The NH House and Senate have a handful of bills still in committee, but many are already “crossing over” to the other chamber. We are approximately halfway through this year’s legislative session.
With your help, we successfully neutralized eminent threats to the Education Tax Credit (ETC) scholarship program, HB 632 and SB 318. Unfortunately, there remain efforts underway in the NH legislature to end or weaken the ETC program. We continue to watch for these bills, or something like them, to be tacked on to other legislation, such as the budget bills. We must remain vigilant over the next few months of the session to protect the ETC program and #SaveOurScholarships. We compiled extensive information about the ETC scholarships regarding the background of NH’s program, how they work, constitutional issues, and media coverage – one-stop reading!
We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those include our analysis and commentary.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end.
Public hearings are the best opportunity to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located immediately behind the State House at 33 N. State Street in Concord. For Senate hearings, sign the white sheet on a side table just inside the door to indicate your support or opposition for a bill, and if you intend to speak. The protocol is a little different in the House. The public may sign the blue sheet near the room entrance to indicate support or opposition to any bill; fill out a pink card if you intend to speak. If possible, provide written copies for each member plus the committee secretary. Generally, committee chairmen limit remarks to three minutes or less. Personal stories are most effective. If you are unable to attend hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call members individually. Indicate if you are a constituent.
Bills may have an executive session any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation, and amendments may be introduced. The committee makes one of three recommendations: Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) which is to kill the bill; Ought to Pass (OTP) which is a recommendation to support the bill; or to send it to Interim Study (IS) which is to continue work on the bill. Committee recommendations are very influential when the entire chamber votes. Consequently, prompt action on legislation is highly recommended.
Once bills are exec’d, they are usually scheduled for a vote by the entire body soon after. This is when all members of the House or Senate will vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the recommendation). When the House and Senate have sessions, we list all the bills we are following, even if they are on the Consent Calendars, because they may be pulled and individually voted on or a floor amendment may be introduced. Contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end of this article.
Common Legislative Abbreviations and Terms
TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. HB 171, establishing a commission to study equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to participate in cocurricular activities.
9:20 a.m. HB 175, relative to the requirements for school building aid grants.
9:40 a.m. HB 719-FN-A, establishing the position of school nurse coordinator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
10:00 a.m. SB 136, relative to classification of students for tuition purposes in the university system.
10:15 a.m. SB 140, relative to credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.
10:45 a.m. SB 141, establishing a committee to study violence against school personnel.
11:00 a.m. SB 82-FN, relative to school food and nutrition programs.
11:15 a.m. SB 139, establishing a committee to study options for lowering student debt.
11:30 a.m. SB 142-L, requiring feminine hygiene products in school restrooms.
1:00 p.m. SB 196, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students.
This bill is nearly identical to SB 431 (2018) and seeks to reverse the hard-won active consent (opt in) for non-academic surveys, SB 43, passed only two years ago. The bill requires passive consent (opt-out) instead of active consent for all non-academic surveys. Nearly all, including the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the CDC, are tied to government grants and funding based upon participation percentages. In other words, the bill sells students’ rights and private information for additional funding. Active consent as required in current law is consistent with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and carves out an exception for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey created by the CDC, allowing passive consent. The senate passed the bill with amendment #0313s that requires school districts notify families about the non-academic survey via “email or text in addition to any written notice given via the student.” While this is a helpful addition to the notification procedure, it does not address the fundamental concern. This is a school-choice issue because public school students should not be subject to increased intrusiveness or privacy violations, nor should their families forfeit their rights to direct their children’s education simply because children attend their local district schools. It is also one aspect of accountability to families.
1:30 p.m. SB 282-FN, relative to suicide prevention education in schools.
CONTACT INFO for LEGISLATORS
To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page.
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.
The lists of education committee members with their contact information are available here. Brief phone calls are most effective; personal stories can be particularly compelling. Mention if you are a constituent.
The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee list is below.[table “17” not found /]
The House Education Committee list is below. A list of the committee members’ emails is below the table for an easy copy/paste.[table “19” not found /]