blog - Rights and Democracy NH

3 Actions to Take on Paid Family Leave and Trans Rights

Here are some quick, easy actions you can take in the next week to help move forward key issues like enacting paid family and medical insurance and stopping transgender non-discrimination. Thank you!
 
PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE INSURANCE (HB 628)
 
On April 19, the Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines to send HB 628 to interim study—effectively killing the bill. This was shortly after a letter from Gov. Chris Sununu saying he planned to veto the legislation. After three years of research, 18 months of bipartisan collaboration, and three separate votes to pass the bill in the House, Gov. Sununu and the Senate are working derail this popular proposal.
It's important that your State Senator and the Governor hear from disappointed voters who overwhelmingly support implementation of a paid family and medical leave insurance program for working families. The entire Senate will be voting on the bill soon. Please call today!
 
ACTION #1:
Find your Senator, contact them and to urge support of HB 628
ACTION #2:
Call Gov. Sununu's office at 603-271-2121 and let him know you expect him to stand by his campaign promise to support paid family and medical leave in New Hampshire.
 
SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT FOR GOVERNOR SUNUNU (603) 271-2121:
 
Hello this message is for Governor Sununu, my name is ___________. I live in _______________ and I’m calling about the Family and Medical Leave bill, House Bill 628. I am very disappointed to hear that you are in opposition to this bill that would greatly benefit New Hampshire families such as my own. I was so pleased when you voiced your support for the policy in the past and am frustrated to hear you are now working in opposition to this popular program. Working families in our state need family and medical leave and I urge you to work with the Senate to advance this important policy.
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TRANSGENDER NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL (HB 1319)

Today, HB 1319 advanced to the full Senate, though without an endorsement from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Instead, the Committee recommended HB 1319 by a 3-2 vote for interim study—essentially a polite way to try and kill the bill. An interim study committee takes no clear action on a bill, and its recommendations are not required to be acted on. 

The bill still gets a vote on the Senate floor, and momentum is high. That vote could come either this Thursday, or next Wednesday or Thursday (May 2nd or 3rd) during the final days of the Senate session.

ACTION #3:

Contact your senator and urge them to vote in favor of HB 1319. We don’t need more time to know discrimination is a problem and this non-discrimination bill is the right solution.


Paid Family Leave: Preventative Insurance for New Hampshire Workers

(This following essay was written by Rights & Democracy member Nikki Casey)

It’s time for New Hampshire to allow for a simple, employee-funded insurance program to allow workers to take paid time off to care for newborn children, recover from illness or injuries, take care of their ailing parents, or recover from substance misuse disorders.

Please contact your legislator and ask them to support HB 628, which would establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program for Granite State workers.

How does it work? Workers would pay .67 percent of their salary into the fund and after six months they will be eligible for six weeks of paid leave to deal with medical emergencies.For someone making $50,000 per year that would amount to $6.70 per week.

People who object to participation are given the opportunity to opt out. Additionally, the program is funded by employee contributions; employers would not be required to contribute anything.

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Canvassers Needed: Special Election in Laconia

It’s time to carry the electoral energy of 2017’s special elections into 2018 as we build momentum for the mid-term elections this November.

Join RAD to knock doors for Democratic candidate Philip Spagnuolo in Belknap House District BE3, which is in Laconia, in advance of the special election on February 27.

We’ll be knocking doors on February 11, 18, and 25. Click on the button button to let us know what day(s) work best for you to join.Join_Us_button.pngDemocrats won eight of 10 special legislative elections in 2017 and Rights & Democracy members knocked doors and canvassed in many of them.

You can make a difference!

We look forward to seeing you out in the streets and on the doors.


Calls Needed: Important Vote on Paid Famly & Medical Leave Insurance

Help us get one step closer to ensuring all Granite Staters have access to paid family and medical leave insurance (FAMLi)!

We need folks to call state Representatives and urge them to support HB 628 in a crucial House vote THIS WEEK!

Paid FAMLi would complement existing insurance benefits such as worker’s compensation insurance and unemployment insurance.

The House is expected to vote on this important worker’s insurance program on Wednesday!

Here’s how to find your Legislator and contact them.

paidFAMLi_NH.jpgIMPORTANT: See below for a script if your legislator is one of the Republicans (they are listed below, too) who supported this important bill earlier this year—courtesy of Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy—along with some key talking points. If you have a personal story of a time this might have been helpful to you, let them know.

HB 628 enjoyed a healthy measure of bipartisan support, but there is a concerted GOP effort to kill this legislation.

Did you know? Only 11 percent of workers in the U.S. have access to paid family leave through an employer, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave. Thousands in our own state continue to face severe challenges without paid time off to care for their newborn children, recover from illness or injuries, or take care of their ailing parents.

Establishing paid family and medical leave insurance in the Granite State is a key is part of Rights & Democracy’s Raise Up New Hampshire platform.

How the program would work: After six months of paying into the program, participants would be eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave to recuperate from an illness or procedure, or to care for a family member, a new baby or a sick parent for example. Participants would receive 60 percent of their wages.

Currently, there is an opt-out provision in the bill, and no business would be required to pay into it - only workers. The Department of Employment Security (DES) recommended that the participant input be increased from .5% to .67 percent, which they felt would secure the solvency of the program if participation rate was as low as 70 percent. This means that the average New Hampshire wage earner making $50,000 would see their weekly deduction increase from $5 in the original bill to $6.70. Businesses are not required to contribute anything to the program. Democrats on the Commerce Committee put forward an amendment to change the bill to reflect the DES recommendation.

Keep reading to find out how best to talk to your local representative.

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Rally in Support of Transgender Rights

TransRally_unionleader.jpegHundreds of Granite Staters will gather on Wednesday, January 31 at the Legislative Office Building to show their support for a bill that will protect LGBTQ+ Granite Staters from discrimination.

In 2016, Rights & Democracy became a founding member of a strong, bipartisan coalition: Freedom New Hampshire, which is working to update state law to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination.

Since 1998, New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination has protected lesbian, gay and bisexual people from discrimination in employment, housing and public places like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals. But there are still no explicit protections based on gender identity—and this year, that has to change.

Join_Us_button.png

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Say it With Us: Health Care as a Human Right

The 2018 session of the New  Hampshire legislature convened January 3, and there are several bills aimed at creating universal health care plans in the Granite State and acknowledging that access to health care is a human right.

If you support creating a universal health care system in New Hampshire - this could be the year to have your voice heard!

On Friday, January 12, beginning at 9 AM, the Commerce Committee will be holding hearings on several bills related to single payer and Medicare for All in Room 302 of the Legislative Office Building.   

Please come to the State House to testify or just be present at the hearings. If you are not able to make it to testify please send your testimony to the Commerce Committee here.

These are the key health care bills:

  • HealthCareJustice.pngHouse Bill 1241 establishes a commission to study the benefits and cost of a "health care for all" program for New Hampshire.
  • Senate Bill 383 establishes a commission to assess benefits and costs of a "health care for all" program for New Hampshire.
  • House Bill 1516 establishes a commission to examine the feasibility of the New England states entering into a compact for a single payer health care program.
  • House Bill 1790 This bill establishes a New Hampshire health access corporation and health access fund.

This is also the year New Hampshire’s  Medicaid Expansion will need to be re-authorized.  Representative Cindy Rosenwald has submitted a bill—House Bill 1811—to extend the program which will have a hearing by the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on January 16, at 2:15PM in Room 205 of the Legislative Office Building.

Rights & Democracy NH’s Health Care Justice Team is looking for new members, so if access to health care is an important issue for you, contact Kathy Staub at kathy@radnh.org.


Urge Your Representative to Reject the School Voucher Bill

When the New Hampshire House reconvenes on January 3, one of the first bills they will take up will be a direct assault on our longstanding commitment to public education in the Granite State.

The House will take up SB 193, a bill that would establish “Education Freedom Savings Accounts” otherwise known as school vouchers.

These vouchers will rob tens of millions of dollars from our public schools to pay for tuition to select private and religious schools or given directly to parents who homeschool their children.

There are many problems with this bill:

  • Students leave with our money, but school costs remain on taxpayers. If one or two children leave a school with several hundred students, the  building needs to be heated, and you need a teacher  in every classroom, but now you have between $7-$16,000 less to pay for it. The only solution is to reduce the quality of education or raise local property taxes.
  • S1200px-New_Hampshire_State_House_5.JPGtabilization grants mean taxpayers pay twice.  One provision added to the bill to address this loss of funding was  addition of stabilization grants. The state would reimburse school districts for lost revenue when the impact is more than ¼ of 1% of a district’s budget. Some examples: Manchester would be on the hook for the first $432,000 before  the stabilization grant kicks in; For  Keene that number would be $169,000; and, and for Hillsboro-Deering that figure would be $62,046. For every student beyond that, taxpayers would be required to pay out the voucher to the parents and pay out the stabilization money to the school district. The most likely source of this money is the Statewide Education Property Tax.For a complete list of towns and the fiscal impact of his proposed legislation see this analysis by Reaching Higher New Hampshire Education Fund.
  • The costs are potentially limitless. New Hampshire has a school voucher program funded by voluntary contributions from businesses who receive a tax credit. Under SB 193 anyone making less than $73,800 for a family of four would be eligible. Once applicants get a voucher they will be eligible every year after that, as long as they meet the income threshold and their child has not graduated. If the state issues 1000 vouchers the first year, the second year taxpayers will be on the hook for those plus any new ones that are issued — into infinity. That will add up quickly.
  • It is unconstitutional. New Hampshire has an explicit clause in its constitution that forbids the use of public money to support religious schools. People may argue that because the money is being laundered by a foundation through these “Education Freedom Savings Accounts” that makes it OK. But let’s be real. When you pay your tax bill to your town it is very likely it will be used to pay tuition to a Catholic School. In fact, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which is a national organization founded by a Wal-Mart heir and a hedge fund manager, partners heavily with Catholic school districts around the country.

The bottom line? This is a terrible bill. It harms and undermines New Hampshire’s highly regarded public education system and it is fiscally irresponsible.

Please contact your state representatives and tell them to kill this awful bill. You can find their contact information here.


We Stand in Opposition to this Immoral Tax Bill

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Our Statement

Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to the immoral tax bill passed today by the US Congress which gives huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while leaving low- and middle-income folks out in the cold.

Today, Republicans in Congress implemented an historic transfer of wealth and power for the sole purpose of enriching their donors, corporations, and Wall Street elite while widening an already massive income gap. This bill moves our country closer to an oligarchy, where only the wealthy will be able to profit from our economy, access health care, education, retirement savings, and have a voice in our democracy.

This bill’s passage means more money in the pockets of wealthy Americans—like President Donald Trump and many of his donors—which will be paid for by an impending assault on this country’s social safety net, with billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

We will continue to fight back against this disastrous policy, and thwart attacks on the public programs that enable millions of people to meet their most basic needs—needs that cannot be met on the wages that corporations have suppressed for decades.

As a grassroots organization committed to economic, social, racial, health care, and environmental justice, we believe this tax package is a direct threat to the sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities we are helping to build in Vermont and New Hampshire.

We are committed to fighting the fallout from this bill at the local, state, and national level and, in 2018, we will show Republicans that robbing from working people to give to their wealthy donors will cost them at the ballot box.

Join us in this fight!

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The People of New Hampshire & Vermont Can Change the World

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I’m please to report that our vision of how a movement for Rights & Democracy (RAD) in Vermont and New Hampshire can change the world is becoming reality.

 

I wanted to let you know that together we are creating change that not only impacts the lives of people in our community, but increasingly our country and the world.

 

We are only able to do this work if we are supported by the people who believe in the need for this change. We were given an extraordinary opportunity where some of our major supporters said they would match dollar for dollar all the small gifts (up to a total of $25,000) that we received from now until the end of the year.

 

Thanks to everyone who has risen to meet this challenge, we only have $3000 more to raise hit our mark!

 

Can you give $27, $50, or $100 to help us meet our goal?

 

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The People of Vermont & New Hampshire Can Change the World



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