NH Legislature This Week—January 31, 2011

NH Legislature This Week—January 31, 2011

 

Quote of the week:

“The vast majority of children are conceived by acts of passion between men and women – sometimes unintentionally. ”   – HB437 (repeal marriage equality 1) would add this statement to the NH laws.  Doesn’t that just make you proud?

 

Speaker O’Brien has added a new staff position.  The new House Policy Director will be paid $75,000 of taxpayer money to “keep the leadership and House GOP message focused on fiscal issues” according to Union Leader reporter John DiStaso.  Note that his job is not to keep the Republicans focused on fiscal issues, it’s to keep the Republican “message” focused on fiscal issues.   Our tax dollars at work.

 

Hot Topics This Week:

Hemp, federal lawsuits, Citizens United, death penalty, special education funding, annual elections, political calls, removal of political signs, unions, evergreen, slot machines, NH Rail Transit Authority, warrant articles, car insurance, and Lyme disease.

 

Votes Cast Last Week:

Note: 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.

 

HB77 (no major changes to warrant articles) was passed by the full House on a voice vote.  The Senate has scheduled a hearing for Feb 1st.  Note that SB16 is an identical bill that just passed the Senate on a voice vote and is now in the House.

HB101 (industrial hemp) has come of committee with an 11-7 recommendation of ITL.

HCR1 (urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United) has come out of committee with an 8-5 recommendation to ITL.

 

House Session—Wednesday Feb 3rd

 

The following bills will be voted on by the full House.

 

HB101— Allows the growing of industrial hemp as a crop in NH.  The committee recommended the bill be defeated 11-7 and states that federal law does not allow hemp of any kind to be grown in the US.

HB89—requires the NH Attorney General to file lawsuits challenging the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health care reform) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon reduction program known as cap-and-trade.  The NH Attorney General testified that requiring him to file lawsuits is unconstitutional, but the committee recommends that the bill be passed anyway  on an 11-3 vote.

HCR1—resolution calling on Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision which allows corporations pour enormous amounts of money into the elections.  The committee recommends ITL on a vote of 8-5.

 

Note: “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.

 

Hearings and committee votes—Tuesday Feb 1st

House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee

  • HB147 (death penalty for home invasion)  would allow the death penalty in cases of home invasion or home robbery.  10:00am in Reps Hall.
  • HB126 (death penalty for murder) would allow the death penalty in all murder cases.  1:00pm in Reps Hall.

 

House Education Committee (Rep. Carolyn Gargasz sits on this committee)

  • HB318 (reduce special education funding) would reduce that amount that school districts would be responsible to pay for special education.  10:30am LOB room 207.
  • At 2:00pm, the committee may vote on HB34 (education funding for 2012 and 2013). LOB room 207

 

House Election Law Committee (Rep. Dick Drisko sits on this committee)

  • At 10:30am, the committee may vote on CACR1 (electing the legislature on odd numbered years, thus having elections every year), CACR3 allowing laws to be created by initiative petitions, HB73 establishing a process to recall a US Senator, and HB87 allowing town moderators who are also running for office (like Rep. Jim Belanger) to handle the ballots before the results have been certified.
  • HB186 (political phone calls) would allow political phone calls to misrepresent the origin of the call and to block caller ID as long as the phone call does not explicitly advocate for a particular candidate, party or measure.  Current law requires full disclosure for phone calls that “expressly or implicitly” advocate for a particular candidate, party or measure.  This would allow anonymous organizations to do unlimited phone calling as long as they are careful not to explicitly tell someone who to vote for.  1:30pm LOB room 308
  • HB256 (removal of political signs) Current law says that candidates must pick up their signs along the roads no later than the second Friday after the election.  This bill would remove that restriction and not require that the signs be removed at all.  Sponsored by Rep. David Bates (R-Windham, Chair of the Election Law Committee).  1:45pm LOB room 308

 

House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee (Rep. Jack Flanagan sits on this committee)

  • HB185 (public employee unions) would require that any public employee bargaining unit must have at least 10 members.  Current law says that bargaining units with less than 10 members may be recognized under certain circumstances.  10:00am LOB room 307
  • HB326 and SB1 (eliminating evergreen) would eliminate the requirement for evergreen clauses in public employee contracts.  A vote on these bills may be taken immediately following the hearing.  3:00pm LOB room 307

 

House Municipal and County Government Committee (Rep. Jim Belanger sits on this committee)

  • HB267 (slot machines) legalizes the use of gambling slot machines.  1:00pm LOB room 301

 

House Transportation Committee

  • HB218 (repeal rail transit authority) would repeal NH’s rail transit authority, which has been working on bringing commuter rail into NH from Boston.  The organization receives no state funding, but has secured some federal funding for studies.  1:00pm LOB room 203

 

Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee

  • HB77 (warrant articles) declares that warrant articles may not be significantly changed except that funding can be set to zero in SB2 deliberative sessions.  This bill is identical to SB16 which passed the Senate on a voice vote.  9:15am Statehouse room 100.

 

 

Hearings and committee votes—Thursday Feb 3rd

House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee

  • HB203 (car insurance) would require drivers to have car insurance in order to register a vehicle.  10:00am LOB room 302

 

House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee

  • HB295 (Lyme disease) allows doctors to prescribe long-term antibiotics to treat Lyme disease.  9:00am LOB room 205-207

 

House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee (Rep. Jack Flanagan sits on this committee)

  • HB474 (Labor unions)  would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join labor unions.  10:30am Reps Hall.

 

House State Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee

  • HB440 (health care reform) would require NH join the lawsuit against federal health care reform and sets more restrictive criteria for covering people under age 26. 11:00am LOB room 203

 

 

A Brief guide to how legislation gets made

 

Bills introduced in the House:

1. Assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.

2. The committee votes to recommend that the bill be passed, changed, killed or sent to study

3. Regardless of the committee recommendation, all bills go to the full House which can pass, kill or change a bill or send it to study

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

8. If passed by the Senate, the bill goes to the Governor who may sign the bill into law or veto it.

9. If the Governor vetoes the bill, it goes back to the House

10. If 2/3 of the House votes to override the veto then the bill goes back to the Senate

11. 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.

 

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.

 

Hollis, Brookline, Mason Reps:

 

Sen. Jim Luther   P: (603)271-2246   Jim.luther@leg.state.nh.us

Rep. Jim Belanger   P: (603)465-2301   Jim.belanger@leg.state.nh.us

Rep. Dick Drisko   P: (603)465-2517   driskorb@aol.com

Rep. Jack Flanagan   P: (603)672-7175   Jack.flanagan@leg.state.nh.us

Rep. Carolyn Gargasz   P: (603)465-7463   cgargasz@cs.com