The following bills were acted upon in the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee this past week:
The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1152: This amended bill repeals the optional benefit program available to eligible call, substitute, or volunteer firefighters through the retirement system, and provides for the refund of remaining funds after the completion of payments to the two remaining beneficiaries. AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring. This bill transfers to a subtrust the assets required to fund this benefit. All individuals who are entitled to benefits will continue to receive them in full.
The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1398: This bill allows the retirement system to make a payment of $15,000 or less to the next of kin of a deceased member when no probate proceedings are pending. Like the bill above AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring.
The committee recommended Ought to Pass on HB 1617: This amended bill grants NHRS electronic access to a limited data set of death, marriage, and divorce information of members and beneficiaries held by the Division of Vital Records Administration for purposes of administering RSA 100-A. Again, AFT-NH has no position on this bill but is monitoring.
The House Finance Committee is still working on SB 339: This amended bill authorizes the NH Department of Administrative Services to contract for a credit card affinity program in which fees received are directed to offset the retirement system’s unfunded liability. The committee will be meeting again April 10th at 1:40 p.m. in room.
This bill allows the Department of Administrative Services to contract with a credit card issuer to establish a credit card affinity program in which the fees received by the state are dedicated to reducing the retirement system’s unfunded liability. This is a “feel good” bill, that will have little impact on the unfunded liability.
The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee will be hearing testimony on:HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees. AFT-NH was originally opposed to this bill as it was a policy overreach by the NHRS, but Rep. Goley’s amended version ensures this is just a housekeeping bill that establishes a procedure for the determination of the costs of purchase of service credits, clarifies the ability to earn service credit while on a salary continuance plan, changes the date for the approval of the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), adds a penalty for employers who fail to timely remit data on compensation paid to retired members, and repeals obsolete provisions.
The Senate Health, Education and Human Services committee will be hearing testimony on the following:
HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application. What we need are laws and regulations requiring full transparency in how charter schools operate and making them directly and openly accountable to the public for student performance and their admissions and enrollment policies. We need stronger policies mandating respect and support for teacher and staff voice in school policy and program, identification of potential conflicts of interest via disclosure requirements, and the use of public funds in the same rigorous manner required in our public schools. AFT-NH believes that this bill is a small step in increasing transparency in Charter Schools.
HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school. The duties of this committee include studying issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered school, including responsibility for funding and provision of special education services, and any other issue deemed relevant by the committee.
Around 2011-2012 the state passed a bill which mandated that local districts must pay for support services for special education students enrolled in Charter schools. This means that a district must send someone to the charter school, contract out the service, or pay the Charter school to provide the services. All of which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
AFT-NH supports this bill. We need to have a clear picture on what it is costing districts to educate special education students enrolled in a Charter school in or out of their home district. Because this is a mandate from the State we also need to have the discussion on who should be paying for these services.
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TUESDAY, APRIL 8
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. SB 378, relative to identification information contained in political advertising.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
1:30 p.m. Executive session on:
SB 376, requiring pooled risk management governing board members to comply with financial disclosure requirements,
SB 418, relative to the proclamation of firefighters memorial day.
LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. SB 207-FN, relative to paycheck equity. Please note Rooms 305-307, LOB.
3:00 p.m. Executive session on SB 295, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.
12:30 p.m. LOB 305-307: Showing of the acclaimed documentary “Inequality for All” which features Robert Reich, economics professor, best-selling author, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap is having a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is described as “a passionate argument on behalf of the middle class.” The showing is open to all. This event is part of the film’s “50 State Capitals Tour” this winter and spring, designed especially for Legislators and policy-makers.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9
Senate Executive Departments And Administration, Room 100, SH
9:00 a.m. HB 1494-FN, relative to administration of the New Hampshire retirement system and authority of the board of trustees.
THURSDAY, APRIL 10
Senate HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. HB 1447, prohibiting discrimination in educational standards for certain students.
9:20 a.m. HB 533, relative to the mathematics requirement for high school graduation.
9:40 a.m. HB 1141, requiring chartered public schools to share enrollment information with school districts.
10:00 a.m. HB 1449, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application.
10:20 a.m. HB 1128, establishing a committee to study issues related to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school.
House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 343, relative to the duties of the statewide education improvement and assessment program legislative oversight committee and repealing the school administrative unit legislative oversight committee.
11:00 a.m. SB 350, relative to the transfer of adequacy aid calculation data from the Department of Education to the Department of Revenue Administration.
1:15 p.m. SB 348, establishing a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in elementary and secondary schools.
WAYS AND MEANS, Rooms 202-204, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 366-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming.
TUESDAY, APRIL 15
9:30 a.m. NH Supreme Court Oral Argument –voucher case
Senate FINANCE, Room 103, SH
1:00 p.m. HB 1415-FN, establishing a robotics education fund in the Department of Education.
House EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 355, relative to access to social media by educational institutions.
11:00 a.m. SB 414-FN, relative to Medicaid-funded services provided as part of a child’s individualized education program.
1:15 p.m. Presentation by the Department of Education: Perspectives on Accounting and Assessment
House MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executives session on
SB 236, relative to delivery of the final budget and recommendation of the municipal budget committee to the governing body,
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
10:00 a.m. House in session
12:30 p.m. Big Money and Politics – New Hampshire is the highest per-capita recipient of outside special-interest money. Learn about the efforts to address this issue at the state level, understand the federal landscape and what you can do about it. This presentation, including a panel discussion led by the Coalition for Open Democracy and Americans for Campaign Reform, is part of New England College’s education series to take place at the college’s new Concord facility, 62 North Main Street. Walk south on North Main. Located on the clock tower side, near the Norway Bank, three minutes from the steps of the State House.
THURSDAY, APRIL 17
10:00 a.m. Senate in Session
MONDAY, APRIL 21
CHARTER SCHOOLS AND OPEN ENROLLMENT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (RSA 194-B:21), Room 100, State House
11:30 a.m. Regular meeting. Presentation by Paul Leather, Deputy Commission Department of Education on HB 435.