AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin, 2022-17 (Action Alert-Veto HB 1431)

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May 6, 2022 ~ Bow, NH

HB 1431 (parental bill of rights)  Despite pleas from education, child advocacy, and human rights organizations, the majority in the NH Senate voted final passage on HB 1431 guaranteeing sweeping and uninterrupted parental rights in education while putting vulnerable children at risk of harm. The bill needlessly puts vulnerable children who do not come from safe homes with loving, caring adults at risk of harm and even death by limiting the rights of kids and of the State to protect them. We wish this were hyperbole, but it is not. The bill requires any teacher or school staff to disclose any important information they learn about a child’s health or well-being to a parent, making it impossible for a student to have a conversation or share a concern with a trusted adult in the school setting that they are not ready or not able to share at home. For LGBTQ+ students it can take away a safe place for them at a time in their lives when that space is vital. Without access to trusted adults and safe spaces at school, vulnerable children will be in danger: emotionally and possibly physically.

Make no mistake—this bill is modeled off the “don’t say gay” bill in Florida, without some of the overt language but with every bit the chilling effect. It also continues the trend of most Republican legislators attacking public education and teachers. Those who supported this bill falsely claim that parents don’t currently have access to enough information to know what their child is learning or doing in public school. We know and testified, that is absolutely NOT the case.  AFT-NH knows that when teachers and parents work together as a team, students thrive because they have support for their learning at home and at school.  We strongly believe in productive communication between teachers and parents. Most teachers and parents already connect regularly about student learning, whether through email, phone, text, or an online platform. We don’t need a new law to do this, and we certainly don’t need this sweeping law with the potential harm it brings.

 Contact the Governor   The path of this bill is not yet clear. It could go one of two ways. The House can either concur with the Senate on the changes the Senate made, and the bill will go directly to the Governor, or they will form a committee of conference to work out the differences between the House version and the Senate version. We will know the direction of the bill next week but for now it is never too early to tell the Governor to protect all our students inside and outside of the classroom and veto HB 1431. Click the following link to take this quick action:  VETO HB 1431

ificant victory in the House when they voted to table SB 400 which the committee had attached the school budget tax cap to last week.  SB 400 alone was a good bill that would have helped deal with New Hampshire’s housing crisis but with the school budget tax cap attached to it, it was important that the bill not advance.  With everything in the legislative session done except for committees of conference, anything that is on the table cannot be passed into law.

With so many battles this year it can be easy to forget that we have had some major wins. Starting back in January when our allies in the legislature tabled HB 607, which would have created a local school voucher program funded from your local property taxes, through March when we turned the Commissioner of Education’s proposal to gut the content of an adequate education to just reading, math, science and social studies into a bill that actually strengthened education, and up to and including this week when we beat back HB 1393 which would have created the devastating local school budget cap. We will do a more complete tally of the legislative session when it is truly over, however, our victories would not have been possible without your work, and we thank you for your efforts in protecting education this year.

 

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).