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NH Passes Full Day Kindergarten, Sort Of

Yesterday, the Senate passed SB 191 also known as “Keno-garten” to partially fund full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire.

The bill would pay a portion of the costs ($1,100 of the $1,800 per pupil) to expand half-day kindergarten to full day with revenue generated through the state’s new Keno lottery.  There are no guarantees that Keno revenue will be enough to fund the program in the coming years and the bill still does not require all NH schools to expand kindergarten to a full day program.

The National Education Association of NH, representing thousands of educators across the state, explained the dilemma over SB 191 in their open letter urging legislators to support SB191.

“To be clear, SB 191 as amended by the Committee of Conference, is not perfect. NEA-New Hampshire has always, and will always continue, to advocate that full day kindergarten be funded in full in the same manner as all other grades. However, NEA-NH also recognizes sometimes you have to compromise in the process of getting to your ultimate goal.

SB 191 is just such a compromise. Yes, it does not guarantee full funding of kindergarten, and yes, the funding mechanism is not necessarily the one I would have chosen. But it is also the largest step New Hampshire has ever taken toward fully funding full day kindergarten that has occurred since I began teaching 18 years ago.

…New Hampshire’s current method of kindergarten funding puts an enormous burden on the 70% of New Hampshire municipalities (covering 80% of New Hampshire’s students) that have voluntarily elected to offer full day kindergarten. SB 191 will provide significant tax relief to those towns, and hopefully, encourage the remaining cities and towns to adopt full day kindergarten as well.

NEA-New Hampshire believes that all school districts should offer full day kindergarten. While passage of SB 191 does not accomplish that goal, it certainly puts New Hampshire much, much closer to reaching it than we ever have before.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn is disappointed that Republicans refused to adopt a fully funded, full day kindergarten program and vows to continue to push for a fully funded, mandatory full day kindergarten program.

“Senate Democrats have been leading advocates for Kindergarten, and for fully funding full-day Kindergarten, for many years — we know this issue well and we know what this means for our communities. Passing full funding for full-day Kindergarten should have been an easy task. Governor Sununu promised to support it during his campaign and full funding for full-day Kindergarten passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.”

“It’s disappointing that in the final hour, Governor Sununu and Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by removing full-day Kindergarten from the budget, abandoning full funding, and choosing to push a half-measure tied to Keno. Make no mistake, SB 191 does not fully fund full-day Kindergarten. But, Democrats will continue to lead the fight for full funding for full-day Kindergarten with no strings attached.”

NH Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley highlighted that newly elected Governor Chris Sununu campaigned heavily on expanding kindergarten and has “broken a key campaign promise.”

“The governor broke a key campaign promise today. Instead of the fully-funded full day kindergarten he pledged on the campaign trail, he offered a half-measure and turned a blind eye while Republicans gutted even that. Because of Sununu’s abject failure to lead, Democrats were forced to pick up the pieces and salvage what was left for the sake of our kids. Governor Sununu and the Republicans always seem to make common sense a complicated calculus. While Democratic leaders would simply pass fully-funded full day kindergarten, Republicans need to cut it in half, tie it to gambling measures, and beg their members to vote yes. Real reform requires real champions, and Republicans are anything but.”

After the bill passed NEA-New Hampshire praised its passage.

“NEA-New Hampshire applauds the passage of SB 191, and thanks Governor Sununu and the bi-partisan coalition of legislators for finally putting New Hampshire on the path to full day kindergarten,” said Megan Tuttle, President of NEA-NH. “The benefits of full-day kindergarten are clear. Those students that attend full-day kindergarten are better prepared to enter first grade, have a higher high school graduation rate and are more likely to go to college. Full day kindergarten is a sound educational investment and I am thrilled that the legislators in Concord have recognized that.”

Now that the bill has passed questions still remain about the constitutionality of the legislation.  Andru Volinsky, Executive Councilor, and the lead lawyer in the Claremont education funding case of 1997, told WMUR last week that the bill is unconstitutional.

… Senate Bill 191 fails to meet the standard set out in the landmark 1997 New Hampshire Supreme Court decision in the Claremont school funding case requiring the state to provide and fund a constitutionally adequate education to all students.

….The Claremont ruling did not specifically refer to kindergarten, but it did say that the state’s system of funding “elementary and secondary public education” at the time, almost entirely through property taxes, was unconstitutional.

“Full-day kindergarten is part of a constitutionally adequate education,” Volinsky said Friday. “And once you understand that concept, you understand that the state must pay for constitutional adequacy.”

Volinsky also said, by failing to fully fund, full day kindergarten local school districts who choose to expand kindergarten will be putting even more “burden on local taxpayers”.

For those that have already chosen to expand kindergarten programs, this bill is a step in the right direction but it does not go as far as it should. This bill will help the 70% of school districts that already offer full day kindergarten.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin: NH Budget, Kindergarten Funding, And Voter Suppression

May 11, 2017  

The wheels turn slowly in Concord, as we grind towards the inevitable mid-June end of the 2017 legislative session The House did not meet in session this week due to a lack of bills coming to the floor for action, so everything will be condensed into sessions at the end of May. The House meets in session on May 18th to vote on an emergency supplemental appropriation to fund the Department of Health and Human Services until the end of the fiscal year. There will be no consideration of committee reports at this session.

Senate Action   The Senate did meet in session this week. The Senate’s proposed budget is yet to be unveiled. Committees did meet, however, and legislation continues to be refined and revenues continue to be sought for funding of various proposals. HB 356-FN, the bill with the attempted power grab by Education Commissioner Edelblut, was voted on by the Senate and for now, the power grab has been held at bay. The final amended bill as passed by the Senate creates a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education, the original intent of the bill, and “establishes a committee to study the organizational structure of the department of education and the duties and responsibilities of the commissioner of the department of education”.  The report of this committee is due out on November 1, 2017. The bill as amended also “authorizes the commissioner of the department of education, with the advice of the state board of education and after consultation with the deputy director and affected division directors, to transfer or assign functions, programs, or services within or between any division. Vigilance will be necessary to monitor the work of this committee and recommendations for the session in January.

Voter Suppression The House Election Law committee met earlier this week to once again consider SB 3, the voter suppression bill. A lengthy amendment was presented to the committee by Republican members, but while it redrafted many sections of the bill, most of the changes were technical and related to issues raised by groups such as the NH Municipal Association. One interesting proposal was to change who might come to your door to follow up and check on your domicile. Rather than election officials or local law enforcement, the proposed change had county officials doing this work, that is until it was pointed out that county sheriffs and their employees would likely be tasked with this duty. So, back to the drawing board. Given that there are virtually no reported instances of voter fraud in New Hampshire, the idea of having law enforcement confirm the domicile you listed when registering seems just a bit sinister. But to hear some House members and Senators speak, bringing law enforcement into the voter registration process and creating lengthy and confusing forms for new voters to fill out is all just normal, not an attempt to dissuade people from voting. According to the docket, the House Election Law Committee has this scheduled for Executive Session on May 16th at 10:20am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 308.

Funding for Full Day Kindergarten   In other news, the House Finance Committee held hearings this week on funding of full-day kindergarten across New Hampshire. No one can accuse New Hampshire of rushing into new and innovative ideas, since 76% of kindergarten students in 2012 were already in full-day sessions. Whether the Finance Committee will recommend financing this initiative or ask the House to reject it, it will be a difficult vote to defeat this initiative, given that it passed as a policy measure by nearly a 2 to 1 margin in the House just a couple of weeks ago. The public hearing was held last week and the Finance Committee (Division II) has scheduled an executive session for SB 191-FN, funding for full day kindergarten on Tuesday, May 16th at 11:00am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 209. The Finance Committee is also investigating the financing of SB 247, which will mandate early childhood testing for lead poisoning and require it as a prerequisite for public school enrollment. Everyone concedes that lead poisoning has very serious developmental consequences for young children, consequences that last a lifetime. Where the battle-lines are being drawn in the House is over the proposal to establish a fund to aid landlords in remediating for lead in properties they own. So there are costs associated with this initiative, costs that must then be counter-balanced by the public health benefits, especially in regards to young children who are not responsible for the environment in which they live. It is a public health issue, but also one with serious educational and social welfare ramifications, so it will prove interesting to see how this plays out at the end of the session.

New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony   On Friday, May 19th at 9:45 am in front of the Legislative Office Building at the memorial site, the annual service to honor our fallen NH law enforcement heroes will be held. If you can attend, please do make the effort. Next week is National Policer Officers Week to honor the work of law enforcement. We gather on May 19th to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice keeping us all safe and every day we should appreciate and support the work of our law enforcement officers.

Finally, the House Committee on Legislative Administration held its public hearings on Republican Robert Fisher, accused of misogynistic commentary and running/contributing to a web platform with postings favorable to rape as well as claiming women lose value once past the age of thirty. Fisher defended himself in his hearing, admitting to some comments, denying others, but showing little in the way of remorse or contrition. As for Democrat Sherry Frost, the committee is investigating uncivil language used by her in a series of tweets a number of months ago, for which she already apologized. As noted last week, the political balancing act here is quite clear even if the allegations are not remotely equivalent, but this is life under the golden dome of the State House. The committee will issue its report and recommendations next week, and it will be interesting to see if the committee goes beyond a reprimand. That leaves it to the voters in Laconia (Fisher) and Dover (Frost). However, when the front page of NH’s leading newspaper features headlines on Fisher’s hearing and then the sentencing of former Republican representative Kyle Tasker on drug charges and using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor, well it just wasn’t a good day. Of course, if Tasker were proposing marriage to the 14-year old, that would be fine—remember, the House refused to raise the age for marriage for girls from 13 to 18 years old. It has been that kind of year. 

 

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

Below is a PDF copy of the Bulletin you can print and share.

AFT-NH LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN May 11, 2017

State Senator Lou D’Allesandro Endorses Cavanaugh in Special Election

Manchester, NH – Today, Kevin Cavanaugh’s campaign announced the endorsements of State Senator Lou D’Allesandro and other local leaders. Cavanaugh is running in the NH Senate District 16 special election.

“It’s an honor to have the support of Senator D’Allesandro. I’m running for the Senate so that together, we can fight for working families, support our schools, and stand up for all Granite Staters,” said Kevin Cavanaugh.

“I’m proud to be supporting Kevin’s campaign – he will bring an important voice and a fresh perspective to the Senate,” said Lou D’Allesandro. “I’m impressed by his commitment and dedication to serving the people of his district – the people of New Hampshire will benefit greatly by having a person with his background in Concord.”

Kevin was born and raised in Manchester and has spent the past 32 years as a union employee. He has coached High School Football at Memorial and West as well as multiple youth hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball teams. Kevin was first elected to the Board of Alderman in 2015. He lives in Manchester Ward 1 with his wife and three teenage children who have all gone through the public school system.

Newly announced endorsements also include State Representative Linda DiSilvestro, Bow Board of Selectmen Chair Harold Judd, former Manchester Alderman Garth Corriveau, and progressive activist Kate Corriveau.

Area leaders who have endorsed Kevin Cavanaugh:

 

  • Patti McGilvray, wife of the late Senator Scott McGilvray
  • Lou  D’Allesandro, State Senator*
  • Glenn Brackett, labor leader
  • Bob Backus, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Linda DiSilvestro, State Representative (Manchester)*
  • Mary Heath, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Christopher Herbert, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Pat Long, State Representative & Manchester Alderman
  • Mark MacKenzie, State Representative (Manchester) & Former AFL-CIO President
  • Bill O’Neil, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Dan Sullivan, State Representative (Manchester)
  • Bill Barry, Manchester Alderman
  • Garth Corriveau, Former Manchester Alderman*
  • Harold Judd, Bow Board of Selectmen Chair*
  • Mike Kaminski, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Chair
  • Bob Martel, Dunbarton Board of Selectmen Co-Chair
  • Dan O’Neil, Manchester Alderman & Former State Senator
  • Tony Sapienza, Manchester Alderman
  • Timothy Tsantoulis, Hooksett Councilor
  • Sarah Ambrogi, Manchester School Board Member
  • Erika Connors, Manchester School Board Member
  • Mary Ngwanda Georges, Manchester School Board Member
  • Maura Ouellette, Former Hooksett School Board Chair
  • Kim Royer, Candia School Board Member
  • Leslie Want, Manchester School Board Member
  • Kate Corriveau, progressive activist*
*previously unannounced endorsements

Another Busy Day In Concord

NH House Acts On A Number Of Bills Including Full Day Kindergarten, Water Testing, Increase Civics Course Requirements, And Action To Censure Rep Fisher.

Yesterday was another very busy day in Concord as the House acted on many of the bills put forth by the Senate earlier in the year.

First, the House restored funding to the amended SB 191, agreeing to spend $14 million dollars to fully fund full day kindergarten.  Because the bill was changed from the one that passed the Senate, it will have to go back to the committee to finalize the details between the two bills.

“The House’s vote today in support of full-day kindergarten is a long-overdue recognition of the value that kindergarten programs provide to the development of our children.  This bill simply provides full funding for kindergarten programs in communities that offer it, finally giving kindergarten the support it deserves,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook).  “The business community recognizes the importance of early childhood education and strongly supports this bill.  I am hopeful that the House Finance Committee will reach the same conclusion in their review of this legislation.”


Another issue that has already hit the wires is the censuring of Rep Fisher for his involvement in the online “Reddit Red Pill”.  The House agreed to send the matter to the Legislative Adminstration committee for review where they will recommend reprimand, censure, expulsion, or no action.

“I was shocked to see a report linking the creation of the ‘Red Pill’ online forum to a New Hampshire State Representative,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook). “A brief search of the ‘Red Pill’ reveals that it’s central purpose is to train men how to manipulate and dominate women.  Misogynist beliefs about the intelligence of women are prevalent in ‘Red Pill’ discussions.  It is particularly troubling that Representative Fisher has shown no contrition for his actions since being revealed as the creator of this forum.”

“Referring this matter to the Legislative Administration Committee will allow for an investigation into Representative Fisher’s involvement with this forum since his election to the New Hampshire House.  As elected officials it is our duty to act with honor both inside the State House and out, and I am confident that the Legislative Administration Committee will give this serious matter the consideration it deserves,” Shurtleff added.

“The NH GOP is sending a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Rep. Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “There should have been no hesitation in calling out Fisher’s action and no hiding behind false equivalences.”

In an attempt to shield Rep Fisher, the House Majority Leader, Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack), stated there would be a “statute of limitations on the rape culture comments” and the committee would only investigate comments “Fisher made during the current legislative session” even though he founded and contributed to the website Red Pill over the course of many years.

The Republican’s in the House also pushed for similar actions against State Rep Sherry Frost who for making what some deemed inappropriate comments on Twitter earlier this year.  Rep Frost did already apologize for her comment.

“The NH GOP didn’t want to hold Fisher accountable, so they chose instead to target a female legislator who speaks her mind. This is the same playbook that encourages rape culture in the first place – blame the woman,” stated Rice-Hawkins.


The House approved legislation to significantly increase protections for children from lead in paint and drinking water. Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord), prime sponsor of the legislation, offered the following comments after the bipartisan House vote:

“Today’s vote is the culmination of many months of bipartisan work by many committed stakeholders. I’m pleased that the House has joined the Senate to make this happen to protect our kids from the lifelong effects of disabling lead exposure.”

“Each year, several hundred children in New Hampshire test positive with dangerous and disabling levels of lead in their blood,” said Senator Feltes.

“SB 247 focuses on lead poisoning prevention by increasing testing, disclosures, and through modernization of our safety standards, addressing both lead in paint and lead in water. This bipartisan effort will save money in the long-run (for every dollar invested in prevention and abatement we save at least $17 dollars), help close the opportunity gap between low-income and upper-income children, and help combat a major public health problem.”

“This victory today is what it’s all about: getting things done for people that make a real difference in their lives, especially our kids.”


In an overwhelming vote of 328-30, the House of Representatives voted today to pass SB 9, which strengthens the Rape Shield Law.  SB 9 ensures that rape shield protections include the victim’s past, and apply throughout the entire criminal justice process.  The bill will now head to Governor Sununu’s desk for signature.

“Today’s vote to strengthen New Hampshire’s Rape Shield Law is critically important for victims of sexual violence.  Only 16% of rapes are currently reported to police, largely because victims fear retaliation and the public scrutiny they would endure by coming forward,” stated House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook). “Ensuring that victims’ privacy rights are protected will allow people to come forward and seek justice without fear of their private life being broadcast to the world.”

“The strength shown by the Marriott family in their advocacy will ensure that other families are not forced to endure uncertainty, fear, and denial of rights as they seek justice.”


The House unanimously passed SB 45, legislation to increase civics course requirements for high school students. Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), prime sponsor of the bill, offered the following comments after passage:

“I’ve been advocating for more robust civics education in New Hampshire’s schools for years,” said Senator D’Allesandro. “Today’s students are graduating with limited knowledge of the systems and processes of the society they live and work in and without grasping their powers and responsibilities within that system. The key to increasing citizen participation and resolving some of the frustration with government that we’re seeing lately is to give people the knowledge they need to participate.  I’m glad we’ve taken this step to elevate the importance of civics education for our students.”

SB 45 creates a uniform framework for the administration of civics courses to include instruction on the U.S. Constitution, the New Hampshire Constitution, the structures and functions of federal government and how those branches interact with state and local government, opportunities and responsibilities for civic involvement and the skills to be an effective citizen.


The House passed SB 157, legislation to make clear all substance use disorder services shall be considered as part of network adequacy, and that carriers properly notify consumers of their rights, including the right to appeal and the right to access services out-of-network at the same cost as in-network. Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord) offered the following comments after the bill was passed by unanimous consent:

“To make progress on our opioid and mental health crises, it is critically important that the New Hampshire Insurance Department finish its network adequacy rules, and promptly complete and make public its analysis of insurance carrier treatment of persons with mental health impairments,” said Senator Feltes, prime sponsor of the bill. “In the meantime, SB 157 makes it abundantly clear that substance use disorder services shall be considered as part of network adequacy analyses.  It also helps make sure consumers and their families know where to turn to for help, including when critical services are not available in their network. The first number many folks call when struggling to find mental health or substance use disorder services is the number on the back of their insurance card. SB 157 ensures that the right information is provided at the right time.”

NH House Passes Bill To Fully Fund Full Day Kindergarten In NH Schools

The New Hampshire House voted 247-116 today to adopt an amended version of SB 191, which will provide $14 million in adequacy payments to communities that offer full-day kindergarten programs.  The bill will now head to the House Finance Committee for review.

“The House’s vote today in support of full-day kindergarten is a long-overdue recognition of the value that kindergarten programs provide to the development of our children.  This bill simply provides full funding for kindergarten programs in communities that offer it, finally giving kindergarten the support it deserves,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook).  “The business community recognizes the importance of early childhood education and strongly supports this bill.  I am hopeful that the House Finance Committee will reach the same conclusion in their review of this legislation.”

Earlier this year, the Senate passed SB 191 in its original form by a vote of 22 to 1 before amending the funding level down to $9 million per year and sending SB 191 to the House.

“It’s a great day for New Hampshire children and for those that want to see elected officials come together in a bipartisan fashion,” said Senator Woodburn. “Now that the House and Senate have gone on record as supporting full-funding rather than the Governor’s grant program, it’s time to move forward and include the full-funding in the budget.”

“Funding full-day kindergarten expands educational opportunities for our students, expands opportunity for parents who need to work, and eases the burdens on local property taxpayers. Today’s vote is a great example of how the legislature can come together and do the right thing. When it comes to investing in our children’s futures, we can’t afford to cut corners and take the easy way out and I urge the legislature to make sure this full funding is included in the budget,” Woodburn added.

“Governor Sununu was pushed to support fully funded full-day kindergarten on the campaign trail and broke that promise with his budget proposal and appointment of Frank Edelblut as Education Commissioner,” said NH Democratic Party Chair, Ray Buckley. “Today, Democrats held him accountable for his broken promise by finally providing every child in the state full-day kindergarten instead of ceding to his half-baked budget proposal. Democrats carried the bill across the finish line in the House, with every single Democratic House member voting for the legislation while a majority of Republican members voted against it.  Sununu’s inability to lead almost cost us full-day kindergarten. Today was another example of why we need Democrats in the State House.”

Yesterday Was Big Day In Concord For The Future Of Education In NH

Senate Stops Edelblut’s Power Grab, House Kills Voucher Bill And Funds Full Day Kindergarten

Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Edelblut requested broad new authority to make unilateral decisions impacting the future of education in New Hampshire 

Concord, NH – The NH State Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 yesterday to reject an amendment requested by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The amendment to otherwise non-controversial bill HB 356 would have given the new Commissioner broad authority to make unilateral decisions impacting education in the Granite State.

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins applauded the Senate’s actions:

“We applaud the Senate Education committee for rejecting the attempted power grab by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. Much of the public opposition to Frank Edelblut’s nomination and confirmation highlighted concerns over how he would operate within the Department of Education, and actions like this confirm Governor Sununu and the Executive Council should have listened to their constituents. This amendment was not the routine organizational realignment Commissioner Edelblut tried to characterize it as but a naked power grab for political purposes. Since taking office Edelblut has consistently used his Commissioner status to act in a unilateral manner to try to implement the strongly held beliefs he downplayed during the confirmation process.”

Just two months into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has already made waves for trying to re-open the Next Generation Science Standards that were just approved last year; he initially refused to come clean about making a donation to a school privatization lawsuit against the Department he now leads; he forwarded an internal job posting to one of his Free State Project friends and then sent that individual’s resume to the HR director (that individual is also on the Board of an off-shoot group organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country); he is using his position to lobby for SB 193, school vouchers/privatization; and he tried to usurp the State Board of Education’s rule-making responsibilities by injecting himself between the State Board and JLCAR – all without informing the State Board.

The NH Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said the Senate made the right move:

“After promising to be ‘an implementation guy’ who wouldn’t create policy, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut went back on his word in an attempted agency power grab. Edelblut would have taken this massive increase in power to radically transform the education system in his distorted image and seriously damaged education for children in the Granite State.

Edelblut is anti-transgender rights, supports conversion therapy, and opposes full-day kindergarten on the basis of a crackpot theory that it would increase misdiagnoses of ADHD.  Most recently, Edelblut broadcast his views that climate change is mentioned too often in science classes, openly disagreeing with the state Board of Education, in an interview with NHPR. The Senate Education Committee’s vote rightly prevents Edelblut from implementing these destructive policies.”

On the other side of the Capitol, the House was making some big decisions as well.

Yesterday, the House Education Committee voted to retain SB 193, a bill that sought to establish taxpayer-funded vouchers for religious schools, private schools, and home school parents. The bill was defeated amidst backlash from concerned Superintendents, School Boards, teachers, and parents throughout New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu and former Governor Jeb Bush both penned op-eds in favor of exactly the type of legislation House Republicans retained today, supporting public money for private schools and home schoolers. The bill also appears to violate the New Hampshire Constitution. The Committee’s vote to retain SB 193 effectively kills its prospects for another year.

“No matter how quietly Governor Sununu tries to back away from this bill, the defeat of SB 193 is a big blow to his education agenda. Sununu’s own party effectively killed legislation that he campaigned on, and that he and former Governor Jeb Bush penned op-eds in favor of. Governor Sununu and his unqualified Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut are trying to reshape the education system in their image and Edelblut, a homeschool parent, would have been eligible to receive taxpayer dollars had this bill passed,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley.

“New Hampshire parents are breathing a sigh of relief with SB 193’s bipartisan retention. This ill-conceived bill would have cost taxpayers an additional $25 million dollars to remove students from our public schools. SB 193 would have violated the New Hampshire Constitution in the name of benefits for private and religious schools with no mandate to comply with education standards, decreased funding towards public schools, and limited options for families in rural towns,” added Buckley.

Lastly, The House Education Committee also moved forward on SB191 a bill to fund full day kindergarten for all New Hampshire children.

Governor Sununu who campaigned on Full Day Kindergarten surprised many when his budget only funded the program for a select few areas in the state.

SB191 would set aside $14 million to fund full day kindergarten for all students in New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu is said to be in support of SB191, but did not advocate for the to provide all children in NH access to full day kindergarten. The bill will move to the full house soon.

Kevin Cavanaugh Officially Files for Senate To Replace The Late Senator McGilvray

Community leader files for special election, surrounded by supporters

Manchester, NH – This afternoon, Kevin Cavanaugh officially filed his candidacy for State Senate in the District 16 special election. Surrounded by friends and family at the Secretary of State’s office while filing, Cavanaugh expressed excitement about the upcoming campaign.

“I look forward to getting out to talk with folks about bringing their ideas to Concord. It’s one of the aspects I love most about campaigns,” said Kevin Cavanaugh. “I’ve always looked for ways to give back to my community and I think this is a way I can do a lot of good for our area.”

Ward 1 Alderman, long time coach, and working families advocate Kevin Cavanaugh announced his plans to run in the special election for the District 16 Senate seat last week.

“My whole life has been dedicated to this community. As an Alderman, a coach, and a father, I have worked daily to help our area reach its full potential. That’s exactly why I am running for the state senate: to continue fighting for our community and working families in every way I can,” said Kevin Cavanaugh.

A lifelong Granite Stater who has spent the past 32 years as a union employee at New England Telephone and later Fairpoint Communications, Kevin has a deep understanding of our state and the struggles facing many hard working families.  As an Alderman in Manchester, he demonstrated that successful leaders listen to and become involved in the ideas coming from their community.

“I grew up in Manchester and always knew I wanted to raise my family here because I believe in our state. I believe in the way we get things done, by working together to lift up everyone in our community. But hard working families are being held back by policies that unfairly benefit only those at the top. As our State Senator, I will never stop fighting for those families and will make it clear that their voice matters in Concord. I am proudly running on an agenda that fights the opioid epidemic by protecting the Medicaid expansion, supports a family friendly economy, and will attract and retain a young workforce. But most importantly, I am excited to get out and meet with as many District 16 residents as possible to talk about how we can lift up our working and middle class families,” Cavanaugh concluded.

Kevin was born and raised in Manchester and graduated through the Manchester public school system. He has coached High School Football at Memorial and West as well as multiple youth hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball teams. Kevin was first elected to the Board of Alderman in 2015. He lives in Manchester Ward 1 with his wife and three teenage children.

Former NEA-NH President and NH State Senator Scott McGilvray Has Passed Away

Image of Scott McGilvray, Professional Firefighters of NH President Dave Lang, and members of the Professional Firefighters of NH.

Just over a month ago, Scott McGilvray took a leave of absence from his position as President of NEA New Hampshire citing growing health concerns.

“In light of some recent health issues, I have requested and been granted leave from my duties as President of NEA-NH so that I can concentrate on getting well and serving my constituents in the State Senate. Last November, the people of District 16 entrusted me with the honor of representing them and the great responsibility of fighting for them in the State Senate. I intend to continue fulfilling my duties as Senator and keeping my commitment to my constituents while I am on leave from my job,” McGilvray stated.  

Today, we have learned that Scott McGilvray has passed away.  

At the moment we do not have any more details about his illness or his passing.   

After hearing the news, Megan Tuttle, Acting NEA-New Hampshire President, issued the following statement:

“NEA-New Hampshire is deeply saddened today by the passing of our President and friend Scott McGilvray. Scott made the lives of countless others better as a teacher, coach, mentor, friend and leader and he will be greatly missed. 

“He was a tireless advocate for students and educators across the state, dedicating his life fighting to assure every child had the opportunity to succeed. Scott McGilvray made New Hampshire a better place for children.”

AFT-NH President Douglas Ley released the following statement on the passing of labor leader and State Senator Scott McGilvray.

“AFT-NH is shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of State Senator Scott McGilvray. On behalf of AFT-NH members, we express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Scott McGilvray, and to our colleagues at NEA-NH.”

“Scott dedicated his life to advocating for New Hampshire’s children, public education, educators and working families. He was a strong labor leader and his career was marked by public service at its finest culminating with his election to the NH State Senate this past fall.”

“The passing of Senator McGilvray is a great loss to public education, the labor movement and the entire state of New Hampshire. He was taken from us far too soon, and leaves a void that will be difficult to fill.”

In 2016, Scott took the leap and decided to run for State Senator in District 16 and won.  He was a great addition to the Senate with his years of knowledge and experience as an educator and as President of NEA-NH.  Scott was well received in the Senate by members of both parties.

After receiving the news of his passing, Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) and Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) issued the following statements:

“It is with great sorrow that we learn of our fellow colleague Senator Scott McGilvray’s passing this morning. Both my wife Susan and I would like to extend our deepest, heartfelt sympathies, warm thoughts and prayers to Senator McGilvray’s wife Patti and his two daughters, Meaghan and Molly, as well as all of his family, friends and loved ones during this immensely difficult time,” said Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem). “Senator McGilvrary was well respected within in his community and has touched countless young lives through his dedication to education as well as coaching youth sports.”

“Losing a member of the Senate is always difficult and the loss of Senator McGilvrary so early in his career is especially sad. Each day in the Senate we all work hard to make our state better, and though his tenure serving Senate District 16 was far too brief, Senator McGilvray’s service to his community will certainly have a positive and memorable impact for many years to come,” said Morse.

“Scott’s time in the NH Senate, just as his life, was too brief. He devoted his life to teaching, coaching, and advocating for our children and he left an indelible impression with all he worked with. I was proud to serve with Scott in the New Hampshire Senate and saw firsthand his dedication to the people of his district and the people of New Hampshire. I join with all my Senate colleagues in expressing our deepest sympathies to his family, particularly his wife Patti and his daughters on their loss. New Hampshire has lost a great public servant and I know that Scott’s friends and family will be in all our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” said Senator Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield).

Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party released the following after receiving the news: 

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Senator Scott McGilvray’s passing. Senator McGilvray will be remembered for his deep dedication to education and for the young people and educators whose lives he has impacted so greatly over his 25 years as a social studies teacher and a football coach. He spent his last months serving his state and fighting for the people of New Hampshire and for that we are endlessly grateful. He will be dearly missed.”

 I am also saddened to hear of the news of Scott McGilvray’s passing today.  Over the years I have collaborated with Scott  in his capacity as President of NEA and helped push for his election to the NH Senate.  He was truly a good man, a strong labor leader, and an outspoken advocate for the children of New Hampshire.

I offer my sincere condolences to the McGilvray family.

(NOTE: at the time of publication no statement has been made by the family.  We will update this post with any new statements and information about possible donations in his honor as they come in.) 

Updated with additional statements.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins on the passing of State Senator Scott McGilvray:

“Granite State Progress is incredibly sad to learn of the passing of our colleague and friend Scott McGilvray. Our organization worked closely with Scott from his time as a local leader with the Manchester Education Association to his election as President of NEA-New Hampshire and then as a State Senator. Scott was always a thoughtful, collaboration-oriented leader who cared deeply about his students, his members, and his community. We are honored to have been able to work with him on so many important endeavors to make New Hampshire a better place for all families. Scott truly left a positive impact on the efforts he worked on and New Hampshire is better for it.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends today, and with the many people whose lives he touched as a dedicated educator, coach, and community leader.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen delivered the following statement after learning of the passing of New Hampshire State Senator Scott McGilvray:

“Billy and I were very saddened to learn of the passing of Scott McGilvray,” said Shaheen. “Scott’s devotion to public service grew out of his passion for students. Whether on the football field, in the classroom or in the New Hampshire Senate, Scott worked tirelessly to help New Hampshire’s children reach their full potential. Scott’s legacy will live on in the many Granite Staters whose lives he changed. I extend my deepest condolences to Scott’s wife Patti, his daughters and his family. My thoughts are with them as we all mourn his passing.”

Today, Senator Maggie Hassan released the following statement on the passing of New Hampshire State Senator Scott McGilvray:

“Countless students had a brighter future because they had Scott McGilvray in their corner as a teacher or as a football coach. Although his time in the State Senate was far too brief, Scott was already bringing the same energy and dedication to building a better future for young people across the Granite State. Scott embodied the spirit of civic engagement we are known for in New Hampshire, and the Manchester community and entire state are stronger because of his devotion to public service. I was proud to call him a friend, and Tom and I extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Patti, and his daughters, Meaghan and Molly.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today released the following statement on the passing of State Senator and New Hampshire National Education Association President Scott McGilvray:

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of Senator Scott McGilvray’s passing. Senator McGilvray was a leader in our community and a fierce advocate for students and teachers. His wife Patti, his daughters Meaghan and Molly, and the countless Granite Staters whose lives he touched will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) released the following statement on the passing of Senator Scott McGilvray:

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Scott McGilvray. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to know and work with Scott. His determination and dedication to improving education in New Hampshire has left our state a better place for all of us. Scott touched the lives of countless young people in his decades as an educator and his legacy will live on in the hearts of those who knew him. My husband Brad and I extend our deepest condolences to Scott’s wife Patti and his daughters Meaghan and Molly at this very difficult time.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement:

“On behalf of the House Democratic Caucus, I express my deepest condolences to Senator McGilvray’s family during this difficult time. As an educator, labor leader, and coach, Senator McGilvray dedicated his life to public service and improving the lives of children. With the passing of Senator McGilvray, the state of New Hampshire has lost a great person, and great public servant, far too soon.”

Good And Bad News On Senator Lasky’s Bills To Make The Voting Process Easier

This week the Senate held two votes on legislation submitted by Senator Bette Lasky to expand access and ease the voting process.

The first SB 113, which passed the Senate with a voice vote, would allow cities and towns to “conduct a trial of electronic poll book devices for voter registration and check-in for elections.” This would simplify check in procedures as the lists would continually be updated through an online database.

“I’m thrilled that the Senate has taken this pragmatic step forward in modernizing our election process. New Hampshire prides itself on a tradition of strong citizen participation in elections. But we also know that high voter turnout can create long lines at the polls. We must do everything we can to ensure that voting is accessible and efficient for everyone,” said Senator Lasky.

“This pilot program gives communities the opportunity to test electronic poll books in upcoming elections in the hope that this resource will help election workers process voters more quickly and ensure that busy Granite Staters have every opportunity to participate. The program also provides enhanced protections against fraud, and the increased efficiency provided by this technology also helps free up election workers to move more quickly through their post-election responsibilities.” 

Several states have successfully adopted the electronic poll book system. Proponents of the program cite the tool’s ability to help election workers access a statewide voter database to quickly look up and identify eligible voters, redirect individuals who are in the wrong polling location to the correct polling site, scan a driver’s license and sign in electronically, and reduce wait times at high traffic polling locations. Access to increased information also helps prevent against voter fraud.

The second, SB 194, was killed by Republicans in party line vote. The bill would have authorized online voter registration in New Hampshire. When tied with electronic poll books, voters could register online and then go vote without having to wait in long lines at the polling place.  Typically the longest line in a polling place is those registering to vote.   

“Making the process of registering to vote and casting your ballot more secure and accessible is something we should all be able to agree on,” said Lasky.Allowing our citizens to register to vote online would help make the process more efficient and increase the number of citizens exercising one of their most important rights. I remain confused as to why Republicans continue to block legislation that makes voting more accessible to the people of New Hampshire.” 

38 states have already implemented online voter registration. Research shows that the convenience of online voter registration greatly increases registration and participation.

This is only the first in a long line of proposed legislation that affects our voting process.  The Governor and Republican leadership are pushing for “stronger Voter ID” laws, which have been proven to lower turnout and disenfranchise voters.  They are also considering eliminating same day voter registration.  

Ending same day voter registration and blocking online voter registration could result in a drastic drop in voter participation, especially in Presidential election years.  Then again, maybe that is what Republicans want, as records show that higher turnout elections tend to favor Democrats.  

Mark Fernald: How Do We Keep Guns Away From “Bad Guys”

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” So said NRA President Wayne LaPierre just after the Sandy Hook massacre. If a ‘bad guy’ pulls out a gun and starts shooting, the only answer, according to Mr. LaPierre, is for someone to pull out another gun and take the ‘bad guy’ out.

The NRA and the Republican Party advocate what they call “Constitutional carry”—allowing anyone to carry a gun, openly or concealed, at any time and anywhere (excluding, one presumes, people with felony convictions). Republicans all over the country are attacking background checks, gun-free zones, and laws that require a permit to carry a loaded, concealed weapon.

The Democratic Party approach is different; it focuses on preventing people likely to misuse guns from getting them in the first place. The background check law has stopped over 1.5 million ‘bad guys’ from buying guns since 1994. That law passed after a Republican filibuster failed.

Unfortunately, our background check system has a couple of glaring loopholes. It does not cover sales of guns by unlicensed sellers at gun shows or sales between private parties, so any ‘bad guy’ who wants to buy a gun has an easy workaround.

Republicans have repeatedly blocked efforts by Democrats to require a background check for all gun sales. Republicans seem to value easy access to guns over a system that would keep guns out of the hands of felons and people with severe mental disabilities.

This is not about Constitutional rights. Background checks and concealed carry permits are Constitutional. In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the US Supreme Court ruled that citizens have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, explained that the right to bear arms is limited: It is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Justice Scalia specifically referenced prior court decisions that upheld restrictions or bans on carrying concealed, loaded weapons.

For 94 years, New Hampshire has required a permit to carry a loaded, concealed weapon in a car or on your person. The permits are issued by the chiefs of police in each city and town. The law states that permits can be issued to “a suitable person to be licensed.”

Our chiefs of police have taken their responsibility seriously, seeking out the record and the reputation of those applying for a concealed carry permit. Sometimes an applicant is an irresponsible citizen who is not suitable for a permit: a person who has a history of getting drunk in bars and picking fights; a person who has threatened someone with a gun in the past, though never convicted of a felony; a person who has been involved in road rage incidents; a person who has been the subject of multiple domestic violence calls to 911.

Under current law, if a person has committed an act of violence below the felony level, it is legal for that person to have a gun at home. But if that person wants to carry a loaded concealed weapon in public, New Hampshire has a higher standard implemented by our chiefs of police.

The State Senate and the House have now passed SB12, which eliminates the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed loaded weapon. In the Senate, the ten Democrats were the only no votes. Thirteen Republicans voted yes. The vote in the House was nearly as lopsided. Only two Republicans voted no, and only ten Democrats voted yes.

The effect of SB12 is to remove the discretion of chiefs of police to deny permits. Republicans talk about law and order; they should trust the chiefs of police to exercise good judgment in determining who should be allowed to carry a loaded, concealed weapon. This is what Republicans and the NRA have now abolished.

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police spoke out against SB12. Their arguments fell on deaf ears. The Governor has indicated he will sign SB12.

If you have a chance to speak to your Representative or Senator or the Governor, ask these questions: Should an alcoholic with multiple DWI convictions be allowed to carry a loaded concealed weapon? How about the man who punched his neighbor during an argument? Or the woman who has been diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic, and sometimes fails to take her meds?

Once Republicans have succeeded in passing SB12, almost anybody could be carrying a loaded, concealed weapon—even people with violent histories. And our only defense, in this Republican world, will be to avoid the first shot, and try to return fire.

 

Mark Fernald is a former State Senator and was the 2002 Democratic nominee for Governor. He can be reached at mark@markfernald.com.

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