Tuesday, March 6, 2012


 Bills That Would Limit -- Or Eliminate -- Our Collective Bargaining Rights

HB 1666 - The original sponsor was Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (Hillsborough 15).  The amendment was sponsored by the House Finance Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Kenneth Weyler (Rockingham 8).

This bill requires legislative approval of all state-level collective bargaining agreements, which means either the House or the Senate could veto any state collective bargaining agreement for any reason whatsoever.  The amended bill passed the House on February 15th; read the roll call here.  The bill is currently pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

Read the Concord Monitor's editorial about this bill here

HB 383 - The original sponsor was Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Maurice Pilotte (Hillsborough 16).

This bill is "Right to Work" (for less) for state employees -- on steroids.  It would undo 35 years of public employee labor relations law.  As amended, the bill would restrict union contracts so that they only cover union members.  Any coworkers who are not union members would be required to "relinquish" the wage/benefits provisions and the protections of the collective bargaining agreement.  The House passed the bill on January 5th; read the roll call here. Currently pending in the Senate.

HB 1677 - Sponsored by Rep. William Smith (Rockingham 18); Rep. David Bettencourt (Rockingham 4); Sen. James Forsythe (Senate District 4).

This bill is this year's version of HB 474 ("Right to Work" for less), and it would apply to the private sector as well as the public sector.  Watch as House Leadership -- for a second time -- pushes through legislation sought by an out-of-state special interest group, even though two-thirds of New Hampshire residents support collective bargaining rights.  The Committee voted to recommend approval of the bill.  A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.

HB 1685 - The original sponsor was Rep. David Robbins (Hillsborough 26). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Shawn Jasper (Hillsborough 27).

A third try at "Right to Work" (for less), this bill would thoroughly scramble public sector labor relations.  It would end unions' obligation to represent employees who are not union members (although unions could choose to represent agency-fee payers if agency fee provisions are negotiated into their contracts).  The bill would create a new class of co-workers who pay a "negotiation fee" in order to receive the wages and benefits of the contract, but are not otherwise represented by the union (for example, in worksite grievances).  And if co-workers do not pay the "negotiation fee", they would not be covered by the contract.   If passed, the bill would only become law if HB 1677 (above) does not pass.  The Committee voted to recommend approval of the bill as amended.   A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.

HB 1663 - Sponsored by Rep. George Lambert (Hillsborough 27) and Rep. Andrew Manuse (Rockingham 5).

This is yet another "Right to Work (for Less) for Public Employees" bill.  The Committee voted to refer the bill to an interim study committee.  A House vote on the Committee's recommendation is expected on March 7th or 8th.  We believe the bill should be killed, rather than being sent to a study committee.

HB 1570 - Sponsored by Rep. Joanne Ward (Rockingham 13); Rep. Tammy Simmons (Hillsborough 17); Rep. Philip Munck (Strafford 2); and Rep. Will Smith (Rockingham 18).

Here's another "Right to Work (for Less") bill for public employees.  The bill would end unions' obligation to represent non-members who refuse to pay dues or fees; however, it would allow for voluntary payment of agency fees.  The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  The Committee's ITL recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.

HB 1206 - The original sponsor was Rep. Donna Mauro (Rockingham 4).  The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Gary Daniels (Hillsborough 6).

The current version of this bill would give public sector employers a huge advantage during negotiations: if a contract goes into "evergreen" status, the bill requires that 50% of "any cost increase necessary to fulfill continuing obligations for employee insurance benefits" be shifted onto employees. The Committee has reported the bill "Ought to Pass" (OTP). A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th. 

HB 1645 - Original sponsors: Rep. George Lambert (Hillsborough 27) and Rep. Andrew Manuse (Rockingham 5). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Shawn Jasper (Rockingham 27) and Rep. Gary Daniels (Hillsborough 6).

This bill would allow employers to begin the process of decertifying a union in certain circumstances.  But once the camel's nose is under the tent -- once employers have the ability to start a decertification election -- where will it stop?  The Committee voted to recommend approval of the bill as amended.  A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.

HB 1427 - Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would prohibit privatization/contracting-out from being considered an unfair labor practice.  The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  The Committee's ITL recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.  We agree this bill should be killed.

HB 1163 - Sponsors: Rep. Susan DeLemus (Strafford 1); Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (Hillsborough 15); Rep. William O'Brien (Hillsborough 4); Rep. Warren Groen (Strafford 1); Rep. John Gimas (Hillsborough 12); Rep. Paul Mirski (Grafton 10); Rep. Gregory Sorg (Grafton 3); Rep. Daniel Itse (Rockingham 9); Rep. Paul Ingbretson (Grafton 5); Rep. Clifford Newton (Strafford 1); and Sen. Jim Luther (District 12).

Under this bill, employees would no longer be able to have union dues automatically deducted from their wages.  The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  The Committee's ITL recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.    We agree this bill should be killed.

HB 1513 - Sponsor: Rep. Paul Simard (Grafton 8).

Under this bill, only people who have owned a private business could serve as members of the Public Employee Labor Relations Board.  Why should the experience of owning a business (which might or might not have been successful) be a requirement for serving on the Board that enforces laws governing public employee unions?  The House voted the bill "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL), killing the bill, on February 22nd.  We agree this bill should have been killed.

HB 1426 - Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would have allowed municipalities to cut the costs of employees' health benefits outside of the contract negotiation process -- even if there is a contract currently in force.  The House voted the bill "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL), killing the bill, on February 8th.  We agree this bill should have been killed.
 

Bills to Change Our Pension Benefits

HB 1460 - Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7).

The Legislature has been studying and "reforming" our pension benefits since before the recession stared -- but this bill would establish yet another Committee to study public employee pension reforms.  The bill is pending in the House Special Committee on Public Employee Pensions Reform. The House has extended the Committee's deadline to make a recommendation on the bill; the new deadline is March 22nd.

SB 229 - Sponsors: Sen. Fenton Groen (District 6); Sen. David Boutin (District 16); Sen. Jeb Bradley (District 3); Sen. Peter Bragdon
(District 11); Sen. Tom De Blois (District 18); Sen. James Forsythe (District 4); Sen. John Gallus (District 1); Sen. Gary Lambert (District 13); Sen. Nancy Stiles (District 24); Sen. Raymond White (District 9); Rep. Kenneth Hawkins (Hillsborough 18); Rep. Winter (Merrimack 3); Rep. Gregory Hill (Merrimack 6); Rep. William O'Brien (Hillsborough 4); and Rep. David Bettencourt (Rockingham 4).


Millions of people with 401(k) retirement plans watched their financial security evaporate in recent years.  This bill would force public employees hired after November 1, 2012 to take the same risks with their families' futures.  It would also require the state to issue a Request for Proposals for private sector administration of both the new defined-contribution plan and the current defined-benefit plan.  It would cost the state more than $180,000 just to issue the RFP.  The bill would also shortchange the NH Retirement System by more than $237 million in the short-term -- increasing the unfunded liability and forcing all public employers to pay more in the long run.  Who would benefit from this bill?  It is now pending in the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee.
 

Privatization of Public Services

HB 1274 - The bill was originally sponsored by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (Hillsborough 15). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Calvin Pratt (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would originally have eliminated the Department of Cultural Resources.  The current version of the bill would provide a structure for the privatization of the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.  The bill is currently pending in the House Finance Committee. A Committee work session on the bill is scheduled for March 9th.

HCR 39 - Sponsors: Rep. Jerry Bergevin (Hillsborough 17); Rep. Donald LeBrun (Hillsborough 26); Rep. Dan McGuire (Merrimack 8); Rep. Mauro (Rockingham 4) and Rep. Al Baldasaro (Rockingham 3).

The resolution urges Congress to privatize all aspects of Social Security.  Who do you think would benefit?  The Committee reported the bill out as "Ought to Pass."  The House may vote on the bill March 7th or 8th.

SB 249 - Sponsors: Sen. John Gallus (District 1); Sen. Ray White (District 9); and Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would have required all operations of the NH Retirement System to be put out to bid.  The Senate voted the bill "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 15th.  We agree this bill should have been killed.

HB 1425 - Sponsor: Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would have changed the process for establishing positions in Hillsborough County. The House voted the bill "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 22nd.  We agree this bill should have been killed.

HB 1189 - Sponsor: Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (Hillsborough 15).

The bill would have established a committee to study the privatization of County correctional facilities.  The House voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 8th.  We agree this bill should have been killed.

 

Bills to "Shrink Government" by Limiting Spending

 
HB 1170 - Sponsors: Rep. Carol McGuire and Rep. Dan McGuire (both from Merrimack 8); and Sen. John Barnes, Jr. (District 17).

The bill would allow municipalities to require that all annual budget and special warrant articles include the estimated impact on taxes.  The bill was approved by the House on February 1st.  The Senate Committee has recommended that the bill "Ought to Pass" (OTP).  The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on March 7th.

HB 1329 - Sponsors: Rep. Ralph Boehm (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Laura Gandia (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Carol McGuire (Merrimack 8); Rep. Shawn Jasper (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Al Baldasaro (Rockingham 3); Rep. Andrew Renzullo, Hills 27; and Rep. David Bettencourt (Rockingham 4).

The bill would change procedures governing default budgets in municipalities.  The Committee recommended that the bill is "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  A House vote on the Committee's recommendation is expected March 7th or March 8th.

HN1355 - Sponsors: Rep. J.R. Hoell (Merrimack 13); Rep. Carol McGuire (Merrimack 8); Rep. Seth Cohn (Merrimack 6); Rep. Thomas Keane (Merrimack 13); and Sen. David Boutin (District 16).

The bill would change the method of determining the default budget for counties, in the event that the County Convention does not approve a new budget.  Under the bill, the default budget would be the smaller of the proposed budget or the previous year's budget.  The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  The House may vote on the Committee's recommendation on March 7th or 8th.

HB1200 - Sponsors: Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (Hillsborough 15); Rep. Paul Simard (Grafton 8); Rep. Neal Kurk (Hillsborough 7); Rep. Kenneth Weyler (Rockingham 8); Rep. William Belvin (Hillsborough 6).

The bill would have required County Commissioners to submit a "reduced spending alternative" version of the County budget, which would be at least 10% lower than the previous year's budget.  The House voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 8th, killing the bill.

Bills Affecting Our Children's Education

Read media accounts about House proposals to curtail public education in the Laconia Daily Sun here and on NHPR's website here.

HB 1713 - Sponsors: Rep. Charles Sova (Grafton 10); Rep. Susan DeLemus (Strafford 1); Rep. Fred Leonard (Strafford 1); Rep. Seth Cohn (Merrimack 6).

The bill would abolish the Department of Education.  The Committee has recommended that this bill is "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.  We agree this bill should be killed.

HB 1424 - Sponsors: Rep. J.R. Hoell (Merrimack 13) and Rep. Mark Warden (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would prohibit school districts from requiring parents to send their children to any school, school program, or curriculum to which the parent is conscientiously opposed.  Thankfully, the Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.  We agree this bill should be killed.

HB 1383 - Sponsors: Rep. Joe Duarte (Rockingham 1); Rep. Paul Mirski, (Grafton 10); Rep. Daniel Tamburello, (Rockingham 3); Rep. Laurence Rappaport (Coos 1); Rep. Norman Tregenza (Carroll 2); Rep. John Reagan (Rockingham 1). Amendment sponsored by Rep. Michael Balboni (Hillsborough 21).

The bill would require University of New Hampshire Trustees to establish a procedure to determine that "all students receiving the in-state rate of tuition are legal residents of the United States."  The House approved the bill on February 1st; read the roll call here.  The bill is now pending in the Senate Education Committee

HB 1467 - Sponsors: Rep. Lenette Peterson (Hillsborough 19); and Rep. Laura Jones (Strafford 1).

The bill would add requirements for teacher certification.  The Committee voted to send the bill to an interim study committee.  A House vote on the Committee's recommendation is expected on March 7th or 8th.

HB 1162 - Sponsor: Rep. J.R. Hoell (Merrimack 13).

The bill would have created a committee to study the effects of compulsory school attendance on children and families.  The House voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 15th.

HB1575 - Sponsors: Rep. J.R. Hoell (Merrimack 13) and Rep. Joseph Pitre (Strafford 3).

The bill would have allowed students to "opt out" of school classes.  The House voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) on February 15th. 

Elections

CACR21 - Sponsors: Rep. David Bates (Rockingham 4); Rep. William Smith (Rockingham 18); Rep. William O'Brien (Hillsborough 4); Rep. Pamela Tucker (Rockingham 17); and Rep. Andrew Renzullo (Hillsborough 27).

This constitutional amendment would allow voters to repeal laws by referendum.  The Committee voted to send the bill to an interim study committee.  A House vote on the Committee's recommendation is expected on March 7th or 8th.

HB592 - Sponsors: Rep. Pamela Tucker (Rockingham 17); Rep. Karen Umberger (Carroll 1); Rep. William Infantine (Hillsborough 13); and Rep. Paul Mirski, (Grafton 10).

The bill would create new districts for electing state Representatives.  The House passed the bill on January 18th; read the various roll calls here.  The Senate Committee has recommended that the bill "Ought to Pass" (OTP).  The Senate is expected to vote on the Committee's recommendation on March 7th.

HB 1548 - Sponsors: Rep. Seth Cohn (Merrimack 6); Rep. Stella Tremblay (Rockingham 3); and Rep. Regina Birdsell (Rockingham 8).

The bill would make ballots available for public inspection under the New Hampshire "Access to Governmental Records and Meetings" law.  The House voted this bill "Inexpedient to Legislate" on February 8th.

Bills to Limit the Right to Vote

HB 1478 - Sponsors: Rep. Bates, Rock 4; Rep. William O'Brien (Hillsborough 4); Rep. David Bettencourt (Rockingham 4); Rep. Shawn Jasper (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Dan McGuire (Merrimack 8); Rep. Timothy Comerford (Rockingham 9); Rep. Andrew Renzullo (Hillsborough 27); and Sen. John Barnes, Jr. (District 17).

The bill would require people to use the same residence address for purposes of voting and for registering motor vehicles.  The Committee has recommended that the bill "Ought to Pass" (OTP).  A House vote on the Committee's recommendation is expected March 7th or 8th.

HB 1354 - Sponsors: Rep. David Bates (Rockingham 4); Rep. David Bettencourt (Rockingham 4); Rep. Shawn Jasper (Hillsborough 27); Rep. William O’Brien (Hillsborough 4); Rep. Dan McGuire (Merrimack 8); Rep. Andrew Renzullo (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Timothy Comerford (Rockingham 9) and Sen. John Barnes, Jr. (District 17).

The bill would change New Hampshire’s domicile laws and eliminate the right to vote in the town of current residence, which is especially important for college students and military families. This is a priority of the "American Legislative Exchange Council" (ALEC), which is a lobbying group primarily funded by corporate interests.  The House approved the bill on February 8th; read the roll call here.  It is now pending in the Senate.

Other Bills of Interest

HB 1506 - Sponsors:  Rep. George Lambert (Hillsborough 27); Rep. Spec Bowers (Sullivan 3); and Rep. Andrew Manuse (Rockingham 5).

The bill would make public employee personnel records available for public inspection under the New Hampshire "Access to Governmental Records and Meetings" law.  According to the Department of Administrative Services, this bill would "create a high volume of requests for access to state employee personnel records." The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL). The Committee's ITL recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.

HB 1708 - Sponsors: Rep. Daniel Tamburello (Rockingham 3); Rep. Andrew Manuse (Rockingham 5) and Rep. Mark Warden (Hillsborough 7).

The bill would limit the salaries of certain high-ranking unclassified state employees.  The Committee voted that the bill was "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL).  A House vote is expected on March 7th or 8th.  We agree this bill should be killed.

HB 1174 - Original sponsors: Rep. Frank McCarthy and Rep. Laurie Pettengill (both Carroll 1); Rep. J. Gail Barry (Hillsborough 16); Rep. Mark McConkey (Carroll 3); Rep. Tony Pellegrino, Rep. Joseph Thomas and Rep. Jeanine Notter (all Hillsborough 19); Rep. Frederick Rice (Rockingham 15); and Rep. Carol Vita and Rep. Lucien Vita (both Strafford 3).  The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Gary Daniels (Hillsborough 6).

As amended, this bill would allow a legislator to be designated as a "silent observer" of county-level collective bargaining agreements.  The amendment vastly improved this bill.  The Committee voted to recommend approval of the bill as amended.  The Committee's "Ought to Pass" (OTP) recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.  We support this bill.

HB 1237 - Original sponsors: Rep. John Gimas (Hillsborough 12); Rep. David Bates (Rockingham 4). The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Gary Daniels (Hillsborough 6).

This bill re-establishes the Joint Committee on Employee Relations (which the Legislature eliminated in 2010).  The Committee voted to recommend approval of the bill as amended.  The Committee's "Ought to Pass" (OTP) recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.  We support this bill.

HB 1287 - Sponsor: Rep. Paul Mirski, Grafton 10.

The bill would expand the ability of non-residents to register their motor vehicles in New Hampshire.  The Committee reported that it is "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) this bill.  The Committee's recommendation is on the Consent Calendar for March 7th.


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