NH Legislature This Week—April 9, 2012
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“[Rep. Tim] Copeland, a former law-enforcement officer injured in the line of duty, was assigned an aisle seat. He kept it until he disagreed with O’Brien on several key votes, among them the adoption a state Right-to-Work law. He was [re]assigned a seat in the center of an aisle by O’Brien.” Concord Monitor editorial, see below.
“[Rep. Tony] Soltani requested an aisle seat because of his disabilities…Representatives from both parties – 11 according to Soltani – offered to switch seats with him, but O’Brien won’t permit it.” Concord Monitor editorial, see below
“We certainly don’t want to gamble with our Medicaid program…There is already concern with the existence of our provider network, and our concern is that this legislation would provide gasoline to that fire.” Lisabritt Solsky, deputy director of NH’s Medicaid program, referring to HB228, which would prohibit state funding from going to any organization that provides pregnancy termination services.
Neither the House nor the Senate met last week, so what we have to report on are the happenings of next week, which can be summed up as “abortion” and “unions”. On Wednesday, the Senate will be voting (yet again) on a “Right to Work for less” bill that makes it more difficult for employees to organize into unions.
On Thursday afternoon, the Senate Health and Human Services committee will be holding hearings on the bill that were passed by the House to place several restrictions on women’s rights. Optimistically, the committee has allocated only one hour for public testimony on all three bills. Last week, the Senate held a public hearing on HB228, which was passed by the House, which would prohibit the state from funding Medicaid services in 24 out of the 26 acute care hospitals because they also provide pregnancy termination services. Only Catholic Medical Center in Manchester and St. Joseph hospital in Nashua do not provide such services.
The Concord Monitor has excellent editorial summarizing House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s abuse of power, particularly reassigning seating on the House floor to make it more difficult for certain legislators with disabilities.
On Wednesday, April 11th, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
HB581 would repeal the law protecting consumers who purchase home heating oil in prepay contracts when the oil company goes out of business. Current law requires that either the oil must be purchased, or at least half of the prepay money must be in a bank account so that it could be returned to the customer. This bill replaces that protection with a “buyer beware” statement. The Senate Commerce committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
HB1677 “Right to Work for Less”. The Senate Commerce committee recommends that the bill be passed 3-1.
Public Hearings Scheduled for the Tuesday, April 10th
SB409, allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee. LOB room 205 at 1:00pm.
Pregnancy: all of these bills are before the Senate Health and Human Services committee, in statehouse room 100
HB1660 prohibits pregnancy termination after 20 weeks 1:00PM
HB1659 requires doctors to give graphic and scientifically false information to women before terminating a pregnancy 1:20PM
HB1679 prohibits so-called “partial birth” terminations. 1:40PM
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