Although there is not as much activity this week, it is a great opportunity to call or email committees before key decisions are made. There are committee votes scheduled re chartered public schools and education funding. See below for the full schedule. We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those include our analysis and commentary.
Several adequacy funding bills, including HB 711, a bill that has a provision that would cut state funding for chartered public schools in half, are scheduled for an executive session (vote) in the House Education Committee this week. It is important to not only monitor what happens to this particular bill, but all the others as well, because any of them can be amended. In other words, even if the committee and House votes Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) to kill HB 711, similar provisions could be included in any of the other adequacy funding bills. With roughly two dozen funding bills, this will require very diligent monitoring. Read more about HB 711 in Attack on Chartered Public Schools.
The House Ways and Means Committee will reconvene the public hearing on HB 632, the bill that seeks to repeal the Education Tax Credit (ETC) scholarship program, on Tuesday, March 5th starting at 1:00pm in the Legislative Office Building, room 202. Details about the hearing are available here. The committee held the first part of the public hearing on the ETC repeal bill earlier this month. It was a packed room and many people were unable to testify in the time allocated for the hearing. Please continue to contact the committee. Calls are best, but emails are helpful. We have a tool that sends emails to the committee as well as your own state representatives; the message can be customized for additional impact. We also have a page about the ETC scholarships that compiles relevant information on the background of NH’s program, how they work, constitutional issues, and media coverage – one-stop reading!
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). 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, FEBRUARY 19, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
9:00 a.m. SB 276-FN-A, relative to career readiness credentials for high school students.
9:45 a.m. SB 281-FN-A-L, relative to mental health services for schools and making an appropriation therefor.
10:00 a.m. SB 302-FN, relative to suspension and expulsion of pupils.
10:30 a.m. SB 253-FN, relative to statewide deployment of a real-time threat notification system for schools.
11:00 a.m. SB 309-FN-L, relative to stabilization grants for education.
11:30 a.m. SB 280-FN-L, relative to the cost of an adequate education.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive sessions for the following bills
HB 709-FN-A-L, relative to the formula for determining funding for an adequate education.
HB 711-FN-L, relative to funding an adequate education.
A provision in this bill would cut state funding for chartered public schools in half, to only the per student state adequacy funding level. Charter schools already operate on one-third the total funding that other public schools receive. This bill, if enacted, would likely close our charter schools, forcing nearly 4,000 chartered public-school students back into their local public schools, environments that are not the best fit for them, and at a higher cost to taxpayers. Read more in Attack on Chartered Public Schools.
HB 713-FN-L, relative to education funding.
HB 678-FN, relative to state funding of the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education for all New Hampshire students.
HB 551-FN-A, establishing a school funding commission and making an appropriation therefor.
HB 564, relative to possession of firearms in safe school zones.
HB 101, relative to regulating possession of firearms in a school district.
HB 689-FN-A, establishing a student career and college investment program and making an appropriation therefor.
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 /]