AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-04

March 3, 2019 ~ Bow, NH

It may have been vacation week for NH students, but the NH House was hard at work, holding two long session days and disposing of over 100 proposed pieces of legislation.  Sadly, the event to receive the greatest attention was the speech of Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) who commenced a speech on guns in schools with remarks construed by many as racist.  The House voted to cite Rep. Burt for ‘disorderly speech’ and he did follow with an apology, but this is already the second time in two months that Rep. Burt has uttered remarks on the floor of the House that are perceived as racist.  Events like this are sad moments for the NH House and the State of NH.  State agencies and groups like “StayWorkPlay NH” (http://stayworkplay.org/) work hard to recruit and retain a young and increasingly diverse workforce, but comments like those of Rep. Burt only make their job more difficult.  The future of NH rests upon younger generations, and that means greater cognizance and respect for all forms of diversity.  NH must change if it is to move forward. 

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-03

February 25, 2019 ~ Bow, NH

How many times have you heard the comment “Elections have consequences.”?  That comment was often made in NH over the past four years as part of a warning about harmful legislation or other hostile actions taken by our State government.  It might be another attempt to pass so-called right to work legislation, it might be an attempt to fund private schools with public education dollars, but whatever the reason, “elections have consequences” was always a warning and a call to action. 

Our situation is a little different this year.  “Elections have consequences”-yes.  But this time, the consequences are much more positive for AFT-NH members and for all the citizens of NH.  With friendly majorities in the NH House and Senate, the outlook for positive legislation is much brighter than in previous years. Of course, one consequence from 2018 was the re-election of Governor Sununu, meaning not all obstacles to progress have been removed.  But at least this year we anticipate fewer emergency calls asking you to contact legislators, and when we do ask, it will be to help stiffen their backbone and make clear to them that we have a positive agenda and we aim to see steps taken to enact it.  It won’t all happen this year or next but it is now time to begin moving NH in the right direction, to restore support for public education, to care for our retirees, and to establish programs to help working families across the Granite State.

No to Learn Everywhere -AFT-NH President Doug Ley

Please accept this written statement from the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) regarding the proposed rules establishing the Learn Everywhere program.  As staunch advocates of public education, AFT-NH is firmly opposed to the creation of the Learn Everywhere program. 

As currently outlined, the Learn Everywhere program removes from local control the decisions regarding standards for credit-bearing activities and courses, thereby reversing longstanding New Hampshire tradition.  As an organization representing educators who work closely with local administrators and school boards, AFT-NH rejects the centralization of authority over graduation standards and supports keeping it at the level closest to students, teachers, and citizens—the local level. 

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-02

February 11, 2019 ~ Bow, NH

Guns, guns, guns.  Do you think guns ought to be permitted in schools?  Do you believe school districts should be permitted to set policies on the carrying of firearms on school properties?  Or do you believe the State should simply bar firearms from school properties in NH?  These are questions that matter, and the House Education Committee will be holding hearings on two bills concerning firearms in school this coming Wednesday morning, February 13, starting at 9am.  If you would like to testify regarding this issue, you can simply come to the Legislative Office Building in Concord, Rooms 210-211, for hearings at 9am (HB 101) and/or 10am (HB 564).  You can also email the committee members and express your views regarding regulation of firearms in NH schools—simply write them at HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.  Let your voice be heard!

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2019-01

2019 Legislative Session Underway

Bow, NH - February 4, 2019

The NH General Court (the Legislature) began its substantive work early in January, but it is only in the past two weeks that activity has really picked up.  You may recall that the 2019-20 Legislature is quite different from the 2017-18 version.  Voters erased Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House in the November 2018 elections, so Democrats now control the Senate 14-10 and the House by a nearly 60-vote margin. With a Republican governor still holding office, there will be a fair amount of friction and a need for some degree of cooperation between the Legislative and Executive branches if anything is to be accomplished.  It is a new situation for both Democrats and Republicans, and it will be interesting to watch as the session unfolds over the next five months.