Schedule for Week of May 13, 2019

The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee will vote on all remaining legislation, including one school-choice related bill. This is a good opportunity to contact them with your thoughts on these important bills. The full Senate will vote on the Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH) bill on May 15th; this is the time to contact your senator. The House Education Committee does not anything scheduled this week. We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those include our analysis and commentary. Legislators’ contact information is at the end.

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!

You are also invited to our first fundraiser, 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!


OVERVIEW

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.

Additional resources:

Legislative Process

Common Legislative Abbreviations and Terms

State Resources


SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

10:30 a.m. Executive session on pending legislation, which may include the following bill

HB 383, relative to the prohibition on unlawful discrimination in public and nonpublic schools.

A few weeks ago, the Senate voted to re-refer HB 383 back to the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, so they may take further consideration and action on this bill. This is important to monitor because the House made significant changes to SB 263, another bill regarding anti-discrimination issues in public schools. (See below for more information on this bill.) As both bills are regarding anti-discrimination, the two chambers may seek to merge them in some way. HB 383 is similar to last year’s HB 1432 and HB 916 (2008), both of which were voted Inexpedient to Legislate. This bill seeks to impose redundant nondiscrimination requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy per federal laws. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and numerous Supreme Court decisions state that no private school may discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To do so would jeopardize their IRS non-profit status. Private schools must also follow Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity’s requirement re nondiscrimination on the basis of gender for hiring practices, unless the institution is religious-affiliated. There are also protections for students with special needs. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, nonpublic schools must provide “auxiliary aids and services” to children with special needs if they are otherwise qualified for admission or if “minor adjustments” allows the student to participate in the private school’s program. The ADA already is applicable to private schools if they receive public funds. Religious schools are exempt from these ADA laws unless they receive federal dollars. Currently many private schools receive federal funds, particularly Title 1 money. Also, it would set a dangerous precedent for undue regulation of nonpublic schools. This is a school-choice issue because it is important to keep private schools separate and distinct from public schools. Education is not one-size-fits-all, and turning private schools into copies of public schools defeats that purpose. Nonpublic schools are already accountable to the public — the families that enroll their children in their institutions as well as government agencies.

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2019: NH SENATE, Senate Chamber

The NH Senate will vote on the following bill

HB 489, relative to changing a pupil’s school or assignment because of a manifest educational hardship.

Committee recommendation – Inexpedient to Legislate, vote 4 to 0

Recommendation – NAY on ITL

This is the second year that the House introduced a bill regarding Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH). It is important that families have the option to petition their school officials when their children’s assigned schools are not a good fit. Manifest Educational Hardship refers to a documented physical, mental, or emotional condition brought on by the student’s current assigned educational placement and that the condition interferes with the student’s achievement or growth, physical safety, or social and emotional well-being. The condition must be severe, pervasive or persistent to be considered for MEH. We know of many circumstances when there is a poor academic fit – even in otherwise excellent districts – or an on-going bullying problem that challenges the child’s well-being. While the version passed by the NH House did not fully address our concerns, it is greatly disappointing that the Senate Education and Workforce Development failed to support it, or a friendly amendment that was prepared. HB 489 as passed by the House specifies when superintendents must determine and notify families regarding a decision for an MEH request. The amendment prepared for the Senate committee would allow families to petition the state Board of Education if they are dissatisfied with their local school board’s decision, as currently permitted in statute.

 

TUESDAY, May 15, 2019: HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, ROOM 208, LOB

10:30 a.m. Public hearing for the following bill

SB 263, relative to anti-discrimination protection for students in public schools.

The NH House passed this bill last week as amended by the House Education Committee, but it is problematic and rushed. Among its biggest flaws is that it exposes districts to lawsuit risks, not just by students and staff. If a person feels aggrieved, they may go to the Human Rights Commission or directly to the courts. The NH School Board Association concurs that this amendment makes all NH school boards vulnerable to these lawsuits. This amendment expands the Human Rights Commission into education, as well. The minority of the House Education Committee voted to support a different amendment, #1717h that creates a study committee to further examine the multiple concerns that were raised in public hearings and discussions. The senate recently re-referred HB 383, relative to the prohibition on unlawful discrimination in public and nonpublic schools back to the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee because the two bills have overlapping issues, so it is important to keep both in mind as they move forward.

HB 383 is similar to last year’s HB 1432 and HB 916 (2008), both of which were voted Inexpedient to Legislate. This bill seeks to impose redundant nondiscrimination requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy per federal laws. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and numerous Supreme Court decisions state that no private school may discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To do so would jeopardize their IRS non-profit status. Private schools must also follow Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity’s requirement re nondiscrimination on the basis of gender for hiring practices, unless the institution is religious-affiliated. There are also protections for students with special needs. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, nonpublic schools must provide “auxiliary aids and services” to children with special needs if they are otherwise qualified for admission or if “minor adjustments” allows the student to participate in the private school’s program. The ADA already is applicable to private schools if they receive public funds. Religious schools are exempt from these ADA laws unless they receive federal dollars. Currently many private schools receive federal funds, particularly Title 1 money. Also, this bill would set a dangerous precedent for undue regulation of nonpublic schools. This is a school-choice issue because it is important to keep private schools separate and distinct from public schools. Education is not one-size-fits-all, and turning private schools into copies of public schools defeats that purpose. Nonpublic schools are already accountable to the public — the families that enroll their children in their institutions as well as government agencies.

 

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2019: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC) at 3:30pm

Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 12, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord

This is the regular bi-monthly meeting of the Home Education Advisory Council. The public is welcome to attend. We closely follow the council and regularly report on their meetings. Below is a list of recent articles relative to HEAC and homeschool issues.

HEAC Addresses Ed 315 and Multiple Long-Standing Issues

HEAC Reviews Ed Rule Changes

Home Education Rules Update

Homeschool Participation Agency Clarification

Summer Homeschool Lessons

HEAC Makes Slow Progress

Opportunity for HEAC to Prove Its Value


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 id=17 /]

 

The House Education Committee list is below. A list of the committee members’ emails is below the table for an easy copy/paste.

[table id=19 /]

 

Mel.Myler@leg.state.nh.us
dluneauNH@gmail.com
beshaw3@comcast.net
patricia.cornell@leg.state.nh.us
Tamara.Le@leg.state.nh.us
David.Doherty@leg.state.nh.us
linda.tanner@leg.state.nh.us
Art.Ellison@leg.state.nh.us
Sue.Mullen@leg.state.nh.us
Cole.Riel@leg.state.nh.us
Mark.Vallone@leg.state.nh.us
Steve.Woodcock@leg.state.nh.us
ladd.nhhouse@charter.net
glenn.cordelli@leg.state.nh.us
JC.Allard@leg.state.nh.us
bob.elliott@leg.state.nh.us
Dan.Wolf@leg.state.nh.us
rgboehm@comcast.net
docrlf@yahoo.com
rep.alicia.lekas@gmail.com