AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-16

Urgent-Action Necessary

April 29, 2018 - Bow, NH

It is time to act on SB 193!  Please contact your state representative(s) by clicking this link Contact Your Representatives.  

So, the moment has arrived.  This past Wednesday, the Finance Committee took its fateful vote on SB 193, the so-called voucher bill to use education savings accounts to funnel public monies to private schools, religious schools, and home-schoolers.  The previous week, the Finance sub-committee charged with SB 193 voted 7-1 in favor of “interim study,” and on this past Wednesday, the Finance Committee as a whole followed suit.  By a 14-12 margin, with three Republicans (including long-time Finance Chair Neal Kurk) joining Democrats, the committee voted to recommend “interim study” on SB193 as its recommendation to the entire House.  Simply put, the Committee was not able to resolve the financing issues in this bill, with costs conservatively estimated at $100 million to local districts over the next ten years.  This would be downshifting on a massive scale, not unheard of in New Hampshire, but a tactic disavowed by Republicans in general and certainly by Finance Chair, Neal Kurk.  Further, the repeated attempts to amend the policy of SB 193 made clear that even its advocates could not quite solve the policy & financing link.  Further complicating matters is passage by the House and Senate of HB 1496 requiring public schools to meet both input-based and performance-based accountability standards to be considered as providing an adequate education (currently schools need only meet one of these standards).  The result would be more schools suddenly deemed “inadequate,” thereby swelling the number of students eligible under SB 193 for public funds to attend private, religious, and home-schools.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-15

April 23, 2018 - Bow, NH

The legislative session is drawing to its inexorable conclusion, with May 3 the final date for either the House or Senate to act on bills and either pass, kill, or amend legislation.  If a bill is amended, the other chamber must either accept the amendment, reject it and kill the bill, or ask for a committee of conference to resolve differences.  All action, including committees of conference, must be concluded by May 24, so there is not much time remaining.  Enough time, though, to still do significant damage.

HB 1415- Line of Duty Death Benefit for School Employees  This past week, we were very disappointed to see the Senate Finance Committee vote 4-2, along party lines (Republican majority) to recommend that the entire Senate defeat HB 1415, providing for a death benefit to the survivors of education personnel killed in the line of duty.  On Friday, there was another school shooting in Ocala, FL, but here in New Hampshire, there are senators who still see no reason to provide any sort of benefit to the grieving survivors of school-related violence.  We have been fortunate in not having such incidents so far in New Hampshire, but provision of a $100,000 death benefit would be, in the words of one House member, “a means by which the State could express sympathy and support” for the devastated family.  We hope the Senate as a whole will reverse this recommendation, pass the bill and administer the rebuke the four senators justly deserve.  If Governor Sununu then vetoes the bill, let him take ownership and bear any consequences.  Truly sad.

Take Action on HB 1415. To find out who is your senator, click this link Who's My Senator?

Once you determine who your Senator is, click here Senate Roster to find out how to contact them via email. Please ask them to overturn the Senate Finance Committee recommendation and pass HB 1415.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-14

April 9, 2018 - Bow, NH

The Senate and the House did not meet in session the week of March 25, following the long sessions of the preceding crossover week, when all bills going forward had to pass one chamber and move to the other.  There were committee hearings however, as the legislative merry-go-round never quite comes to a complete halt, and this past week there were more hearings and some votes on pending legislation.  Particularly for the House, however, the pace slows a bit, with only a small number of Senate bills to consider, compared to the hundreds of House bills subject to hearings and votes from January through March.  Nevertheless, much of importance remains to be resolved.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-13

March 26, 2018 - Bow, NH

The dust is now settling from the mayhem that is “crossover” in the NH Legislature, the date (March 22) by which bills from either the Senate or the House must be acted upon and if passed, sent on to the other chamber.  Both the House and Senate were in long sessions on both Wednesday and Thursday last week, but with the rush of business concluded, take a breather this week.  Instead, the focus is on upon committee hearings and then the slow grind towards May 3, the date by which each chamber must act on bills having originated on “the other side of the wall.” 

Nashua Teachers' Union Press Release on Arming Teachers and Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Adam Marcoux, President, Office: 603-888-7544 

NTU OPPOSES ARMING TEACHERS AND STAFF 

NASHUA, NH March 21, 2018 – A little more than a month since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School, and most recently, the shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland, the topics of gun control, school safety, and arming teachers and school staff is still an active conversation. Even with the outpouring of opposition from teachers, staff, students, parents, and Union leadership across the country, the push continues. 

“The Nashua Teachers’ Union Board of Directors is completely opposed to arming any of our teachers or staff in Nashua,” said Adam Marcoux, President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union. The vote to oppose arming teachers and staff, which was unanimous, was taken at the NTU’s monthly meeting earlier this week. “Can you imagine sitting at calendar time or doing a read aloud, sitting next to students, with a loaded gun? We came into education to teach and help students, not be armed guards. I can’t think of a single person in the Nashua School District who wouldn’t think twice about helping and protecting students, but asking them to carry a loaded gun is asking too much.” 

Marcoux went on to say, “we as educators need to be armed with books, school supplies, reasonable class sizes, more guidance counselors and school psychologists, current materials and text books, and more support, not side arms. We don’t have the funds for more teachers, para-educators, guidance counselors, and school psychologists, but we can train and arm school staff? That doesn’t make any sense.” 

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues from AFT and NEA across the country, opposed to arming teachers and staff. Arm us with pencils, not pistols.”

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2018-12

March 16, 2018 - Bow, NH

What a crazy week!  The snowstorm on Tuesday really tossed a monkey-wrench into our established schedule for town meetings and voting, illustrating like last year the need for greater flexibility in adjusting voting/meeting dates when there is seriously inclement weather.  One might also make a valid case that having had this problem two years in a row offers pretty good reason why NH should consider advance voting or opening up the use of absentee ballots.  But so long as our current Secretary of State, Bill Gardiner, remains in office, no such changes will be forthcoming.