The only significant bill this week is SB 193, the Education Savings Account bill. House Finance will hold an executive session on Wednesday, March 14th when they will vote on their proposed amendment. They are holding a final work session the previous day, so there is still an opportunity to encourage them to keep eligibility as broad as possible. Supporters can send a note to their state representatives and House Finance members in support of ESAs with this easy email form. If you want to compose your own message, we developed tips and information; resources with links can be found in Contact Legislators re ESAs. Additional articles about ESAs regarding the financial impact, constitutionality, and effect on NH families are available in ESA Articles. Please take a few minutes to email the committee asking them to support SB 193; their email is HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.
In the coming couple weeks, we will see more “crossover” bills when the House and Senate trade surviving bills for another round of public hearings and exec sessions.
Below is the upcoming schedule for the next couple weeks; we include our analysis and recommendations for priority bills. As a courtesy, we list additional bills, meetings, and events relevant to education issues.
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 and indicate if you are a constituent.
Bills may have an executive session at any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation; it is 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 chamber soon after. This is when all members of the NH 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.
Education committee members’ contact information is at the end of the article. For other committees, their group email addresses are in the analysis.
WEDSDAY, MARCH 14, 2018: HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE DIV II, LOB 210-211
Executive session on the following bill
10:00 a.m. *** SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students.
Position – Support the bill
Information — The House Finance Committee held a public hearing last Friday, March 9th, and will hold a final work session on Tuesday, March 13th before their executive session on Wednesday, March 14th when they will present and vote on their final amendment. The entire NH House will likely take up SB 193 the following week or so. ESAs are the next step in educational options for children across the Granite State. All students, regardless of their zip code and income level, deserve the opportunity for an education that fits their unique needs and goals. Even if 5% of eligible students participate in the ESA program – that is more than double the utilization seen in other states with ESAs – districts will retain roughly 99% of current funding, including all local money and federal grants. This is not a hardship to districts and they are compensated for children they no longer have a responsibility to educate. As a state we have an obligation to fund each child’s education, not one possible provider of that education. We would rather focus on people instead of systems and buildings. Even if the committee severely restricts eligibility, each child’s education and future matters. If the ESA can only help a few hundred children, it is still a big impact on their individual lives and the program can grow in the future. Additional articles about ESAs regarding the financial impact, constitutionality, and effect on NH families are available in ESA Articles.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018: STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE on the EDUCATION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (SAC), MONTHLY MEETING, snow date is March 14th
4:30 p.m. Department of Education, Londergan Hall, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
Their agendas and minutes are available here. The original meeting for March 7th is postponed to March 14th.
THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2018: STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MONTHLY MEETING
9:00 a.m. Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 13, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
Their agendas and minutes are available here. The original meeting for March 8th is postponed to March 22nd.
THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC)
3:30 p.m. Department of Education, Londergan Hall, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
Their schedule and minutes are available here. The original meeting for March 8th is postponed to April 12th. Read about the council’s recent activity at Opportunity for HEAC to Prove Its Value, Slow Progress for HEAC and Educational Neglect Bill, What is HEAC’s Purpose, and Is HEAC Ignoring Rules.
Brief phone calls are most effective, but personalized emails directed to an individual are also helpful; mention you are a constituent.
Send a note to your state representatives and House Finance members in support of ESAs with this easy email form. If you want to compose your own message, we developed tips and information; resources with links can be found in Contact Legislators re ESAs.
To contact the entire House Finance Committee, you may send one email to HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. Below is the list of the members’ contact information as well as a simplified email list for an easy copy/paste.[table “7” not found /]