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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-22

Local School Voucher Bill Recommended by House Education Committee

Just when we thought it might to safe to take a deep breath, late in the night this past Wednesday the legislature—cheered on as always by our anti-education commissioner, continued their radical push to defund public education. House Bill 607 as amended contains a sweeping amendment that was passed Wednesday. This bill would allow for our public property tax dollars to be sent to private schools, religious schools, or to students who are homeschooled. As we know in New Hampshire because the State refuses to adequately fund education most of the money that goes towards our neighborhood public schools comes from our local property taxes. Unlike the voucher bill that passed last year that would take the state portion of money that is supposed to be spent on public education; this bill takes our local property tax money.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-21

Radical Budget Full of Attacks on Education Set to Become Law

Yesterday was the final day of session and House and Senate Republicans passed one the most radical anti-education budgets that New Hampshire has ever seen. Make no mistake this is a continuation of the work of Frank Edelblut to dismantle the education system as we know it.

The budget as passed by the House and Senate allocated less money than the last budget for education funding, it furthered New Hampshire’s already dangerous educational divide by giving more money back to property-rich communities while leaving communities that struggle further and it allocates millions of dollars of public school funds to private schools without oversight or accountability.  Not to be outdone the budget also attempts to silence your voices in the classroom on important and historically undeniable presence of racism and sexism.

AFT-New Hampshire on Budget Passage

CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on passage of the state budget, which drastically reduces funding for public education:

NH House Should Reject Budget—It’s Bad for Students and Communities

NH House Should Reject Budget—It’s Bad for Students and Communities

You can’t expect bread to rise without enough yeast. Likewise, you can’t expect potholes to smooth out without enough asphalt. And you can’t expect New Hampshire public schools to improve without enough funding for the programs and services that we know will improve student outcomes. 

The state budget that the House will consider on June 24 is an affront to students, families and communities, especially those that are considered “property poor” and have very little revenue to add to whatever state education funding they receive. The budget has other harmful provisions that, taken in total, should make it a non-starter for any lawmakers who actually care about the well-being of their communities and residents. This budget should be rejected and sent back to the drawing board.

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.

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!

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2021-16

April 19, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

This will be a short legislative bulletin, because the House and Senate were relatively inactive this past week.  This is especially true of the NH House, where very few committees met this past week and most members seemed to be in recovery mode from the grueling 3-day session at the Bedford Sportsplex.  The relative inactivity continues this coming week as well, with a few more committees meeting but the schedule in no way resembles the heavy workload preceding crossover on April 9.

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2021-15)

April 12, 2021 ~Bow, NH

When the NH House adjourned near 7pm on Friday, April 10, it marked the end of three grueling days of legislative work, each lasting around 10 hours in duration.  Even so, the House failed to act at all on over 60 bills on its calendar, thereby putting to rest the oft-cited claim that “all bills, no matter how inconsequential, are brought to a vote in the NH House.”  In a break with all precedent, Republican leadership divided legislation into the budget (Day 1), bills recommended for passage by a committee (Day 2 & 3) and bills recommended to be voted down (whatever time remained on Day 3).  Since Friday was the deadline for sending bills to the NH Senate, the 60+ bills not acted upon are now dead for the year, unloved and unvoted.