the Lobby of the Legislative Office Building.

Then at 10:30 everyone is encouraged to attend and sign in supporting the passage of HB 1403 at the public hearing (Room 305-307 in the Legislative Office Building). If you are interested in offering testimony for this bill, contact Kurt Ehrenberg, kurtehrenberg@nhaflcio.org for information and tips on delivering testimony.

Thousands of minimum wage workers need your help and your support to ensure the passage of HB 1403 to raise the minimum wage here in New Hampshire.

House Members Voice Bipartisan Support For New House Casino Gaming Bill

Image from Kathy on Twitter

108 Co-Sponsors Sign Onto HB 1633

Image from Kathy on Twitter

Image from Kathy on Twitter

Editor’s Note: The NH AFL-CIO has unanimously voted to support the new gaming bill.

Several dozen New Hampshire House members stood together to endorse and co-sponsor a new casino proposal being heard on Thursday.  House Bill 1633 is the result of research and work done by the legislature’s Gaming Regulatory Authority, and the proposal has a growing number of supporters, including those who voted against gambling last spring.

Representative Katherine Rogers (D), Concord, says the proposal has 108 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, and more are adding their names this week.  Rogers is a member of the newly-formed Fair Deal Caucus, which will focus on passing this bill in this session.  “This bill is different.  It is a compromise.  It is the House position on gambling:  one license, a high-end casino, strictly regulated with all new oversight, but woven into the existing fabric of our state’s law enforcement.”

Highlights include:

  • A new, five member state oversight commission for casino gambling.
  • Stronger, clearer roles by the NH Attorney General and the NH State Police in investigating and enforcing casino operations.
  • Establishing a commissioner of problem gambling and research to ensure our citizens and our lawmakers have accurate information about the true impact of gambling.
  • Local control to guarantee a host community’s residents can vote to approve of a casino being built in their town.   If they don’t want it, they can say no.
  • Clear mandates on the development and cost of a casino, including minimum investments, workforce development for locals, green technology and local oversight.
  • To protect existing cultural centers, there is language regarding potentially impacted non-profit and municipal entertainment venues. Casino applicants must attempt to reach an agreement with these venues to mitigate impacts on local sites.
  • There are penalties for missed deadlines, a prohibition on any ability to “flip” a license to another owner, and all proposed regulations are merged with current state laws to avoid loopholes and confusion. There are also new civil and criminal offenses to deal specifically with casino operations.

HB 1633’s prime sponsor Representative Richard Ames, (D), Jaffrey, believes the intense scrutiny by the authority, which included the NH Attorney General and the New Hampshire State police, resulted in a proposal with the right oversight.  “This proposal offers a way that ensures integrity and confidence in New Hampshire casino regulation.”

This new bill, with its changes, has already changed minds.  Representative Jeremy Dobson (D), Manchester, voted against the casino bill last year, because he felt there was not enough regulation and not enough revenue or jobs for New Hampshire.  “By including comprehensive regulations and other significant improvements, HB 1633 answers the concerns I had with last year’s expanded gaming bill.”

Representative Richard Hinch (R), Merrimack, says lawmakers who crafted this proposal clearly listened to the concerns of fellow House members.  He says now it’s time for lawmakers to listen to the people, who overwhelmingly support casino gambling according to many polls, including a recent UNH Survey Center poll showing 60% support for gaming, and a 2-1 advantage over opponents. “The people of New Hampshire understand once Massachusetts casinos are up and running, they will drain our state of revenues that we could be keeping right here.  That is hundreds of millions of dollars of tax free revenue that will help us fund our most important programs.”

The main sponsors of HB 1633 are members of the Gaming Regulatory Authority. Working with a national expertise on gaming regulations, the Authority crafted two bills:  a new proposed regulatory framework for charity gambling in the state, and a tightly-regulated casino bill for consideration by lawmakers.

Representative Ken Weyler (R), Kingston, spoke in favor of the bill to fellow conservatives. ” I urge my fellow Republicans to recognize the good work done on this proposal.  We have taken your recommendations; we have crafted a compromise bill that is bringing both sides together in support of expanded gambling in New Hampshire.”

Several members expressed their interest in speaking at the Ways and Means hearing for HB 1633 on Thursday morning at 9 am in Representatives Hall.  Caucus members say they will meet with members one on one and explain the details of the bill with the hopes of earning the votes needed to finally pass a casino plan out of the House and over to the NH Senate.