AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-12

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April 2, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

Crossover   Happy April! April means a few things. It means we can hopefully start to open windows; it means the days continue to get warmer and it means that legislative “crossover” is done. All the bills that are going to make their way from the House to the Senate and vice versa have done so and now those bodies will begin work on them.  The time from crossover to the end of session will happen quickly. By May 5th, just over a month from now, all bills must be acted on by the House and Senate.  As we get closer, we will go into the committee of conference process that happens after the 5th for bills that have been amended but for now it is clear that things will happen quickly.   

Action Alert: HB 1431, “Parental Rights Bill” Two of our priority bills had hearings last week with a third one coming up this week. HB 1431 as amended by the House, the so-called Parental Bill of Rights Bill is coming to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 5th. The stated aim of House Bill 1431 is to make sure there is a place for any parent who wants to be involved in their child’s public education to get involved is a praiseworthy goal. Teachers know that students do best when teachers and families work together as a team to support and encourage student learning.  However, HB 1431 contains provisions so sweeping and 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 create burdensome obligations for schools and districts, drowning educators and administrators in paperwork and approval processes that take time away from working directly with kids. The bill will also trap teachers and school staff in a no-win situation of trying to meet the demands of individual parents, pitting parents against one another and basically guaranteeing that some students’ 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.

Action Request This bill will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning, April 5th. Please sign in and register your opposition. It is fast and easy.

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

2.   Select Date of Hearing- April 5th

3.   Select Committee- Judiciary

4.   Select Bill – HB 1431

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.

House Bill 1393, school budget caps   We are still waiting for HB 1393 to be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate but it will be important to continue the steady drumbeat against this bill. As a reminder HB1393 would institute a rigid per pupil budget cap that can only be adjusted to inflation. We only need to look at the small town of Croydon to see how much harm can be done by rigid, per pupil budget formulas. Local resident and Free Stater Ian Underwood proposed the rigid, per-pupil spending formula even though it does not allow the district to continue to send students to public schools. That could be the result in many towns if HB 1393 passes.  Underwood continues his campaign against public education, (and NH Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut tries to hire him), publishing an op-ed in the Concord Monitor comparing schools to prisons and saying if students want to learn there is information on the internet, all while advocating the passage of HB 1393. It was encouraging to see the people of Croydon fight back and demand another vote on their school budget, but we must protect other communities from this same situation. Please stand up and tell the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee to protect public education and defeat HB1393.

Action Request  Please send an email to this committee by clicking the link, CONTACT SENATE ELECTION LAW AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE and ask them to find HB 1393 as Inexpedient to Legislate. Senator Jim Gray of Rochester chairs this committee and it would be nice if some of his constituents can reach out directly to him.

Good News on Retirement Bills   There was also good news this week! Two retirement bills we have been supporting passed the House successfully and are now headed to the Senate. HB 1417, which resumes payment of a portion of the State of NH contribution to the employers’ share of the NH Retirement System passed on a bipartisan vote. This bill has the state pay 7.5% of the employers’ share and will ease pressure on local budgets. HB 1535, a one-time $500 COLA for retirees in the NH Retirement System who have been retired for 60 months and whose pension does not exceed $30,000 per year. This bill also passed on a bipartisan vote. Both bills move on to the Senate next.   

While there are certainly fewer bills left than we began the year with it is clear we will have our work cut out for us over the next month. Please continue to look for actions from us here and a continued thanks for all of your hard work.

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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).