Unstoppable Together for the Week of Feb. 13

In this edition …

This Week at the State House

The House and Senate are in session this week — in fact, the House will meet twice to get through a full slate of bills. The House meets in session Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. The Senate meets Thursday at 10 a.m.

So-called right to work comes up for a House vote this week, but only the Senate bill, SB 11, is on the calendar. Other big issues up for a vote in the House this week include the Sununu Center and retiree health care. Meanwhile, several other bills we’ve been tracking have been retained in committee, including: one that would give some DOT workers hazardous duty pay, and one that would impose premiums on Medicare-eligible state retirees. Being retained by the committee is not great news, in that the bill isn’t going anywhere this year. The hope going forward with retained bills is that the committee forms a sub-committee to study the issue and comes back next year with a proposal that could pass.

Here are the full calendars for each chamber:

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So-Called Right to Work

Be There Thursday for Major House Vote

We’re Once Again Running Shuttles to State House

The Senate’s so-called right to work bill will go to the full House for a vote this Thursday (the House appears to be holding onto its version for now). Despite the committee’s strong vote against the bill, we are expecting a significant push from out-of-state special interests in passing this union-busting legislation.

We need you to be at the Statehouse to help greet the legislators and demonstrate that the only NH constituency that cares about Right to Work is OPPOSED TO ITTake action today. Call your representative and tell them to VOTE NO on so-called right to work.

Come to the State House this Thursday, Feb. 16, at 9:30 a.m. Join your voice to the growing chorus of citizens who want the legislature and governor to focus on the real challenges facing our state.

Hop on the SEA shuttle

Shuttles running to State House: Parking around the State House can be a challenge on hearing days, so we’re running shuttles from the State Office Park East on Hazen Drive as well as the State Office Park South (NH Hospital campus). If you plan on taking the shuttle, please RSVP (if you plan to use) to lhenderson@seiu1984.org. RSVPs help us manage the flow and make this a better experience for all.

The shuttle routes look like this:

  • Hazen Drive loop (begins running at 8:55 a.m., last return route leaves State House at 12 p.m.):  starts at DHHS/DES Building, proceeds to Fish and Game Building and then the Department of Transportation. This shuttle drops off and picks up on Park Street.
  • South Campus loop (begins running at 8:55 a.m., last return route leaves State House at 12 p.m.): starts at Main Building, proceeds to the lot between Toby Building and Brown Building, then to the Department of Education Building (Londergan Hall). This shuttle drops off and picks up on Capitol Street.

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Committee Acts on Retiree Health Care Bills

Votes Were Positive But We Need ALL State Employees to Call their Representatives

On Wednesday, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee held executive sessions on two bills related to retiree health care, HB 653 and HB 645. Both bills would have a terrible effect on state retirees, but thankfully the committee votes were favorable. The committee strongly rejected one bill (HB 645 – which would have put all retirees into a voucher-style system and ended retiree health insurance for new hires) and retained the other (HB 653 – which would have instituted a 12.5 percent premium on all Medicare-eligible retirees). Retaining a bill, as noted in the first item, basically means the House will not vote on it this year. The issue is far from dead, however.

The 12.5 percent premium language in HB 653 could return in budget discussions later this year and the full House still needs to vote on HB 645. That’s why we need you to call your representatives TODAY to tell them how these bills would affect you. As a reminder, these two bills would affect ALL state workers, active and retired. You can find your representatives’ contact information here.

FYI: We wrote more extensively about what we need you to do in the alert we sent out last week, which you can find here.

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Call Committee on CCSNH Health Care

Bill Would Permit CCSNH to Participate in State Health Care Plan

The senate Executive Departments and Administration committee held a public hearing for SB 215 on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The SEA testified in favor of passage. Administrative Services and CCSNH were neutral on passage of the legislation, which would permit the System to participate in the state health care plan.

It is important that you contact the members of the ED&A committee if you support this legislation. Share your health insurance story with the senators – nothing is as impactful as personal stories in persuading elected officials. The committee may be taking action on this bill next week, so be sure to call right away.

Here is the list of ED&A senate members with contact information:

  • Sharon Carson, Senate district 14 – 271-1403 (Senate office)
  • John Reagan, Senate District 17 – 271-4063 (Senate office)
  • William Gannon, Senate District 23 – 271-7803 (Senate office)
  • Donna Soucy, Senate District 18 – 271-3207 (Senate office)
  • Jeff Woodburn, Senate District 1 – 271-3207 (Senate office)

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SYSC Bill Set for House Vote this Week

Call Your Representative to Ask them to Reject the Bill

The bill that would change the size of of the Sununu Youth Services Center, HB 646, was amended then approved by the House Children and Family Law Committee last week. The amendment isn’t great, but it does appear to show the committee heard the concerns of opponents of the bill. For example, the amendment increases the number of residents to 72 from 20. Better news is that Gov. Chris Sununu signaled in his budget address that making use of SYSC is a priority.

While the amendment improves the bill, we still recommend calling your representatives to ask them to reject the bill when it comes up for a vote. Click here to find your representatives’ information.

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Gov. Sununu Presents Budget Proposal

Plan Would Increase Spending for DYCF, Includes No State Layoffs

Gov. Chris Sununu presented his budget proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate on Thursday, increasing spending by $800 million. There’s a lot to unpack in the budget proposal, but a couple of the big takeaways are that the governor’s plan addressed retiree health care costs and funding for DCYF.

The budget will continue to take shape as it goes through the House and the Senate, which is where the real work begins. We’ll follow that process in this newsletter alerting members to any possible actions. For now, you can check out the Union Leader and Concord Monitor reports on the budget (subscriptions may be needed).

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