February, 2013

Board Elections

Have you ever considered serving on the NHLA Board of Directors? It’s a great way to take a leadership role in promoting liberty in New Hampshire.

The Board has seven positions (Chairman, Political Action Director, Treasurer, Membership Director, Research Director, Civic Action Director and Secretary) and each position is a two-year term. The Board meets once a month, at a central location, usually in Concord, to plan, organize, and brainstorm ways of promoting the NHLA and pushing liberty forward through legislative activism and public outreach. These all-volunteer positions are very rewarding and do require some time commitment.

In April, the NHLA will be holding elections for Civic Action and Secretary. The Civic Action Director is responsible for, but not limited to, strengthen the foundations of civil society in New Hampshire though NHLA by encouraging private charity and increasing citizen involvement in the community. The Secretary is responsible for, but not limited to, preparing the minutes for each of the Board meetings and writing and sending out the newsletters.

Nominations for these positions are being accepted until April 17th at 11:59pm. If you know of someone who would make a great addition to the NHLA Board (including yourself) and would like us to speak with them about their (your) possible involvement, please submit their (your) name to chair@nhliberty.org

Voting will open on April 18th until April 28th at 11:59pm. Remember, you must be a paid member in order to participate in Board elections. To upgrade to either Full or Lifetime Membership, log in to the website and click on "my account."

Public Testimony Training and Reminder

Remember, only those who have undergone the training AND are given special permission by the Board, are allowed to testify as a representative of the NHLA. The Board appreciates and encourages all members to continue their participation in the political process, and when providing testimony at public hearings, we ask that you do so only as a private, concerned citizen and never on behalf of the NHLA.

It is imperative that the NHLA maintains a respectable reputation and rapport with our legislators in order for us to remain a positive, powerful, influential force in Concord. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Liberty Forum

NHLA is a proud Silver Sponsor of 2013 Liberty Forum, New Hampshire's largest annual liberty-oriented convention, scheduled for February 22-24, 2013. This year’s event promises to be a spectacular engagement, as usual. Saturday night’s keynote speaker is Tom Woods. He is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books. A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods holds a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and his master's, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

We are currently looking for volunteers to man the NHLA table at the event on Friday and Saturday. If you are interested in volunteering an hour or two of your time, please email chair@nhliberty.org for more information.

State House Tour at Liberty Forum

NHLA will host a guided State House tour of the NH State House on Thursday, February 21st at 1pm-5pm. This is your chance to learn your way around the State House and the Legislative Office Building (LOB), see firsthand the legislators in action, meet and talk with several pro-liberty Representatives and Senators, understand what goes on during these legislative sessions, and more. This is not the official tour put on by the State House, but an insider's tour with behind-the-scenes workings of the House.

Other Activism

There are several pieces of homeschooling legislation that are being considered in Concord in the upcoming weeks. Your e-mail to the committee can help support or oppose these bills.

Upcoming bills in the House

Please send your e-mail to the House Education Committee

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H05

HB 370 -- AN ACT repealing the education tax credit program.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0370.html

  • More than 400 children have applied for scholarships to date from families with an average family income of only $45,000. More than 50% of the families qualify for free/reduced lunch.
  • The program is in its infancy and the first scholarship organization was approved by the Department of Revenue in January 2013. The scholarship program should be given time. Repealing it now would be flip-flop legislation.
  • The average scholarship amount of $2500 would put educational alternatives within reach for low-income families in our communities. While it is true that the elite private schools in our state, such as St. Paul's and Phillips Exeter, have extremely high tuition, most private and alternative schools are far, far less and offer financial assistance to families. The combination of financial aid with the tax-credit scholarship would make alternatives feasible for many families.
  • The tax-credit scholarships are not just for religious schools. The scholarships may be used for independent private schools, public schools outside the family's district, as well as home education expenses.
  • The fiscal note prepared by the Department of Education states that repeal will increase state expenditures by over $550,000 more than it would increase tax revenue. In other words, the scholarship program saves the state money.
  • Vouchers and tax-credit programs are not equivalent and the difference is not an accounting gimmick. Vouchers are distributed from monies received by the government and then distributed. Tax-credit programs such as the scholarship program in New Hampshire, uses pre-tax dollars and come from charitable donations. This is similar to any other voluntary donation to non-profit organizations. Money does not belong to the government before taxes and should be directed as the business owners and individuals choose.

HB 321 -- AN ACT requiring proficiency on the statewide assessment for high school graduation.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0321.html

HB 322 -- AN ACT requiring proficiency on the statewide assessment for advancement to grades 4 and 8.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0322.html

HB321 and HB 322. Both bills are well intended, and make students take the tests more seriously. However, they are fundamentally flawed for multiple reasons.

  • They more firmly entrench Common Core Standards, even if that is not the required standard. In the next year or two, NH schools will convert to CCS and the testing the state already requires, so they would go the easier path and tie CCS testing to the graduation and grade advancements.
  • In fact, couldn't that lead to more personal identifiable info being tied to these tests so they could know whether or not an individual student "passed" the test and not just have the aggregate scores? That's a huge problem.
  • These bills say these "may" be applied to home ed and private school students. However, we both know this would open the door to private and home ed students having to jump through the same hoops as the public schools and increase the demand for reinstating home ed students to report their annual evaluations to their Participating Agencies.
  • Adding grade level and graduation exams have unspecified passing requirements.
  • This bill would encourage teaching to the tests, which is proven to be a dismal teaching objective.

HB 251 -- relative to the legislative members of the home education advisory council.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0251.html

  • HEAC has six representatives from the home ed community, and six from other state-level education agencies, creating a stable and balanced board. Restoring voting rights to the three legislative members gives them a "second bite at the apple" by having another opportunity to impact home education rules and policy. It also makes HEAC vulnerable to political shifts as the legislative HEAC members can sway policy.
  • HEAC is part of the executive branch of government. Giving the legislative members of HEAC voting rights muddies the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.
  • The original intent of SB 337 (2008) which added legislators to HEAC was to give the Representatives and Senator a better understanding of home education issues and law. This is not compromised by not having voting rights. Their voting rights were removed only last year via HB 545 (2012).
  • This bill is flip-flop legislation, which is also counter to the role of HEAC which is to create stability in the home education rules and policy.

HB 299 -- relative to tuition payments for chartered public school pupils.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0299.html

This great video to show what happens sometimes in the HEAC sessions: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/14/new-hampshire-politician-raves-about-charter-schools-votes-to-kill-funding-four-minutes-later/

  • The Board of Ed put a moratorium on approving charter schools over the summer because of a change in the funding law. This was fixed in HB299.

HB 435 -- relative to tuition payments for chartered public school pupils.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0435.html

HB 479, relative to the creation and division of school districts.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/HB0479.html

  • Authorizes independent, self-governance of school districts.
  • Restores the district system, a time-honored, moderate solution which can resolve the frustration families feel when they lack education choice options.
  • Allows taxpayers to change districts and create new districts .
  • Provides education choice which does not remove taxpayer funding from public schools, unlike charter schools or tax credit scholarships.
  • Respects the diverse needs of communities and encourages parents and teachers to work together cooperatively.
  • Allows each district to weigh the benefits vs. the cost of federal programs in comparison to alternative programs.
  • Districts that waive federal programs leave more available state funding for districts that participate.

Upcoming bills in the Senate

Please send your e-mail to the Senate Education Committee

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=S39

SB 53 -- relative to school district policies regarding a parent’s determination that certain course material is objectionable.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2013/SB0053.html

  • New law based on HB 542 (2012). To repeal this law is another example of flip-flop legislation.
  • The new law is limited to the parent objecting to material for their own child, not the whole class. Substitute material must be paid by the parents, not the district, and must still meet all the same learning objectives as the original course material.
  • This law is greatly needed by many families as demonstrated in the public hearing. Not all objectionable materials are contained in the sex ed class; sometimes it is part of a Literature or Social Studies course. Without this law, families are powerless to have any influence over their child's education and have no recourse if they disagree with the school's administration.
  • Without this law, parents must take an "all or nothing" approach to public school education. This is a more reasonable and moderate approach and is consistent with the increasing approach to individualized learning in schools. It also recognizes that what is suitable for most children, may not be suitable for all. Education is not "one size fits all."

Liberty wins the day in Grafton

The liberty movement in Grafton scored a major victory this year, for the first time ever, when we were able to turn out enough pro-liberty voters to the town meeting in order to cut the town’s entire budget by ten percent. Despite the nor’easter delaying the meeting from Saturday morning to Monday evening, and despite yet another snow and ice storm on Monday, as the meeting began, thirty liberty activists made it to the meeting—and with the help of several like-minded long-time residents, we were able to win the ten-percent reduction by a mere two votes.

The statists immediately called for a recess, hoping they could turn a few votes their way, but when the meeting was reconvened and a motion to reconsider the budget was made, the motion failed by an even larger margin than the ten-percent cut had passed by!

As the night wore on, the liberty folk were also able to successfully cut several special appropriations warrant articles by ten percent or more, and we even completely zeroed out an attempt by the Town to raise money toward building a new town office.

In addition to the budget, liberty activists had placed several petitioned warrant articles on the ballot this year, including an article to implement a 2% tax cap, another to begin the process of withdrawing Grafton from the costly Mascoma Regional School District, one to prohibit the Selectmen from evicting residents from tax-deeded properties, and one to raise awareness about New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation law protecting jurors’ rights to nullify bad laws.

Liberty activists have been getting involved in Grafton since shortly after the Free State Project chose New Hampshire, but this is the first year where liberty held a clear majority at the annual town meeting. Many liberty activists have also been elected in Grafton, and in fact make up the entirety of Grafton’s Planning Board. A freedom candidate is running for virtually every open position this year.

A video of the entire town meeting can be found at the Spirit of Arcadia YouTube channel.

NHLA Research Director Jeremy J. Olson is a resident of Grafton. He is currently a Trustee of the Trust Funds and an Alternate on the Planning Board, and is running for Selectman this year. Contact him at research@nhliberty.org if you have any questions about Grafton or would like to help out.

Bylaws Change

At the February Board meeting, a motion was made and passed unanimously to amend bylaw 3.7 to read as follow:

“4.4 The duties of the Director of Membership shall include, but not be limited to: website oversight; recruiting new members; retaining current members; maintaining accurate membership records and reporting such to Board [promptly sending membership cards to new members.]”

This change will become effective immediately and the bylaws will be updated.

Gold Standard Subscriptions

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Board Meeting Schedule

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 16th at 1:30 PM. The NHLA would like to thank Tandy’s Top Shelf in Concord for providing much needed public venues for our monthly meetings.

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