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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!

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Take Action Now!

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the State budget on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 4

We expect the Senate will likely insert “education savings accounts,” commonly termed vouchers, into the budget.  The goal is to do so without a single dedicated hearing on the financial impact of this program upon public school funding or upon your property taxes.  The House failed to act this year on its version, HB 20, so there were never any hearings there on the financial costs and almost complete lack of accountability in this giveaway of taxpayer dollars to families and private organizations.  The Senate did pass its version, SB 130, but then tabled it, avoiding any hearing on the financial implications, a tacit recognition that it will prove costly, lacks any accountability or controls, and will both undermine public education funding and raise your property taxes. 

However, there is the hearing on May 4 and we encourage you to register your opinion via email or even better, to sign up and testify against any inclusion of education vouchers/savings accounts in the State budget. 

You can contact Senators on the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to oppose vouchers by clicking this link, Say No to Vouchers in the Senate Budget.

Mark your calendars for May 4th at 1pm. We know most of our members will be working at that time but as soon as the link for the Finance Committee hearing is up, we will let you know so you can register your opinion on the inclusion of vouchers in the budget. Please make sure to take both of these actions as we approach this all-important budget hearing—your voice needs to be heard!!

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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.

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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. 

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Press Release by AFT-NH President Doug Ley

REPUBLICAN POLITICANS VOTE TO RAISE PROPERTY TAXES

CONCORD, N.H. Today, during the New Hampshire House session, conservatives in the House voted for a budget that would dramatically cut education funding and raise property taxes for Granite Staters who need relief.  AFT-NH President Doug Ley released the following statement:

“As a  union that represents thousands of educators across New Hampshire we know and see the educational inadequacies in our state. Two years ago, legislators prioritized education funding especially to those cities and towns that

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April 5, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

We hope you have all had a chance to enjoy the sunshine this weekend.  It truly does seem Spring may be arriving, what with crocuses flowering, willows beginning to get color and even forsythia beginning to bud out.  Springtime-when hope bursts forth!

In the NH Legislature, the upcoming week will prove to be busy, with three full days of session planned at the Bedford Sportsplex.  These will be the first House sessions since late February and there are over 300 bills on the docket, plus the State budget.  Needless to say, these will be long and exhausting days.  You can review the bills to be considered by the House this week by clicking here: NH House Calendar April 2, 2021

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