March 20

 


Dear Friend,

Last week, the Senate provided a stark contrast between the priorities of Democrats and Republicans.  Democrats fought for a livable minimum wage, property tax relief for working families, and strong public schools, while Republicans cut programs for the least advantaged among us and provided more tax breaks for corporations. After a long day of controversial votes, Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) and Deputy Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) said it best:

“Serving in the Senate is an incredible honor and a privilege that we are mindful of with every vote we take. No matter how rigorous and lengthy the debate, we never lose sight of the fact that people are counting on us to fight for policies that make a meaningful difference in their lives. And we have a very hard time believing that the people of New Hampshire sent us to Concord to slash food assistance programs for the needy, send public tax dollars to religious schools or maintain a minimum wage that keeps people working 40 hours a week in poverty.”

Please continue to use this regular newsletter as a tool for your local committee meetings or as a supplement to your own regular newsletter.  

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Best,

Sue Ford
NHDP Grassroots Chair
Fmr. House Democratic Floor Leader
sueford06@gmail.com
 
Nick Taylor
Director, House and Senate Democrats
ntaylor@nhdp.org
 
Erin Cotton
Operations Director, NHDP
ecotton@nhdp.org
 
 
America Votes - Call to Action
 
Tuesday, March 21 & Wednesday, March 22 patch through phone banks
What: Voting Rights Patch Through Phone calls to key legislators
When: 4:30 – 7:30pm every Tuesday and Wednesday in march
How: Sign up for shifts online here. 
Contact: Zach Jonas at zjonas@americavotes.org or 617.650.9224
 
March for Voting Rights
When: Saturday April 1st from 1pm – 3pm
What: 1.2 mile march through downtown from Concord High School to the steps of the NH State House. The speaking program will feature elected leaders, students, veterans and affected voters. Speed activist workshops will follow the rally and provide multiple direct actions for impact on voting rights.
Who: Citizens, voters, nonprofit advocacy organizations
Contact: If you are interested in adding your group as a co-sponsor, please contact Olivia Zink, 715-8197 or olivia@opendemocracy.me
RSVP on Facebook
 

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Sample LTE 

Dear Editor,

Reproductive rights are about so many things, from women’s health, to family planning, to making sure that every child is raised in a supportive home.  We have worked hard to protect these reproductive rights here in New Hampshire, but I am concerned that Republican-sponsored bill HB 264, making oral contraceptives available over the counter without a prescription, will undo some of the protections that we have for women in the Granite State.

As a woman, I am incredibly grateful to live in New Hampshire and I am privileged to have not only the right to choose but also to have access to high quality care.  Once these contraceptives are available over the counter, health insurance policies will no longer cover the cost.  Not only will this bill make birth control more expensive, if passed smart family planning will become less accessible to women all over the state.

Affordable and accessible care must continue for all women and families in New Hampshire.

» Please email Erin Cotton, ecotton@nhdp.org, for more sample letters or for suggestions and revisions on your own LTE! 

PRIORITY DEMOCRATIC HEARINGS
Week of February 27 - March 3, 2017


Restricting Voting Rights

Tuesday. March 21st 9:00 AM / Election Law / Room 102, Legislative Office Building

Senate - Election Law - SB3, relative to domicile for voting purposes

** This will be an executive session. While the public hearing on this bill was last week, the Senate Election Law Committee will convene to make their recommendation on whether or not the bill should pass.

Why it matters:  SB 3 attempts to redefine what "domicile" means relative to voting in New Hampshire.  The bill provides a list of acceptable documents that can be used to define where you are eligible to vote.  These changes are going to make the process more confusing for young and first time voters.  The bill also allows for police to verify voters documentation by coming to their residence after the election.

Changing "Residency"

Tuesday. March 21st 11:20 AM / Election Law / Room 102, Legislative Office Building

Senate - Election Law - SB372, relative to construction of the terms "resident," "inhabitant," "residence," and "residency"

Why it matters:  This bill would change the definition of residency to exclude anyone who may have the intention of leaving the state in the near future (i.e. students, visiting professors, military personnel).  The new residency definition would ultimately be used to restrict voting rights to exclude anyone who didn't have their vehicle registered in New Hampshire or have a New Hampshire ID. 

Conversion Therapy

Tuesday. March 21st 1:45 PM / Health & Human Services / Room 305, Legislative Office Building

House - Health & Human Services - SB 224, relative to conversion therapy seeking to change a person's sexual orientation

Why this matters: This bill would ban the dangerous practice of conversion therapy seeking to change a person's sexual orientation for minors. 

Fetal Personhood

Wednesday. March 22nd 10:00 AM / Criminal Justice and Public Safety/ Room 204, Legislative Office Building

House - Criminal Justice - SB 66, including a fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of certain criminal offenses

Why this matters: This bill opens the door for the criminalization of abortions.  

 HEARINGS of INTEREST
Week of March 20 - March 25, 2017


Ratifying Postponed Elections

Tuesday, March 21st 11:40 AM / Election Law / Room 102, Legislative Office Building

Senate - Election Law - SB 248, ratifying elections and meetings postponed due to a weather emergency on March 14, 2017

Why this matters: Before Tuesday's storm, Governor Sununu and Secretary of State Gardner told local towns not to postpone their elections, despite safety concerns.  This bill, sponsored by Democratic leaders Sen. Woodburn and Rep. Shurtleff, would make the postponed elections official.

 

 Notable Floor Votes

House Floor Votes
The House will have a short session on Thursday 3/23

Senate Floor Votes
The Senate will have a short session on Thursday 3/23


Interested in Testifying at Committee Hearings?

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Click HERE to add your name to the list!

Legislative Recap 
Week in Review - Mar. 13th - Mar. 17th 

The Senate held a marathon voting session on Thursday.  The Republican majority killed bills that would've raised the minimum wage (SB 83) and funded the needed staffing additions to the DCYF (SB 223).  They also passed bills creating a school voucher system (SB 193), adding stringent requirements to our food stamp program effectively kicking 17,000 people off of the program (SB 7), and reduced business taxes even further (SB 2).  

In a bit of good news, the Senate voted 22-1 to pass Senator Feltes' bill (SB 197) which would fund the Attorney General's office to investigate campaign finance and election law violations.

Social Media Buzz

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Democratic Press Releases

 Senator Donna Soucy Applauds Passage of Bill to Support Injured First Responders
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... "Firefighters and police officers are on the front lines protecting New Hampshire’s families. The least we can do to honor their sacrifices is to ensure that their medical needs and expenses are met when they are injured on the job. SB 190 provides for a permanent continuation of this fund to give our first responders and their families the peace of mind they deserve if they are harmed in the line of duty.” ... - Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester)

Senate Fails Again to Raise the Minimum Wage
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... "While 29 states and D.C. have increased their minimum wage in the last 4 years, Senate Republicans have voted to kill a New Hampshire increase for the fourth time, making us the only New England state that maintains a $7.25 hourly wage. I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues continue to turn their backs on working people. This is not only an economic issue, but a moral issue.” ... - Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Deputy Democratic Leader and sponsor of SB 83

Democratic Leaders to Submit Emergency Legislation to Reduce Confusion on Postponed Town Elections
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... "As elected officials, we have a solemn duty to ensure the safety of our citizens and no election should require voters to risk their safety in order to participate. Our election workers and town moderators are well-trained and take the task of facilitating transparent and fair elections seriously. We should trust them to make the best decision for their communities and for the safety of their people . . .  That’s why we will attempt to introduce emergency legislation at this week’s Senate Rules Committee meeting to ensure that results from any elections postponed due to public safety concerns are enforceable and so that our local officials can make the right decision for their communities without fear of a legal challenge.” ... - Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) and House Democratic Leader Steven Shurtleff (D-Penacook)  

Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Senator Dan Feltes Call on Senate Republicans to Continue Public Budget Hearings
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... "We commend our Republican colleagues in the House for conducting open and accessible hearings on the Governor’s budget proposal. Where we allocate resources is an indication of our priorities and the people of New Hampshire ought to know where government is investing their tax dollars . . . The state budget is the people’s budget. It needs to work for everyone, not simply the Concord lobbyists and the special interest elite. The Senate should follow the House’s example and hold public hearings around the state.” ... - Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) and Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord)

Senate Passes Legislation to Expand New Hampshire Workforce Training Fund
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... "This is good for our workers, good for our businesses, and good for our economy. We hear constantly that the most significant challenge our employers face today is finding skilled workers to fill vacancies. Whether you are in recovery, you are a graduating Granite State senior, or you are on a second or third career, every Granite Stater should have the opportunity for a good job, and every Granite State business should have access to a pool of skilled workers to meet in-demand employment.” ... - Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord)

Senator Feltes Slams Blockage of Legislation to Eliminate Waiting Week in Unemployment Insurance
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... "Today’s vote to eliminate the waiting week should have been an easy one, but most of my Republican friends voted to maintain a punitive law that has outlived its purpose. Anyone who has experienced a layoff knows bills don’t wait while trying to find a new job. The sooner we can help people who are hurting due to the loss of a job, the more stable their circumstances to begin looking for new opportunities. Today’s vote was a real head-scratcher, but I know Democrats and some Republicans will continue to fight for families crushed by job loss.” ... - Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord)

Senate Tables Bill to Fund Protection for Vulnerable Children
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... "We have heard time and again that the staff at DCYF are overworked and lack sufficient resources to carry out their duties. It is the height of irresponsibility to then vote against the very legislation that would meet those needs. If we want to hold DCYF accountable for protecting the health, safety and well-being of its most vulnerable children, the agency must have the resources it needs to carry out that mission.” ... - Senate Democratic Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield)

Senate Democrats Dismayed by Passage of Restrictive Food Stamps Bill
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... "In the same day that we are discussing increased tax breaks for businesses and voting against the long overdue increase to the state’s minimum wage, Senate Republicans are passing legislation that prevents thousands of food insecure Granite Staters from accessing the SNAP benefits they so desperately need. I have to wonder – why are my Republican colleagues making it so hard for working families to succeed in New Hampshire?” ... - Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth)

Senator David Watters and Senator Jay Kahn Statement against School Voucher Bill
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... "SB 193 is patently unconstitutional and opens the door to school vouchers and the national, GOP-led campaign for so-called ‘school choice,’ efforts that use tax dollars to fund private, religious schools for the disproportionate benefit of the wealthy. Make no mistake, school vouchers are the wrong choice for New Hampshire.” ... - Senator David Watters (D-Dover)

Senator Kahn Applauds Passage of Legislation to Create NH College Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership (NH GRIP)

... "NH GRIP creates a unique, New Hampshire advantage to enable our state to compete with the 41 other states that currently offer incentives for college graduates to remain in-state. The program will help make it more viable for New Hampshire’s high school graduates to envision and plan long-term futures in the state and make New Hampshire an appealing destination for out-of-state students to put down roots. I am pleased that the Senate voted to take this pragmatic step forward in making New Hampshire a desirable destination for newly credentialed students to pursue their education and career interests.” ... 
- Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene)

Senate Passes Legislation to Enforce New Hampshire’s Election and Lobbying Laws
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... "There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about tightening up our election laws. The bipartisan legislation we passed today is a common sense measure to allocate important resources to the Department of Justice to effectively enforce our election, lobbying, campaign finance and transparency laws.” ... - Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord) 

Senator Fuller Clark Statement on Legislation to Change the Definition of Mental Health to Include Substance Abuse Addiction
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... "This bipartisan effort changes the definition of mental health to include substance addiction in order to permit law enforcement, medical professionals and families of those suffering from addiction to involuntarily commit individuals who have ingested substances to medical facilities for treatment and monitoring. We know that the disease of addiction often renders people unable to make independent decisions to get the help they need. While I’m disappointed we were not able to pass this legislation today, I look forward to working together with my colleagues to move this process forward.” ... - Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) 

Senator Martha Fuller Clark Statement on Reauthorization of Medicaid Expansion
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... "The success of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion law has been touted by both Republicans and Democrats. 50,000 people rely on Medicaid expansion for their healthcare and nearly 10,000 patients are able to treat substance addiction through this Medicaid. The program has also been credited with a significant reduction in emergency room admission and has brought new insurance competition into New Hampshire while keeping rates low relative to many other states.” ... - Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) 

Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Create Syringe Collection Program in New Hampshire
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... "This legislation is the latest in a series of bipartisan efforts to combat the myriad health crises surrounding the substance misuse epidemic in our state. Many states have established programs for safe, regulated needle and syringe exchanges and have adjusted laws to protect those suffering from addiction from coming forward to obtain clean syringes. Not only is there research that shows that needle exchange programs increase the likelihood of people going to treatment, they also go a long way toward limiting dangerous outbreaks of HIV and Hepatitis C.” ... - Senator David Watters (D-Dover) 

Senator Dan Feltes Responds to Blockage of Bill to Create Non-Partisan Revenue Estimator
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... "A majority of states assign the task of preparing fiscal notes to a nonpartisan entity. New Hampshire is not one of them, and I am disappointed that the Senate failed to move in that direction today. Estimates provided by a non-partisan office engender more confidence and eliminate the possibility for bias due to political pressure and influence. Establishing a nonpartisan revenue estimator can only increase accuracy and transparency and I regret that my colleagues failed to join me to pass SB 188.” ... - Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord)

Senator Jeff Woodburn Condemns Elimination of Northern Border Regional Commission in Trump Budget Proposal
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... "The people of the North Country face unique challenges and obstacles, especially when it comes to economic development, but partnerships like the Northern Border Regional Commission invest in projects that help to create jobs, reduce poverty, and ensure that the resilient people of the North Country get a fair shot." ... - Senator Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton)

State Democrats in the News

 
N.H. Senate Bill Redefines Domicile For Voting Purposes, Reignites Voting Rights Debate
Panelist: Senator Jeff Woodburn (D – DALTON)
 
NHPR: LISTEN HERE

GET INVOLVED!

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