The following is the legislative schedule for the week of May 9, 2016. Fewer bills are still in play, but they’re big ones. Please contact your legislators about these critical bills. Brief, polite calls and emails are effective; mention if you are a constituent. All contact information is at the end of this post.
WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2016: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
full NH House will vote on the following bill
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.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment, 14-6 (#1362h)
position — OPPOSE the bill, NAY on OTP/A
information — This bill creates a new position of “charter public school program officer” which incrementally grows state government. Once such positions are establishes they are exceedingly difficult to eliminate. Creation of this position further centralizes state control over charter schools and ensures more involvement of the state board of education in operations of charter schools. The state should be seeking to decentralize the existing charter school system providing for local control instead of furthering a model of state run government schools. (Source: NH Liberty Alliance)
THURSDAY, May 12, 2016: SENATE SESSION, Senate Chamber at 10:00am
full NH Senate will vote on the following bills
HB 504, relative to online driver education
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 3-1
position — SUPPORT the bill, NAY on ITL
information — This bill will increase market competition which lowers costs, improves quality, and expands access. Education, including drivers ed, is not one-size-fits-all and this bill recognizes that people have different learning needs. Online education is a proven successful method of instruction, including for drivers ed; it is used by 22 states across the country. NH currently offers a high school diploma (through VLACS), as well as hunter and boater ed through online programs. Read Senate Fails Online Drivers Ed for more information.
***HB 1637-FN, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools.
committee recommendation — Interim Study, 5-0
position — SUPPORT amendment #1343s, YEA on Reconsideration
information — The senate might reconsider this bill because of the disastrous floor amendment they adopted last week; it would effectively be a “do over.” The floor amendment, #1763s, that the senate passed, would harm private schools involved in contracts with public schools or choice programs. It would require them to adopt Common Core standards and administer the aligned statewide assessments. This bill as passed by the House clarifies in statute that small towns without their own public schools may offer alternative arrangements for their students, regardless of grade level. These agreements could be made with area public and private schools. This is consistent with RSA 194:22 and RSA 193:1. It is also in line with other NH districts creating tuition agreements with private schools, even some located out of state. However, the House version places the language in a part of statute that refers to the responsibilities of parents, not school boards. At the Senate public hearing, an amendment, #1343s from Sen. Avard and Rep. Hill, was discussed that would address this problem. The committee gave an Interim Study recommendation which is effectively a “soft kill.” The Avard-Hill amendment is the only acceptable version; everything else is problematic, but Interim Study would keep a bad version from advancing. Depending on the outcome in the senate, we need to be prepared for the next step. If the two legislative bodies pass different versions of the bill, HB 1637 will head back to the House. The House Education Committee must make a recommendation whether or not to concur with the Senate version or request a Committee of Conference to reconcile them. It could go badly for our efforts to support Croydon and school choice — too much would depend on how those negotiations go and who is named to the committee. In this scenario, our best and most assured option is to kill the bill and not concur with the senate version. Contact the House Education Committee and your state representatives before May 11th. Urge them to reject the Senate’s version of HB 1637 with a non-concur decision and kill the bill. For additional information, read Disaster in the Senate, School Choice for Small Towns Hits Snag in Senate and Saving School Choice.
To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” Brief and polite phone calls and emails are effective, especially if you mention you are a constituent. Mass emails are far less effective, but the email for all Reps is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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