As the New Hampshire Legislature is taking its winter break this week, now is a good time to bring everyone up to speed on what is happening with some important bills that we have been tracking this year.
Right to work Defeated!
On a 13-11 vote, the New Hampshire Senate voted to kill SB 217, the “Right to Work for Less” bill. This anti-union legislation has been submitted every session for at least the past decade. This year two Republicans join eleven Democrats to defeat a bill that even ultra conservative Union Leader Publisher Nackey Loeb said should be more accurately called “right to low pay.”
Minimum Wage Increase Passes House Labor Committee.
By a 10-8 vote, the House Labor Committee voted not only to reinstate New Hampshire’s minimum wage, but also to increase it, first to $8.25 beginning next year, and then to $9.00 the following year. The bill now proceeds to the House floor where it could be voted on as early as March 5th.
Senate Kills Bill to Change New Teacher Probationary Period.
Two years ago the legislature changed new teacher probation from three to five years. Proponents of that bill said administrators needed the extra two years to evaluate new hires who were not meeting local standards rather than fire them. NEA-NH requested Senator Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) to sponsor SB 322 which would have moved probation back to three years but allow for a two year extension for those whom administrators felt would benefit from the additional years. NEA-NH argued that there was no need to penalize those new teachers who were clearly succeeding at the end of three years and that ending probation in three years was an incentive for new teachers as well.
Despite these common sense arguments, the senate killed the bill on a party-line vote.
Senate Hears Testimony on Retirement Security Bill
On February 12th, the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee heard three hours of testimony from dozens of public sector workers on a plan developed by the Retirement Security Coalition to implement a supplemental savings plan for new state employees and teachers that would allow them to have a dignified retirement benefit at little cost to taxpayers and allow them to stay off social services when they retire. The ED&A committee has not voted on the bill yet, so there is still time to contact members of the committee and urge them to support this bill.
For more information about the bill, please visit the Retirement Security Coalition Website.