Unstoppable Together for the week of Feb. 27

In this edition …

This week at the State House

The Senate is on break this week, which coincides with school vacation week. The calendar below does have some meetings listed, but there are no Senate hearings or sessions until the week of March 6. The House will not be meeting in session, but representatives have a busy week of hearings, including work on the budget (more on that below).

The key hearing this week is for HB 438, the bill that specifically targets public employees’ ability to have union dues automatically deducted from their paycheck (more on that below, too).

Here are the full calendars for each chamber:

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Committee OKs CCSNH health care proposal

Plan would allow community colleges to re-enter state health care plan

There was good news this week for our members at CCSNH. A bill (SB 215) that would allow CCSNH to participate in the state health care plan received a favorable vote in the Senate ED&A Committee. The bill will go up for a full Senate vote next Thursday, March 9.

This bill is enabling legislation — CCSNH would still have to decide to join the health plan — but it is a good first step to lowering health care costs for CCSNH employees and potentially saving the College millions of dollars. For many CCSNH employees, health care costs are soaring because of untenable deductibles and prescription drug prices. Having the state health plan as an option would be a win-win for employees and the State.

We’re asking you to call your senator to ask for support of SB 215. You can find your senator’s contact information here.

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Hearing Wednesday on dues deduction bill

Members asked to sign your name in opposition to the bill

Last week, after the defeat of right to work, we alerted you about another legislative attack on workers and organized labor, HB 438, a bill that would block automatic union dues payroll deduction for state employees. Like right to work, this isn’t a new idea and it’s one that’s been rejected before. And just like right to work, the bill is an obvious attack on unions and an attempt to limit workers’ voices in the workplace.

The first public hearing for HB 438 has been scheduled for 10 a.m. this Wednesday, March 1 in Rooms 305-307 of the Legislative Office Building. We’re asking members to come to the hearing to sign your name in opposition to the bill.

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Retiree health care premium in budget bill

The governor’s version of the budget “trailer bill” (HB 2) includes language that would force Medicare-eligible state retirees to begin paying a premium for their health care coverage. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the language was copied nearly word for word from a bill recently retained by the house, HB 653. The House is currently working on its version of the budget, which will eventually get a hearing and a vote, so there will be opportunities to take action. For the moment, this should serve as an alert that this proposal is still alive.

In the meantime, we encourage you to call your representatives to let them know how this proposal would affect you. If you don’t know your representatives’ information, you can find it here.

House Finance schedule of budget work for this week

The House Finance Committee is continuing to work on its version of the budget this week, with three divisions holding hearings and work sessions. You can see the schedule for this week here.

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