NH Legislature This Week—June 13, 2011
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“Private discussions and backroom caucuses are common during the last stage of budget negotiations, and they’ve already started here. If lawmakers intend to video stream the reality of budget talks, there’s going to be a lot of what broadcasters call dead air. Maybe the camera can focus on a closed door during breaks.” Union Leader columnist Tom Fahey discussing the realities of live streaming budget talks. http://www.unionleader.com/article/20110612/NEWS0604/706129983
Republican presidential debate Monday
The Union Leader, WMUR and CNN will be hosting a debate for Republican presidential candidates on Monday. The debate will start at 8PM in St. Anselm College’s hockey arena. The candidates that will participating are Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Herman Cain.
LSRs for 2012
The two week period for House members to submit Legislative Service Requests (LSRs) for next year ended on Wednesday. A total of 491 LSRs were submitted, although a few were withdrawn already. LSRs will become bills once the House lawyers and the legislators work out the exact language of the bills. Listed below are some of the LSRs that were submitted since last week’s update. If you thought that they might take the smart road and tone down the craziness before next year’s election, you would be wrong.
The differences between the House and the Senate are small to begin with and they are getting smaller. The Senate is so far going along with House revenue estimates, which will require them to go along with many of the cuts that they had been hesitant to go along with. Interestingly, when the House passed bills earlier to lower cigarette taxes and to eliminate the tax on gambling winnings, they argued that these measures would somehow increase revenues. Now, during budget negotiations, the House has convinced the Senate to decrease their projected revenues from the lottery by $20 million and cigarette revenues by $23 million.
Watering down education
The House passed HB542, which declares that parents do not have to send their child to any school to which they are “conscientiously opposed”. While home schooling has always been an option and many parents do home school their children, this bill would create a loophole in which parents would no longer be required to provide for an education for their children at all. The Senate rewrote the bill to instead require that schools provide alternative reading assignments if a parent were to object to any particular subject matter. The House did not agree with the Senate version and so the bill is now before a committee of conference composed of members of the House and Senate to iron out a compromise. Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline) is a member of the committee.
Lyme Disease bill correction
Peggy Gilmour alerts us that HB295, the Lyme disease bill, does not actually authorize doctors to prescribe long-term antibiotics—they were able to do that already. The bill requires the NH Board of Medicine to post on their web site that no doctor will be disciplined for giving such prescriptions for the treatment of Lyme disease.
Hot Topics This Week (does not include LSRs):
Lyme disease, minimum wage, photo ID to vote, death penalty, federal grants, and affirmative action.
The following bills are now law:
- HB295—requires that the NH Board of Medicine post on their web site that no doctor will be disciplined for prescribing long-term antibiotics for the treatment of Lyme Disease. This became law without Governor Lynch’s signature by virtue of the fact that he did not veto the bill. It was passed by the House and Senate on a voice vote.
The following bills were vetoed by Governor Lynch:
These bills will now go back to the House and Senate. A 2/3 majority in each chamber is needed to override a veto.
- HB133—Repealing NH’s minimum wage. Note that NH’s minimum wage is currently the same as the federal minimum wage. This bill passed the House 239-106 and the Senate 19-5, so there are likely enough votes in the legislature to override the veto.
For the following bills, the Senate has approved the changes made by the House:
These bills will now go to Governor Lynch.
- SB129—Requiring a photo ID to vote. The Senate vote to concur was 14-9. Senator Luther voted to concur with the House.
For the following bills, the House has approved the changes made by the Senate:
These bills will now go to Governor Lynch.
- HB147—Expands the death penalty to include home invasion as long as a burglary was involved. The House voted 211-153 to concur with the Senate changes, which require the commission of a burglary. Rep. Belanger, Drisko and Flanagan voted to concur with the Senate. Rep. Gargasz did not vote.
- HB590—Declares that most federal grants are unconstitutional and creates a committee to determine which existing grants should be rejected and possibly replaced with local and state taxes. Rep. Belanger, Drisko and Flanagan voted to concur with the Senate. Rep. Gargasz did not vote (but she voted against the bill when it first came up).
- HB623—Prohibiting the State government and the University System from implementing affirmative action programs. Voice vote.
New Legislative Service Requests (LSRs) for 2012
These are requests that legislators have submitted to have bills written. Each LSR will become a bill next year unless the sponsor of the LSR withdraws the request. Only the title and sponsor of each LSR is publicly available. The full text will become available when the LSR is turned into an official bill next year. The bill number will be different from the LSR number.
These are not all of the LSRs, but ones that could potentially be of concern to a broad audience. As it turns out, most of the LSRs fall under this category. This is not usual.
Note: The text here is the exact text of the LSR title. In a few cases, we have added some comments in brackets .
This list is of new LSRs submitted since last week’s update.
2150 restricting protests at military funerals
2151 prohibiting the use of cell phone data extraction devices by law enforcement agencies
2152 requiring pupils to stand during the recitation of the pledge of allegiance
2153 relative to the applicability of foreign law in cases before New Hampshire courts
2155 relative to the preservation of religious freedom
2157 relative to justification for use of deadly force in defense of another
2158 relative to a parent’s conscientious objection to a school, school program, or school curriculum
2159 relative to driving under the influence of drugs
2165 regulating smart phone tracking
2166 relative to public employer negotiations for health care coverage
2172 relative to anti-discrimination laws protecting owners of businesses who do not wish to provide services for same-sex marriages
2173 making March 31 of each year the day to remember Terri Schiavo
2174 making a certain hunting pistol a state symbol for New Hampshire
2175 urging Congress to privatize all aspects of social security
2176 requiring the teaching of evolution in public schools as a theory
2185 prohibiting the state and any political subdivision from entering any agreements or implementing any provision of the No Child Left Behind Act without prior approval of the legislature and the governor.
2186 relative to instruction to pupils on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
2193 establishing a committee to study New Hampshire electing not to participate in Medicaid
2195 relative to documentation of child rearing expenses for purposes of calculating child support and as a basis for making adjustments to application of the child support guidelines in individual cases.
2199 transferring the responsibility and authority of the judicial conduct committee and the attorney’s professional conduct committee to the legislature.
2200 establishing a committee to oversee the department of environmental services.
2201 establishing a committee to oversee the natural resources sections of the department of resources and economic development.
2202 urging Congress to preserve Medicare in its current form
2203 urging Congress to preserve social security in its current form
2208 relative to confidentiality of police personnel files.
2211 relative to business tax reforms.
2212 relative to certain business regulatory reforms.
2216 requiring the department of health and human services to license supervised visitation centers.
2221 relative to electoral college elections
2223 relating to members of the general court. Providing that members of the general court may not vote on or deliberate on matters in which they have an interest
2224 relative to disqualification of certain members of the general court
2230 requiring the Congress of the United States of America to reaffirm its adherence to the Constitution of the United States regarding international agreements and treaties
2231 allowing purchase and use of marijuana by adults, regulating the purchase and use of marijuana, and imposing taxes on the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana
2237 requiring a birth certificate of candidates for federal office
2241 prohibiting attorneys and their spouses from holding elective office in the legislative or executive branch
2242 relative to judicial appointments
2244 relative to verification of immigration status of all persons arrested or detained by law enforcement
2245 relative to consumer choice in health insurance
2246 repealing the state board of education
2247 relative to parent-directed instruction
2248 requiring written permission of union members before their union dues may be used for political purposes
2251 relating to judges and other judicial officers. Providing that the general court [ie, the legislature] shall have the sole authority to discipline and remove judges.
2257 prohibiting certain state employees from wearing fragrances
2260 establishing a committee to study the ability of local communities to deliver essential services
2268 eliminating certain reciprocal agreements with other states for losing rights and privileges for nonpayment of state taxes
2272 prohibiting incorporated employers from requiring oversight of employee political contributions
2273 repealing a provision allowing the taking of private property during a state of emergency
2275 requiring the deposit of certain dedicated fund revenues into the general fund
2276 relative to searches and seizures
2285 establishing a state bank
2286 expanding the definition of official oppression
2287 establishing the crime of oppressing the free exercise of rights by and inhabitant
2288 prohibiting the acceptance of federal funds which may be used to usurp local law enforcement functions
2290 calling for a federal constitutional convention to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish the electoral college
2291 establishing a property tax credit for maintenance of a vegetable garden
2292 repealing the authority of officials to enter and examine the premises of an automotive recycling dealer
2293 relative to the suspension of registration of vehicles
2294 prohibiting the establishment of sobriety checkpoints
2296 requiring school districts to comply with local zoning and site plan regulations for construction that is non-essential to their operation (Rep. Jim Belanger is prime sponsor)
2301 relative to grounds for termination of parental rights
2304 abolishing the department of cultural resources
2313 relative to school district policies on health and sex education
2318 establishing a property tax credit for married couples with children
2319 relating to the attorney general. Providing that the attorney general be elected to a 2-year tem
2320 requiring instruction in intelligent design in the public schools
2322 relative to the default budget in official ballot voting towns and districts
2326 creating a civil action for victims of government oppression
2327 prohibiting the state from withholding union dues from wages of state employees
2330 relative to payment of legal and court fees and costs for frivolous lawsuits
2331 relative to pension reform
2335 establishing a committee to publicize the Magna Carta and its affect on New Hampshire and the United States
2336 informing the US Congress that it is the desire of the legislature of New Hampshire that the New Hampshire national guard shall not serve outside the borders of New Hampshire absent a declaration of war
2355 establishing video lottery and table gaming at certain locations in New Hampshire
2356 prohibiting abortions in the third trimester of a woman’s pregnancy
2357 expanding capital murder to include cases of homicide following the torture of the victim and homicide committed during the course of a robbery
2358 establishing non-unanimous juries
2365 relative to checking firearms at courthouse entrances
2373 expressing support for admitting the District of Columbia as the fifty-first state of the United States of America
2374 requiring the department of health and human services to compile and maintain induced termination of pregnancy statistics
2380 requiring the attorney general to prosecute local police departments for failure to enforce the crime of interference with custody
2384 relative to collective bargaining
2385 relative to police enforcement of parenting plans
2388 relative to parental visitation
2407 repealing the state art fund
2421 eliminating the requirement that an attorney be a member of the New Hampshire bar
2429 permitting a child 16 years of age or older to withdraw from school under certain circumstances
2439 repealing the interest and dividends tax
2441 repealing dog licensing requirements
2448 exempting cultivation of marijuana from manufacturing under the controlled drug act
2449 relative to industrial hemp
2459 relative to awards of non-economic damages
2475 declaring brain power a New Hampshire resource
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 2nd and 4th 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