Speaker of NH House – In the wake of the death of NH Speaker Dick Hinch, there will need to be a new election for Speaker when the House meets on January 6th. On December 18, the House Republicans held a virtual caucus and will be nominating the acting Speaker Sherm Packard for that post making him the likely next speaker.
Here is what we know for committee assignments which are important to track as we work to make our voices heard on our issues:
- Senate Committee assignments – The state Senate has released its full committee assignments you can see here.
- House Committee Assignments – We expect to see full committee assignments soon, but we do know the chairs and vice-chairs of each committee. You can find the committee leadership assignments here.
Key committees for NEA-NH in both chambers are the Education and Finance where education policy and budget items will go. Also, we closely follow Executive Departments and Administration which typically handles retirement system related bills as well as the Commerce committee which often gets labor and insurance bills that can impact our members. This year, with COVID-19, the Health and Human Services committee will play an important role and Ways and Means with any revenue related legislation.
Once we have more details regarding how committees will be run, particularly in the House, we will let members know. In the state senate we expect committee hearings to be remote at least for the first month of the new year.
Tracking Bill Requests
As of today, there have been over 800 bills requested to be filed between the House and the Senate. There continue to be a series of anti-public education bill request being driven by special interest groups. These topics include:
- School voucher bills
- Releasing the state from its duty to fund an adequate education
- Establishing so-called “innovation” schools which are designed to erode your rights as an educator at work
There are also efforts that we are tracking to support important issues such as:
- Air quality in schools
- More equitable funding formulas for public schools
- Giving schools the resources they need during the pandemic
- Advancing safety measures for public employees
- Leave benefits for COVID-19 related circumstances
We expect bill language to begin to be published, beginning in the next few weeks.
You can help stop the effort to divert public money for private school vouchers and stop any attacks on your rights at work by being a NEA-NH grassroots lobbyist. Contact NEA-NH GR Director Brian Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in getting connected to legislators in your area than can make a difference on key votes related to these critical issues.
Federal Relief Package and Budget Negotiations
As we are tracking the deal making going on in Washington, we are watching to see what emerges from budget and relief package negotiations. We have mainly been concerned about further COVID funding for school districts and the extension of the Families First Coronavirus Act leave provisions that have been critical for many NEA-NH members as they navigate their own circumstanced during the pandemic.
As always, any member with questions on legislative or political matters, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at (603) 545-7305.