It’s a busy week ahead again with upcoming hearings and votes. This week we will start with key action items first before we get to a recap of what happened this past week.
Action Items For Next Week!
2 Bills to Strengthen the Educator Pipeline and Support for Early Educators
- SB 217 would establish a rural and underserved area educator incentive program by appropriating money to certain early educators who have outstanding student loan debt. Credentialed educators who work at a particular school district for 4 years could see up to $11,000 paid off their outstanding student loans. This is one more piece of the puzzle in helping to attract and retain new educators into the workforce. NEA-NH worked with Senator Fenton to bring this forward as one way to help address the shortage of educators in NH public schools.
ACTION ITEM: Please sign in, write in, or testify in SUPPORT of SB 217, which will be before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, February 14th at 9:00 am in the Legislative Office Building, Room 101. You can sign in remotely here.
- SB 218, also sponsored by Senator Donovan Fenton would establish an early educator professional development grant program to award school districts funding to help support their local professional development plans. We know that the first several years of an educator’s profession is a critical time for them to receive support from their peers, administration and through other guidance. Their success as an educator and the likelihood of them staying in the education profession depends on receiving such support. This bill would provide matching grants to school district who utilize their Title II or other such funds to support early educator mentoring programs. NEA-NH also worked to help craft this bill in order to support our early NH educators.
ACTION ITEM: Please sign in, write in, or testify in SUPPORT of SB 218, which will be before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, February 14th at 9:15 am in the Legislative Office Building, Room 101. You can sign in remotely here.
Hearing on Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Retirees
SB 205 would grant a 1.5% cost of living adjustment for retirees’ pensions on the first $50,000 of their annual pension. If passed, this COLA would be only the second that would go to a retiree’s base in the last 12 years. All other allowances have been one-time. While the amount is relatively small, this would be a permanent addition to your pension and be just a bit more help during these times of high inflation.
ACTION ITEM: Please sign in, write in, or testify in SUPPORT of SB 205 which will be before the Senate Executive Departments & Administration Committee on Wednesday, February 15th at 9:45 am in Room 103 of the State House. You can sign in remotely here.
Contact the House Education Committee to Oppose HB 514
With similar bills taking hold in other states like Florida and Texas, HB 514 is raising concerns that teachers could face a prison sentence of up to 7 years if they share a book that’s considered obscene under New Hampshire’s law.
HB 514 is proposing to do away with the due process afforded by our courts for K-12 school employees and instead, make a court where politicians like Cordelli and Edelblut or the state board will make unilateral determinations using a subjective standard as to what is considered “obscene” material. This is the NH version of an attempt at a book ban.
Instead of supporting parents and teachers working together, this bill is another prosecutorial power grab by the Commissioner of Education in his attempt to stoke a culture war rather than supporting a high-quality public education for our students.
NEA-NH testified against the bill at the hearing. You can read the bill and our testimony here and clicking on the bill link as introduced or our testimony submitted to the committee.
ACTION ITEM: Contact the House Education Committee by going to our Legislative Action page here and asking the to OPPOSE this bill. We already have a process that is carried out by our local and state law enforcement agencies and the courts to deal with obscene material which should not be before our students.
Supporting Civics Education
Also upcoming this week is SB 216, a bi-partisan bill introduced by Senator Sharon Carson that would:
1. Define civics as a non-partisan subject.
2. Require that educators focus on civics and increase the time spent on the teaching of civics, particularly in the elementary and middle grades.
3. Establish a commission to ensure that resources and support are available for all districts and schools to be able to comply with this requirement.
ACTION ITEM: Please sign in, write in or testify in SUPPORT of SB 216, which will be before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, February 14th at 9:45 am in the Legislative Office Building, Room 101. You can sign in remotely here.
Upcoming State Budget Address
Stay tuned for a special update mid-week as we hear the State Budget address from Governor Sununu on Tuesday at 1pm. Our eyes will be on whether the Governor decides to include further expansion of the state’s school voucher program and whether there will be an improvement to state aid to our local school districts.
Looking for More Legislation
You can see all the bills we are following this week and going forward and which ones we are asking for action from members on by going to our Legislative Dashboard here. You can now also sign up to receive weekly or even daily updates on the status of these bills as well by going to the Bill Tracker on our Dashboard.
If you have questions on any of these bills or ones not mentioned here, please feel free to contact Brian Hawkins, NEA-NH Director of Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.