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Entries in Legislation (142)

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.

Tuesday
Apr082014

MPP - NH Medical Marijuana Hearing and News Conference

New Hampshire Senate Committee to Hold Hearing Tuesday on Bill That Would Provide Legal Access to Medical Marijuana                                                                    

HB 1622 sponsor Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join medical marijuana patients and advocates for a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building

 

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution.

Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), who is sponsoring HB 1622, will join medical marijuana patients and advocates at a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The committee hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET in Room 103.

"My weight is down to around 60 pounds, and I have no appetite without cannabis," said Clayton Holton, a Dover-based medical marijuana advocate suffering from muscular dystrophy, who will not be attending the hearing because he is no longer able to travel. "Where is the compassion for patients like me who are literally wasting away because of these delays?"

HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

"If this bill passes, New Hampshire will continue to have one of the strictest medical marijuana laws in the nation," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "At least it will help those desperately ill patients who cannot wait any longer for legal access to medical marijuana."

WHAT: News conference and State Senate Committee hearing regarding HB 1622, which would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or caregivers to cultivate limited amounts of medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated alternative treatment centers

WHEN: Tuesday, April 8 — news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET; Senate committee hearing at 11 a.m. ET

WHERE: News conference in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, 33 N. State St., Concord; Senate committee hearing in Room 103

WHO: Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), sponsor of HB 1622

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

Frank Paine, Center Sandwich medical marijuana patient

Christine Lopez, Manchester medical marijuana patient

# # #

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.

Thursday
Apr032014

NCMHR - URGENT ACTION ALERT: Tell your Representative no on HR 3717! 

WE NEED YOUR HELP IMMEDIATELY 

  

Call your Representative NOW (click the envelope to find their phone number).

 

Why call NOW? The Murphy bill is picking up steam fast:

 

Ø  More Representatives are signing on—especially Democrats.

Ø  Yesterday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood could make more Representatives sign on, for the wrong reasons.

Ø  hearing at 10:30 ET today will promote HR 3717 and vilify people in recovery.

 

Please Make this call NOW and leave the following message:

 

“I am (name, city). Tell my Representative NOT to cosponsor HR 3717, the Murphy mental health bill. It would hurt people like me, not help us. This Bill discriminates against people with mental illness.  It strips our rights and protections against abuse.  It increases forced psychiatric treatment that is traumatizing, criminalizing and scares people from seeking help.  It ends grants that help the most vulnerable people in our district. It will NOT make our community safer.”

 

(Leave your phone number if you want a return call.)

 

Please call your Representative TODAY. Your voice counts if you make the call!

 

Thank You. Share Widely

 

Forward this email to a friend

 

 

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
Tel:  877-246-9058
Email: info@ncmhr.org
www.ncmhr.org

 

 

Saturday
Mar292014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Dickens, Budgets, and Charter Schools 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire
Two issues this week. Charter Schools and Charles Dickens. I enjoyed writing the piece which uses my favorite Charles Dickens quote to pass on the advice of Mr. Micawber to today’s lawmakers (though, of course, you and I could benefit by reminding ourselves of this truism now and then). You don’t have to be the greatest Dickens fan to believe that Micawber’s insight is as profound as it is simple.
 
The second issues unfolded last week. Distressingly, charter schools are sometimes used as a political football and otherwise sensible, seemingly non-controversial proposals get caught in the political vortex. That happened with a bill related to a modest charter funding change. Problematically, I made a mistake and needed to correct it in a column two days later. Both columns are reproduced here. Everything I said in the first column about misleading information was true with the exception of authorship. Charter schools were being attacked with incorrect information designed to confuse the issue. That information was contradicted by the official fiscal note produced by the department of education. I assume that the department wasn’t the author of the contradictory and incorrect information. I was wrong. In fact, the department authored and stands by both the right information and its incorrect rebuttal. If one is right the other is wrong but they have the same author. No wonder legislators were confused and changed their mind. It is very sad but the attack on charter schools continues despite their amazing success and is at least somewhat more muted here than in places like New York City.
 

The great economic principle of our time comes not from an economist or a banker but from the great Mr. Micawber, a somewhat comic character created by Charles Dickens.  Wilkins Micawber had figured out the central organizing fact of modern life when he suggested to young David Copperfield, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the weary scene, and  – and in short you are for ever floored.”...Click here to keep reading

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In Wednesday’s column about a misleading attack on charter school funding, I made a big mistake. I want to correct my mistake about the source of the very misleading information that was circulated and explain to you how I made the mistake and the problem with the information. It’s important that you feel free to agree or disagree with my conclusions but not have cause to doubt my information....Click here to keep reading

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A modest normalization of charter school funding, although long overdue, has become a political football and subject of misinformed and purposely misleading arguments to try and kill it. The truth, easily discovered, is that the proposal covers fewer than 2% of students and involves less than 2% of state education funding and continues to ask charter schools to prosper with less than half the funding of traditional schools....Click here to keep reading