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Entries in Legislation (135)

Wednesday
Jun182014

House Republican Alliance Releases Legislative Scorecard

Today, the House Republican Alliance (HRA) released its 2014 scorecard for members of the New Hampshire House.  The HRA scorecard ranks every state representative's voting record according to how well their votes comply with the U.S and N.H.  Constitution, the New Hampshire Republican Platform, and fiscal soundness. The rating is determined by comparing each representative's voting record with the recommendations HRA published in the "Pink Sheet”. HRA's Pink Sheet recommendations are distributed to House members before each session and are available on the HRA website. 

This scorecard was derived from 118 roll call votes. This year, on average, 83.3% of Republican voted in line with HRA recommendations.  The Democrats' average was 9.6%, which dramatically demonstrates how different the parties are in their respective ideologies.

The HRA scorecard is the longest running scorecard or measurement used in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.  A summary of each bill's impact is available at www.NHHRA.org.

The HRA is the oldest independent policy group in the NH House, consisting of current and recent New Hampshire House members who work together to advance fiscal sanity and Republican principles of smaller government and keeping taxes low for all citizens of the state.

Saturday
May312014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Sausage Making, the Rainy Day Fund, and Narrow Networks 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire
 

The most annoying and disheartening time of the legislative year is upon us – the time when transparency and honest debate are sacrificed on the altar of hidden agendas in pursuit of that elusive legislative pot of gold, “a deal.” Committees of conference are legislative mini-summits where the romanticized version of a smoke filled room creates comparisons to sausage making that do a distinct dishonor the noble smoked meats. Click here to keep reading
 


Summary: The current FY14-15 budget spends $30.5 million more on Health and Human Services than the House Budget proposed, when Uncompensated Care is removed. Revenue projections for the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET), which funds Uncompensated Care, were revised downwards in the Enacted Budget on the advice of HHS. Taking into account all back of the budget reductions, the Enacted Budget spends nearly $23.5 million more over the biennium than the House Budget in General Funds. Click here to keep reading

 


The real problem with the Obamacare network in New Hampshire is not that it is too narrow but that there is any network at all. Healthcare costs are lowered not when the one government sanctioned picks winners and losers but instead when providers compete for the customer pool. The oddly constructed health exchange in New Hampshire is not the beginning of the future but the last gasp of the past. Click here to keep reading

 

Thursday
May292014

MPP - NH Med. Marijuana Rules Hearing Thursday 

 

Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates to Comment on Proposed Patient Registry Rules at Public Hearing Thursday                                                                    

Advocates will urge regulators to more swiftly implement program that will provide seriously ill patients with legal access to medical marijuana; hearing will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services Brown Building Auditorium at 9:30 a.m. ET                                                              

CONCORD — The Department of Health and Human Services is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday on its proposed rules for the patient registry portion of the state’s medical marijuana program. Patients and advocates will comment on the draft rules (available here) and the impact of a memo from the attorney general’s office (available here) that has delayed implementation of the program. 

The Marijuana Policy Project is urging regulators to begin issuing ID cards to patients as quickly as possible. 

“It is critical that the state begin issuing ID cards to patients as soon as the rules for the patient registry have been finalized,” said Matt Simon, a Goffstown-based New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “There is no reason to delay the program, and many patients can’t afford to wait any longer for relief. Our state should not continue to criminalize seriously ill people who are using medical marijuana under their doctors’ supervision.”

 

WHAT: Public hearing on proposed rules for the patient registry portion of the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis program

 

WHEN: Thursday, May 29, 9:30 a.m. ET

 

WHERE: Department of Health and Human Services, Brown Building Auditorium, 129 Pleasant Street, Concord

 

WHO: Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project

 

# # #

 

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Friday
May162014

NHDP - ICYMI: Senate Republicans Killed Bipartisan Energy Bill Because “Scott Brown Asked Them To” 

Key Point: “The reason Senate Republicans decided to fracture the coalition for an energy bill everybody seemed to like, Sabrina Siddiqui and Ryan Grim report, is that Scott Brown asked them to. Brown is running against Shaheen this November, and Republicans — especially would-be Majority leader Mitch McConnell — want Brown to beat Shaheen because they want to win a majority.  Brown needs to deprive Shaheen of the afterglow that would come from shepherding a (now rare) bipartisan bill through Congress. And, indeed, when Senate Republicans killed Shaheen’s bill, the New Hampshire Republican Party immediately highlighted its failure to attack her.”

 
New York MagazineHow Mitch McConnell Hacked American Politics

By Jonathan Chait 

For more than three years, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Rob Portman have been cooperating on a bill to improve energy efficiency standards. They carefully assembled a wide coalition, ranging from conservative business lobbies to liberal environmentalists, and trimmed away any remotely controversial provisions, leaving a series of modest-size but worthy reforms that helped business save money by reducing energy use. It appeared headed for passage, and even had bipartisan House sponsors. Then Monday the bill suddenly died. It died for reasons that were initially mysterious, but which turn out to clarify not only the legislation’s fate but the broader reason why national politics, in the form Americans wish it to exist, is dead and can never return.

The proximate cause of the legislation’s demise was the demand by Republican Senators to hold votes on controversial amendments on issues like approving the Keystone pipeline and preventing new regulations on power plants. Obviously, attaching divisive amendments to a bill that was painstakingly written to avoid controversy is going to fracture its coalition, and so it did. The reason Senate Republicans decided to fracture the coalition for an energy bill everybody seemed to 
like, Sabrina Siddiqui and Ryan Grim report, is that Scott Brown asked them to. Brown is running against Shaheen this November, and Republicans — especially would-be Majority leader Mitch McConnell — want Brown to beat Shaheen because they want to win a majority.

Brown needs to deprive Shaheen of the afterglow that would come from shepherding a (now rare) bipartisan bill through Congress. And, indeed, when Senate Republicans killed Shaheen’s bill, the New Hampshire Republican Party immediately highlighted its failure to attack her:

Senator Shaheen has called the Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill her 'defining' legislation. But after its defeat, Senator Shaheen doesn't have a single legislative accomplishment to run on as she seeks re-election. It's time to end Jeanne Shaheen's failed tenure in the Senate and replace her with a responsible Republican who can get results for New Hampshire.

For a voter paying close attention to the Senate’s machinations, this makes little sense: Republicans are arguing that their torpedoing of Shaheen’s bill proves Shaheen is a legislative failure. But few voters follow politics so closely, and even those reading detailed coverage of the bill’s failure would quickly get lost in an arcane procedural dispute that putatively caused its demise. 
Saturday
Apr262014

NH Charter School Legislative Update 

In this issue
Oversight Hearing on HB435 Enrollment Projections

The Charter Schools and Open Enrollment Legislative Oversight Committee held a hearing this week to examine some questionable enrollment projections created by the Department last January. The enrollment projections conflict with the official fiscal note attached to HB435 but more importantly they were used by charter school opponents to mount a vicious and highly effective misinformation campaign against HB435.

 

Deputy Commissioner Leather represented the Department at the hearing. Deputy Leather confirmed that the document in question was created by the Department however he stated that, "the document was not meant to be an addendum to the fiscal note". Naturally this leads one to ask, how did these inflated projections end up in the hands of charter school opponents? And why were they NOT shared with the bill's prime sponsor, Representative Ken Weyler? Representative Weyler had some very stern words for Deputy Leather and the Department on this issue.

 

Committee Audio Outtakes

Click here to listen to a fascinating line of questioning by Representative John Hunt (of Rep. Susan Ford) starting at 1:15. It sounds like the bill was scuttled in part so that opponents can hold increased funding hostage until after the next election. This would allow opponents to use the issue to try and gain concessions during budget negotiations next year. This is similar to Rep. Eaton's famous video discussing using charters as a "trump card" back in 2013.

 

Click here to listen to Senator Sanborn's line of questioning. Two important points are made. 1. The money to pay for HB435 was available in the charter school line item of the budget and 2. Opponents don't want to answer whether or not charter schools should receive additional funding until after they see if they win the next election. Note: At 35 seconds Rep. Ford appears to mistakenly claim that HB435 as amended, would not have increased funding until the next biennium, that is not the case.

 

Media Reports from the Hearing

Click here to read Dave Solomon's article in the UL

Click here to read a story from the AP

Funding, Context and Politics

At the heart of the debate it's not really about the money, charters represent only about 2% of public school enrollment. The real issue is one of control, politics and ideology. Do you believe that children deserve choices in public education or not? Do you believe that modest competition can raise the bar for all children or not? Do you believe that a system which is inherently monopolistic can serve children best or not? Do you believe that unions and special interest groups have your child's best interests at heart or not? 

 

Click on the following links and search for "charter" for examples of common rhetoric. AFT-NH, NEA-NH, NHSBA.

House Sends Two Anti-Charter Bills to Senate

The House has sent two more bills to the Senate which aim to block future charter school authorizations and increase regulation on public charter schools. The first bill, HB1449 would change the authorization process and create a shameful but effective choke point to approval. The second bill, HB1141 would single out public charter schools for new regulations but omit other public schools.

 

This seems to be a pattern these days as the House Majority continues to claim that they support public charter schools while simultaneously passing bills that would damage the program and harm children. Readers will remember that last session the House stuffed HB2 full of anti-charter provisions, including a new moratorium. Thankfully the state Senate rejected those games and took a stand for all public schools.

 

At the end of the day these tactics only serve to harm:

  • The roughly 3,000 (or 2%) of children in the state that attend a "different kind" of public school
  • Students at the seven charter high schools for at-risk youth. These students have a combined average of 30% Free and Reduced Lunch Eligibility (higher than the state average)
  • The students of the state's most rural charter elementary school with a Free and Reduced Lunch population over 34%
  • Students at the only two public choice options North of Concord
  • Students at the only public charter school dedicated to the STEM sciences
  • The parents of children that have searched for years to find a public program that works for their child
  • The staff members who forgo higher pay and benefits at a traditional school in order to provide a public alternative for students that need or desire it

Source: www.education.nh.gov/data/documents/lunch_school13_14.xls  

Why is HB1449 Bad?
Because it is just another moratorium by another name. The charter school application currently contains 30 different components. After an application is submitted it is graded using 12 standardized criteria totaling 100 possible points. HB1449 redistributes these points in an illogical and frankly shameful attempt to block new schools. How does it do this?
  1. It increases the value of 1 criterion (the mission statement), to 50 points (out of 100).

  2. It thus devalues much more important criteria including; academic and learning goals, the ability to serve student needs, curriculum, founder qualifications, governance, and financial sustainability.

  3. This creates an effective choke point whereby you can deny a charter school application on the basis of 1 criterion alone.

  4. HB1449 would also allow the SBE to block charter authorizations based on geographic location.

 
Ask yourself this question:
If as the bill's supporters claim, they truly support public charter schools, which is more important? The 2 or 3 sentence mission statement contained within the application or the bricks and mortar that create the foundation for a strong public school?
 
The answer seems obvious.
Why is HB1141 bad?

HB1141 would single out public charter schools by requiring them to notify and submit contact information to the Superintendent of a child's resident district within 7 days of enrollment.

 

Currently when a child enrolls in a public charter school, the charter school contacts the student's current school and requests the student's records. This is the same process that traditional public schools use and it serves to notify the district.

 

HB1141 would require that charters also contact the Superintendent's office and give them contact information for the child's parents. This not only increases regulation but puts in place a procedure that makes it easy to retaliate against parents that choose a choice option.