Legislative Update – 4/6/2018

With crossover day happening yesterday, the Senate began work on House bills (and vice-versa) this week.

Educator Death Benefit Passes Senate Committee Unanimously

The NEA-NH backed bill to extend the $100,000 Death Benefit that currently covers police and firefighters to educators killed in the line of duty, was heard in the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee on Wednesday. Following the hearing, the committee voted unanimously to pass the bill, with a full vote in the Senate next week.
Too often we contact our elected officials asking them to pass or oppose legislation, but then forget to say thank you when they support public school educators and students. If you would like to take a moment to thank the five Senators on ED&A, you can do so here.

COLA for Retirees Through the House and on to the Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held its first public hearing on HB 1756, a bill which would provide a 1.5% cost-of-living-adjustment for all public employees in New Hampshire.  The bill also provides a one time supplementary $500 allowance for those retirees receiving less than $300 a year.
NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle submitted testimony to the Committee and NEA-NH Retired Board Member Sandy Amlaw also testified. Testimony in favor of the bill far outnumbered testimony opposed.  NEA-NH was were joined by our labor partners at the SEIU, PFFNH, AFL-CIO, and many others.  In fact, two sign-up sheets were filled with people registering support, with only a single organization indicating opposition.
HB 1756 only passed the House by six votes, so its future is far from secure.  You can find the latest updates from the New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition here, or by signing up for their newsletter here.

Finally a Vote on Vouchers (Maybe?)

Over in House Finance, the subcommittee working on SB 193, the unconstitutional vouchers bill, held yet another work session on the bill. No major changes were made, so the bill remains seriously flawed and full of opportunities for abuse.
However, we may be reaching a conclusion to the long, unnecessary process.  The subcommittee is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday, April 10, at which point we may finally get some idea about the bill’s likelihood to become law.  Of course they were also scheduled to hold a vote on March 14 and had to reschedule at the last minute because they didn’t have the votes to pass it.  Regardless, the full Finance Committee will need to hold a vote on April 25.  That means the final vote in committee will happen over April break for many schools, so stay tuned for more information so we can pack the room with educators when the vote is taken.

And Now for Something Completely Different 

We know that you’re probably sick to death of NEA-NH bombarding you with requests to contact your State Rep about voting no on vouchers.  So for a change of pace how about calling your moderator?

Senate Bill 438, relative to the postponement of local elections, provides clarity in state election law with regard to the authority and process for rescheduling Town Elections.  We support this bill because there must be a uniform process which respects public safety and provides clear information for voters into the future. Especially in school districts which serve multiple towns, it is only proper for all of the voters in a given area to have the same opportunity to hold an election on the same day.
With recent storms occurring on and around Town Election Day, the New Hampshire Attorney General and Secretary of State signed a joint memo clarifying existing statute.  Currently, no public official has the authority to postpone elections. Senate Bill 438 establishes said authority with latitude for expediency and emergency situations.  Please call your town moderators (sorry, you may have to make a few clicks, there is no easy online reference of town moderators)  and urge their support for this bill.

And if you feel like it, you can go ahead and contact your State Rep and ask them to do the same as well.

Have You Bought Your Raffle Ticket Yet?

Don’t forget, AppleCorps, the NEA-NH Political Action Committee is raffling off a free 2018-19 NEA-NH membership. Help us support education friendly candidates across the Granite State by purchasing you ticket today. A winner will be drawn April 16.


Stay Up to Date 

You can stay up to date about the latest happenings at the State House by visiting our Legislative Action Page, or by following @NEANHVotes on Twitter. If you have any questions about what is happening at the State House, please contact NEA-NH Director of Government Relations, Brendon Browne at bbrowne@nhnea.org.