NH Legislature This Week—April 30, 2012
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“Given the recent partisan attacks on the American Legislative Exchange Council and legislators who are members, I have elected to become a member…Out-of-state activists carrying on a national campaign of demonizing organizations that are founded on such principles have no role here and should be rejected by those who care about returning jobs and prosperity to New Hampshire.” House Speaker Bill O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) expressing his support for the conservative, corporate-funded Washington DC-based organization that wrote many of the bills that he has been pushing in the NH legislature these last two years.
Major candidates to attend Hollis Dems Pasta dinner on Friday
The Hollis Democrats are hosting a pasta dinner on Friday at 7:00PM at the Lawrence Barn (28 Depot Road). Guest speakers include Ann Kuster who is running for Congress against Rep. Charlie Bass; Sen. Jackie Cilley who is running for Governor; Sen. Peggy Gilmour who is running for State Senate; Sen. Deb. Pignatelli who is running for Executive Council; and Rep. Melanie Levesque, Kat McGhee and Brian Rater who are running for State Rep.
RSVP by Hollisdemsdinner@gmail.com or 603-554-7948. The cost is $13 each or $25 for two.
On to Governor Lynch
Two bills on our watch list were passed by the legislature and sent to Governor Lynch this week. HB1679 would make it illegal to perform certain late term abortions, which are already illegal under federal law. SB409 would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
A Legislative Game of Chicken
The Senate, fearing to take on too many controversial measures in socially moderate New Hampshire on an election year, has defeated a number of House passed bill restricting abortion rights and labor union rights. Speaker O’Brien is not willing to let these bills go quietly into the night, however. He has resurrected these bills by attaching them as amendments to unrelated bills that were already passed by the Senate. Because the House is changing these bills, the House and Senate would have to come to an agreement before the bills would go to Governor Lynch.
Speaker O’Brien is, in effect, threatening to defeat these Senate passed bills unless the Senate backs down.
SB378 would allow towns to snow plow private roads. Speaker O’Brien is attaching an amendment to make it easier to decertify labor unions.
SB272 attempts address some of the problems caused by the defunding of the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program. The amendment deals with labor unions at the county level.
SB155 is a bill to restructure the business profits tax. O’Brien is attaching an amendment that would place restrictions on immigration.
SB295 is a bipartisan bill to encourage research and innovation. O’Brien is holding it hostage by attaching an amendment to that which would require a 24 hour waiting period before a woman could terminate a pregnancy.
On Wednesday, April 25th, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB1546 would allow businesses to refuse to cover contraception in their health care plans by providing a religious exemption. The Senate sent the bill to study 19-4, effectively ending debate. Opponents voted to defeat the bill, Sen. Luther voted to send the bill to study.
HB228 prohibits state funds from going to any health care provider that also provides abortion services. Current law prohibits state funds from being used to provide such services. The Senate committee is recommending an amendment that would exempt hospitals. The law is directed at preventing state monies from going to Planned Parenthood, which provides low-cost access to health care, cancer screenings, family planning and prenatal care to women, especially in the north country where medical services are less available. The Senate tabled the bill 17-6. The bill could be brought back for a vote later; if not, then it is defeated. Sen. Luther voted to table the bill.
HB1659 requires women to wait 24 hours to terminate a pregnancy and legislates particular information doctors are required to give to the women. The Senate defeated the bill 12-11. Sen. Luther (a sponsor) voted to pass the bill.
HB1660 prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. The Senate sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it, 19-4. Sen. Luther voted to pass the bill.
HB1679 makes it illegal to perform late term abortions. The procedure is already illegal under federal law. The Senate passed the bill 18-5. Sen. Luther voted to pass the bill.
On Wednesday, April 25th, the House voted on the following bills:
SB409 legalizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The House passed the bill 236-96. Rep. Belanger, Drisko, Flanagan and Gargasz all voted to pass the bill.
On Wednesday, May 2nd, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
HB1526 would legalize the possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
HB1615 would legalize the growing of industrial hemp. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends sending the bill to study, effectively defeating it, 4-0.
HB217 would expand the first and second degree murder statutes and the negligent homicide statute to include the death of a fetus. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends passing the bill 4-1.
HB1607 allows businesses to make donations for scholarships to private and religious schools and then deduct those contributions from their business profits taxes. The Senate Education Committee recommends that the bill be passed 3-2.
HB1692 would eliminate the chancellor’s office of the University System. The Senate Education Committee recommends passing a modified version of the bill that keeps the chancellor’s office, but requires the University System to create new reports to the legislature detailing how they are trying to operate more efficiently. The committee vote was 7-0.
HB1490 would repeal NH”s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommends passing a modified version of the bill 3-2.
HB1202 would return money granted by the federal government to implement a health care exchange. NH is still required to create a health care exchange. The Senate Commerce Committee recommends defeating the bill 4-1 (thus, keeping the money). Note that some of the funding has already been returned.
HB536 removes the requirement to obtain a license to carry a pistol or revolver openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends passing a modified version which still removes the requirement to obtain a license, 4-1.
HB1611 removes the requirement that businesses selling guns must be licensed. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends sending the bill to study, effectively defeating it, 4-0.
Public Hearings Scheduled for the Tuesday, May 1st
House Constitutional Review and Statutory Recodification Committee (LOB room 303)
SB378 allows towns to remove snow from private roads. However, Speaker O’Brien wants to add an amendment would make it easier to decertify labor unions. 10:00am
Senate Commerce Committee (LOB room 102)
HB1297 prohibits NH from creating a state health care exchange. 9:00am
Senate Education Committee (LOB room 306)
HB1403 requires all public schools to have a curriculum that promotes “state sovereignty”. 1:00pm
Senate Internal Affairs Committee (LOB room 103)
HCR2 is a resolution supporting the Arizona immigration law. 1:00pm
Public Hearings Scheduled for the Thursday, May 3rd
Senate Health and Human Services Committee (LOB room 102)
HCR41 is a resolution urging Congress to invalidate the federal grant that was given to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. 1:10pm
Senate Judiciary Committee (LOB room 101)
CACR26 is a constitutional amendment that would repeal the authority of the Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court to make rules for the courts. 1:00pm
HB1474 eliminates the requirement that attorneys be members of the state bar association. 2:00pm
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.email@example.com
Rep. Jim Belanger P: (603)465-2301 Jim.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dick Drisko P: (603)465-2517 email@example.com
Rep. Jack Flanagan P: (603)672-7175 Jack.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Carolyn Gargasz P: (603)465-7463 email@example.com