For most of our members who work in public schools you have made it to winter break. Hopefully whether your break was this week or is next, you find some time to relax and recharge. The legislature is also taking a break next week with most committees not meeting next week and the full House and Senate are taking a breather as well.
While the legislature is taking a break, it also means when it comes back activity will happen at a rapid pace. This week we have seen two dramatic voucher expansion bills. One bill that would eliminate the income requirement so anyone, no matter how much money they make, could take a voucher and have taxpayers subsidize private school tuition, gymnastics, music lessons, summer camp or any other “educational” expense. Another bill that would create a local voucher program which would require localities who opt in to pay out approximately $10,000 from local property taxes that fund the local neighborhood public schools for every person who takes a voucher. This could bankrupt many school districts and lead to barebones programs at your neighborhood public school
The full legislature will also have to vote on the other voucher expansion bills that have already made their way through committee, as well as the book ban that we have talked about in previous legislative updates. All of these bills will have to be voted on by the last week of March. There is a lot of work and not a lot of time.
Parental Bill of Rights Looking ahead we wanted to highlight Tuesday, March 7th as an important day. On March 7th, the House Children and Family Law Committee will hear their version of the so-called Parental Bill of Rights (HB 10) and the Senate Education Committee will hear the Senate version of the so-called Parental Bill of Rights (SB 272). Many of you probably remember a version of a Parental Bill of Rights was a big issue at the end last session because it would have made our jobs harder and required us to break the trust of our students. Due to a lot of activism, we were able to beat the bill in the House. Now, the House and Senate each have their own unique version of the bill. We have said before we know that when teachers and parents work together as a team, that is what supports student learning the best. Our concern with these bills is that they don’t promote partnership between parents and schools but rather gives each parent absolute authority over his or her child. How does this work in a public school classroom? What happens when you have parents who want different things taught or not taught to their particular student, and they each feel empowered by a law like this? Which parent’s rights takes supremacy? Who gets to decide for the whole class? DO you have to teach each student individually? Such an approach will cause confusion and intimidation in the classroom and will hinder some student’s ability to learn.
Also being heard on March 7th is another bill that would dramatically change the safe and welcoming classroom environment teachers and school staff look to create for their students. HB 619 would make it illegal to call a student any name other than the name on their birth certificate and only refer to the gender that the student was at birth. It also says that parents are “solely responsible for teaching their children about matters of faith, morals and matters relating to their sexuality.” Teachers often talk to their students about right and wrong, how to treat each other with kindness and how to respect each other. So much of what we do in schools could be construed as teaching morality, from how to get along in a group to identifying themes of almost any great work of literature. Under this bill you could be accused of teaching a child morality and subject to a revocation of your license. If passed this bill will have a chilling effect (yet another one). Is it any wonder we have difficulty keeping talented professionals in the classroom? This bill is abhorrent for these reasons and many, many more we will not get into in this update and must be defeated by the full House.
If you would like to make sure your opposition is recorded before the relevant House and Senate committees, you can use the following links and information.
Please take action to OPPOSE the above-discussed bills by utilizing the Remote Sign in links below for the House and Senate:
House Bill 10 (Parental Bill of Rights)
Children and Family Law, March 7th at 1:15 p.m.
House Bill 619 (Prohibiting gender transition procedures for minors, relative to sex and gender in public schools, and relative to the definition of conversion therapy)
Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs, March 7th at 10:00 a.m.
Senate Bill 272 (Parental Bill of Rights)
Senate Education, March 7, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
Directions for Remote Sign-In
You will just need to enter in your personal information and use the above bill numbers and hearing dates to register your opposition.
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You can also read written testimony submitted to the legislature at STATE HOUSE NEWS.
Wed 3/1 10:30 AM
Requiring A Health Care Provider to Inform and Offer to Take and Preserve Blood and Urine Samples From A Patient Who May Have Been Drugged or Sexually Assaulted.
Rep. Ellen Read
LOB 210-211 (Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs/H)
Thu 3/2 10:00 AM
Adopting Section 1910 Osha Standards For Public Sector Employees In New Hampshire.
Rep. Brian Sullivan
LOB 305-307 (Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services/H)
Tue 3/7 9:30 AM
Relative to The Determination Of Parental Rights and Responsibilities Based On Shared Parenting and Shared Access to The Child's Records.
Rep. Lisa Post
LOB 206-208 (Children and Family Law/H)
Tue 3/7 10:00 AM
Prohibiting Gender Transition Procedures For Minors, Relative to Sex and Gender In Public Schools, and Relative to The Definition Of Conversion Therapy.
Rep. Terry Roy
Representatives' Hall (Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs/H)
Tue 3/7 1:15 PM
Establishing The Parental Bill Of Rights.
Rep. Sherman Packard
LOB 206-208 (Children and Family Law/H)
Wed 3/8 10:00 AM
Relative to Public School Human Rights Complaints.
Rep. Glenn Cordelli
LOB 206-208 (Judiciary/H)
Wed 3/8 1:30 PM
Extending The Public Employees Labor Relations Act to Employees Of The General Court and Relative to The Duties Of The Joint Committee On Legislative Facilities.
Rep. Kristina Schultz
LOB 301-303 (Legislative Administration/H)
Wed 3/8 1:30 PM
Establishing A State Retirement Plan Group For New State Employee Members Of The Retirement System.
Rep. Dan McGuire
LOB 306-308 (Executive Departments and Administration/H)