NH Legislature This Week—June 3, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“I assure you that [United Nations] Secretary General [Ban Ki-] moon did not visit Stratham to tell us what to do, okay? It did not happen.” Rep. Patrick Abrami (R-Stratham) defending SB11, which allows towns to form multi-town water and sewer districts. Some opponents of the bill suggested that it was part of a United Nations Agenda 21 plot to take our freedoms and “tax rainwater”. The bill was passed 254-74.
Medicaid Expansion debate Monday night in Milford
Wednesday night, Senate President Peter Bragdon (R-Milford) will defend his position of opposing expansion of Medicaid at a forum hosted by New Hampshire Voices for Health and New Hampshire Citizen’s Action, both of which support accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid. The forum will begin at 5:00pm at the Wadleigh Memorial Library in Milford.
If Medicaid is expanded in New Hampshire, about 60,000 people would qualify for the health insurance offered. If passed, the Federal government will pay for 100% of the costs for the first 4 years and then 90% of the costs thereafter.
Senate set to vote on Budget; the real negotiations will start soon
The Senate is expected to remove the expansion of Medicaid from the House-passed budget, but it is difficult to know what will go back in after House-Senate negotiations. Other items to watch are a casino (wanted by the Senate), increases in the gas tax (to pay for roads and bridges) and the cigarette tax (both wanted by the House).
We are entering uncharted waters with the budget negotiations. Almost always, the House and Senate have been under the control of the same party. The last time that there was a divide was in 1999 when the Democrats had a majority in the Senate and Republicans had a majority in the House. However, at that time the moderate Republicans in the House joined Democrats and passed the Senate budget, so there was no negotiations. Before that, the last divided legislature would have been in the early 1900s or sometime in the 1800s.
Bill to remove tolls in Merrimack held over to next year
The House Public Works and Highways Committee has voted to retain SB3, which would remove certain road tolls in Merrimack. This means that the bill will not be brought up for a vote until next year.
Last week, Governor Hassan took the following actions:
SB194, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the family planning portion of Medicaid expansion, was signed into law.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
SB153 would require all collective bargaining agreements with state employees to be approved by the fiscal committee of the legislature. The House defeated the bill 191-125. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Levesque voted against the bill. Rep. Gargasz was not able to be present for the vote.
On Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
HB1 is the state budget. The House passed version would spend $11 billion over the 2 year biennium. The Senate proposed version would spend $10.7 billion. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the proposed Senate version be passed 4-2.
HB2 is the state budget “trailer”. This includes all of the changes to laws needed to implement the budget. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the proposed Senate version be passed 4-2.
HB25 is the capital improvements part of the budget. It addresses non-highway improvements and repairs to state-owned buildings, facilities, parks, etc. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the proposed Senate version be passed 4-2.
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