March 19, 2022 ~ Bow, NH
We are now through the busiest part of the legislative season. While “crossover” is technically not for another two weeks the majority of the bills that were voted “ought to pass” in the House are now on their way to the Senate. Senate bills are also making their way over to the House. There are still bills that we will need action on in the coming weeks, but we want to take a minute to celebrate some victories.
Victories! This week we saw HB1255, “Relative to Teacher’s Loyalty” sent to the trash bin of history where it belongs. HB1671, a bill that started as an extreme attempt by Commissioner Edelblut to destroy public education, transformed into a bill that would strengthen education and was passed by the House. We also saw the House table HB1072 which would have allowed School Board members unfettered access to personnel files, student records, and to our school facilities. These bills were victories for public education, but predictably it was not all good news this week.
House rejected accountability of school voucher program. There were numerous bills this week that would have brought accountability and needed checks to the statewide voucher program that was passed last year. Bills that you would expect to be bipartisan such as requiring background checks for all people who use state funds to educate our children. Republicans turned down that bill leaving children in potentially dangerous situations all for political expediency. In addition, the program’s out of control spending threatens to bankrupt education in this state. Bills that would help keep the program within a budget were also turned away this week.
Dangers Ahead. We also saw some bad bills find their way to the Senate. HB1393 which we have talked about in the bulletin the past two weeks passed despite bipartisan opposition. The bill, which could decimate schools’ budgets and restrict school choice for parents across the state of New Hampshire is headed to the Senate. If this bill becomes law look for more situations like we saw in Croydon this past week where the parents are no longer able to send their kids to the public schools they have been sending them to for their whole lives.
In addition to HB1393, there is HB1431, a bill that pretends to pertain to “parental rights”, but really is a continued attempt by conservatives to harass teachers and sow doubt about our schools with the public who strongly support public education. We have said it before—we want parent involvement in the classroom, it is best for the students, parents, teachers and staff. Bills like 1431 do nothing to foster that relationship. We also have 1434, a bill that demands teachers produce curriculum, worksheets, and other teaching materials on demand to anyone in the school communities, even if they don’t have children in schools.
We will need your continued activism against these bills and more as they advance to the Senate. Since they just passed the House, we do not know when they will be heard next but expect them the week after next. We will let you know as soon as we do and will provide easy actions for you to take. We had significant successes this year and couldn’t have done it without your work.
Thanks as always for all that you do.
.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.
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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).