AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-20

Bow, NH ~ June 4, 2021

There is no sugar coating this session. It has been hard. We have seen attempts to dismantle public education. We have had to fend off numerous attacks on labor and attacks on many of the issues that we care about. This is why it is important to take a moment and celebrate wins when you have them. On Thursday, the House voted against SB61, the so-called Right to Work bill. Not only did the house vote against it this year, but they also used a motion that does not allow it to be brought up next year either. We want to thank our brothers and sisters in labor for all their hard work and I want to thank YOU for your hard work. We know that wins don’t always come easy so take this moment and celebrate—you deserve it.

I wish we could offer you more than a moment but sadly Right-to-Work was not the only thing we are facing right now. As we said last week the Senate Finance Committee added vouchers to the budget. This week the full Senate voted to approve that measure. The next step in the budget process is for a committee of conference to be formed. During that committee of conference anything, including vouchers, is negotiable. We need the folks on the committee of conference to know that keeping vouchers in the budget is unacceptable.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-19

Bow, NH ~ May 28, 2021

We are heading to the end of the legislative session. The House will meet twice next week to finish their bills and the Senate will meet next week as well to finish their work which includes the budget (more on that in a minute). The last day of the legislative session is June 24. Once the House and Senate finish their work next week, they will begin the Committees of Conference process where they will work to figure out differences to bills that passed either the House or Senate with amendments. This will include the budget. Committee of Conference will form on June 10th and their work will conclude on the 17th. After that,  the House and Senate will have to vote on whether they will accept the bills as amended so they will become law. That will happen on the 24th.

2021 AFT-NH Honey Cascio and Billy Donovan Scholarships Available

AFT-NH is proud to award two $1,000 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year. The Cascio scholarship will be offered to one graduating senior who has been accepted at an institution of higher learning, while the Donovan scholarship will go to one continuing student at an accredited institution of higher learning for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Prior scholarship winners are ineligible

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-18

May 2, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

This is a very short bulletin for the upcoming week.  The most important action is the public hearing on the State budget, to be held by the Senate Finance Committee this coming Tuesday, May 4. There are actually two hearings, starting at 1 pm and again at 6 pm, though this is largely a ploy to allow time for senators to take a break and grab some dinner.

Why is this important?  It is the only opportunity for the public to weigh in on possible additions and deletions to the State budget.  After this, much of the work will be done behind closed doors amongst Senators, the governor, and House Republican leadership, with a budget to be voted upon by the Senate at the start of June and sent back to the House for either acceptance, rejection, or a Committee of Conference to try to iron out differences between House and Senate versions.

What can you do?  Register your opposition to the bills in question (HB1 or HB2, does not really matter) but even better sign up to write to members of the Senate Finance Committee.    Write to the senators--make your voice heard!!  Links for registering opposition and for writing to senators are below. What follows are the primary points of concern to AFT-NH, but we have additional useful material that can be made available to you.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-17

April 26, 2021 - Bow, NH

I begin by giving a ‘shout-out’ and expressing sincere thanks to all the public-school educators across New Hampshire.  Teachers, para-educators, support staff, and food-service workers, all of you have been tireless in your efforts to support students and to minimize the disruptions in education caused by the COVID pandemic.  Many of you are on vacation this week and it is a well-deserved chance to decompress, to regather your focus and energies, and to prepare for the final 6-7 weeks to the end of the school year.  And won’t we all breathe a huge sigh of relief when that day finally arrives.

The legislature was relatively quiet this past week, at least when it comes to public hearings.  The House Education Committee did meet on Tuesday to complete the public hearings on bills sent over from the Senate.  Two of the bills heard were Senate “omnibus” bills, combining a variety of disparate topics united only by their connection to education in NH.  As always, there are issues raised in these hearings, but at present, none of this legislation raises any alarms with AFT-NH.  What is most interesting, however, is to compare the complacency of House Republicans in dealing with 2021 omnibus bills as compared to last year’s fire & brimstone attacks on such bills as violating long-established House procedures.  It would appear that once one is in the majority, the outlook is a bit different!

Say No to Vouchers in the Senate Budget!

Take Action Now!

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the State budget on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 4

We expect the Senate will likely insert “education savings accounts,” commonly termed vouchers, into the budget.  The goal is to do so without a single dedicated hearing on the financial impact of this program upon public school funding or upon your property taxes.  The House failed to act this year on its version, HB 20, so there were never any hearings there on the financial costs and almost complete lack of accountability in this giveaway of taxpayer dollars to families and private organizations.  The Senate did pass its version, SB 130, but then tabled it, avoiding any hearing on the financial implications, a tacit recognition that it will prove costly, lacks any accountability or controls, and will both undermine public education funding and raise your property taxes. 

However, there is the hearing on May 4 and we encourage you to register your opinion via email or even better, to sign up and testify against any inclusion of education vouchers/savings accounts in the State budget. 

You can contact Senators on the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to oppose vouchers by clicking this link, Say No to Vouchers in the Senate Budget.

Mark your calendars for May 4th at 1pm. We know most of our members will be working at that time but as soon as the link for the Finance Committee hearing is up, we will let you know so you can register your opinion on the inclusion of vouchers in the budget. Please make sure to take both of these actions as we approach this all-important budget hearing—your voice needs to be heard!!