Merrimack County Democrats Announce Candidacy for NH House of Representatives

Bow, NH, June 9, 2014 – Last week, three Merrimack County Democrats announced their candidacy for the NH House of Representatives in District 23.  Anne Baier and Dennis D’Ovidio of Bow and Bob Martel of Dunbarton each filed their intent to run for office with the NH Secretary of State.

Baier and D’Ovidio are first time candidates, but neither is a newcomer to public service. Baier, a 27 year resident of Bow has served on the local School Board for 11 years, actively participating in the negotiation of teacher and support staff contracts; and has been a Trustee of the Concord Community Music School for six years.

“My collaborative nature, my experience in business operations and contract negotiation, will help me find common ground for the good of our State and communities and allow me to represent the voters of Bow and Dunbarton in a bipartisan way,” said Baier.

She and her husband, Dr. Clete Baier, have six children and two grandchildren.

D’Ovidio has lived in New Hampshire 40 years and has resided in Bow for 14.  He worked at the Laconia State School for nine years prior to working at NH State Hospital where he managed a multi- million dollar budget for over 20 years. All told, he devoted 34 years to state service. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor in the Human Service department at NH Technical Institute in Concord.

“I am running to help preserve the American way of life and the democratic process; to give back to the community for the privilege of living in a democracy; to advocate for policies that support families; and the working women and men of NH and local business enterprises,” said D’Ovidio.

D’Ovidio and his wife, Beth, have four children and five grandchildren. D’Ovidio has provided “Grandpa Day Care” for each of the grandchildren at least one day a week since they were infants.

Martel has previously run for office and is currently a member of the NH Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation.

New Hampshire House Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Written on May 15, 2014

Note: Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted with bipartisan support to pass by a 2-to-1 margin an amended version of SB 307 that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

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

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are finally responding to the people’s call to rein in the torrent of money that is flowing into our political system. We applaud them for it, and we urge Senate lawmakers to follow suit.

In March, the state Senate moved forward SB 307 as a hollow bill that created a committee to examine the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation. But it did not explicitly recognize the need for a constitutional amendment. Citizens United gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

Today, the House voted to pass a version of SB 307 that includes language specifically calling for a constitutional amendment. This is in line with what the people of New Hampshire have been calling on their elected officials to do.

In March, 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 Citizens United ruling. And the momentum is still building. On Tuesday, both Hanover and Peterborough passed town resolutions calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned. On Wednesday, New London and Sanbornton passed similar resolutions. This brings to 52 the number of New Hampshire towns calling for a resolution this year.

The bill will head to conference committee where the Senate now has a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended language. If passed, New Hampshire would become the 17th state to call for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

View more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.

Governor Hassan and Senator Larsen’s Statements On Paycheck Fairness Vote In NH House

Statement from Governor Hassan on House’s Final Passage of Paycheck Fairness Act

CONCORD – Following the House’s final passage today of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement:

“With the final passage of the most significant piece of legislation for women in New Hampshire’s workforce in over a decade, Republican and Democratic members of the House have reaffirmed the basic principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.

“Eliminating the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across the state, and I thank Senator Larsen, Speaker Norelli and legislators from both parties for passing this common-sense legislation. I look forward to signing the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law and helping ensure that all of our workers earn a fair and equal paycheck.”

Senator Larsen Applauds the House Passage of the NH Paycheck Fairness Act

CONCORD – Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen released the following statement after the House passed Senate Bill 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.

“Thank you to Speaker Terie Norelli and House Labor Chairman Andy White for their work in guiding this bill through the House. This definitive  action by the House affirms that we must act to close the wage gap in New Hampshire.”

Senate Bill 207 has been cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. All Senate Democrats have sponsored the legislation with House Speaker Terie Norelli serving as the leading House sponsor along with co-sponsors Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give the more than 60% of women working in today’s economy, as the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, the much-needed tools they need to combat the wage gap.”

“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation. With this action today, we are sending a crystal clear message that the Legislature is on the side of all workers guaranteeing a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.”

“I look forward to this bill becoming law, so New Hampshire can renew our commitment to the fundamental principle of “an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.””

 

New Hampshire House Committee Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

New Hampshire House Committee Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

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

Today, the New Hampshire State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 8-to-5 in favor of adding language into SB 307 that calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

In March, the state Senate moved forward SB 307 as a hollow bill that created a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation; however, it did not recognize the need for a constitutional amendment.

The committee’s bipartisan vote today to add language calling for a constitutional amendment is in line with what the people of New Hampshire want. 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 Citizens United ruling. This decision gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The full House is expected to pass the amended language with similar strong support and send the question back to conference committee. There, the Senate will have a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended language.

It is important for the New Hampshire Legislature to listen to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment. If passed, New Hampshire would become the 17th state to call for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

View more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.

4-28-14 AFT-NH Legislative Update: NH Retirement System, Charter Schools, and More

The following bill passed the full House last week and now returns to the Senate, who will decide whether to accept the House’s changes or send it to a Committee of Conference.

SB193: Expanding Access to Oral Health Care in NH. This bill forms a Study Commission that would examine barriers to oral health care for under-served NH residents. We believe this study will help build the case that addressing the dental workforce must be part of any long-term strategy to bridge the gaps in our system of oral care access.

The following bills passed the full Senate last week and have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.  

HB 1494:  relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. See more at: http://nh.aft.org/legislation/aft-nh-legislative-update-april-21-2014#sthash.NWMn0ODH.dpuf

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

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

The following bills passed both Chambers and now move to the Governor’s desk.

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

HB 1392-FN-L, removing the restriction on the number of pupils eligible to transfer to a chartered public school.AFT-NH is not in support of this bill and asks that the Governor veto it. There has been no past problem for any student wishing to attend a charter school. Furthermore, the unintended consequence could negatively impact the public school by depleting a grade level of attendance or curriculum options.

HB 1587-FN-L, relative to the collection and disclosure of student data. We believe that this bill will help protect the privacy of students in New Hampshire.

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

Thank you!

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey

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

UPCOMING COMMITTEE HEARINGS

TUESDAY, APRIL 29

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1624-FN, modernizing the juvenile justice system to ensure rehabilitation of juveniles and preservation of juvenile rights.

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

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity.

House EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:30 a.m. SB 396, relative to child restraint practices.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30

10:00 a.m. House in Session

THURSDAY, MAY 1

10:00 a.m. Senate in Session

House ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. Continued executive session on SB 120-FN, relative to political contributions and expenditures and relative to reporting by political committees.

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 339-FN, (New Title) relative to instituting a credit card affinity program in which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability.

House FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
2:00 p.m. Work session on SB 395-FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands.

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

THURSDAY, MAY 8

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

House FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 395- FN, relative to the retirement classification of the director of the division of forests and lands.

Paycheck Fairness Advocates Applaud House Vote to Approve the NH Paycheck Fairness Act

 

Equal Pay for Equal Work (lilly ledbetter act)Paycheck Fairness Act has one last stop at House Criminal Justice Committee before being sent to Governor’s desk 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 187 to 134 today to pass SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. The entire Democratic caucus present* and eleven House Republicans joined the unanimous and bi-partisan vote from the Senate in support of the legislation that will eliminate loopholes, increase transparency in wages, and ensure that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation. The legislation has one last stop at the House Criminal Justice Committee and another floor vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk; Governor Maggie Hassan has previously indicated her support for the bill.

The NH AFL–CIO, NH Citizens Alliance for Action, Granite State Progress, NH Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative, Women’s Fund of New Hampshire, and the National Women’s Law Center applaud the New Hampshire House’s bi-partisan adoption of SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. The organizations released the following statements on today’s House vote:

Mark MacKenzie, President, New Hampshire AFL-CIO: “We applaud the 187 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives who today stood with working families by voting to pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Equity Act. Senate Bill 207 will help close the gender wage gap in the Granite State by giving women access to the tools and information they need to make sure they are being paid fairly. New Hampshire AFL-CIO is proud to be a leader in the diverse coalition of women’s organizations, labor unions, and grassroots action groups that led the fight to win this important and timely progress for New Hampshire’s working women.”

Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “Today the NH House voted for a New Hampshire and an America that works for all of us, with liberty and justice for all.  Ensuring equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, heritage, or marital status is a critical component in protecting and expanding our state’s middle class and driving a successful economy.”

Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress: “We commend the House bipartisan adoption of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. This law will give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps and help create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated. We are eager to see the legislation move through the final steps in the House and then to the desk of paycheck fairness supporter Governor Maggie Hassan.”

Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “Today the House took New Hampshire one step closer toward eliminating unfair gender paycheck inequities in our state. The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will help provide women with the tools they need to get fair pay in the workplace, and the NHCLU welcomes its passage by both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature.”

Dawn Andonellis, Public Policy Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “Closing the wage gap in New Hampshire is an economic return on investment that will help to keep our college graduates, particularly women, in the state. We applaud the New Hampshire House for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and for taking this important step toward ending gender discrimination in the workplace.”

Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative: “Today we have moved one giant step closer to eliminating the gender wage gap in New Hampshire. We would like to thank our stakeholder partners, the Senate and the legislative champions of SB 207 in the House for all of their hard work to make New Hampshire an even better place to retain employees and for all families across the state. We look forward to Governor Hassan signing this important piece of legislation.”

Marianne Jones, Executive Director, Women’s Fund of NH: “The paycheck transparency that is addressed in SB 207 is one more tool that can help minimize the persistent wage gap in New Hampshire. We know that this will ensure that women and girls prosper in the future, and that entire communities will have the potential to thrive.”

Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center: “Pay discrimination is alive and well across America.  Millions of working women suspect they’re being paid less than their male counterparts but have no way of confirming it. And some don’t realize they’re being shortchanged because company policies prevent them from discussing their wages. We applaud the New Hampshire House for moving swiftly to improve their pay discrimination laws and call on Congress to follow its lead.”

SB 207 sponsors include all Senate Democrats along with House Speaker Terie Norelli, Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

 

* The sole House Democrat in opposition was Free State Project member Tim O’Flaherty.

Governor Hassan Statement on Bipartisan House Vote to Pass Paycheck Fairness Act

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement today on the House’s bipartisan vote to pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act:

“Today, the House of Representatives has passed the most significant piece of legislation for women in New Hampshire’s workforce in over a decade. I commend Republican and Democratic members for supporting this common-sense measure to help all of our workers earn a fair and equal paycheck.

“Eliminating the pay gap between women and men will strengthen the financial security of working families and help them make ends meet while boosting our state’s economy. I thank Senator Larsen, Speaker Norelli and legislators from both parties for making this legislation a priority. I look forward to signing the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law and reaffirming the basic principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”

(Click here to read the statement by Rep. Linda Tanner (D­Georges Mills), member of the House Labor Committee)

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

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

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

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).