It all comes down to this week. There are 4 very important votes happening in Concord in the next three days, and we need you to take action to ensure the health and civil liberties of Granite Staters are protected.
The most important thing you can do is pick up the phone and make your position known.
>>>We are asking you to make just 2 calls:
- one call to your Representatives in SUPPORT of Medicaid Expansion (SB 313) and in OPPOSITION to School Vouchers (SB 193)
- and one call to your Senator in SUPPORT of Transgender Non-Discrimination (HB 1319) and in OPPOSITION to voting restrictions (HB 1264)
Here are some more details about when the votes are happening on specific bills, and events you can attend in Concord to show your support for the outcomes we want:
The full House votes on whether to reauthorize Medicaid Expansion (SB 313) on Wednesday, May 2nd
>Call your representatives and urge them to vote YES on Medicaid Expansion.
>Attend the Rally to Reauthorize Medicaid Expansion on May 2 at 8 am at the State House in Concord.
The full Senate votes on whether to pass HB 1319, updating NH law to protect transgender people from discrimination, on Wednesday, May 2nd.
>Call your Senator and urge them to vote YES on HB 1319
>Attend visibility rallies on May 2nd and May 3rd. Supporters are hoping this final gathering will be a victory rally.
PROTECTING PUBLIC EDUCATION
The full House votes on whether to allow school vouchers to fund private education (SB 193) Thursday, May 3rd.
>Call your representatives and urge them to vote NO on the School Voucher bill (SB 193).
>Email the whole House: HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
Subject line: The Reps are getting TONS of emails, so be sure to say something in the subject line that lets them know you oppose SB193 and why (just a quick "Don't raise my taxes with SB193" or something - but make up your own so it doesn't look canned.) And then the body of your email can be 1 or 2 sentences - no more is needed. Talking points are below.
Talking Points: (Choose one; put it in your own words! One or two sentences is all you need)
- SB 193 downshifts $100 million in costs to towns/cities in the first 11 years, in ways they can’t make up with cost savings. Property taxes will rise.
- This bill takes public money and uses it for purposes beyond what the public agreed to, which was to fund public education accessible to all.
PROTECTING VOTING RIGHTS
The full Senate votes on HB 1264 on Wednesday, May 2. This is effectively a poll tax on voters because it requires them to establish residency and pay related licensing fees.
>Call your Senator and urge them to OPPOSE HB 1264.
>Attend a visibility event on Wednesday, May 2 from 12:30-3:30 pm
Thanks so much for your help!!
Thank you for your past support — it is because of you that we were able to accomplish so much last year.
And it is because of you that we have been able to unite folks during the legislative session around issues that improve the lives of our neighbors and our communities.
These wins are important because, if the past sixteen months have taught us anything, it’s that Democracy is fragile, and Rights can’t be taken for granted.
The priorities of far too many elected officials – and the policies they attempt to enact – favor the wealthy few over the benefit of communities they have been entrusted to serve.
We need your voice to let our elected officials know we expect them to deliver on behalf of the people of New Hampshire.
Building on the success of the past two years, Rights & Democracy has fortified its coalitions to defend health care and education, and fight for economic and civil justice in the New Hampshire Legislature.
- We have mobilized with partners to fight a school voucher bill that would rob Granite State public schools of millions of dollars and give them to private and religious schools with no oversight.
- We have played a key role in the struggle for Medicaid expansion, challenging the onerous work requirements proposed.
- We are leading the fight for livable wages, affordable housing, and policies to address the opioid crisis.
- We are fighting to ensure non-discrimination protections are provided to our transgender community in New Hampshire.
- And we are fostering the next generation of community and elected leaders through recruitment, education, and electoral support by canvassing in heavily contested special elections in which our backed candidates flipped 9 of 11 seats - including in districts heavily won by President Trump in 2016!
Throughout rural and urban communities in our state, we see working and middle class neighbors fighting to survive in today’s economy. That’s why this spring we are launching a series of community forums, going into our rural communities, meeting people with diverse backgrounds and political viewpoints in order to better understand their priorities for the future, and develop a platform we can use to hold elected officials accountable to our community’s true needs.
You can help with a one-time, annual donation of $25, $50. $100, or more.
Or, join our growing list of monthly, sustaining donors who give $5, $10, $20 (and more) each month to help make our shared work possible.
We need your help in so many other ways, too. Get involved – forward our emails and Facebook pages to your friends, attend a meeting or a rally, join a working group, attend a legislative committee hearing or testify. We want our elected officials to hear your concerns.
One way to get involved is the upcoming Medicaid Expansion Rally on Wednesday, May 2nd at 8:00 am on the State House Lawn in Concord. We’d love for you to join us!
Without the support of our members, our shared goals will be difficult to realize. So, it’s imperative that you unite to promote grassroots progressive policies our country so desperately needs.
By becoming a sustaining member of Rights & Democracy you are helping to build that movement — online, in local communities in New Hampshire and Vermont, and beyond. We need your help now to make it a reality.
Thank you for your contribution and continued support,
Jaime Contois, Director of Strategic Development
Rights & Democracy
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.
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.
(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.Read more
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.
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.Democrats 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.
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!
IMPORTANT: 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.Read more
Hundreds 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.Read more
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!
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:
- House 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Stabilization 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.
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.Read more