NH Legislature This Week—March 25, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“The Democrats are blindly thinking that everyone and anyone should vote. It sets a bad precedent.” Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) speaking in support of more stringent voter ID requirements.
“Under current law, deadly force is not justified if a person knows he or the other party can retreat from a conflict with complete safety… We don’t agree with critics who predict mass mayhem if that provision passes. But we also don’t see why the change is needed. Current law doesn’t forbid the use of deadly force outside one’s home; it prohibits it as the first response to a threat if one knows that the safe escape of either party is an option. That’s a reasonable restriction.” Union Leader editorial on the “stand your ground” bill, May 31, 2011.
“For those who irrationally fear guns, evidence and data are irrelevant. The use of firearms is to be restricted and curtailed to the greatest extent legally possible regardless of the consequences – because guns are scary things. That impulse is the motivating force behind House Bill 135, to repeal the ‘stand your ground’ law. We do not have shootouts in bars and restaurants by gunslingers whom the law has emboldened. That is because responsible New Hampshire gun owners are not bloodthirsty desperados itching to kill, which is how so many legislators seem to imagine them. Repealing this law now would be a premature and irrational act based on fear and mistrust. It would be the legislative equivalent of shooting first, asking questions later. How ironic if the bill passes.” Union Leader editorial March 18, 2013.
Brookline Democrats Pasta Dinner April 5th
Mark you calendars now! The Brookline Democrats will be holding our second annual Pasta Dinner on Friday, April 5th at 6:30PM at the Brookline Community Church. We will be serving pasta, homemade sauces, breads, salads, soft drinks, coffee and desserts.
Tickets are $13/person or $25/family. Reserve your tickets now by emailing BrooklineDemocrats@gmail.com. See you there!
House Budget to come out on Thursday
The House Finance Committee will be presenting their version of the budget on Thursday. The House is not expected to support Casinos and is also expected to endorse a smaller increase in the cigarette taxes, among other changes. These changes mean the House version may need to make up more than $100 million in funding from the Governor’s budget. That can be a tall order in an economy that is still struggling to pull out of the Great Recession.
Attorney General Mike Delaney to not seek another term
Mike Delaney retires from AG office March 31st. Speculation is already rampant about who could replace him, but many have not forgotten that Sen. Kelly Ayotte used her position as AG to launch her successful campaign for US Senate. The smart betting is that next AG will be a solid Democrat.
“What are our legislators doing?” Part 2
Below, we continue with our new weekly series, “What are our legislators doing?” which looks at bills being sponsored or cosponsored by each of our Reps. This week, we look at Milford Republican Rep. Gary Daniels. Next week: Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline).
Last Week, the House voted on the following bills:
HB264 would decriminalize simple assault in which no bodily harm is done. Currently, simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. This bill proposes that simple assault (such as kicks, shoves, slaps, grabs and spitting) would be a violation punishable by up to $100 fine with no jail time and no criminal record. The House defeated the bill 218-111. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted against the bill.
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 House passed the bill on an unrecorded 214-115 vote.
HB287 would eliminate the voter ID laws that were passed in the previous session. See also HB595. The House defeated this bill 276-38. Rep. Belanger, Daniels, Flanagan and Levesque voted against the bill. Rep. Gargasz was not able to be present that day.
HB595 would repeal the more restrictive voter ID laws that are set to go into effect next year. This bill would leave in place the photo ID requirements as they were last year. The House passed the bill 184-122. Rep. Belanger and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill. Rep. Gargasz was not able to be present that day.
HB630 as originally written would have repealed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The House completely changed the bill so that it doesn’t repeal RGGI, but instead directs that proceeds from RGGI should be prioritized to provide better energy efficiency to low-income residents. The amendment passed 204-153. The final bill passed on a voice vote. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted to amend the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against amending the bill.
HB638 declares that the US Constitution is a mission statement for a corporation set up in 1871 and that real 13th amendment does not abolish slavery, but instead forbids titles of nobility. Supporters also argue that this amendment essentially declares that anyone with a law degree loses their citizenship. The House voted 275-64 to table the bill. This essentially defeats the bill. The individual votes were not recorded.
HCR2 a resolution urging Congress to pass an amendment to the US Constitution to overturn the Citizen’s United court case which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections anonymously. The House passed the resolution 189-139. Rep. Levesque voted in favor of the resolution. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the resolution. Rep. Gargasz voted in favor of three attempts to table or indefinitely postpone resolution, but when they failed then voted in favor of the resolution.
HCR3 is a resolution declaring that state legislatures can nullify any act of Congress or decision by the US Supreme Court that they feel is unconstitutional. The House tabled the resolution on an unrecorded vote of 215-91. This essentially defeats the resolution.
HB665 would allow two casinos to be built in New Hampshire. The House defeated the bill 249-65. Rep. Belanger and Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Daniels, Gargasz and Levesque voted against the bill.
HB290 would prohibit unlicensed people from openly carrying a gun in public buildings. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Delmar Burridge (D-Keene) and Rep. Tim Robertson (D-Keene). The committee notes that this bill would make it a class B felony to carry a pistol while carrying a rifle or assault weapon would still be legal. The House defeated the bill 322-9. Rep. Belanger, Daniels, Flanagan, Gargasz and Levesque voted against the bill.
HB271 would prohibit the state from expanding Medicaid under the federal 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Rep. William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon), former Speaker of the House, is the primary sponsor. The House defeated this bill 206-155. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted against the bill.
HB573 would legalize medical marijuana. The House passed the bill 286-64. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill. Rep. Levesque did not vote on the bill.
HR6 is a House resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and affirming support for the principles established by this historic Supreme Court decision. The House tabled the bill 239-111, essentially defeating it. The vote was not recorded.
HB659 would increase the cigarette tax by $0.20 per pack. The House passed the bill 193-167. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
HB135 would repeal a law passed last year which allows anyone to use deadly force “anywhere that they have a right to be” (known as the “Stand your ground” law) and returns to the previous policy of allowing deadly force only in your own home. This bill would also repeal a provision, also passed last year, that provides for immunity from civil suits when deadly force is used. Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Shurtleff (D-Penacook). The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that passed, but with an amendment that would keep immunity from civil suits when deadly force is used. The Committee vote was 12-6.
HB451 would repeal the licensing requirement to carry a concealed gun. This bill is sponsored by Rep. J. R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton) and Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont). The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 14-4.
HB619 would make it illegal to photograph someone’s home from an unmanned aerial drone. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be passed with an amendment 16-2.
HB617 would increase the gas tax to pay for improvements to roads and bridges. The gas tax would be raised from the current $0.18 per gallon to $0.33 per gallon over the next four years. The gas tax was last raised in 1991. The increase is expected to generate almost a billion dollars in funding over the next 10 years. The House passed the bill 207-163. Because this is a financial bill, it now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee for a second public hearing. The House Ways and Means Committee recommends that the bill be passed 11-7. HOWEVER, the Committee recommends that the bill be changed to raise the gas tax by only $0.12 instead of $0.15 and it will be spread out over 3 years.
What are our legislators doing? Part 2—Rep. Gary Daniels
Rep. Gary Daniels (R-Milford) is now serving his ninth term in the NH House. He is a member of the House Industrial, Labor and Rehabilitative Services Committee and currently represents Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon and New Boston. He is currently sponsoring or cosponsoring the following bills.
HB126 relative to use of revolving funds by towns for maintaining recycling programs. Current state law allows towns to create a revolving fund to facilitate and encourage recycling. This bill would allow those revolving funds to also be used to maintain recycling programs. The bill was passed by the House in January. In the Senate, the bill has come out of committee with a favorable recommendation and is scheduled for a full Senate vote this week. Rep. Daniels is the only sponsor.
HB255 relative to the worker’s compensation law. This bill would 1) allow an employer or employer’s health insurance company to select a health care provider during the first 10 days of an injury; 2) require pharmacies to substitute generic drugs unless the doctor indicates that the brand name is medically necessary; 3) establishes a 3 year pilot program in Hillsborough, Rockingham and Merrimack counties to create a 90-day preferred provider; and 4) allows the employer or employer’s insurance company to provide a pharmacy benefits management program. The bill is currently in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee, which will hold on to the bill until next year to have more time to study it. Rep. Daniels is the only sponsor.
HB506 relative to certain time periods for adoption and amendment of town codes and ordinances. Under certain circumstances, town ordinance changes require two public meetings which have to be scheduled between 10 and 14 days apart. This bill expands that time period to 10 to 21 days. The bill was passed by the House and is now before the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee. Rep. Daniels is the only sponsor.
HB507 relative to the maximum permit application fee for certain municipal dredging projects. This bill would cap application fees that towns and cities may charge for dredging lakes and ponds at $10,000. The bill is schedule for a vote this week before the full House. The House Ways and Means Committee recommends that the bill be passed 16-0. Rep. Gary Daniels is the primary sponsor. The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Shawn Sweeney (R-Milford) and Senate President Peter Bragdon (R-Milford).
HB655 relative to the collection of the amount of the property tax deferral for the elderly or disabled upon sale of the property. This bill requires that the amount of the tax deferral and accrued interest be paid to the municipality granting the deferral upon the sale of the property to a purchaser. The bill was passed by the House and is now before the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee. Rep. Daniels is the only sponsor.
Next week: Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline)
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