AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin (2023-01)

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Happy New Year and welcome to 2023. We hope you had a relaxing and restorative holiday season with family and friends.

The first week of January means that the legislative session is officially back in the swing. After the November elections, Republicans controlled the Senate 14-10 and the House was as closely divided as it has ever been in history with 201 Republicans and 197 Democrats currently in the House. One tied race in Rochester Ward 4 will be decided in a special election in February. AFT-NH has endorsed Chuck Grassie for this seat. Another resignation by a newly reelected House member from Nashua will be filled by a special election on a date yet to be set.

Divisive Concepts Law   The House Education Committee once again has over 100 bills to be heard and will be especially busy in the upcoming session. They are starting out this session quickly by hearing  House Bill 61 which would repeal the divisive concepts law on Thursday, January 12th at 9:30 AM in Representatives Hall.  The divisive concepts law passed two years ago in the budget was designed to prevent the teaching of honest history and is negatively impacting our students’ ability to learn critical information. As we all know this bill has already had a chilling effect on teachers, staff, and students. AFT-NH is currently suing the state over this horrendous law, but we all agree it would be better for the legislature to just stop this policy and its harmful effects in its tracks.

Please Take Action   For many of you, you will be in the classroom or at work and unable to participate in the hearing, but you can still make your voice heard by signing in and supporting the repeal or writing to the members of the committee.

You can register your support for HB 61 and repeal of the Divisive Concepts Law by completing the quick and easy form at the link below:

Remote Sign-in Form  https://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/remotetestimony/default.aspx

Step 1: Fill in your personal information.

Step 2: Select January 12th

Step 3: Select House Education Committee

Step 4: Select Bill Number (HB 61)

Step 5: Select a member of the public and you are representing yourself.

Step 6:  Select SUPPORT.

Step 7: Click Submit.

The lawsuit filed by AFT-NH and AFT challenging the Divisive Concepts law is expected to have a ruling from US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro any week now. He will decide whether to grant the State of NH’s request to dismiss the case or allow it to continue. We will update you when that ruling happens.

Many of the bills filed so far do not have language and so we do not yet know all of the challenges and opportunities that are ahead of us this year, but we will be sure to keep you updated as we continue to learn more about the bill’s beings filed this year. Expect to see bills trying to expand the state school voucher program as well as establish a local voucher program where your local property taxes can be used by families to pay for private schools or other educational services. Also, expect to see bills that will attempt to further censor what we can say or do in the classroom in the misguided belief that we are somehow interfering with parental control. On the positive side, there will be a bill supporting a student’s right to a robust and well-resourced public education free from discrimination. That is something we can certainly all get behind. We will write more about that when it is coming up for a public hearing.  

In addition to the bills filed, we will be paying especially close attention to the budget process, both to advocate for public school, university system, and municipal funding and to make sure that the budget does not once again become a place where anti-public education policies are put in order to force them into law.

This will be another tough year and we want to thank you in advance for all of your advocacy as we move forward together to better public education in New Hampshire.

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 them.

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.

Week of January 9th- Legislative Hearing Schedule

Date/Time

Bill

Description

Committee and Location

Wed 1/11 10:00 AM

HB 71

Repealing A Department Of Education Report On Chartered Public School Funding.

LOB 205-207 (Education/H)
Public Hearing

Wed 1/11 10:20 AM

HB 147

Relative to Membership Of The Advisory Committee On The Education Of Students with Disabilities.

LOB 205-207 (Education/H)
Public Hearing

Wed 1/11 10:40 AM

HB 102

Requiring High Schools to Include Instruction On The Nature and History Of Communism.

LOB 205-207 (Education/H)
Public Hearing

Wed 1/11 10:45 AM

HB 65

Commemorating The First Labor Strike In The United States By Women.

LOB 306-308 (Executive Departments and Administration/H)
Public Hearing

Wed 1/11 1:25 PM

HB 155

Relative to The Division Of Educator Support and Higher Education and Relative to Surety Indemnification For Private Postsecondary Career Schools.

LOB 205-207 (Education/H)
Public Hearing

Wed 1/11 2:00 PM

HB 170

Requiring The Teaching Of Cursive Handwriting and Multiplication Tables.

LOB 205-207 (Education/H)
Public Hearing

 

 

 

 

Thu 1/12 9:30 AM

HB 61

Relative to Teaching On Discrimination In The Public Schools and Discrimination In Public Workplaces.

Representatives' Hall (Education/H)
Public Hearing

Thu 1/12 11:30 AM

HB 193

Relative to Administration Of The New Hampshire Retirement System.

LOB 306-308 (Executive Departments and Administration/H)
Public Hearing