February Newsletter

February Newsletter

 

February 25, 2019

Dear Friends, 

The NH Senate is taking its end of February break this week—no hearings or session.  This puts us ¼ of the way to the legislative finish line.  Much has been accomplished with much more to come as each chamber determines by the beginning of April what legislation will be moved forward to the other chamber.

This past week the full Senate passed to the Finance Committee my bill on assuring State appropriations commit to supporting Special Education funding.  For years the State has reduced special ed reimbursements to school districts, sending only the amount appropriated in the State budget rather than the 80 percent of the district special education catastrophic aid that is required in the statute.  Every special education budget in New Hampshire experienced a shortfall, totaling $3.1 million statewide. Additionally, in some school districts Medicaid reimbursements for special education expenses, such as speech and audiology services, are diverted by cities into their accounts, leaving special education budgets further unbalanced.  The bill assures all future reimbursements go directly to school districts. The Governor includes this in his budget, due to be released on March 1

When we come back to Senate session on March 7, several of my bills will be up for votes. The Career Readiness Drive to 65 (SB 276), relative to career readiness credentials for high school students,has a 5-0 recommendation from the Education Committee.  Drive to 65 builds on the 65 by 25 goal to have 65% of New Hampshire’s workforce possessing a post-secondary credential by 2025, a mission embraced by the Community College System of New Hampshire, NH Coalition for Business and Education, and the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs. It is a systematic and holistic approach through high school years, whereby a career aspiration assessment in 9th grade facilitates course mapping towards a student’s career aspiration. The program would extend concurrent enrollment opportunities to 10th through 12th grade so students earn both high school and community college credit in approved courses.  Upon completion of a school-district approved workforce ready program, high schoolers would earn upon graduation a career-ready credential as well.  Employers save training costs and have lower turnover rates.  Students enter the workforce with experience, and it accelerates their time to a next degree or credential.  Career-ready credentials have been approved in other states. 

Another bill of local and statewide interest (SB 185) establishes a rail trail advisory committee to assist the Department of Transportation in updating the state rail trails plan, the first update since 2005.  Chuck Redfern, as the NH President of the Rail-Trail Coalition, asked me to sponsor and lead the bill.  After passing through the Senate unanimously, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously recommended a General Fund appropriation of $200,000 to the Department of Transportation in the next fiscal year to complete the study.  The legislature will be able to measure the return on this investment in the State’s ability to garner new funding for rail trails, increased municipal/town funding for trails, shared maintenance agreements, and economic development and tourism along the trails.  Final Senate vote is on March 7.

Many in Cheshire County expressed concern about the Governor’s proposal for Learn Everywhere, proposed for rules by Commissioner Edelblut.  Learn Everywhereauthorizes the NH Board of Education to approve non-profit and for-profit organizations and individuals offering learning that local school district must accept towards graduation credit. These rules implement 2018 SB 435, for alternative credit, but seem to go way beyond legislative intent.  I proposed SB 140 to clarify legislative intent. After testimony, the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee amended the bill to simply state, “Each local school board shall determine whether to grant academic credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.”  Senate vote will occur on March 7.

Also up for vote on March 7 is a therapeutic marijuanabill (SB 88) I sponsored that eliminates the 90-day waiting period from prescription to issuance of ID cards, which means people won’t be as dependent on opioids.  On another note, progress is being made on opening a therapeutic marijuana dispensary in Keene. 

Several bills of local interest that I introduced are scheduled for hearings in the next couple of weeks

March 5

Allowing Alternative Treatment Centers (therapeutic marijuana clinics, SB 145) to become for-profit.  Commerce Comm. @ 2 pm, State House 100

Telemedicine expansion (SB 258) to cover primary care physicians, home patient monitoring, and store and forward technology.  Health and Human Services Comm. @ 2:15, LOB 101

 March 12

School Nurses Certification Requirements (SB 137) Education Comm. @ 9:45, LOB 103

March 13

Board of Mental Health accelerating reciprocity licensure (SB 80), EDA Comm., Legislative Office Bldg. 101 @ 9:50 

Democratic Opportunity Agenda bills moving to the House include:  family medical leave, workforce training, improved Medicaid reimbursements, healthcare workforce entry strategies, reducing caseloads for child neglect and abuse case workers, and creation of the Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership (NH GRIP, SB12).  All of these actions represent progress on top statewide concerns. 

 I hope you’ll keep in touch on matters of interest to you and on which you’d like to testify.  Nothing is more effective than putting a Cheshire County voice to an issue of local importance. 

Sincerely,

Jay Kahn

State Senator 

District 10

 

January Newsletter

 

January 22, 2019

 Dear Friends,  

The 2019 New Hampshire legislative session begins this week.  Since swearing in December 5, Senators have been honing legislation for introduction; committees are convened and will begin consideration of bills this week and next.  The pace will be quick.  To see what is under consideration in Senate committee or to look up a bill, go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/default.aspxor in the House http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/default.aspx.

 This session I’m sponsoring 24 bills and co-sponsoring 60 more.  Your testimony on these would be most helpful.  Sponsored bills attracting the most attention are:

·     Career Readiness Drive to 65 – coordinated pathways from high school to careers and college 

·     Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership (GRIP) – a coordinated system of retaining NH 2- and 4-year college graduates and employing them in NH

·     Telemedicine – expanding covered services to primary care and in-home care, store and forward patient information, and recognizing costs of originating sites

·     Special Education Funding – ensuring the state meets its statutory obligation to reimburse extraordinary school district costs

·     Therapeutic Marijuana – eliminating 90-day wait time after physician has prescribed use 

·     Study violence against school personnel to provide guidance to school districts – violence is an unspoken reality of student emotional and behavioral disorders

·     Election-day holiday - adding biennial statewide primaries and presidential primary to state recognized holidays; addresses area concerns about schools being open when they are town polling places.  General election day is already a holiday

·     Mental health workforce shortages – accelerating license review and privileged communications, and advancing technology that facilitates wrap-around services

Senate Education and Workforce Committee

I am chairing the Senate Education and Workforce Committee.  We’ll hear 25 Senate bills over the next 8 weeks.  The House Education Committee will hear at least 60 bills.  The Concord Monitor ran three editorials last week on the Governor’s and Commissioner Edelblut’s proposals for Learn Everywhere and Career Academies, including the one I wrote with Rep. Myler that appeared in the Keene Sentinel.  I added a consolidated PDF of all 3 at the end of this newsletter.  

Senate Finance Committee

I am also serving on the Senate Finance Committee. With a state surplus predicted because of under-estimation of revenue, there is an opportunity to address some high priorities such as priming the workforce, fixing mental healthcare gaps, and addressing child neglect and abuse. You’ll see more about these possibilities over the next few weeks. 

Town Meetings Continue

I’m determined to keep in touch with Town Select Boards.  This month I visited Harrisville, Swanzey, and Chesterfield.  I continue to meet with the Monadnock Healthcare Workforce Group (convened by Cathy Gray, Cedarcrest) and the Monadnock Broadband Group (convened by Tim Murphy, SWRPC).  Look for more news on Chesterfield implementing a municipal broadband access proposal, unveiled by Jon McKeon and Brad Roscoe this week, the first use of the SB 170 initiative I sponsored last year, which allows towns to contribute to local broadband access.  With the Healthcare Group, we’re working on a number of ways the legislature can accelerate licensure of nurses and mental healthcare staff.  

This next month includes town deliberative sessions. There’s lots of interest in school funding (see the education editorials below).  I’m following through on your concerns about school funding dependence on property taxes, downshifting of costs to local districts, and the need for property tax relief. 

I hope you’ll keep in touch on matters of interest to you and on which you’d like to testify.  Nothing is more effective than putting a Cheshire County voice to an issue of local importance. 

Sincerely,

Jay Kahn

State Senator 

District 10

Concord Monitor attachment below

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 1/3

Opinion > Columns (/Opinion/Columns/)

Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler:

Sununu proposals won’t help public

education, taxpayers

By JAY KAHN and MEL MYLER

For the Monitor

Saturday, January 12, 2019

It’s time to hit the pause button on Gov. Chris Sununu’s “Learn Everywhere” and “Career

Academies” proposals announced last week. These proposals seem to pull funding away from

public schools and stand in contrast to what voters feel is the biggest issue facing N.H. public

schools: a lack of state funding and the dependence on property tax revenues.

Unfortunately, the governor brushed over this priority to focus on two programs that likely

draw funds away from public schools.

The “Learn Everywhere” proposal was unveiled at a recent State Board of Education meeting

by Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The first paragraph defines Learn Everywhere’s scope: “shall

apply to any for-pro􀃒t or non-pro􀃒t entity or individual that o􀃗ers an educational program that

meets minimum standards for approval to grant credit leading to graduation.” Because the

“Learn Everywhere” programs will be approved by the State Board of Education, not local

school boards, this seems like a backdoor apparatus to limit local control for these alternative

pathways.

We have locally elected school boards that approve curriculum based on community needs.

We need to let them do their jobs, not create more state hierarchies and bureaucracies to

divert public dollars that could otherwise be used to support local public schools.

Most educators and legislators agree there should be flexibility in meeting minimum school

competencies for graduation. That’s why alternative pathways, extended learning

opportunities and apprenticeships are already authorized in state statutes – and are defined at

the local level. One should be suspect of the desire to use parallel approval processes at the

State Board of Education that undermine local control and ultimately lead to state

endorsement of for-profit and private-school education.

The “Career Academies” proposal is based on a charter school program in Rochester with

Spaulding High School and a large employer, Albany Safran, that hasn’t yet graduated a

student. It is in fact a certificate degree program within a four-year high school curriculum. It’s

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 2/3

been turned into a charter school model, one that receives more state funding per student

than a public school student. The Governor stated we can do this without legislative

consideration. We believe that would be a mistake. Questions abound: How many academies?

Why are they needed? Will local school boards have input? Who pays the bill? Are we adding

administrative costs?

The structure for career academies already exists through concurrent enrollment in the

community college system approved courses offered to public high school juniors and seniors.

Currently, there are 28 career-technical education centers across the state serving students in

all 80 public high schools with courses that accelerate certificate and community college

associate degree completion.

A legislative initiative, “Career Readiness Drive to 65,” will be considered this session and is

designed to enhance, not replace, current structures. This initiative is based on goals

articulated by N.H. business and education leaders over the past three years – to ensure 65

percent of our workforce has a post-secondary, value added credential by 2025. High School

Career Readiness credentials would be offered in advanced manufacturing, information

technologies, trades apprenticeship programs, nurse assistants and more.

Drive to 65 envisions a holistic approach, whereby in ninth grade, career aspiration

assessment would occur so that the high school/community college/advanced placement

course mapping could occur prior to 10th grade. Concurrent enrollment access would be

expanded to 10th through 12th grades. Additional transcripting capability would verify that

students earned a career readiness credential.

The program is designed to accelerate pathways into the workforce, reducing employer costs

and risks, and accelerating entry to post-secondary education, reducing the student’s cost and

time to a college degree. The program will be guided by the state’s Advisory Council on Career

and Technical Education.

The process by which we improve education in our state is critically important. It’s not trying to

grab a headline or reinvent the wheel. We’re committed to doing the hard work, to work within

our existing educational structures to meet local needs – not by creating redundant structures.

The governor’s aversion to recurring funding support for public schools is ignoring the voters’

top issue – property tax relief. One-time grant funding to public schools offered the last two

years isn’t a sustainable approach to help property owners or balance school funding

inequities. We must make sure the state is meeting its commitments as we consider new

programs.

There is time over the next six months for the Governor and commissioner to work with the

Legislature and educators to do the best we can for N.H. students, employers and taxpayers.

The public should expect this from their elected and appointed officials.

1/18/2019 Sen. Jay Kahn and Rep. Mel Myler: Sununu proposals won’t help public education, taxpayers

https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-education-opportunities-abound-22686198 3/3

(Sen. Jay Kahn, a Keene Democrat, is chairman of the Senate Education and Workforce

Development Committee. Rep. Mel Myler, a Contoocook Democrat, is chairman of the House

Education Committee.) 

 

Opinion > Editorials (/Opinion/Editorials/)

Editorial: Edelblut’s diagnosis of what

ails N.H. education is way off 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

If education were a patient brought into the emergency room by first responders, and N.H.

Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was the chief of surgery, we fear that

with just a glance at the patient he would order a pedicure, a prostate exam and a haircut.

Edelblut, in his recent column (https://www.concordmonitor.com/Education-innovation-is-the-

NH-way-22765978) rebutting criticism of new alternative education programs backed by

himself and Gov. Chris Sununu (Monitor Opinion, Jan. 15), completely ignored the very real and

grave problem afflicting public education in much of New Hampshire.

To return to the patient metaphor, public education is emaciated for want of state funding and

at risk of being bled by continued attempts at privatization.

Edelblut, a home-schooling fan and fervent proponent of alternatives to public schools, points

to “a growing disparity in student performance.” He rightly notes that the performance gap

between students from economically advantaged and disadvantaged homes continues to

increase despite the high overall national ranking of the state’s public schools.

His diagnosis? Public school education is failing to meet the needs of too many children. His

prescription: expand opportunities, both public and private, for kids to learn outside of school

to keep school from getting in the way of their education.

Programs touted by Edelblut and the governor include LearnEverywhereNH and the N.H.

Career Academy. Both programs have value and both will likely bene􀃒t some small portion

of students for whom traditional schools, which are evolving constantly, are not a good 􀃒t. But

they and their kin won’t cure what ails public education in New Hampshire, which, though of

better quality than what’s offered in most states, is far behind what it should be in a global

economy.

In a 2017 worldwide test of the science, math and reading abilities of 15 year olds, the United

States placed 24th, 24th and 49th, respectively, behind nations like Latvia, Macao and Vietnam.

What Edelblut doesn’t mention is that in New Hampshire many children from disadvantaged

homes live in disadvantaged school districts, and the gap between schools in property-rich and

property-poor towns has been getting worse, not better, with some schools spending twice as

1/18/2019 Editorial: Edelblut’s diagnosis of what ails N.H. education is way off

https://www.concordmonitor.com/The-real-challenges-for-public-education-22819785 2/2

much per pupil as others. Schools in places like Pittsfield, Franklin, Claremont and Allenstown

cannot attract or keep experienced teachers, who can earn far better pay in well-o􀃗 school

districts.

With state building aid suspended and taxpayers already struggling to remain in their homes,

such communities can’t build new, modern schools and provide the amenities other school

districts offer.

In fact, most struggle to provide the basics.

The gap is also growing in the tax rate property owners in rich and poor communities pay to

support public education. Disparities in educational opportunity and tax fairness were at the

heart of the Claremont school funding lawsuits. The state Supreme Court found financing

public education to be a state, not a local, responsibility.

New Hampshire needs a governor and an education commissioner who accept that reality, not

gloss over it by creating programs that help the few at the expense of the many

October 2018 News

October 2018 News

Dear Friends,

Two weeks before the General Election with Congress, Governor, State Legislatures and County Offices on the ballot. Democrats on the ballot are tested public servants that work for people not special interests. We support public education, community based health and mental health services, environmental sustainability, economic development and property tax relief. We win on the issues, now we need to win at the ballot box. Turnout is all important.

endorsements

I’m proud to have earned endorsements from:

Planned Parenthood Northern New England Sierra Club-NH

National Educators Association – NH American Federation of Teachers-NH

State Employees International Union – NH National Association of Social Workers-NH

Professional Fire Fighters – NH

These organizations can help get out the vote and make the difference in close elections.

Town Select Board Leaders

I’ve made a priority of getting to Town Select Boards, engaging in discussions on state and local issues, and opening two-way communications that helped during the legislative process. I also attended School Board Deliberative Sessions and visited nearly every school in the district. This attention to bridging local and state government has helped earn me the support of many local leaders:

Kendall Lane, Mayor of Keene

Peggy Pschirrer, Walpole, Select Board Chair

Bill Hutwelker, Swanzey, Selectman

Mike Darcy, Hinsdale, Select Board Chair

Ben Kilanski, Winchester, Select Board Chair

Ray Britton, Gilsum, Select Board Chair

James Rousmaniere, Roxbury, Select Board Chair

Meet the Candidates

There are two more opportunities to meet Democratic state legislature and county office candidates.

October 30 – Harrisville-Nelson Candidate Forum, Nelson Town Hall, 6:45 pm
November 4 – Swanzey Democrats, Whitcomb Hall, Swanzey, 2:30 to 4:30 pm

Women’s Empowerment Rally

This coming Saturday, October 27th, there’s an exciting opportunity to hear women leaders including Annie Kuster, Molly Kelly and Debora Pignatelli, at the KSC Redfern Arts Center, from 1 to 3. Let me know if you can help staff a Kahn for Senate table.

Voter Registration

Superior Court Judge Brown of Hillsborough County granted an injunction against new Voter Registration requirements in SB 3, that new voter affidavit requirements in SB 3 constitute potentially burdensome and discriminatory barriers. SB 3 has 10 pages of affidavit declarations that new registrants need to review and initial, as opposed to the current 1 ½ page affidavit. Expert testimony stated that the new affidavit reads “at least as difficult as a Harvard Law Review.” The WMUR story can be found here…

GOTV

The Democratic Coordinated Campaign Office has done a great job finding likely Democratic voters in Cheshire County. Now they need us to help Get Out the Vote (GOTV). Please offer your time and talent to help in these final 2 weeks.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Jay-Kahn's-Signature.png
 

State Senator 
District 10

School Vouchers

School Vouchers

School Vouchers are a bad idea for New Hampshire… 

August 2018 News

August 2018 News

August 30, 2018

Dear Friends,

What a busy time as a state senator; lots of roles are all competing for time:

• Hosting and being there for other candidates (Kelly and Kuster this past week)

• Campaigning for reelection (visiting worksites, schools, canvassing and sign drop offs, arranging house parties and community visits),

• Constituent advocacy – celebrating community accomplishments, ribbon cuttings, replying to constituent concerns, meetings with State department commissioners

• Working on future legislation and state grants

• Working on the reconsideration of Governor vetoes

• Keeping up on reading


Veto Session and Constituent Hours

The legislature’s reconsideration of Governor vetoes occurs on September 13 th . Three high profile bills that I co-sponsored are among those coming up for a veto override: SB365, requiring distribution companies to purchase electricity from NH wood burning and “waste-to-energy” power plants; SB446, raising net metering limits for solar, wind, and hydroelectric renewable energy sources from 1 to 5 megawatts; and SB593, repealing the death penalty. In order to hear from constituents on these and other issues, I’m hosting constituent hours on Thursday, September 6, from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm on the second floor of the Old County Courthouse in Citizens Hall.  You can park at the County Building. Please attend and share your opinions on these issues.


Organizing for Fall Elections

Kahn Interns at Walpole Town Green after a day of canvassing.

Kahn Interns at Walpole Town Green after a day of canvassing.

Town Democrats have organized meetings in Gilsum, Alstead, Hinsdale, and Marlborough. House parties are planned in Keene and Nelson. Town visits are on-going: this past week in Roxbury, North Walpole, and Harrisville; Labor Day week in Keene, Winchester, Hinsdale, and Harrisville; the following week in Sullivan; and then the primary election and veto session. Hinsdale Dems are hosting state legislators seeking reelection on Sept. 9 at 2 pm in the Millstream Community Center. Please attend if you can. This summer I’ve benefitted from nine Kahn-terns, interns from surrounding high schools that are working for my reelection. They are terrific symbols of a next generation of concerned students willing to work to change the world. They are my ground team. Primary elections are September 11 th . I’m recruiting supporters to hold signs at polls. Let me know if you can spare an hour or two.

Opioid Use Disorders Funding

Last week 30 area mental healthcare leaders convened to mobilize for future State requests for proposals (RFP) to award federal funds to reduce opioid use disorders. The proposals will build off a hub and spoke model, with medical centers being at the hub of regional 24/7 response teams. Spokes include residential and community based services. The Department of Health and Human Services will release RFPs in early October. Now that legislation is being implemented, I am trying to conclude the work on Mental Health and Social Services Interoperability Committee that I chair. I’ve been named to a new legislative study committee on telemedicine. Recently, I hosted the region’s therapeutic marijuana licensee  in Keene to begin discussions on a satellite dispensary locally.

Education

Workforce preparation is one of my highest priorities. We build our workforce from the earliest years of childhood development. Symonds School in Keene is often cited as a strong example for our region, and I’ll be joining their principal, Richard Cate, and kindergarten classes later this month. This past week I talked with our Fall Mountain district superintendent, Lori Landry, about pre-school and elementary school innovations they’ve implemented. This next week I’ll be discussing internships and career-ready credentials with KSC and the new Cheshire Career Center Director, Michael Burnett.

Senate Resolutions

is on the floor of Len-Tex Wall-covering Manufacturing in North Walpole with Don and Charlie Lennon, owners of Len-Tex.

is on the floor of Len-Tex Wall-covering Manufacturing in North Walpole with Don and Charlie Lennon, owners of Len-Tex.

I worked with a variety of community organizations to prepare Senate Resolutions that help honor significant accomplishments of people and organizations in the region. Recent examples are Community Kitchen rededication, MOCO new location, Winchester Learning Center expansion, MAPS relocation, and the Hinsdale Elementary School addition. In less than two years, I’ve prepared and delivered 27 resolutions.
Election seasons take a long time and take a lot out of candidates. I want to reassure you how much your help and support motivates me to be a better candidate and a better Senator.

Thank you.

Jay-Kahn's-Signature.png
 

State Senator
District 10