NH Legislature This Week—April 18, 2011
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
The full House will not be session this week, but the committees will be meeting for a few hearings, but mostly to vote on bill that had hearings last week. The full Senate will meet on Wednesday morning and there is also a full plate of hearings for Senate committees this week.
April 15, the day that federal taxes are due has recently become an annual rally day for conservatives. This year’s rally was being marketed as the largest ever, with four Presidential candidates and news coverage from CNN and Fox. The actual crowd that showed up numbered only about 300 and was approximately 1/10 the size of the budget protest a couple of weeks ago.
Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien wants the state to return some federal health care funds back to the federal government to reduce the deficit. The funds were given to the state for the purpose of preparing for the changes enacted in the federal health care reform. Apparently the state is so overrun with extra money that we can start giving some of it back to the federal government. The funds that Speaker O’Brien wants to return would pay down 0.00000047% of the national debt, or pay for 3 minutes of the war in Afghanistan.
This week the Senate will hold hearings on the state budget and the infamous trailer bill that passed the House. The hearings, scheduled for Thursday afternoon and evening, will be broadcast live on the state web site. www.gencourt.state.nh.us
Hot Topics This Week:
Unions, education, clean energy districts, right to work, education funding, bullying, guns, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, public employee retirement system, state budget, and parental notification.
The following bills were passed by the Senate:
These bills were already passed by the House and now go to Governor Lynch
HB185—Sets a minimum size of 10 for collective bargaining units for public employee collective bargaining. Voice Vote.
The following bills were tabled by the Senate:
A tabled bill may be brought back up for a vote at a later date, but a doing so requires a super-majority. If the bill is not brought back up for a vote, then it will be automatically defeated when the Senate adjourns for the year.
HB542—Requires that parents can not be required to send their children to schools to which they are “conscientiously opposed”. This bill would effectively have eliminated the requirement that children must receive an education. Note that current law allows children to be home schooled. The bill passed the House 197-148. The Senate vote to table was 17-7. Senator Luther voted to Table.
The following bills were recommended Ought to Pass by a Senate Committee:
These bills will now go to the full Senate for a vote. They have all passed the House.
HB144—Forbids towns from funding Clean Energy Districts through local taxes, but does allow towns to fund them with bonds This bill passed the House on a voice vote. The committee vote was 4-0.
HB474— “Right to work” bill forbids employees from being required to join a union. This bill passed the House 221-131. The committee vote was 4-1.
The following bills were passed out of a House Committee without a recommendation:
CACR14—Constitutional Amendment passed by the Senate to overturn the Claremont decision requiring that the state adequately fund education. There are only minor differences between the Senate version (CACR14) and the House version (CACR12), which was passed by the House. The House Special Committee on Education Funding Reform deadlocked on making a recommendation on this bill 7-7.
Senate Session for Wednesday, April 20th
The Senate will vote on the following bills.
HB144—Forbids towns from funding Clean Energy Districts through local taxes, but does allow towns to fund them with bonds This bill passed the House on a voice vote. The committee vote was OTP 4-0.
HB474— “Right to work” bill forbids employees from being required to join a union. This bill passed the House 221-131. The committee vote was OTP 4-1.
Hearings for Tuesday, April 19th
Senate Education Committee
HB370—Limits scope of recently passed anti-bullying law by prohibiting a school from punishing students for acts that occur off of school grounds. Instead, the bill would require schools to notify the parents of the students involved. This bill passed the House 248-96. LOB room 305 1:00pm.
Hearings for Wednesday, April 20th
Senate Judiciary Committee (Sen. Luther is a member of this committee)
HB330—Allows adults to carry guns, concealed or not concealed, loaded or not loaded, without a license. This bill passed the House 244-109. Statehouse room 100, 1:15pm.
Hearings for Thursday, April 21th
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
HB519—Repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This bill passed the House 251-108. LOB room 201-203 9:00am.
Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee (Senator Luther is a member of this committee)
HB580—Makes major changes to the public employee retirement system. This bill passed the House 228-139. Statehouse room 100 10:00am.
Senate Finance Committee
HB1—The state Budget. The budget passed the House 243-124. Note that the video and audio of the hearing will be streamed live on the state web site, www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Reps. Hall 2:00pm to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
HB2—The state Budget “trailer” bill. This bill is supposed to make changes to laws necessary to implement the budget, but this trailer bill has many other changes as well. Note that the video and audio of the hearing will be streamed live on the state web site, www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Reps. Hall 2:00pm to 4:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Luther is a member of this committee)
HB329—Requiring that minors who have an abortion to notify their parents beforehand (parental notification). There is a provision that allows minors to get a waiver from a judge. This bill passed the House 256-102. Statehouse Room 100 1:45pm.
Where to find more information
The New Hampshire legislature web site is www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Here, you can find the full text of all bills, find the full list of sponsors of bills and see more detailed status. If you have questions about how to use the state website, we would be glad to help. Just email us at email@example.com.
Terms and Abbreviations
ITL means “Inexpedient To Legislate”. If the full House or full Senate votes to ITL a bill, then the bill is defeated.
OTP means “Ought to Pass” meaning that a committee is recommending that a bill be passed.
Consent Calendar: If a bill receives a unanimous recommendation from a committee, the committee may place the bill on the Consent Calendar. When full House meets, the first vote taken is to approve all recommendations on all bills in the consent calendar. This allows the House to quickly dispense with non-controversial bills and move on to topics that need discussion. If any legislator requests that a bill be removed from the consent calendar, then it will be removed and it will be brought up for discussion and a vote along with the other non-consent calendar bills.
Resolutions: Sometimes the House, the Senate or both will pass resolutions. These are just public statements of opinion or interest, but they have no legal standing. It is similar to issuing a press release. HCR is a House resolution. HJR is a joint resolution (both House and Senate) that originates in the House.
LOB refers to the Legislative Office Building, which is immediately behind the statehouse. Most committee hearings are held in this building.
Reps Hall refers to Representatives Hall in the Statehouse where the House of Representatives meetings. This room is used for hearings that are expected to be very large.
“Retained” means that a Committee has voted to keep a bill until next year. Next year, any bills that have been retained must be sent to the full House/Senate for a vote. Any bill that does not get retained must be sent to the full House/Senate for vote by Crossover or the end of the session.
“Crossover” is March 31st. The House will vote on all bills introduced in the House by this date except for bills that have been retained until next year. Similarly, the Senate will vote on all bills introduced into the Senate by this date except for bills that are being retained until next year.
“Tabled”: The full House or full Senate can “table” a bill which means that the bill is kept in “limbo” without being passed or defeated. For tabled bill to be brought back up for a vote again (to pass it) requires a 2/3 majority. If the bill has not been passed when the legislature adjourns at the end of the year, it is defeated. Tabling a bill usually happens when the legislature wants to defeat a bill but doesn’t want to directly oppose it. It can also sometimes happen if there are not enough votes to pass, but leadership hopes to be able to come up with enough votes later—but this then requires a 2/3 majority.
A brief guide to how legislation becomes law
Bills introduced in the House:
1. The bill is assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
2. The committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
3. Except for retained bills, all other bills go to the full House which can pass, defeat, change a bill or send it to a second committee.
4. If sent to a second committee, the committee must then retain or recommend to pass, change or defeat the bill. It then goes back to the full House for a second vote.
5. If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
6. The bill is assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
7. The Senate committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
8. Except for retained bills, all other bills go to the full Senate which can pass, defeat, change a bill or send it to a second committee.
9. If sent to a second committee, the committee must then retain or recommend to pass, change or defeat the bill. It then goes back to the full Senate for a second vote.
10. If passed by the Senate, the bill goes to the Governor who may sign the bill into law or veto it.
11. If the Governor vetoes the bill, it goes back to the House
12. If 2/3 of the House votes to override the veto then the bill goes back to the Senate
13. If 2/3 of the Senate votes to override the veto then the bill becomes law.
For Senate bills, the process is the same except that it goes through the Senate before it goes to the House.
For Constitutional Amendments (CACRs) the process is slightly different.
CACRs introduced in the House:
1. Assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
2. The committee votes to recommend that the CACR be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
3. Regardless of the committee recommendation, all CACRs go to the full House which can pass, kill or change a bill or send it to study. Passing a CACR requires 60% of the House members present to vote in favor.
4. If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
5. Assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
6. The Senate committee votes to recommend that the bill be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
7. Regardless of the committee recommendation, all bills go to the full Senate which can pass, kill or change a bill or send it to study. Passing a CACR requires 60% of the Senate members present to vote in favor.
8. If passed by the Senate, the CACR will put on the ballot at the next election (November 2012). If 2/3 of the voters vote in favor of it, then it becomes part of the NH Constitution.
Where to Send Letters to the Editor:
Hollis Brookline Journal
The Cabinet welcomes letters from its readers that are exclusive to this newspaper. Letters must be 400 words or fewer and are subject to editing either for content or for length. Letters must be received no later than noon on Monday. The Cabinet does not publish anonymous letters, those written under an assumed name or containing only the writer’s initials. Nor does it publish form letters, or those written as part of an orchestrated campaign. Letters must be in good taste and free of libel or personal attacks. Important: Letters must contain the writer’s name, home address and day/night telephone numbers and e-mail for confirmation purposes. Only the writer’s name and hometown will be published. The deadline for submitting letters is noon on Monday. The Journal is published every Friday.
Submission deadline is noon on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month.
The Hollis Times
The Mason Grapevine
Residents of Mason can submit letters to the Mason Grapevine at TheMasonGrapevine@yahoo.com
Hollis, Brookline, Mason Reps:
Sen. Jim Luther P: (603)271-2246 Jim.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jim Belanger P: (603)465-2301 Jim.email@example.com
Rep. Dick Drisko P: (603)465-2517 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jack Flanagan P: (603)672-7175 Jack.email@example.com
Rep. Carolyn Gargasz P: (603)465-7463 firstname.lastname@example.org