Right to Work legislation cleared a critical hurdle on its way to becoming law yesterday. The Senate Commerce Committee, after hours of testimony that included a raucous crowd of anti-Right to Work union representatives, many of them from Massachusetts, approved Senate Bill 11, which prohibits collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union, on a party line vote. The committee’s three Republicans were in favor. Its two Democrats were opposed. The bill, sponsored by District Seventeen Senator John Reagan, Republican from Deerfield, was co-sponsored by twelve of the senate’s remaining thirteen Republicans, all but assuring its passage. District Fourteen Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry was the only Republican not to co-sponsor the bill.
In supporting the bill, Reagan issued a statement noting he’d been a dues paying union member for fifty years, including the eighteen years he’s been retired. Said Reagan quote:
Supporting Right-to-Work in New Hampshire is about strengthening our economy and making New Hampshire a more competitive state to do business. A growing economy is essential to the future of our great state and I feel strongly this will have a positive impact in addressing on our state’s $5 billion unfunded liability within the State’s Retirement System.
Employees should always have the freedom to choose if they would like to be a part of a union rather than being forced to pay dues. If the union is effectively advocating for its members then employees will make the conscious decision that joining is right for them.
The bill now heads to the full senate. Governor Christopher Sununu has said he will sign Right to Work legislation if it reaches his desk.
Also yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 12, which repeals the licensing requirement to carry a concealed firearm; the so-called Constitutional Carry bill, which was vetoed by Governor Margaret Wood Hassan last year.
Bill sponsor and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, Republican from Wolfeboro, issued a statement saying, quote:
This legislation simply serves to restore the intent of the U.S. Constitution by eliminating the licensing requirement to carry a concealed firearm by individuals legally able to do so.
Bradley pointed to our neighboring states of Vermont and Maine, both of which allow their citizens to carry a concealed weapon without a license, to dispel the idea that licensing equals less gun violence. Bradly said their gun violence rates are among the lowest in the nation.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Manchester School Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas held the first of his two planned community forums on the school district’s budget last night. Before a crowd of roughly three dozen people at Parkside, Vargas detailed the drivers causing the projected six million dollar hole.
While he mostly got questions from people in the room, he also received some suggestions. Ward Three Alderman Patrick Long suggested amending the city charter to exempt items such as building maintenance from the tax cap. Political gadfly Glenn Ouellette suggested selling the district’s administrative office condo and relocating that operation to West High. A parent suggested adding to high school bus transportation, saying she knew of kids who weren’t going to school because they had no way to get there. There were also questions about the impact of home and charter school students on the district’s revenues and about district efforts to entice tuition students.
Vargas praised those in attendance and the city in general, saying he’s witnessed an extraordinary energy in the city and interest in its schools, which he said, if harnessed, would help create the most exciting learning environments in the country. He stressed, as he has continually, that the district’s problems cannot be solved by the district alone, alluding to his efforts to educate the public about the challenges and enlist support for needed changes across the spectrum.
The second forum scheduled by Vargas for the public on the budget is tonight at Memorial High School. It starts at six
The Auburn Board of Selectmen announced it took some time in December to participate in a facilitated workshop to identify its goals for two thousand seventeen. They include:
- Potential economic development efforts on By-Pass 28 and or the Wellington Business Park off Rockingham Road.
- Infrastructure improvements including a potential garage and storage building on the Safety Complex property and improved salt storage at the Highway Department.
- Implementation of recommendations from the Operational Reviews and Risk Analysis of the Fire and Police departments, and conducting a similar review of general Town Hall operations.
- Review all property owned by the town to determine if continued ownership makes sense.
There was more detail, of course, and we’ve linked to it from this news read at Girard at Large dot com.
The Manchester Police Department is hosting a Gift-4-Life Blood Drive tomorrow afternoon from eleven to four. All donors will receive a five dollar Dunkin Donut gift card and chance to win raffle prizes! The drive will be held in the department’s Community Room at Police Headquarters on Valley Street. There will also be a Red Cross Donor Bus parked outside. We’ve got the link you need if you’d like to schedule an appointment in advance.
As we heard yesterday in an interview with Mary Brant from the state chapter of the Red Cross, there is an urgent and dire need for blood, so please give if you can. To do our part to help, we will publicize any blood drive brought to our attention, so please let us know of any blood drive you are aware of.
For general questions about donor eligibility, visit red cross blood dot org or call 1-800-Red Cross.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!