• Advertisement

4-21-15 AFT-NH Legislative Update: Common Core Standards And Pension Reform

Things moved slowly this week at the State House. The full House met on Wednesday and passed the following bill:

SB 101: prohibiting the State from requiring implementation of Common Core standards. This bill prohibits the Department of Education and the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core standards in any school or school district in this state. This bill clarifies that districts don’t have to adopt the Common Core Standards but a district still needs to have high quality standards. AFT-NH believes that if any standards are to work we need to ensure that in each district the following are in place when implementing them:

  • 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 along 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

This coming Thursday, April 23, 2015 the Special Committee On Employee Pensions will be meeting at 10 am in LOB 104. They have two bills that they will be discussing

  • HB 369: establishing a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees and
  • HB 556: establishing a cash balance plan for public employees in the retirement system.

We need to keep in mind the following about our pension system:

  • New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.
  • Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state.  Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone of the NH economy.
  • The current annual pension benefit is just over $19,000.  Nearly 70% of the state’s 28,000 pensioners receive less than $25,000 per year.
  • Each dollar “invested” by New Hampshire taxpayers in the pension system supports $7.55 in total economic activity in the state
  • Studies have found that public sector workers’ compensation – including benefits – is slightly lower than that of their peers in the private sector with the same education and experience.
  • Police officers and fire fighters are not eligible for Social Security.
  • All of our public employees contribute their own money into pension funds.
  • Defined-benefit pensions held by public employees are much more cost effective than 401(k)-style retirement plans, costing roughly half as much to provide the same level of retirement benefit to workers such as police officers and firefighters, librarians and teachers, and other public-sector workers.
  • Pensions help reduce employee turnover and thus boost worker productivity.

AFT-NH will continue to advocate for:

Security in retirement is something every worker deserves after a long, successful career in public service.  Our workers, after dedicating their working life to educating children, enforcing the law, fighting fires and helping our communities function every day, have earned a benefit that must allow them to retire with dignity.

The benefit should ensure a predictable cost for the employers and employees, who pay into it throughout their careers. It should create, and sustain, a high-quality workforce. It should attract talented younger workers to invest a lifetime in public service, in turn adding value to the state’s economy.

In exchange for a lifetime of service, our workers need to rely on defined and predictable retirement security that is protected against inflationary pressures. Their benefit should ensure sound, long-term investment options and strategies that will result in post-retirement stability, despite the economic concerns of today.

Instead of encouraging the idea that working for the public sector is less valuable than working for the private sector, New Hampshire’s retirement system benefit for public workers should set a standard, and be something for larger employers to mirror in the state.

Public service should be viewed as a respectable vocation; a commitment by workers of service and dedication to their home state. It is service that adds value to the quality of life for NH citizens and visitors. Public service is an investment in New Hampshire and retirement security creates a financial cornerstone for the NH economy.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

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

Upcoming Hearings

Monday, April 20

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
Department of Health and Human Services:
9:00 a.m. Budget Overview
10:00 a.m. Public Health
11:00 a.m. Medicaid Business & Policy (including Medicaid Managed Care)
12:00 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. Continuation of Medicaid Business & Policy
2:00 p.m. Commissioner’s Office
3:00 p.m. Office of Human Services
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Tuesday, April 21

Senate EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
Sen. Reagan (C), Sen. Stiles (VC), Sen. Avard, Sen. Kelly, Sen. Watters
9:00 a.m. HB 347, relative to payment of wages of certain hourly school district employees.
9:20 a.m. HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school busses by special education pupils.
9:40 a.m. HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil.
10:00 a.m. Hearing on proposed amendment #2015-1333s – establishing a children’s savings account program, and relative to the bonding authority of the city of Dover to HB
577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
2:00 p.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION

House CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 72, relative to confidentiality of police personnel files and establishing a commission to study the use of police personnel files as they relate to the Laurie List,

House LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
1:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 186, reestablishing the commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation and to study the feasibility of developing a first responder’s critical injury fund.

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting. The public hearing will include consideration of a non-germane amendment which ratifies the result of a warrant article in the town of Franconia. Copies of the amendment are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms’ office and online.

House TRANSPORTATION, Room 203, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 234, establishing a committee to study the use of law enforcement details and flaggers for traffic control on municipally maintained roads.

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
2:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.

Wednesday, April 22

Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
AGENCY PRESENTATIONS ON THE BUDGET AS PASSED BY THE HOUSE
9:00 a.m. Department of Transportation
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

House FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
1:00 p.m. Work session on SB 151-FN, requiring inclusion of home educated pupils in the definition of average daily membership in attendance.

Thursday, April 23

House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 242-L, relative to amending the budget in towns that have adopted official ballot voting,

House SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYEE PENSION PLANS, Room 104, LOB
10:00 a.m. Full committee work session.

Tuesday, April 28

House WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on SB 213-FN-A-L, establishing a committee to study the formula for distribution of meals and rooms tax revenues.

Wednesday, April 29

10 am House in Session

Thursday, April 30

10 am Senate in Session

Tuesday, May 5

Senate FINANCE, Representatives’ Hall, SH
Sen. Forrester (C), Sen. Little (VC), Sen. Morse, Sen. Reagan, Sen. D’Allesandro, Sen. Hosmer
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. HB 1-A making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
HB 2-FN-A-L relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.
Please note: These hearings will be streamed live via the Internet at the following web address:
http://nhgencourt.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1

House HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Rooms 205-207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Kids Count presentation.

Friday, May 15

Every Child Matters in NH and Child and Family Services of NH are pleased to extend an invitation to all members for “Walk a Month in My Shoes” Poverty Simulation on Friday, May 15th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Breakfast and registration will open at 8:00 a.m. The simulation will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Please stay for lunch and an afternoon discussion about poverty in our state with NH experts on this topic. Our goal is to simulate the challenges faced by low-income children and their families as they try to survive from month to month on limited resources. We guarantee that this event will have you talking and thinking about poverty in new ways. There is no cost to attend this event. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to our guests. Space is limited so please RSVP by April 24th by calling (603) 856-7517 or emailing mlbeaver@everychildmatters.org

Friday, May 22

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

Organizations and Small Businesses Call on Governor to Reject Business Tax Cuts, Voice Concern for State Budget

More than 40 organizations, including 18 small businesses, sign letter urging Governor to reject business tax cuts   

Concord, NH – Representatives from New Hampshire’s small business, nonprofit, education and faith communities gathered in Concord today to speak against proposed business tax cuts. More than 40 organizations, including 18 small businesses, have signed a letter urging Governor Hassan to reject business tax cuts in upcoming or future budgets; the letter was delivered to the Governor’s office on Tuesday morning.

 

“The business tax cuts passed by the Senate earlier this year would drain nearly $28 million out of the upcoming state budget and reduce revenue by more $80 million each biennium once fully implemented, making it all but impossible to restore funding for local aid, services for the developmentally disabled, the state’s public colleges and universities, or a variety of other areas vital to New Hampshire’s high quality of life,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. 

 

At a press conference held at the Legislative Office Building, McLynch and representatives of several organizations and businesses who signed the letter to the Governor outlined concerns regarding the FY 2016-2017 state budget and proposals to cut business taxes at a time when the state cannot afford to fund critical needs. 

 

“Forty-one thousand school-age children in our state come from homes where there is an uncertainty of having enough food for all household members because of insufficient income or other resources,” said Scott McGilvray, president of NEA-New Hampshire. “Business tax cuts would endanger the public services on which these students and their families rely, and shift the burden for paying for such services directly onto the backs of those who need them most but can least afford them.”

 

As the version of the budget passed by the New Hampshire House illustrates, the state lacks adequate resources to meet the needs of its citizens, maintain vital infrastructure, and build an economy that works for everyone. The tax cuts proposed by the Senate will drain millions of dollars out of this and future budgets and leave the state further behind. More details pertaining to the fiscal impact of the SB 1 and SB 2 tax cuts are attached

 

“We know that substance misuse costs businesses more than $1 billion per year in lost worker productivity,” said Kate Frey, advocacy director for New Futures. “Can New Hampshire really afford costly business tax cuts at a time when revenues are already insufficient to meet critical needs such as substance abuse prevention treatment and recovery?” 

 

Promoted as means to create jobs and spur economic growth in the state, proposed business tax cuts would benefit primarily large corporations, offering little benefit to most small businesses.

 

“I calculated how much these proposals would save my company when they are fully implemented and it came to less than $150 per year,” said Tom Strickland, president and co-founder of Sequoya Technologies Group, a small IT company with eight employees based in Peterborough, NH. “$150 out of a million dollar budget isn’t going to influence my business decisions. I won’t be hiring new employees or buying new equipment as a result of this tax cut.”

 

Strickland moved his family to New Hampshire 18 years ago to start a business and raise a family, attracted by the state’s high quality of life. Strickland encouraged lawmakers to invest in things that businesses need but cannot do for themselves, such as high-quality schools, well-maintained roads, and high-speed broadband internet. 

 

Participants stressed that businesses and the state would be better served by investing business tax revenue in areas that benefit the state overall – a well-trained workforce, good schools and affordable higher education, safe infrastructure, and health and support services that increase employee productivity and reduce employer costs.

 

New Hampshire has enacted numerous business tax cuts since 2010. In its 2014 report, the New Hampshire Business Tax Study Commission concluded that business tax cuts were impractical at this time and ranked low on the list of business priorities. 

 

The Reverend Jonathan Hopkins of Concordia Lutheran Church, president of the board of directors for the New Hampshire Council of Churches, closed the press conference with the following remarks: “It is good business to care about our entire community, and it is the right thing to do. To give tax breaks to businesses while cutting services desperately needed by the most vulnerable in our state would be morally wrong, and fiscally foolish. I hope all people of conscience will stand with us and say that we need a budget that makes sense for all of the citizens of this great state.”

 

The full text of the letter to Governor Hassan and complete list of signatories is attached

 

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org

 

NH House Considers Bill on Amending the US Constitution to Limit Political Spending

2015-04-07 Steve Rand

The NH House Committee on Legislative Administration today held its public hearing on a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  The legislation, SB 136, was passed unanimously by the state Senate last month.

The House has already passed a resolution, HCR 2, calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention to address Citizens United.

Steve Rand of Plymouth (pictured above) was one of those who testified.  “Everybody knows that we have a corrupt system, a legally corrupt system.  The question really is: if everybody knows this, why do 95% of us Americans think there isn’t anything we can do about it?” he asked.  “What we are trying to do is change people’s minds about the possibilities; and what you can do — as our elected representatives– is to help that process along.”

Corrine Dodge, one of the Stamp Stampede’s “Rebel Grammies” from Derry, also testified. “I feel so passionately that I could no longer sit by and watch what has been happening to our elections, as they became more corrupt, and as I watched Congress become more dysfunctional.”  Corrine worked with her Town Council to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment.  She also testified in favor of an earlier bill, and met with her state Senator about the bill now pending in the House.

“Now it’s your turn,” she told the Committee.  “What will you, the House Committee on Legislative Administration, decide?  Will you vote against your constituents’ will?  Or will you stand this time with We The People?”

Dan Weeks, of Open Democracy and the NH Rebellion, noted “There is specific language ensuring that the First Amendment is protected, in whatever constitutional proposals are supported by New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation.”

“We do believe there is a way to address the concerns raised by Citizens United, which are magnified, as you all know, by our election last fall, where $100 million was spent in New Hampshire, the majority of it outside money,” Dan said.  “You have heard so many times from citizens that something has to be done.”

The Committee is expected to make a recommendation on the bill within the next several weeks.

————————

The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

At the State House: Trying to get Money Out of Politics

2015-03-18 Senate Rules CommitteeEarlier this week, while the House Finance Committee was proposing cuts to state programs and services, the Senate Rules Committee was discussing a bill to help get Big Money out of politics.

The Senate amended SB 136 and then unanimously recommended that the bill Ought To Pass.  A full Senate vote on the bill is expected next week — and it is possible that the bill will be amended again on the floor, before the Senate votes.

SB 136 was one of a pair of bills filed this year regarding Citizens United and the effect of Big Money on our electoral system.  The House version called for a statewide “Listening Tour” — but last month, the House voted that bill down, largely along party lines.

Since then, 11 New Hampshire towns have passed local resolutions endorsing a Constitutional amendment to get Big Money out of politics.  During their 2015 Town Meetings, voters in Bedford, Canterbury, Gilmanton, Greenville, Madbury, Mason, Plainfield, Rye, Sandown, Walpole, and Westmoreland all approved warrant articles to overturn Citizens United.  So far, 68 Granite State municipalities have passed resolutions asking for a Constitutional amendment.

As the grassroots level, there is bipartisan agreement on getting money out of politics: 61% of New Hampshire Republicans support a Constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions; 80% believe that Congress is more interested in special interests than its constituents.

2012_NH_State_LegMoney in politics isn’t just a federal-level issue. Corporations, lobbyists, professional associations and other groups pour hundreds of millions of dollars into state-level legislative races every two years.

Money in politics is influencing every level of our government.   The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been so successful that now they’re drilling even deeper.  The American City County Exchange (ACCE) is bringing ALEC-style political influence to our local governments, too.

That’s why The Stamp Stampede has been following SB 136 so closely.  We are working to #GetMoneyOut of politics and #TakeBackOurGovernment.

  • Read “Is the NH Legislature Listening to Voters’ Anger when it comes to Money In Politics?” here.
  • Read “NH House Votes Down ‘Listening Tour’ on Citizens Unitedhere.
  • Read “Another Public Hearing on Citizens United in NH – Will it be the Last One this Year?” here.
  • Read “Senator Lou D’Allesandro: We Must Pass SB 136 To Overturn Citizens Unitedhere.

Stamp_StampedeThe Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org.  Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

Get involved in New Hampshire’s movement to #StampMoneyOut of politics.  Join our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/NHStampede or Follow us at @NHStampede.

Billboard_State_House

NH Senate Republicans Vote For Tax Giveaways And Force Massive Cuts To The State Budget

Today the Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 1, reducing the rate of the business profits tax, and Senate Bill 2, reducing the rate of the business enterprise tax. The Republican-led Senate voted to pass SB 1 & SB 2 on a party line vote of 14-10.

“Because they are unwilling to consider reasonable revenue changes – including a modest increase in the tobacco tax – the New Hampshire House of Representatives is currently decimating critical economic priorities for our state, including cutting the Department of Transportation in half, taking away health coverage from tens of thousands of people, cutting services like meals on wheels for seniors, cutting funding for higher education, and even cutting travel and tourism promotion in half,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. “These two bills would create even deeper holes in this and future budgets, negatively impacting our ability to invest in the shared priorities that are critical to the success of our people, businesses and economy. Further eroding the revenue sources that do exist is irresponsible and will lead to further reductions.”

“While we must maintain our low-tax environment, which the Tax Foundation ranked as the seventh-best in its business tax climate index, we must also continue investing in priorities such as a strong and healthy workforce pipeline, a modern transportation infrastructure, and safe communities that businesses tell me are critical to their ability to grow, thrive and create jobs. As we face ever-tightening budgets, we must examine the fiscal impact of these tax breaks with the same scrutiny as any new spending, and supporters of these bills must address how the lost revenue would be offset,” concluded Hassan.

These tax giveaways are not going to do anything to help fix any of the dozens of problems currently facing our state.  The Republican’s in the legislature are refusing to do anything but force more cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels and substance abuse treatment.  These tax breaks will not help fix the hundreds of failing roads and bridges that are literally crumbling beneath us.

“With the House making draconian cuts to budget, we are seeing massive cuts to the department of transportation, mental health services, development disabilities waitlist, substance abuse treatment, university system, social services for the elderly, travel and tourism, and the Veterans Home,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “The cost of these tax giveaways is clear and the price is dear. The House Republican majority seems to have answered the question of who’s going to pay. Senate Republicans who support these fiscally irresponsible tax cuts should tell the public what additional cuts they plan to make.”

“Businesses need a modern and safe infrastructure, high-quality schools, and healthy, safe, and livable communities,” said Senator Woodburn. “These tax giveaways will hurt New Hampshire’s ability to provide these critical economic priorities. We should be investing in these priorities not add more devastating cuts on top of what the House cuts.”

An in-depth look at the GOP Budget will show that they care less about the people of New Hampshire and more about giving away tax breaks to large corporations.

“Just this week we’ve seen how far the House has gone in its one-sided efforts to balance the budget, making drastic cuts to transportation, health care, and services for the elderly, the homeless, and Granite Staters with developmental disabilities. Layering in another $15 million in cuts will endanger state government’s ability to serve the people of New Hampshire and its ability to compete with other states to attract our future workforce,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch.

“The proposed business tax cuts will not create jobs or foster economic growth, but will instead drain millions of dollars out of the budget each year,” added McLynch. “New Hampshire can do better.  Rather than add to the long list of tax cuts it has made in recent years, New Hampshire should invest in the future by providing needed resources to public colleges and universities, and protect the most vulnerable among us today.”

The Republicans in the House and the Senate have their priorities all wrong.  Their immoral budget will hurt tens of thousands of hard working Granite Staters and line the pockets of the wealthy.

AFT-NH Legislative Update 3-10-15: Right To Work Goes Down In The Senate But The Fight Is Far From Over

THE SO CALLED RIGHT TO WORK—FOR LESS DEFEATED!

On a 12 to 12 vote the State Senate defeated the ‘SO-CALLED’ RIGHT TO WORK—‘FOR LESS’ bill (SB 107.) Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing. It only weakens collective bargaining rights and limits workers’ freedom to demand respect, fair pay and safety on the job. It tilts the balance even more toward big corporations and further rigs the system at the expense of middle-class families.


AFT-NH would like to thank the following Senators for standing with working families!

David Boutin,
Sharon  Carson
Lou D’Allesandro
Dan Feltes
Martha Fuller Clark
Andrew Hosmer
Molly Kelly
Bette Lasky
David Pierce
Donna Soucy
David Watters
Jeff Woodburn

However, the full House will be voting on their version of the bill this coming Wednesday. The Labor Committee recommended ‘Ought to Pass” on  HB 658-FN, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. This bill comes from Wisconsin and Scott Walkers play book.  It excludes Police Officers and Firefighters. I think the statement by Representative Doug Ley sums it all up: “…Furthermore, the decision to carve out exceptions for police officers and firefighters was justified on grounds of the need for unit cohesion. That same logic can apply to any workplace including those where employers and labor organizations agree to allow the union to recover the costs of negotiating for and defending non-union employees. Such interference in the freedom to contract is unacceptable to the minority.”

AFT-NH is calling on all Representatives to overturn the Committee recommendation and make a recommendation to defeat this bill and any other bill that either erodes or repeals NH’s collective bargaining laws for public employees.

On a side note:  Scott Walker will be in New Hampshire on March 14th.  The NH AFL-CIO is putting together “Stand Up for America’s Middle Class Visibility Action”, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.  If interested in attending please call NH AFL-CIO, (603) 623-7302 and ask for Dan Justice.

This Wednesday and Thursday
the full House will be voting on over 246 bills, it will be a very busy two days. Here are some of the bills that they will be voting on that might be of interest:

HB 323, relative to the administration of the statewide assessment program. The House Education Committee recommended that this bill pass.  The bill changes when local school districts administer the required state assessments. Currently we have to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11th grades; this would change to testing only in the 4th grade, 6th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade for the state assessments. Keep in mind that AFT-NH believes:

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.   We are calling for a moratorium on the high stakes testing—for students, teachers and schools, that are linked with Common Core assessments, until an implementation plan is developed in partnership with teachers, parents and the community and is field tested in classrooms in each district.

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.

AFT-NH ask that all Representatives consider the above when voting on any bill that deals with students assessments at the local or state level.

The full House will also be voting on many bills that deal with educational standards. We ask that you keep in mind the following:

If any 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 along 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,
  • 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 teachers 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.

The House will be voting on HB 507, relative to teacher personally identifiable data.This bill adds provisions relating to the protection of teacher personally identifiable data and adds in language that no school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval after a public hearing, and without written consent of the teacher and the parent or legal guardian of each affected student. AFT-NH supports the House Education recommendation to pass this bill as amended.

And then there is HB 491:relative to immunity for school personnel using reasonable force to protect a minor.This bill permits a teacher or other person entrusted with the care or supervision of a minor or pupil to use reasonable force to end a disturbance, to maintain safety, or to remove the pupil or minor from the premises under certain circumstances.  AFT-NH supports the House Education Committee’s recommendation to pass this bill.

The last two bills have to do with revenues and funding of charter schools. First the House Ways and Means recommended that HB 551-FN, relative to preventing diversion of business income to tax havens, be defeated. AFT-NH is opposed to defeating this bill and would ask that the recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to pass be voted on.

New Hampshire, along with 22 other states, already requires multinational corporations doing business in New Hampshire to treat all of their affiliates and subsidiaries in the United States as one entity that is taxed as such. This practice, known as combined reporting, limits companies’ ability to move taxable income from one subsidiary to another across states to avoid a particular state’s corporate tax.

Companies doing business in New Hampshire, however, can still avoid paying taxes by shifting income overseas to offshore tax havens–places such as the Cayman Islands that have very low or nonexistent taxes. Companies use a variety of strategies to accomplish this and the State loses millions every year in taxable corporate revenue.

To prevent overseas tax haven abuse, states can close the “water’s edge” loophole and require that companies not only report income in other states but also the income stored in tax havens as part of their combined reporting. A US PIRG study estimated that a similar change in New Hampshire’s combined reporting requirements would yield $26.1 million in additional revenue for the state.

Tax reforms that close corporate tax loopholes are especially popular, commanding overwhelming support. Americans want to see corporations pay their fair share, rather than see cuts in education or major entitlement programs and this is true across party lines.

Cracking down on tax haven abuse is a step toward fairness. Closing the corporate tax loopholes that simply help the rich get richer, while most Americans are paying more in state and local taxes, will tilt the playing field toward fairness.

And lastly, the House Finance committee recommended that HB 563-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils pass with an amendment. The amended version is less harmful than some of the other proposed amendments, yet AFT-NH has serious concerns with this bill. This increased funding to charter schools comes from the adequacy fund. In turn this leaves less for public schools. If the state truly supports charter schools then they would find a way to pay for it by not robbing Peter (public schools) to pay Paul (charter schools). They would come up with a dedicated fund just for charter schools and find the revenue to support it without dipping into any other dedicated fund.

AFT-NH  asks that the Committee’s recommendation be overturned and a recommendation to defeat this bill be voted on.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org or call 603-661-7293.

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President



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


Upcoming hearings for the week of March 9, 2015

MONDAY, MARCH 9

FINANCE, Kennet High School Auditorium, 409 Eagles Way, North Conway
6:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state  for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. *Please note time change.

FINANCE, Derry Town Hall, 14 Manning Street, Derry
5:00 p.m. HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-LOCAL, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

FINANCE – (Division I), Room 212, LOB
Operating Budget presentations as follows:
9:30 a.m. Public Employees Labor Relations Board.
10:00 a.m. Department of Labor.
10:30 a.m. Developmental Disabilities Council.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10

FINANCE – (DIVISION II), Room 209, LOB
10:00 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

SENATE TRANSPORTATION LOB 103
1:00 p.m. SB 234, relative to police details on public ways.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

10 am House in Session

Senate EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 101, LOB
9:20 a.m. SB 164, relative to the independent investment committee in the New Hampshire retirement system.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

9 am House in Session

10 am Senate in Session

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
9:00 a.m. Full committee work session to consider revenue items contained in HB 2.

MONDAY, MARCH 16

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
1:30 p.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures, and
HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19

FINANCE – (DIVISION I), Room 212, LOB
9:30 a.m. Work session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

Senate Vote for Business Tax Cuts Limits State’s Ability to Invest in Economic Growth

CONCORD, NH – The Senate today voted in favor of providing tax breaks for businesses that will reduce the state’s ability to make vital investments in education, infrastructure, and other services essential to supporting a strong workforce and fostering a vibrant economy.

“These business tax cuts will not create jobs or boost the economy, but instead will drain millions of dollars out of the state budget each year,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. “The revenue loss in the upcoming biennium is about the size of the annual General Fund budget for the Department of Resources and Economic Development or more than one and half times that of the Department of Justice. That is before the cost of the tax cuts begins to balloon in future years. Back-loaded tax cuts like the ones the Senate approved today are fiscally irresponsible and not in New Hampshire’s best interest today or in the future.”

SB 1, which would lower the business profits tax (BPT) rate, and SB 2, which would lower the business enterprise tax (BET) rate, together likely would reduce state revenue by nearly $80 million on a biennial basis once fully phased in.

“Contrary to proponents’ claims, these business tax cuts will not pay for themselves, but they will likely lead to significant cuts in the public structures and services vital to sustained and widely-shared economic prosperity,” added McLynch. “To ensure the state remains attractive to residents, workers, and entrepreneurs, New Hampshire must invest in quality schools, in affordable higher education, in safe roads and bridges, and in healthy, vibrant communities.”

“Time and time again, we have seen that business tax cuts don’t pay for themselves,” said Senator Woodburn. “The question I still have for my Republican colleagues is: Who’s going to pay? These tax giveaways will have an enormous cost for our people, businesses and economy—almost $200 million in lost revenue through the year 2020.”

“Our businesses need workers and reductions in electric rates before they need a 30th tax reduction in 8 years,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Vice Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “New Hampshire is a great place to do business already and these tax cuts do nothing to address the real problems facing our businesses.”

“No evidence was offered that this expands opportunity for anyone,” said Sen. Feltes, member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “Businesses need a modern and safe infrastructure, high-quality schools, and healthy, safe and livable communities. These irresponsible tax cuts will hurt our ability to provide these critical economic priorities.”

New Hampshire’s revenue system has yet to fully recover from the national recession of 2007 through 2009. At the close of FY 2014, General and Education Fund revenue amounted to $2.17 billion. After adjusting for inflation, that sum is approximately 12 percent or roughly $290 million less than what the state collected from the same sources in FY 2008. Between FY 2008 and FY 2014, the combination of the BPT and BET, after adjusting for inflation, has dropped almost 20 percent or just over $136 million, due in part to numerous tax cuts put in place in recent years.

Jeff McLynch provided testimony outlining the shortcomings of proposed business tax cuts at the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s January 20 public hearing. The testimony is available online.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Learn more at www.nhfpi.org.

WBIN’s Kevin Landrigan Reports On Shady Campaign Financing By National Right To Work Committee

Recently The NH Labor News and Miscellany Blue highlighted the National Right To Work Committee’s shady, but legal, campaign donations trying to flip targeted seats in the New Hampshire Senate.

Miscellany Blue reported “National Right to Work Committee funneled over $25K to state Senate candidates in 2014

“Using an elaborate network of political action committees, the National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC) funneled over $25,000 in out-of-state campaign contributions to five New Hampshire senatorial candidates in an apparent attempt to shift the balance of power in favor of right-to-work legislation.”

Subsequently we blasted the NH GOP for these shady, underhand PAC donations in our post, “The Real Republican Agenda To Pass Right To Work In NH.”

Now veteran political reported Kevin Landrigan followed up these reports with a report of his own.  He spent weeks trying to track down the head of the Citizens for Right to Work director and followed the money right back to the National Right To Work Committee’s PAC.

This action, while legal needs to be changed.  It allows on PAC to create multiple little PACs to give donations above and beyond what one PAC can legally donate.

GO HERE RIGHT NOW to see Kevin’s excellent report on these shady campaign donations.

 

NH Senate Tables — Essentially Killing — Right To Work Legislation After 12-12 Vote

Senator Soucy Applauds Defeat of Senate’s So-Called Right to Work Bill

CONCORD – Senator Donna Soucy of Manchester applauds the bipartisan defeat of Senate Bill 107 the so-called “Right to Work Bill” on the Senate Floor by a tie vote of 12-12.

“I am pleased to see the bipartisan defeat of the so-called ‘Right to Work Bill’,” said Senator Soucy. “There’s a reason why Democrats and Republicans have come together to defeat this flawed proposal for decades – it’s simply wrong for New Hampshire.”

After failing to pass on a 12-12 tie vote, the Senate voted to table the proposal which kills the bill for the year. It would require 13 votes to take the bill off the table.

“The facts remain clear, New Hampshire has a lower unemployment rate and a stronger economy than most states with so-called right to work laws,” said Senator Soucy. “In states with a so-called right to work law, workers on average have a lower standard of living, bring home less in their paychecks and go without health insurance more frequently.”

“I want to thank my Republican Senate colleagues for standing up and joining Senate Democrats to defeat this anti-worker legislation.”

Take Action To Message Your NH State Senator Voicing Your Opposition To Right To Work

YES, THAT IS CORRECT; THE SO CALL RIGHT TO WORK IS BACK!
It hasn’t even been a year!

The SENATE COMMERCE Committee made the recommendation of ought to pass on SB 107-FN: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union by a vote of 3 to 2. It now moves to the full Senate on March 3, 2015.

Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.

Pass the word to friends and family members. These Senators need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle-class families.

Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.

Thank you for taking action!

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement