AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2022-11)

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Legislative Bulletin

March 26, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

It was a quiet week for education bills this week. Bills have begun to be assigned to their committees and we have a couple of bills that are high on the priority list that are being heard next week. In addition to the beginning of Senate bills being heard by the House and the House bills being heard by the Senate, the House and Senate are both in session this week to deal with the rest of their bills before crossover.

Priority Bills and Action Requests.  We have what we consider four priority bills remaining for this legislative session. We have talked about them before in the bulletin but wanted to give you an easy place to look and reference moving forward.

  1. HB 1393 is the school budget tax cap bill that uses a rigid per-pupil funding formula, only adjusts to allow schools budgets to be adjusted to inflation, and requires a 3/5th vote to repeal the cap after it has been implemented.  This bill would not allow necessary adjustments for unpredictable costs such as heating costs or special education services.  In Croydon, where a small group of extreme Free State Republicans slashed their school budget in half, students have been left without the ability to attend their public school. This is the future under HB 1393. The Senate hearing on this bill has not yet been scheduled. Watch for further action when it is.
  1. HB 1131 as amended by the House is a bill that bans masks from schools for any future use. In addition, the bill weaponizes the teacher code of conduct to make it so a teacher can lose their license for following the direction of their school board and implementing a mask mandate they require. We all are happier without masks but they were an important component of public health measures to control the spread of the virus and keep schools open. Teachers should not be put in the middle between their employer’s policies and this law. We all are happier without masks but they were an important component of public health and teachers should not be in the middle between their employer and the law. This bill is being heard next week on Wednesday in Senate Health and Human Services committee.  

Action Request on HB 1131 - Register your opposition with the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  It really only takes a minute to submit this form by following the instructions below.

1.   Go to Senate Remote Sign In at Senate Committee Remote Sign In

2.   Select Date of Hearing- March 30th

3.   Select Committee- Health and Human Services

4.   Select Bill – HB 1131

5.   Select – I am a member of the public

6.   Select- I am representing myself

7.   Select- I am opposed to the bill

8.   Fill in your contact information

9.   Click the box on Final Review

10. Click continue and your position has been registered with the committee.

  1. HB 1434 as amended by the House —This is the bill that allows for curriculum and course materials to be requested by anyone in the school community. Specifically, this is what the bill would do, “… and upon request from a parent, legal guardian, or resident of the public school district to review curriculum course material used to support student learning in a grade level, course, or program at a school operated and governed in its district, the district shall make available the requested curriculum course material within 10 business days.”

We have said it before in this space but it is worth saying again—the relationship between the parents and teacher is vital for the success of the students. Parents should always be able to ask about their children’s education, and as teaching professionals, we know you will answer them. This bill, which would allow for people who just want to harass teachers and don’t even have kids in the public school, goes too far. This bill is being heard in Senate Education on Tuesday.

Action Request on HB 1434 - Register your opposition with the Senate Education Committee. 

1.   Go to Senate Remote Sign In at Senate Committee Remote Sign In

2.   Select Date of Hearing- March 29th

3.   Select Committee- Education

4.   Select Bill – HB 1434

5.   Select – I am a member of the public

6.   Select- I am representing myself

7.   Select- I am opposed to the bill

8.   Fill in your contact information

9.   Click the box on Final Review

10. Click continue and your position has been registered with the committee.

  1. HB 1431 as amended by the House  HB 1431-- The stated aim of House Bill 1431 is praiseworthy, but as classroom professionals, we can testify that the implementation will be problematic. HB 1431 contains provisions so extreme that it will do the exact opposite of what anyone who cares about kids actually wants: it will drive a needless wedge between parents and educators—and ultimately make it harder for teachers to teach, and create safe, welcoming, inclusive school environments where every kid can succeed. As it’s currently written, this bill will: a) create burdensome obligations for schools and districts, b) drown educators and administrators in paperwork, and c) institute approval processes that take time away from working directly with kids. HB 1431 would trap teachers and school staff in a no-win situation of trying to meet to the demands of individual parents, pitting parents against one another and basically guaranteeing that some student needs be prioritized over others, and make taxpayers responsible for any possible litigation – which is likely, given the divisive and exclusionary nature of the bill. This bill is being heard in Senate Judiciary but does not yet have a date for the hearing. Watch for further action when it is.

There may yet be more bills that pop up that require your attention but for now we focus on those and will be looking for you continued participation so we can defeat policies that are aimed at destroying public education as we know it. 

Retirement Bills The House will be in session on Thursday, March 31st at 9am. There are a number of retirement bills which will be on the calendar. Of particular note is HB 1535 which would provide a $500 one-time payment for retirees who have been retired for 60 months and whose pension is less than $30,000. If you can, please drop a note to your state representative. By clicking the following link, you can Find Your Representative.

Also, please consider asking your state representative to support HB 1417-FN-L. This bill would have the state pay 7.5% of the retirement costs to cities, towns, and school districts. The state used to pay significantly more to local government but currently the State makes zero contribution. This would provide much-needed relief to local property taxpayers. The House previously supported this bill but House Finance has recommended Inexpedient to Legislate by a vote of 11-10. Please contact your state representative and ask them to support HB 1417. Find Your Representative

Thank you for taking action. It makes a difference.

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.Please continue to check our website at  http://nh.aft.org/ for updates on how we can protect public education, public services, the NH Retirement System, and advance initiatives as we work to continually improve it.

For breaking news and other legislative information, please be sure to like us on Facebook at AFT New Hampshire or follow us on Twitter @AFTNewHampshire to receive the latest news.  Please share this with friends so they can sign up for this bulletin at http://nh.aft.org/.

You can also read written testimony submitted to the legislature at STATE HOUSE NEWS.

NH Retirement Security Coalition The NHRSC will be tracking all bills related to the NH Retirement System and continuing advocacy for our members.  You can find the legislation tracker following retirement bills by clicking on the following link  NHRSC UPDATES.  AFT-NH is a member of the NH Retirement Security Coalition (NHRSC).

Hearing Schedule

 

Time

Bill

Description

Sponsors

Location

Tue 3/29 9:00 AM

HB 1298

Relative to Eligibility For The Education Tax Credit.

Rep. Glenn Cordelli

LOB 101 (Education/S)
Hearing

Tue 3/29 9:15 AM

HB 1193

Relative to Chartered Public School Fees and Enrollment Policies.

Rep. Glenn Cordelli

LOB 101 (Education/S)
Hearing

Tue 3/29 9:30 AM

HB 1132

Relative to Applications For A Charter Conversion School.

Rep. Rick Ladd

LOB 101 (Education/S)
Hearing

Tue 3/29 9:45 AM

HB 1513

Relative to The Definition Of A Child with A Disability For Purposes Of Special Education.

Rep. Bill Boyd

LOB 101 (Education/S)
Hearing

Tue 3/29 10:00 AM

HB 1434

Relative to The Availability Of School Curriculum Materials.

Rep. Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien

LOB 101 (Education/S)
Hearing

Wed 3/30 10:00 AM

HB 1131

Relative to Facial Covering Policies For Schools.

Rep. Kenneth Weyler

LOB 101 (Health and Human Services/S)
Hearing