The following is the legislative schedule for the week of March 28, 2016. The House’s “cross over” concluded last week although the Senate has several more weeks to finish their bills. This is the unofficial half-way point in the legislative session! There is one especially important bill this week, identified with asterisk marks. All contact information is at the end of this post.
MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2016: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 207, LOB
Regular meeting for the following study commission
9:00 a.m. Commission to study issues relating to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school (RSA 186-C:30).
information — This commission is the result of HB 126 (2015). Here is the link to follow this study committee. It may impact HB 536 which has a public hearing in the Senate Education Committee the following day. This commission will meet again on April 4, April 11, and April 18.
TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016: SENATE EDUCATION, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. HB 1225, permitting high school students who are members of the armed forces to wear their uniforms at graduation.
9:15 a.m. HB 1239, relative to certain terminology in the education statutes.
9:30 a.m. HB 1303, establishing a commission to study issues relating to pre-existing districts withdrawing from a cooperative school district.
position — SUPPORT
information — This is a combination of three bills – HB 1201, HB 1364, and HB 1303, merged into a single study commission bill. It was clear during the House Education Committee’s public hearing that this is a very complicated issue re local control with competing interests and various cooperative district agreement structures.
9:50 a.m. HB 1121, relative to the academic areas that comprise the statewide assessment.
10:20 a.m. HB 1283, relative to school notification of a change in placement.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016: HOUSE EDUCATION, ROOM 207, LOB
10:00am Executive sessions for the following bills
SB 373, relative to the information technology infrastructure in public schools.
SB 460, authorizing the state board of education to adopt rules relative to child sexual abuse and healthy relationships.
***SB 320, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill is the result of the study committee created in HB 206 (2015) that required further research of non-academic surveys and questionnaires administered in our public schools. It recognizes that these surveys often include personal questions and students should not be compelled to participate. We also know that students are being required to share this information in class work when it is not optional or anonymous. The hearing was heavily attended by organizations that financially benefit from students’ private information. While our young people may benefit from the social programs, that does not justify ignoring privacy and parents’ rights to direct their under-aged children’s education. Let the organizations and schools persuade parents regarding the benefits to obtain active consent. There are mechanisms already in place for schools to obtain opt-in permission such as for field trips. The committee is likely to introduce a friendly amendment to clarify the version passed by the Senate. They amended the bill to exempt the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the active consent policy. This is an acceptable compromise that balances funding for important social programs yet recognizes parents’ needs to protect their students’ privacy. This compromise will help thousands of parents protect their under-age students from most (although not all) of these intrusive surveys. For more information, read Non-Academic Surveys and Parents’ Rights.
SB 483-FN, (New Title) establishing a committee to study the necessity of creating a chartered public school program officer position and to study appropriations to chartered public schools for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years.
THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2016: SENATE SESSION, Senate Chamber at 10:00am
full NH Senate will vote on the following bills
HB 231, relative to the criteria for evaluating school building aid applications.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment, 5-0
HB 242, relative to the statewide improvement and assessment program.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 3-0
HB 1145, establishing a committee to study suspensions and expulsions in licensed preschools and in kindergarten through grade 3.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 4-0
HB 1408-FN, relative to a school building inventory.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 3-2
To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. The General Court website is experiencing several technical difficulties (the committee’s email is not always working), so consider contact the Representatives directly. Particularly mention if you are a constituent. Emails for each member of the House Education Committee are as follows:
To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page, or you can email all of them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those with an asterisk serve on the Senate Education Committee.
Jeff Woodburn — District 1, Dalton
Jeanie Forrester — District 2, Meredith
Jeb Bradley — District 3, Wolfeboro
*David Watters — District 4, Dover
David Pierce — District 5, Lebanon
Sam Cataldo — District 6, Farmington
Andrew Hosmer — District 7, Laconia
Gerald Little — District 8, Weare
Andy Sanborn — District 9, Bedford
*Molly Kelly — District 10, Keene
Gary Daniels — District 11, Milford
*Kevin Avard — District 12, Nashua
Bette Lasky — District 13, Nashua
Sharon Carson — District 14, Londonderry
Dan Feltes — District 15, Concord
David Boutin — District 16, Hooksett/Manchester
*John Reagan — District 17, Deerfield
Donna Soucy — District 18, Manchester
Regina Birdsell — District 19, Hampstead/Windham/Derry
Lou D’Allesandro — District 20, Manchester
Martha Fuller Clark — District 21, Portsmouth
Chuck Morse — District 22, Salem
Russell Prescott — District 23, Kingston
*Nancy Stiles — District 24, Hampton