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ATTN Amherst, Merrimack, Milford, and Wilton Residents We Need Your Help To Expand Medicaid

Please join NHCA for a constituent meeting with State Senate President Peter Bragdon about Medicaid expansion. Despite attacks, Medicaid could still be expanded in New Hampshire as the Affordable Care Act intended, but your voice is needed to ensure this happens!

Who: Constituents from Amherst, Merrimack, Milford, and Wilton.

Where: 2nd floor, Wadleigh Memorial Library, 49 Nashua Street, Milford

When: Monday, June 3rd. We’ll meet at 3pm for a brief overview of Medicaid expansion and to plan the meeting. NHCA staff member Jillian will be available to answer any questions you may have. Senator Bragdon will be joining us at 4pm.

RSVP: Please be sure to RSVP so you can receive materials to read over ahead of time if you like. Email jdubois@nhcitizensalliance.org or call 603-724-4047.

Senator Bragdon, as part of the Senate Finance Committee, has already voted to pull Medicaid expansion from the state budget, sacrificing billions in federal funds and hundreds of jobs. This is in addition, of course, to forcing an estimated 22,300 hardworking Granite Staters to go uninsured when they could be covered by Medicaid.

Together, let’s tell Senator Bragdon: Please don’t allow New Hampshire taxpayers’ hard-earned money be sent to other states while our residents miss out on the security and peace of mind that comes with having health coverage.

Senator Bragdon claims that accepting federal funds is a “gamble”, even though he knows D.C. has always kept its Medicaid promises, even providing additional help during recessions. Even if federal law was changed to provide less than 90% of funding in the future, the Supreme Court has already ruled that Medicaid expansion is optional, so New Hampshire could change its mind later.

NHCA would like to thank members Steve Morgan and Matt Murray of NH Labor News for helping to get this meeting set up!

Can’t make it? Be sure to sign the petition or attend Tuesday’s press conference.

MY Letter To Editor On Medicaid Expansion

Originally published in the Nashua Telegraph.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion over whether or not New Hampshire should push forward with the Medicaid Expansion. This is currently being considered in the NH Senate. I hope that my State Senator Peter Bragdon is listening. We need to include Medicaid Expansion in the State budget.

Medicaid Expansion will be good for New Hampshire and especially the low-income working families who cannot afford healthcare right now. The expansion will provide quality healthcare including preventative care for more than 50,000 Granite Staters.

Senator Bragdon is well known for being a fiscal conservative and the Medicaid Expansion bill makes good fiscal sense as well. The expansion will create hundreds of new jobs in the healthcare industry. The expansion will bring billions of dollars into the state and that will help to strengthen the New Hampshire economy.

As a resident of Merrimack, I implore Senator Bragdon to support Medicaid Expansion. I encourage his constituents in Amherst, Merrimack, Milford, and Wilton to do so as well. He can be reached at 603-271-8472.

Money, Politics and Overturning Citizens United

For as long as I can remember, the amount of money involved in politics has been an issue.  Even before the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, there was ‘soft money’ for campaigns from the political parties.

However, the landmark decision in Citizens United didn’t just change the rules of the game – it fundamentally changed the game.

Citizens United gave individuals the ability to donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.  The ruling also gave corporations the same rights as people, therefor allowing corporations to donate unlimited funds.  The worst part of the Citizens United ruling is how it allowed donors to remain essentially anonymous.  Billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson could literally donate a billion dollars without anyone knowing.  This would be true if they did not tell everyone they did it.

We all agree that money is power in politics.  In political campaigns, money is everything – that is why the day after each election, they start begging for money for the next election. Money allows you to buy airtime on TV and radio.  Money allows candidates to send out post cards to every person in their district (my friends at the USPS thank you for that, by the way).  Without money, candidates cannot even get their names out there to the people. Money is everything in a campaign.

Once again, we are at the point where we need to reform our political contribution system.  The money in politics is giving more weight to the corporations and lobbying groups than the actual people that candidates are elected to represent.  Take the recent Senate vote on common sense gun reforms and universal background checks.  Many of the Senators who opposed background checks are also in tight with the NRA, who is a massive lobbying group for the gun manufacturers.  Even though between 80-90% of Americans believe that we should have universal background checks on all gun sales, 46 US Senators voted it down.  Why? Because they do not want to lose the financial backing, or face the wrath of the uber-rich NRA.

We must fix this system, or our democracy will completely fall apart.  This is why New Hampshire Legislators have introduced HCR2. HCR2 is a resolution urging US Congress to amend the US Constitution to overturn Citizens United.  Simple, right?

In a recent UNH poll, 72% of Granite Staters believed this we should overturn Citizens United.  This is 72% of all Granite Staters – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.

“These numbers make it clear that the political will exists to reclaim democracy from corporate and special interest spending – in New Hampshire and around the country,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. “Voters across the state are speaking out to insist that our democracy is truly of, by and for the people.”

UNH Poll supporting overturning citizens united

So why haven’t you heard about this resolution? Because it has no chance of even being debated in the NH Senate right now.  Recently Senate President Peter Bragdon changed the rules of the Senate to say that a ‘super majority’ would be required before the Senate would even consider House resolutions.  If this sounds vaguely familiar and highly dysfunctional, think: US Senate Filibuster on a smaller scale. This change means that the NH Senate is not even going to discuss the resolution.

“New Hampshire voters, like most Americans, are fed up with the Citizens United anything-goes approach to money in politics. Six in 10 New Hampshire Republicans, nearly three out of four independents, and nearly eight in 10 Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That’s why 10 Republican Representatives joined Democrats in passing HCR2 at the state House last month, and why the state Senate should now also heed the will of the voters,” said Peter Schurman, campaign director at Free Speech For People.

These Senators are elected to represent us. When the people overwhelmingly agree that this needs to change, something should change.  The Senate should stop hiding behind this arbitrary parliamentary rule.  Bring the resolution to the floor and let’s discuss it.

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer of Democracy Is For People at Public Citizen sums it up perfectly:

“The only question is: Are the politicians ready to follow the will of the people, rather than the giant campaign spenders?”


NH Senate President Writes Legislation To End Collective Bargaining

After enduring two full years of constant attacks on the collective bargaining process, we thought that after the elections we would be safe.  We were wrong!

Senate President Peter Bragdon, who is a strong supporter of Right To Work legislation, has introduced a bill that would effectively end collective bargaining for public employees, without actually saying it.

The bill, Senate Bill 37, is a very sneaky and underhand way of removing items from the collective bargaining process to effectively destroy it.  (Bold are proposed changes)

The phrase “managerial policy within the exclusive prerogative of the public employer’ shall be construed to include but shall not be limited to the functions, programs, and methods of the public employer, including the use of technology, the public employer’s organizational structure, [and] the selection, direction and number of its personnel, and the right to determine standards for evaluation, compensation, selection, layoff and retention, discipline, assignment and transfer, and other traditionally accepted managerial rights, so as to continue public control of governmental functions.

This change means that unions are no longer allowed to negotiate over wages, evaluations, reductions in force, or disciplinary procedures.  I would be the first to say that a contract is more than just pay and time off, however taking these above items out would destroy our collective bargaining process.

To me this appears to be going right after our state’s teachers unions.  Restricting their rights to bargin over seniority based layoffs and classroom evaluations.   In going after the teachers this legislation will decimate the collective bargaining process that has worked so well in NH for the last 50 years for all public employees.

I will not stand idly by and let them take away my rights to collectively bargain.  The first committee meeting for this bill is at the State House on WEDNESDAY January 23  at 9:30 am in room 100. Can I count on you to be there too?

If you cannot be there you can still help.  The American Federation of Teacher (NH) have created an online action page for you to send a message directly the Senate Committee.

We must work together to stop the attacks on our police, fire, educators, and public servants.  They have dedicated their lives to serving the public and deserve the rights to have a voice in their workplace.

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