March 12, 2022 ~ Bow, NH
We are now into one of the busiest times for the legislative session. “Crossover” is the time when all House bills need to make their way to the Senate and Senate bills need to make their way over to the House. The deadline for this to happen is March 31st and with that date fast approaching the House is scheduled to meet for 3 days next week on the 15th, 16th, and 17th, and the Senate is scheduled to meet on the 17th. The House alone will have to vote on an astounding 212 bills over 3 days. Due to the looming deadlines, House Education has finished its work on all of its House bills deciding what to do with all 103 bills that came to the committee this year.
HB 1671 Amended We saw some good things happen this week during the executive sessions for the House Education Committee. HB 1671, Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut’s “bold” proposal, which would have gutted public education in this state, was thankfully amended to restore all of the subject areas Edelblut was proposing eliminating and even adding new areas making public education stronger. You can see a great breakdown of how this bill changed here. HB 1671 AS AMENDED
Saga of Teachers’ Loyalty Bill HB 1255 the so-called Teachers’ Loyalty Bill was voted Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) by a 20-0 vote in committee, which was the only reasonable thing to do with this bill. Our job as teachers is to give students honest instruction, including the good parts and the bad, and let them think for themselves about the implications of the subject matter. If passed, HB 1255 would have penalized us for doing that, so we are glad it is gone for now. We will see this again however as the bill’s prime sponsor, Representative Alicia Lekas of Hudson, already said she plans to bring a version of this bill back next year.
Local School District Budget Cap Looking forward to next week the House is set to vote on a bill about local school district budget caps HB 1393. HB 1393 would adversely affect local school districts by allowing voters in a local school district to adopt a budget cap with a mandated formula that is primarily based on average daily attendance of pupils. Once a budget formula was set it would be very difficult for a district to deal with any unanticipated costs such as increases in transportation contracts, heating fuel, or even out-of-district costs for special education. This would leave districts with a budget that could not even meet the basic needs to keep the school doors open and teach the children in the classrooms. Voters already have a mechanism to control a school district budget by voting directly on town meeting day. This bill is not necessary and comes will potentially disastrous results.
Action Needed (HB 1393-local school budget cap)
Please contact your representative and tell them to vote NO by clicking the following link: Defeat HB 1393
COLA Retirement Bill and Action Request The House Finance Committee-Division I on Monday will be considering HB 1535 that would provide a 1.5% COLA on the first $30,000 of retirement pay to retirees who have been retired for 60 months. Based on committee discussions last week the committee is considering making the “COLA” a one-time payment and not adding to the base pay. We strongly support having the COLA added to the base and not a single one-time payment. We need you to take the action below encouraging the passing of HB 1535 as is.
You can take a one-click action HERE to support a COLA (HB 1535) for NH retirees.
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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).