Press Releases

 

Wednesday
Mar242010

Franklin Center - ICYMI: Non-profits beat government subsidy of news

ICYMI: Non-profits beat government subsidy of news
By Jason Stverak, President of The Franklin Center

Friends,

There is no denying that the newspaper industry is struggling. Numerous media analysts have mentioned that the way to revive the newspaper business is through government subsidies. We wanted to share with you a column by the Franklin Center's President Jason Stverak that argues against government intervention. The column ran in today's Daily Caller

Non-profits beat government subsidy of news

Every day, more and more newspapers are forced to shut their doors, leaving communities around the nation at a loss for quality news coverage. Many have suggested that government subsidizes are the solution, but government intervention will create greater problems then the struggling newspaper business is currently enduring.

This is especially true when better alternatives already exist from non-profits.

We all know that the government can be tremendously helpful to the American people. But when that help would do more harm than good, as in proposed subsidy of the newspaper business, America must say No!

Yes, newspapers need help. Yes, their recent decline puts our republic at risk. However, throwing government subsidies will not save them. In fact, expanded government influence on journalism would be disastrous to the reputation and credibility of journalists.

If government subsidizes news, journalists no longer will be able to report credibly on stories that matter to the people, but ultimately only on what matters to officials. Journalists will ignore scandal and corruption for fear of losing government funds. They will become political flacks and write to appease government instead of investigating it.


Read more

Wednesday
Mar242010

AFP NH - Health Care Fight 

Dear Friends,

Last night was a tough night. Like many of you, I watched with disappointment as the U.S. House voted to nationalize the world’s greatest healthcare system.  It’s hard to explain the true impact this legislation will have not only on our generation but on future generations. 

This weekend, former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and a group of family and friends hit the open road in a rented RV traveling across New England begging people to call their elected officials to stop the takeover of the healthcare system. 

The “Hands off my Health Care” Bus Tour (http://www.afphq.org/new-hampshire) started in Portland, Maine and continued to Portsmouth, NH, Concord, NH and finished in Nashua.  We drove over 400 miles and saw hundreds of people who feel as disappointed as we do. 

In Maine, TV 6 (CBS) reported on our rally:

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=115692&catid=2

Here in New Hampshire newspapers covered us too:

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/679076-196/reps-will-support-health-care-bill.html?i=1

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/680489-196/rally-draws-dozens-to-greeley-park.html

http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100321/NEWS/3210333/-1/NEWSMAP

I want to thank all of those who turned out for our rallies. 

Here is a photo that reminds us all what we are fighting for.  This is from the Rally in Nashua.

 

 

Let’s send a message to those who didn’t listen to our hundreds of thousands of calls to their offices by signing the petition at www.NovemberisComing.com

My best,

Corey R. Lewandowski
State Director – New Hampshire

 

P.S.   It is only through your continued financial support can we keep fighting.  Please donate on-line at http://www.afphq.org/donate-new-hampshire.

Wednesday
Mar242010

NH Council of Churches - Public Policy Update & Gambling Alert, 23 March 2010  

CALL TO ACTION:

NH Senate Considers
 17,000 Slot machines
+ 900 table games in NH


Contact Senators Today!
 
A bill to permit six casinos (1 in Hudson, 3 at the tracks, 1 each in Coos and Grafton Counties) and a total of 17,000 slot machines in New Hampshire will be voted on by the NH Senate this Wednesday. 

By a vote of 4-2, the Senate Finance Committee recommended the bill ought to pass and it moves on to the full Senate for their vote.

If passed, SB489 would make NH second in slots per capita only behind Nevada. The bill would also permit up to 900 tables of table gambling among the 6 casinos.
 
Against the backdrop of a down economy, a critical shortage of revenue to fund the state budget, and a reluctance by policy-makers to examine other significant sources of revenue to prevent cuts to critical services and infrastructure, expanded gambling this year may prove irresistible.

If stopping expanded gambling is a priority for your denomination and congregation, please contact your State Senators about SB489 (see list of Senate members and contact info).
 
Need further info? See, download and share 23 Reasons to Oppose Expanded Gambling. New information is available at the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling website. You can also view materials at the NH Gaming Study Commission website.

And from elsewhere: Tampa Tribune in Florida reports "The state pays millions to probe the thoughts and habits of potential lottery players. Consultants ask what they buy at convenience stores, whether they rent videos, go to theme parks, even how they feel about owning things and belonging to a group."

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: GAMBLING

Governor's Commission on Expanded Gambling
Public Hearings April 6

As it nears its May 25 deadline for reporting to the governor on the expansion of gambling in NH, the NH Gaming Study Commission will hold simultaneous public hearings April 6 in Manchester and Conway from 6-8 pm.

Locations are:
Granite State College
Technology Village
Community Room 211-212
53 Technology Lane
Conway

UNH/Manchester
Auditorium, 3rd Floor
400 Commercial Street
Manchester

Testimony will be held to 2-3 minutes to allow as many speakers as possible. Plan to arrive early to sign in and fill out a speaker's card if you would like to speak. If you prefer, you may submit your testimony to the Commission in writing at this hearing.

DEATH PENALTY

Denominational and Congregational Leaders: Sign on to End the Death Penalty

Religious leaders are encouraged to sign on to a letter supporting the abolition of the death penalty, which will be submitted to the Commission to Study the Death Penalty in NH (formed per passage of last year's HB 520). Deadline is noon, Monday, April 5. Early denominational signers include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Church. For more information or to receive the letter click here.

Commission to Study NH Death Penalty Hears From Churches May 14


The Commission to Study the Death Penalty in NH will next study whether the death penalty is a deterrent to further crime at its April 9 meeting. It will then consider whether the death penalty comports with evolving moral standards at its May 14 meeting. NH Council of Churches and denominational leaders have been invited to testify at the May 14 meeting.

The Commission's final report is due Dec. 1, 2010. Information about the Commission, including Commission members, meeting transcripts and more is at the Commission's website.


Links to information about the most recent hearing is available at the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty website.  Visitors to their website can also sign up for alerts and further information about the Study Commission and any other efforts to abolish the death penalty.

Meanwhile, SB472, a bill that would expand the death penalty, was referred for interim study, a move that should prevent this bill from moving forward this legislative session.

RESOURCES
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a DVD (online and available on disc) and study guide entitled "A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death." It is a call for the nation to abandon the use of the death penalty and move one step closer to building a culture of life. People like Bud Welch whose daughter died in the Oklahoma City bombing and David Kaczynski, brother of the Unibomber, are some of the voices that have joined with the bishops in this campaign to end the use of death penalty. Click here for more information and to order.

The Diocese of Manchester offers a Parish Program to provide Catholics and others with an overview of Catholic teaching on the death penalty as well as information about the use and effects of capital punishment in the United States. Contact Diane Quinlan, Chancellor, at dquinlan@rcbm.org or 603-669-3100 for further information about this program.

FYI - Exoneree Featured on WBZ
Randy Steidl, a death penalty exoneree from Illinois, shares his story in an interview on WBZ before his recent talk at Hesser College.

NONPROFITS/CHURCH OPERATIONS

UPDATE: House Rejects Bill to Open Records on Nonprofits

Voting to reject a Committee recommendation by a wide margin, the NH House last week voted down HB1356. This bill would have subject many nonprofits to the state's Right-to-Know law, forcing private, nonprofit operations to turn over internal records, meeting documents, board documents, etc. upon demand.

ENVIRONMENT
Interfaith Power & Light
Seeks Members

New Hampshire Interfaith Power and Light (NHIPL) supports faith communities in reducing the harmful effects of global climate change through energy conservation, energy efficiency, and use of renewable energy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are rapidly leading to a climate crisis. This commitment honors our belief that Earth and Creation are sacred and precious.
 
NHIPL seeks congregational and individual members willing to engage in ongoing environmental stewardship education, energy audits, efficiency improvements, green power installations, supporting policies and NHIPL in general. For more info and member forms, contact Mardy High at info.nhipl@gmail.com or 603 632 7073 home/603 667 0449 cell.

Calendar

APRIL 2, Noon -3 PM
The Cross of Nonviolent Love: An Ecumenical Good Friday Worship Gathering, South Congregational Church, 27 Pleasant St., Concord
Cosponsored by NH Conference UCC Peace with Justice Task Force and Pace E Bene Nonviolence Service NE. More info: LR Berger,  NE Associate, Pace E Bene, 603-496-1056.

APRIL 8, 7 pm
Annual Meeting NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Planned presentations from a death row exoneree, a murder victim family member, and a personal greeting from Sr. Helen Prejean.
Info from Katherine Cooper at kcooper@nodeathpenaltynh.org or 674-4885.

APRIL 22, 9 am, Grace Capital Church
Community and Faith-Based Leadership Summit. Briefing on need and opportunities for collaboration in current economy. Speakers include NH DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas, DCYF Director Maggie Bishop, CFBI Board Chair Keith Marsh, Jan Lessard of Bethany Christian Services and others. Sponsored by DHHS/DCYF and NH Community & Faith-Based Initiative. More info by emailing Keith Marsh.

 

Quick Takes:

  • Find New Hampshire legislation proposed in 2010.
  • Find NH state legislators' contact information here.
  • Reach your Congressman or Senator by calling the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Or, type in your ZIP code here to link to both NH Senators and your Congressperson's pages.



Wednesday
Mar242010

NHDP Executive Director Mike Brunelle Delivers Letter to Senator Bradley

NHDP Executive Director Mike Brunelle Delivers Letter to Senator Bradley Calling on Him to Address His Record of Supporting the Insurance Industry at the
Expense of NH's Working Families

 
Concord - NHDP Executive Director Mike Brunelle delivered a letter to Senator Jeb Bradley today, calling on him to address his long record of supporting insurance industry profits at the expense of New Hampshire's working families. 
 
Senator Bradley has announced his intention to introduce an amendment to SB 505 tomorrow, which would stand in the way of immediately reducing taxes for small businesses, preventing insurance companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions, and covering over 140,000 of our state's citizens currently without health insurance.
 
Brunelle's letter asks Senator Bradley to address five key questions about his record on health care as a United States Congressman when he rises to introduce his amendment to SB 505.
 
The full letter is included below:
 
March 23, 2010
 
Senator Bradley,
 
When you rise tomorrow in the Senate chamber to introduce your reckless amendment to SB 505, I hope you also address your irresponsible record of supporting the insurance industry at the expense of New Hampshire's working families.
 
During your time in congress, you racked up an abysmal record of opposing efforts to reduce health care costs, rein in the most abusive insurance industry practices, and expand coverage. 
 
The people of the Granite State deserve an explanation as to why you are now introducing a politically motivated amendment that would stand in the way of immediately reducing taxes for small businesses, preventing insurance companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions, and covering over 140,000 of our state citizens without health insurance.
 
Specifically, I hope you address the following questions:
 

1.  Why have you opposed efforts to lower health care costs for small businesses?

 

a.  In 2005, you voted against a plan to lower health insurance costs for small businesses.  The plan allowed small employers access to state and federal low-cost health insurance plans that pool all health risks and provided subsidies to help small employers with low-wage workforces afford family coverage.  The Department of Labor would establish the Small Employer Health Benefits Plan (SEHB) giving similar benefits to those enjoyed by federal employees and members of Congress.  Under the plan, states could establish state small employer health pools while small businesses would be eligible for premium assistance, as would employees earning below 200 percent of the poverty level. The proposal had the potential of providing health insurance coverage to 33 million Americans who currently go without it today. ["Association Health Plans," Education & Workforce Committee, Minority Staff]  The plan was defeated 197-230. [HR 525, Vote #424, 7/26/05]

 

b.  In 2004, you voted against a Democratic substitute for the Association Health Plan bill that would have established an alternative expansion of health care for small businesses modeled after the coverage received by federal employees and Members of Congress.  In addition, the substitute would have given small businesses discounts on insurance premiums and would have preserved state mandates on care. [CQ Today, 5/13/04]The measure was defeated 193-224. [HR 4281, Vote #172, 5/13/04] 

2.  Why have you consistently voted to slash Medicaid and Medicare? 

 

a.  In 2006, you voted to cut Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $6.9 billion, including harmful increases in cost-sharing and premiums that impose large burdens on poor children and families.   In addition, the bill cut $6.4 billion from Medicare in part by raising premiums for some Part B beneficiaries.  But the measure did not touch a $5 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill, and after intense lobbying from the health insurance industry, the budget saves HMOs $22 billion dollars by maintaining Medicare reimbursement formulas that favored the industry. [House Budget Committee Minority Staff, "Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill." 12/19/05; CQ Today, 2/1/06; Washington Post, 2/1/06] 

b.  In 2005, you voted for final passage of a $49.9 billion budget cut package pushed by House conservatives under the guise of offsetting the costs associated with Hurricane Katrina. Some of the "savings" in the bill were found by cutting $11.4 billion from Medicaid over five years. The bulk of the cuts - nearly $8 billion - would fall directly on patients through higher co-pays, premiums and other provisions that cut benefits or delay access to Medicaid coverage. The measure would also allow states to eliminate preventative health care guarantees for children - a move that could eliminate comprehensive health coverage for 6 million children. [House Budget Committee Democrats, "Summary of House and Senate Reconciliation Bills," 11/22/05] 

c.  In 2005, you also voted for a conference agreement to cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the next five years. The measure cut Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $6.9 billion, including harmful increases in cost-sharing and premiums that impose large burdens on poor children and families. In addition, the bill cut $6.4 billion from Medicare in part by raising premiums for some Part B beneficiaries. It did not cut a $5.4 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill to entice insurance companies to offer coverage in certain areas. [House Budget Committee Minority Staff, "Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill." 12/19/05] 

3.  Why have you consistently voted for legislation that is fiscally reckless and harmful for America's working families?

 

a.  In 2006, you voted for a $2.8 trillion budget that provided an insufficient level of funding for public health programs, shortchanging critical medical research, treatment, prevention and training programs.  Over five years (2007-2011), funding for public health falls short of the amount needed to keep pace with inflation by $20 billion. Programs that lost purchasing power included:18 of 19 institutes at the National Institutes of Health; prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control; graduate medical education for children's hospitals; rural health activities; and scores of other health programs that the President cut or eliminated. [House Budget Committee, Minority Staff Analysis of the FY 07 Budget] 
The bill passed 218-210.  [HCR376, Vote #158, 5/18/06]

 

b.  In 2005, you voted for the Labor, HHS & Education appropriations conference report that cut $1.5 billion from key domestic priorities. The measure cut efforts to address rural health needs like clinics, expanded dental and mental health services and telemedicine by 73 percent.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were cut by $249 million, while the bill cut by 11 percent funds granted to state and local health departments to improve preparedness against bio-terrorist attacks and naturally occurring epidemics. [House Appropriations Committee Democratic Staff, "Summary of the Conference Agreement - HR 3010," 11/16/05] The bill failed 209-224.  [HR 3010, Vote #598, 11/17/05]

 

4.  Why have you also consistently opposed health care coverage protections for people with serious illnesses? 

 

a.  In 2005 you voted against a proposal that would have maintained state coverage protections for pregnancy, child care, breast and cervical cancer screening, mental illness and diabetes.  [CQ Vote Report #425, 2005] The proposal was defeated 198-230.  [HR 525, Vote #425, 7/26/05]
 
b.  In 2004, you also voted against a motion that would have required the Association Health Plan legislation to prohibit plans that allow reductions in breast cancer coverage.  The motion was defeated 196-218. [HR 4281, Vote #173, 5/13/04]
 
c.  In 2003, you voted for a bill that would allow small businesses to join together to form association health plans across state lines without having to adhere to state-mandated coverage requirements for certain diseases.  This weakens coverage for diseases such as autism, breast cancer, prostate cancer and mental illness.

 

5.  Why have you voted to save insurance industry profits at the expense of the people of the Granite state?

 

a.  In 2006, you voted for legislation that cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the next five years. The measure did not touch a $5 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill, and after intense lobbying from the health insurance industry, the budget saved HMOs $22 billion dollars by maintaining Medicare reimbursement formulas that favored the industry. [House Budget Committee Minority Staff, "Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill." 12/19/05; CQ Today, 2/1/06; Washington Post, 2/1/06] The bill passed 216-214.  [HRS653, Vote #4, 2/01/06]

 
I sincerely hope that you will address these serious issues.  Your reckless votes in congress have significantly hurt the people of New Hampshire that are struggling with skyrocketing costs and a lack of care.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Brunelle

Wednesday
Mar242010

Pallone, Shea-Porter, Pingree Introduce Coastal Jobs Bill 

Legislation Will Drive Job Creation from Maine to Georgia

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) Tuesday introduced the Coastal Jobs Creation Act of 2010.  The legislation will implement a Coastal Jobs Creation Grant Program with the purpose of creating jobs in coastal communities.  Currently, the National Marine Fisheries Service regulates, and closes fisheries based on “best available science” that is often insufficient to properly assess the actual status of a fishery. 

By directing funding to research for better fisheries stock assessments, training and deploying observers and identifying habitats of concern this bill will allow regulators to properly manage fisheries and keep fishermen on the water.

“This bill is about rebuilding,” said Pallone. “As a result of the Magnuson Act, fisheries are being closed and local fishing economies and coastal communities are paying for it. The Coastal Jobs Creation Act will help to ensure that our fishermen continue to hold the jobs that have served our communities so well.” 

"Our fishermen are an important part of our coastal communities and economies, and they are an irreplaceable piece of our heritage," said Shea-Porter.  "Many of them have been struggling to make ends meet as tougher regulations limit their ability to fish.  This bill will both help preserve our fishing industries and provide us with the science we need to make informed decisions to protect our fisheries and marine habitat."

“In the short term, this program is going to put fishermen back to work in coastal communities,” Pingree said. “And over the long term it is going to provide new opportunities for jobs and economic development by investing in fishermen, the science and the infrastructure that supports our fishermen mean long lasting fishing jobs.”

By compiling economic and social data related to commercial and recreational fisheries industries, regulators will have the tools necessary to understand the impact on local communities and consider the consequences before closing such a valuable resource to the community.

            The recreational and commercial fishing industries will benefit from the research and infrastructure projects funded by this bill. Funding will only be provided to projects that create the greatest employment opportunities for coastal communities and which benefit the commercial and recreation fishing industries.  In total the bill authorizes $80 million a year for fiscal years 2001 through 2015.

“Congressman Pallone has been a long-time advocate for the fishing industry to the benefit of fishermen in New Jersey and nation wide,” said Jim Donofrio of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.  “This bill has broad support in the fishing community and we look forward to the jobs that it will create up and down the Atlantic coast.”

Nationwide, U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $185 billion in sales and supported more than two million jobs in 2006, according to an economic report released by NOAA’s Fisheries Service.