NH Legislature This Week—June 24, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“This correspondence is to inform all members of the House of Representatives of my resignation. Certainly this announcement comes as a sigh of relief from leadership in both parties.” (former) Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn).
Rep. Stella Tremblay finally resigns
After weeks of controversy over her assertion that the federal government was behind the Boston Bombings, Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) has finally resigned from the NH House. However, the rambling, 3 page resignation letter says that she is not resigning because of her comments, but because “Divine Providence” has provided her family with an opportunity that requires her to move out of the district. Her house was recently listed as being sold.
Her letter first thanks former House Speaker Bill O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) for creating the Redress of Grievances Committee in the last term. The committee largely became a platform for politically connected individuals to complain about divorce proceedings for child custody disputes that did not go the way that they wanted. In the letter, Tremblay calls the creation of the committee “a courageous first step”.
She goes on to say “The original organic Constitution implemented ‘Senators’ being appointed by the legislators… The dismal failure of ‘elections’ by popular vote in this one example causes me to ponder who was wiser: The Founders or those bent on diminishing a Constitutional Republic?” We also note that her letter places quotation marks around the word “elected” in reference to her own election: “I entered the political arena quite naïve, believing I was representing the freedoms and liberties of those that ‘elected’ me.”
She once again calls for “a full investigation” into the Boston Bombings and thanks a conservative talk show host who had threated to kill Hillary Clinton.
She closes by once again plugging her argument that there is a secret “original 13th Amendment” to the Constitution that has been quietly removed by a sinister cabal. This amendment strips citizenship from any lawyer who joins the BAR Association and also means that “the United Nations could not have been organized and no foreign power could influence elections (which is the case today).”
Finally, she closes with an apology to Rep. Steve Vaillencourt (R-Manchester) for not supporting him when he was removed from the House Floor after saying “Sieg Heil” to then-Speaker Bill O’Brien.
The letter was addressed to House Speaker Terri Norelli (D-Portsmouth) and had a cc: line addressed to “House minority” and “Bloggers”.
Vigil for victims of gun violence turns ugly
A number of people gathered for a vigil for victims of gun violence in Concord. The No More Names vigil was organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns at the request of a number of NH gun violence prevention activists. Vigil participants gathered together for a solemn remembrance of the thousands of people who have died of gun violence. A number of volunteers from the attendees (including two from Brookline) helped read off the names of over 6100 people who have died of gun violence since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Brookline’s Keith Thompson read several of the names, including an entire family—mother, father, and three children ages 9, 7 and 2 who were killed in January by their 15 year old son with the father’s guns. Another was a 10 year old killed on Christmas Day.
Unfortunately, gun rights activists disrupted the vigil, using bullhorns to shout over the speakers, the people reading the names, and a pastor who was leading the vigil in a prayer of remembrance.
Police arrived after one of the vigil participants called 911 to report that she had been assaulted—one of the gun advocates had taken her sign from her, torn it up, and threatened her. Another gun rights advocate was arrested after harassing one of the vigil speakers, a Manchester man whose daughter had been shot to death by her estranged husband. The speaker had been shot in the back himself while trying to rescue his daughter.
One woman with the gun advocates smiled and posed for pictures while holding an AR-15 assault rifle—the same kind used to kill the kindergarteners at Sandy Hook. The crowd of gun advocates were very angry, abusive, and armed with numerous hand guns and assault rifles.
A number of prominent Republican politicians joined the gun activists and promoted the disruption of the vigil. These include former NH Republican Party Chair Jack Kimball, Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) and Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton).
However, some in the audience took exception to some of the names that were called out—in particular, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Bombers. The group apologized the next day for his mistaken inclusion in the list. Media reports have focused almost exclusively on the few names that should not have been included in the list and have largely ignored the many thousands of victims of gun violence.
State Budget—the final version
Governor Hassan and leaders from the House and Senate have reached a compromise budget that is expected to be passed when the House and Senate meet for a final time next Wednesday.
The new budget contains an increase in the tax on smokeless tobacco, but not cigarettes. Note, however, that the $0.10 per pack decrease that was passed in the last session is expiring. The budget does not include an increase in the gas tax, which would have gone to road and bridge maintenance. The I93 expansion project is now projected to run out of funds early next year and it is not clear where any additional funding could come from.
$10 million is cut from state employment, which could cut 200 to 300 positions.
The compromise does not accept the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid to 58,000 Granite Staters, but leaves open the possibility of calling the legislature into a special session at the end of the year to take up the issue again. Currently about 177,000 people in NH are uninsured.
The final budget adds $100 million in funding for the state University System and the Community College System. Also, the UNIQUE scholarship program is receiving some funding for the first time in four years.
The compromise will allow students to use their Student ID as identification for voting purposes in elections.
$28 million is added to the state mental health system. The developmentally disable wait list will be eliminated and the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program is reinstated.
The budget also restores some of the funding to hospitals that had been cut in the last budget cycle.
The budget does not include a casino, which was supported by the Senate and Governor Hassan.
The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) will now be funded at $8 million, after having been completely defunded for the last several years.
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.
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 email@example.com
Nashua Wards 1, 2, 5, Hollis, Brookline, Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge
Rep. Jim Belanger (R) P: (603)465-2301 Jim.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R) P: (603)465-7463 email@example.com
Rep. Gary Daniels (R) P: (603)673-3065 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston
Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) P: (603)672-7175 Jack.email@example.com
Rep. Melanie Levesque (D) P:(603)249-3367 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brookline and Mason