NH Legislature This Week—April 29, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week(s)
“I join the people of New Hampshire in extending our most heartfelt gratitude to all those who put their lives on the line to keep us all safe today. Law enforcement officials, emergency responders and all involved have demonstrated unyielding bravery and expert skill in apprehending this suspect of these horrific acts of cowardice and terror. From the Town of Watertown, the City of Boston, the State of Massachusetts, the State of New Hampshire, and far and wide, they came together, stood together, and never wavered, and we will forever be grateful for their incredible dedication to the safety of our people. Thank you.” Governor Maggie Hassan
“Just as you said would happen. Top Down, Bottom UP. The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops “terrorist” attack. One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now “terrorist” attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a “wake up” to all of us. First there was a “suspect” then there wasnt. Infowars broke the story and they knew they had been “found out”. Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) posting on Glenn Beck’s facebook page.
“Rep. Tremblay’s comments are highly offensive, egregious and irrational. They are severely troubling and unbecoming of any public office holder or citizen of our great nation. I am ashamed that Rep. Tremblay saw fit to disseminate radical conspiracy theories online. She in no way represents the views of the caucus, the Republican party or the Granite State. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected by the atrocities committed in Boston, and we stand united in support of the law enforcement community who worked tirelessly to apprehend the terrorist perpetrators.” Rep. Gene Chandler (R-?), House Republican Leader.
“Conspiracy theories often abound following tragedies like last week’s Boston Marathon bombing. But, we don’t usually expect them from our elected representatives and certainly not before the victims are buried…Certainly, as Tremblay has noted, she has the Constitutional right to speak her mind, But, her comments are baseless, dangerous and unbecoming of a public figure.” Nashua Telegraph editorial calling on Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) to resign.
“There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. Not that retreat may not be possible mind you. What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims.” Rep. Peter Hansen (R-Amherst) in an email that he sent out to all NH House Representatives. He was discussing HB135, which would repeal the “Stand your ground” gun law.
“While he used a inappropriate term as it relates to woman[sic], knowing Rep Hansen, he was trying to get a point across that women and children were going to be negatively impacted by the HB 135. Also knowing Rep Hansen, there isn’t a harder working Representative in Concord. He not only is present at all votes for the House, his committee, ED& A, but also serving almost all subcommittees assign through that committee. This one comment should not reflect on his hard work for the District he serves.” Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline).
“If you take a look at other areas, uh, what’s going on around the country under Agenda 21, this isn’t get – the nose is already under the tent. This now is pushing the foot under the tent, to slowly get the fishermen off the lake. That’s what this is gonna do.” – Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) testifying on SB89, a bipartisan bill to prohibit the use of lead sinkers and jigs to prevent premature loon deaths.
“Our New Hampshire Constitution has served us well for the 200 years before Jack Kimball and the three legislators misread it. It is a shame that we do not have a GED program for constitutional literacy. Pulling bits and pieces out of the constitution to create criminal charges reflects gross constitutional illiteracy, not an attempt at good government. It is this type of craziness that cost 120 Republican seats in the House last year.” Former NH Supreme Court Justice and Congressman Chuck Douglas discussion the petitions to file criminal complaints and remove from office 189 legislators for voting to repeal “Stand your ground” gun legislation.
“On Saturday, many well-intentioned activists rallied at the State House in Concord to defend 2nd Amendment rights that were not threatened. They were led, as usual, by legislators and activists who spoke with certitude about imagined dangers, as though the demons of their fitful dreams were swooping down on leathery wings, talons shining in the cold light, and snatching away our freedoms before our very eyes,
The usual suspects were there, tilting their lances at the State House. There was Jack Kimball, Tea Party leader turned state Republican Party chairman, turned ousted former Republican Party chairman. There were Reps. Dan Itse and John Hikel, two legislators whose admirable love of liberty is energized with such zeal that they sometimes labor with great difficulty to discern real threats from the benign laws necessary to the functioning of any civil society.” Union Leader editorial which goes on to say “The rantings of Hikel, Itse and Kimball should not be taken seriously.”
Rep. Peter Hansen: Calling women “vaginas” is just “well founded communication strategy”
It seems like every week there is some new national scandal coming from some NH Republican Representative. Because we did not publish last weekend, we now have two national news stories to report on. First, there was Rep. Peter Hansen’s (R-Amherst) comments which he emailed out to all House Reps. In the email, he referred to women as “vaginas” and then initially defended his statements saying that he was use a “well founded communication strategy.”
After considerable outrage—including from NH Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn—Rep. Hansen eventually apologized. Some are not accepting the apology, however, and the Cabinet has published an editorial calling for him to resign.
Those statements were completely overshadowed, however, by a statement posted on Glen Beck’s facebook page by Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn).
Rep. Stella Tremblay: US government set off Boston Marathon bombs
As quoted above, Auburn, Chichester, and Sandown Representative Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) posted on Glen Beck’s facebook page that the Boston Marathon bombings were a “Black Ops” operation conducted by the federal government. Her posting, and her reaction to the criticism, has one again put New Hampshire in the national (and even international this time) spotlight and has been making the rounds in social media.
Other state Republicans were quick to denounce her posting and distance themselves and the party from her views.
When her comment generated a barrage of outrages replies, Rep. Tremblay again posted on Glen Beck’s facebook the following:
“Holy COW!!! Because someone asks questions one is viciously attacked? What happened to discussion? Truly was it told: They hear with their ears, but are deaf, and they see with their eyes but they are blind. How can it be “delusional” for asking questions? There WERE military with black back packs on the last mile of the marathon. Some had detonators…is it not coincidental that they were stating there was a “drill” and not to be alarmed? Why are they seen quickly moving away from the area of the bomb just a minute before it went off? Why did Reporter King (a seasoned reporter with credible sources) announce that there was a “suspect in custody” and then hours later had to rescind the statement. Talk about credibility being shot! Why is it wrong to ask questions and demand answers? Our friends, neighbours, brothers and sisters were maimed and killed by terrorists carrying out “jihad”. They were innocent victims going about doing their daily routines. This is NOT right! We need to face facts and get answers. If you think I am delusional to ask these questions, so be it. If honest answers were given…I will be satisfied. Bengazi still has not had an investigation. When do we get answers to those questions?”
When contacted by the press, she continued to be defend her position. Her response to Fosters was particularly interesting: “Why are you leaving it to some dumb representative to ask questions, when the reporters should be doing their job? Are you that blind that you’re not willing to ask questions of your government?”
Within hours of the story breaking nationally, it was covered by Iran’s PressTV, where commenters were overwhelming supportive of her.
The Nashua Telegraph has run an editorial calling on her to resign.
Our readers will remember Rep. Tremblay recently from the bill to bill to “restore” the “original” 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. You may also remember her assertion that President Woodrow Wilson was a Hitler sympathizer and from her leading role in questioning President Obama’s birth certificate and trying to have him removed from the ballot last year.
Not to let an act of terrorism go by without turning it into something cheap
Not to be outdone, Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) posted on his facebook page a picture of Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with an Obama campaign button photoshopped onto his shirt. Classy.
It’s not just the NH Legislature
Our readers might also be interested in this column in the Concord Monitor in which we are reminded that we are not the only state with controversial legislators.
So, what about legislation?
This past week, the Senate did not meet. The week before, the House did not meet. Both chambers continued to hold public hearings both weeks, however, as they continue to work their way through legislation that was passed by the other chamber.
This week, the House will be holding public hearings and doing committee work, but the full House will not meet again until the following week. The full Senate is scheduled to meet this Thursday.
The big news the last couple of weeks has been the defeat of HB370 in the Senate. This is the bill to repeal the tax credits that are given to businesses who fund private and religious schools. Opponents argue that bill unconstitutionally provides tax payer dollars to support non-public schools. NH’s constitution expressly forbids public taxes paying for non-public schools. However, supporters of the law point out the bill allows only “tax credits” and not actual tax dollars. In addition to this bill, there is also a lawsuit currently making it’s way through the courts to determine whether or not reducing someone’s taxes to pay for private and religious schools amounts to the same as the state giving the tax dollars directly.
HB370 was defeated on a partisan 13-11 vote with all Democrats supporting repeal and all Republicans supporting the current law.
The Senate also held a hearing on HB135, which would repeal the “Stand your ground” law. Law enforcement officials testified in favor of the repeal—they had opposed the law when it was proposed. Proponents of the current law argued that the law—enacted in 2011 by overriding a veto from Governor Lynch—has not caused any problems. Opponents counter that the previous law—in effect for 40 years—had also not caused any problems. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill soon, but most political observers don’t expect the Senate to support repeal.
Cigarettes come to the aid of the state deficit
New Hampshire has received and an unexpected $15 million payment from the tobacco settlement lawsuit. For many years, a number of states have been receiving payments from tobacco companies as the result of a settlement. The unexpected payment is a very welcome surprise as the state is struggling to figure out how to close a budget deficit for 2012-2013 which ends on June 30th. Earlier estimates were the deficit was $30 million, but recent revenues have come in better than expected, so the actual deficit should be lower.
New Hampshire posthumously frees 14 slaves
During the Revolutionary War, 20 slaves presented the NH legislature with a petition to abolish slavery so “that the name of slave may not more be heard in a land gloriously contending for the sweets of freedom.” The legislature denied the petition and responded that “the House is not ripe for a Determination in this matter: Therefore ordered that the further consideration of the matter be postponed till a more convenient opportunity.”
Of the 20 petitioners, 14 died while they were still slaves. SB187 would posthumously free those 14 slaves “in gratitude for their service to the colonial foundations of New Hampshire.”
SB187 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House and has been sent to Governor Hassan for her signature.
The Senate has voted on the following bills:
HB370 would repeal the business tax credit, passed last session, the allows businesses to take a tax credit if they provide scholarship funds to private and religious schools. The Senate tabled the bill 13-11. Sen. Gilmour voted against tabling the bill. Tabling the bill means that it is essentially defeated.
On Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
HB 167 would require that crime victims be notified when the person who committed the crime has a parole hearing coming up. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
HB621 would make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a non-criminal offense. Possession would still be illegal and could result in a fine, but would not result in jail time or be placed on someone’s criminal record. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
HB362 would ban the use of corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive. The ban will not go into effect until either 3 other New England states had also banned corn-based ethanol or until a non-corn based form of ethanol becomes available. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-1.
HB153 would legalize the growing of industrial hemp under state law. Growing hemp is still illegal under federal law. Industrial hemp has traditionally been used in many applications, such as rope and typically does not have the properties that marijuana has. However, industrial hemp is commonly outlawed because it can be difficult to distinguish the industrial hemp plants from marijuana plants. In the US, growing industrial hemp is illegal under federal law, but is legal under state law in 10 states, including Vermont and Maine. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends, 4-1, that the bill be referred back to committee, thus pushing consideration of the bill to next year.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee (LOB room 307). Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline) and Rep. Gary Daniels (R-Milford) are members of this committee.
SB153 would require that all collective bargaining agreements entered into by the state must be approved by the legislative fiscal committee. Tuesday 10:15.
What are our legislators doing? Part 6—Sen. Peggy Gilmour
In November 2012, Peggy Gilmour was elected to her second term in the NH Senate. She had served in the 2009-2010 legislature. Her district this time looks very different form the one that served in before with parts of Nashua no longer being in the district while towns out west—stretching into Cheshire County being added. The new Senatorial district consists of Nashua Wards 1, 2, and 5, and the towns of Hollis, Brookline, Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge.
The Senate operates very differently from the House in large part because there are only 24 Senators compared to 400 Representatives. In the House, each Representative is a member of only one standing committee and can focus on supporting a few pieces of legislation. In the Senate, each Senator is a member of several committees and most have some sort of leadership position on one of the committees.
Senator Gilmour (D-Hollis) is a member of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee and is Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Senator Gilmour has sponsored 5 bills and cosponsored 39 bill this year.
Two of the bills that she has cosponsored have already been signed into law. These are SB1, which doubled the research and development tax credit for businesses, and the other is SB40 which would ensure that no school district receives less funding in 2013-2014 than they did in 2011-2012. The five bills with Sen. Gilmour as the primary sponsor are:
SB17, an act establishing a commission to study palliative care and associated quality of life initiatives. Palliative care is treatment to relieve suffering and pain. Sen. Bob Odell (R-Lempster), Sen. David Watters (D-Dover), Sen. David Boutin (R-Hooksett), Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) and Sen. Nancy Stiles (R-Hampton) are cosponsors. SB17 was passed by the Senate on a voice vote. The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held a public hearing on April 9th and is currently studying the bill.
SB87 clarifies the patients’ bill of rights as it applies to home health care providers. Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Sen. Bob Odell (R-Lempster) and Rep. Mary Nelson (D-Nashua) are cosponsors. SB87 was passed by the Senate on a voice vote. The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held a public hearing on April 16th and is currently studying the bill.
SB170 clarifies that the definition of life-sustaining treatment includes medically administered nutrition and hydration for purposes of end-of-life advance directives. Sen. Betty Lasky (D-Nashua), Rep. Laurie Harding (D-Lebanon), Rep. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), and Rep. Rick Watrous (D-Concord) are cosponsors. SB170 was passed by the Senate on a voice vote. The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommends that the bill be passed with a minor change in wording.
SB 188 defines “municipally-owned utility” for purposes of relocating underground utilities facilities as required by certain highway projects. The bill clarifies that a municipally owned utility includes utilities that are owned by a local government directly or indirectly. Sen. Jim Rausch (R-Derry), Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Sen. David Boutin (R-Hooksett), Sen. Betty Lasky (D-Nashua), Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Rep. Brian Rhodes (D-Nashua), Rep. David Campbell (D-Nashua), Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Nashua), Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst) and Rep. John Graham (R-Bedford) are cosponsors. SB188 was passed by the Senate on a voice vote. The House Public Works and Highways Committee recommends that the bill be passed but with a restriction that a “municipally-owned utility” applies only to utilities that are owned entirely by the municipality, rather than partially owned.
SB193 allows dental therapists to perform certain dental services under the supervision of a licensed dentist. The bill seeks to alleviate a problem (especially in the North Country) where there are not enough dentists to provide services. By allowing dental hygienists to perform certain dental services, this frees up the dentists to perform more advanced work. Opponents argue that it allows dental hygienists to perform dental work that they are not trained to perform. Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Rep. Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua), Rep. Mary Nelson (D-Nashua) and Rep. Susan Emerson (R-Rindge) are cosponsors. SB193 is currently in the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee, which is studying the bill and will make a recommendation next year.
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.
Watch and listen to House and Senate sessions live
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. Peggy Gilmour (D) P: (603)465-2336 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nashua Wards 1, 2, 5, Hollis, Brookline, Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge
Rep. Jim Belanger (R) P: (603)465-2301 Jim.email@example.com
Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R) P: (603)465-7463 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Gary Daniels (R) P: (603)673-3065 email@example.com
Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston
Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) P: (603)672-7175 Jack.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Melanie Levesque (D) P:(603)249-3367 email@example.com
Brookline and Mason