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SB 193 is dead for this year! The House voted 180-163 to “non-concur.” (…but get ready for next year.)

There’s nothing much more to say than to express thanks and appreciation to the many dozens of committed parents and volunteers who expressed their opposition to vouchers.

Please.  Stay engaged.  This bill and other challenges will be back before a new Legislature next year.  Parents and others concerned about the future of public education in New Hampshire will need to maintain a strong, reasonable, rational voice in the policy process.

There is no need for a committee of conference on HB 1636 (SB 193) – the House should vote Non-Concur.

HB 1636, amended to include SB 193, will come before the House again on Thursday, May 10th.  It contains the version of SB 193 that the Senate passed a year ago, a bill that served as a starting point for 15 months of work by House Education and Finance committees.
The Governor is putting the Legislature though this extended process but there is nothing left to be said.  Education and Finance Republican leadership, including the House members most committed to school choice, have already invested their best efforts in this bill.  The best a Committee of Conference could do is bring back a bill the House has already voted on twice. (Here is further coverage.)

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Update on the effort to resuscitate SB 193: action through the end of the session

The expectation at this point is that the House Education Committee will recommend that the amended HB 1636 be sent to a committee of conference and that the House will vote on that on May 10.  Here is the amendment adding SB 193 to HB 1636.  (This amendment, “Death Benefit for School Employee Killed in Line of Duty” was also added to HB 1636)

The House could kill the bill then and there but if it agrees to the committee of conference, the Speaker will name the committee members, probably then and there, and the committee will prepare its report.  The version of SB 193 added to HB 1636 is a version that the Senate passed in March, 2017 and that no one considers viable at this point.  The committee of conference will probably replace it with a version much like the one the House voted down this week.

The House would vote on the committee of conference report at the May 23 session.  If it passes, it will go immediately to the Senate.  If it fails, it is dead at that point.  The last day of the current legislative session is scheduled to be May 24.

Both the Concord Monitor (here) and the Union Leader (here) have provided updates on last night’s Senate action.  (more…)

The Senate has amended HB 1636 to include the language from SB 193

At 9:30 tonight (Thursday), the Senate amended HB 1636, creating a study committee about charter school teacher preparation and making unused district school facilities available to charter schools, to include the language of SB 193.

It is not clear which version of SB 193 the Senate amended into HB 1636 nor is it clear whether the amended bill will go to a conference committee or straight to the House floor for an an up or down vote on a motion to concur.

Update, 5/3 at 10:40:  Here is the amended version of HB 1636,  The added language is the version that passed the Senate in March of 2017.

To be continued.

SB 193 supporters’ effort to resuscitate SB 193 fails. Here’s an analysis of the vote.

Debate on a bill the House has voted on can be reopened if the majority supports a motion to “reconsider.”  The House voted this morning defeated a motion to reconsider yesterday’s vote on SB 193.

Here is breakdown comparing yesterday’s 170-159 vote on Interim Study (a Yea is a vote to kill the bill for this year) with today’s 165-172 vote that defeated the motion to reconsider yesterday’s vote to kill the bill (a Nay vote on the motion to reconsider is a vote in opposition to SB 193).

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House votes Interim Study on SB 193, 170-159. But it’s not over! Here’s the roll call on yesterday’s vote.

After an evening in which both sides would have subjected Republican’s who supported the Interim Study motion to intense lobbying, there will be more maneuvering on the House floor today, attempting to bring the bill up for reconsideration.  If Sb 193 supporters lose again today, they may try to insert the bill into another piece of legislation still in process (the session is scheduled to end on May 24).

So please stay tuned for further opportunities to communicate with your legislators.

Immediately below is the roll call, alphabetical by House Member’s last name, copied and pasted from the General Court web site.  Below that is the same table, sorted by party and vote.  Below that, the table is sorted by vote and party. (more…)

Portsmouth Herald Editorial: Protect taxpayers, students, schools; send SB 193 for study

The Portsmouth Herald and its related seacoast papers ran the strong editorial below this morning on why SB 193 should be sent to Interim Study.  The vote is tomorrow and supporters are putting together elaborate plans to get something passed to keep the bill alive.  Now would be a great time to call your House member and follow up with an email about why the bill should be defeated (get their contact info here if you know who they are and here if you don’t):

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee is to be commended for its in-depth analysis of Senate Bill 193, which led it to warn that more study is needed before the state authorizes so-called “freedom savings accounts” for students.

After holding 13 work sessions and several public hearings on the bill, the Finance Committee voted 14-12 last week to recommend the bill be referred to interim study, where its many flaws can be addressed over the summer and fall to benefit a future Legislature.

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Is the Catholic Diocese of Manchester lobbying behind the scenes for SB 193?

American Catholic schools have always been a great source of learning in a context of values and discipline. But times are tough.  While New Hampshire public schools have lost 12% of their enrollment over the past 10 years, our private schools have lost 19%.  They are down from 20,000 students in 2008 to 16,000 students now (NHDOE).

New Hampshire’s nationally-known private schools are doing fine but the local, mostly church-based, schools are hard hit by those enrollment declines.  It’s a national phenomenon that NPR did a story on a year ago, observing, (more…)

Governor Sununu: opposition to SB 193 comes only from “the unions” and their big money

Here is a 10 minute interview with Governor Sununu about SB 193. The dominant theme is that all the opposition comes from “the unions”, which have spent big money to oppose the bill.  We do, of course, hope that teachers would oppose a bill that would burden their local property taxpayers and reduce their ability to teach their students.  But all of you know that opposition is far broader and deeper than that. (more…)

House Finance Committee recommends Interim Study on SB 193 by a vote of 14-12

In the face of unremitting pressure from the Governor and House leadership, House Finance chair Neal Kurk (R, Weare, rep03281@aol.com) and Reps. Frank Byron (R, Littlefield, frank.byron@leg.state.nh.us ) and Robert Theberge (R, Berlin, robert.theberge@leg.state.nh.us) voted with all committee Democrats to send SB 193 to the House with a recommendation of Interim Study.

Chairman Kurk said, explaining his vote briefly, “I was not elected to downshift costs to my constituents.”

Please take a minute to express your appreciation for the strong stands taken by Reps. Kurk, Byron and Theberge (email addresses above).

It will take that same kind of fortitude and conviction for others to oppose the bill when it comes up for a vote on Thursday, May 3th.  Many in both parties agree that business and property taxes should benefit all public school children rather than subsidizing private school for a few.  So now is the time to write or call your Reps (contact info is here) and let them know there is a lot of support out there for doing the right thing.