This week the NH Senate has a session on Thursday, April 18th. There are a few education bills, but none are relevant to school-choice issues. Likewise, the Senate and House education committees have public hearings and executive sessions scheduled, but not regarding school-choice legislation. Homeschoolers are encouraged to review the proposed changes to Ed 315, the rules that govern home education, and get in touch with the Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) before their meeting on April 25th; more information below.
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 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. 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.
You are also invited to a special presentation by Kerry McDonald, outspoken blogger for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and Intellectual Takeout, policy advisor to the Heartland Institute, and author of the newly published book titled “Unschooling: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.” She will talk about educational opportunities at the Nackey Loeb Communications School in Manchester on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019. Tickets are available here and must be pre-purchased; tickets will not be sold at the door. Copies of Kerry’s book are also available for pre-purchase and must be picked up at the event. We are also offering an optional Meet-and-Greet with Kerry prior to her presentation with very limited availability. Reserve your tickets today!
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 16, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. HB 131, establishing a commission on mental health education and behavioral health and wellness programs.
9:15 a.m. HB 258, establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs.
9:30 a.m. HB 570, establishing a commission to study career pathways from full-time service year programs to postsecondary education and employment opportunities in support of New Hampshire’s future workforce needs.
9:45 a.m. HB 631, establishing a deaf child’s bill of rights and an advisory council on the education of deaf children.
10:15 a.m. HB 713-FN-L, relative to transportation of pupils.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
Executive sessions for the following bills
SB 82-FN, relative to school food and nutrition programs.
SB 276-FNA, relative to career readiness credentials for high school students.
SB 263, relative to antidiscrimination protection for students in public schools.
SB 138, relative to the degree granting authority of Signum University.
SB 136, relative to classification of students for tuition purposes in the university system.
SB 139, establishing a committee to study options for lowering student debt.
SB 142-L, requiring feminine hygiene products in school restrooms.
THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2019: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC) at 3:30pm
Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 12, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
This is a special meeting of the Home Education Advisory Council to discuss proposed changes to Ed 315 as requested by the Commissioner. The public is welcome to attend. Read more about the council’s work in HEAC Addresses Ed 315 and Multiple Long-Standing Issues.
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 /]