State House Update
April 1, 2019

This week at the State House

The House will meet in session on Thursday at 10 a.m. and has also scheduled a session for Thursday, April 11 – the deadline to vote on the budget. The Senate, meanwhile, will not meet in session this week and has not scheduled its next session.

Our biggest focus this week is the Thursday vote on our COLA bill, HB 616. You can read more on that below. Several of our other bills have crossed over and will have hearings soon.

You can find the complete House and Senate calendars below:


RETIREMENT SYSTEM

COLA bill set for final House vote Thursday   

We need members to take action by contacting their representatives

Last week, the House Finance Committee voted 14-8 in support of HB 616, our pension cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) bill. The bill now faces a second floor vote in the House. We need members to contact your representatives and ask for their support of this bill.

Background: Members of NHRS have not received a COLA since 2010. As expenses rise, these retirees who dedicated their careers to public service find themselves left further and further behind. As introduced, this bill would grant a 1.5 percent COLA to those who have been retired for 60 months. The House already gave this bill a strong vote of confidence (250-91), but we need to continue to push for support.

What you can do: We need members, especially those who would be impacted by the bill, to contact the members of the House Finance Committee. You can easily send a message using our updated online action form, which you can find here. We’ve given you a message to start with but we highly recommend personalizing it by explaining exactly what this COLA would mean to you. If you’d prefer to call your representatives, you can find their contact information here. Thank you for all the work you’ve done to get the bill this far – let’s keep moving.


CHILD PROTECTION

Hearing set for April 9 on our CPSW bill, SB 6

President Gulla submitted testimony for the public hearing last week

The House Children and Family Law Committee has set a hearing on our child protection bill, SB 6, for April 9 at 11:30 a.m. in room 306 of the Legislative Office Building. At the previous hearing, a number of members who work at the Division of Children, Youth and Families provided strong testimony in support of the bill. We’re looking for members to attend this upcoming hearing in support of the bill.

Background: Child protection staffing in the Division of Children, Youth and Families falls far below what is needed to meet nationally recommended caseload standards. Our child protection staff give all they can every day, but they need our help. This bill is a signal that help is on the way. It would add 77 new positions in the next two years.

What you can do: Come to the hearing and testify if you are comfortable doing so. If you’re interested, you’re asked to contact Andy Capen at acapen@seiu1984.org. We’ll update you next week as the hearing approaches.


WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR

Updates on other bills we’re following

In addition to the bill listed above, here are progress reports on a few other key issues:

Clinicians bill: The House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. in LOB 302 on SB 115, a bill requested by our Clinicians United group to establish a commission to study the business environment for mental health providers in New Hampshire.

Workplace violence: The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday at 2 p.m. in LOB 306 on SB 29, a bill requested by our Conservative Members Caucus that would create a commission to study incidents of workplace violence against state employees.

Independent investment committee: The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. in LOB 306 on SB 28, which would add an active employee pension system member to the NH Retirement System’s independent investment committee.

Public employee privacy: The House Labor Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. in LOB 307 on SB 19, which protects the privacy of information regarding public employees.

Notice to join unions: The Senate approved SB 148, which, as amended, includes important provisions that spell out the rights of unions to meet with new employees promptly after hiring. The bill will now cross over to the House for consideration.

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