NH Legislature This Week—May 13, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“New Hampshire Democrats led the way last fall. And because of your hard work, Maggie Hassan is the only female Democratic governor in the country. Jeanne Shaheen is the only woman to be elected governor and U.S. senator. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster are part of the first and only all-female congressional delegation in the country. Terie Norelli is the longest- serving female speaker in our state’s history and Sylvia Larsen is the longest-serving legislative leader in New Hampshire.” New Hampshire Democratic Party statement on Mother’s Day.
“And then there’s my little shrine to Robert E. Lee” Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) describing the civil war memorabilia in her home during a debate on a bill directing the Joint Legislative Historical Committee to study how to restore the historical flags in the Statehouse. Robert E. Lee was a Confederate General.
This week in the legislature
Neither the House nor the Senate will meet this week. The Senate is working on the budget and is getting feedback from the departments on the House-passed budget. The House is doing committee work on Senate bills.
The Senate and House are each expected to finish work on the remaining bills by the first week of June. After that date, they will work only on bills where there are disagreements between the House and Senate and bills that are vetoed by Governor Hassan.
House passes resolution on Boston Marathon bombings
The House unanimously passing a resolution that “disavow[s] any unfounded speculation or accusation that dishonors those affected by the tragic events in Boston.” The resolution also “commend[s] Jeff Bauman as a hero for his actions and wishes him a quick recovery” and “honor[s] all the victims and celebrate all the heroes of the senseless tragedy at this year’s Boston Marathon.”
Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) was not present and thus did not vote on the resolution. The resolution was passed 312-0. The resolution was presented by Republican leader Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), Democratic leader Rep. Stephen Shurtleff (D-Penacook) and House Speaker Rep. Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth).
Legislature creates a committee to study the effects of global warming on NH
The legislature has passed a Senate bill to create a committee to study the effect of rising coastal waters on New Hampshire. The 37 member committee will consist of government officials, representatives from each of the coastal towns, realtors and home construction companies. The mission of the committee is to “recommend legislation, rules, and other actions to prepare for projected sea level rise and other coastal and coastal watershed hazards such as storms, increased river flooding, and storm water runoff, and the risks such hazards pose to municipalities and state assets in New Hampshire.”
The committee will automatically be disbanded at the end of 2016. The bill was passed by the Senate on a voice vote and then passed by the House 228-124. Because the House made a minor change in the wording, it must go back the Senate for a final vote before going to Governor Hassan. In the House, Rep. Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill. Rep. Gargasz was not present for the vote.
Legislature passes bill expanding family planning
This past week, the House passed SB194, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services to expand Medicaid coverage of family planning services. The bill requires the Department to meet the requirements for 90% matching by the federal government. Proponent estimate that the bill could result in 500 fewer abortions per year in the Granite State.
The bill was passed by the Senate on a voice vote. The bill had been on the consent calendar in the House, but was pulled out for debate and a vote. The House passed the bill 212-120. Rep. Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill. Rep. Gargasz was not present for the vote. Sen. Gilmour is a cosponsor of the bill.
On Wednesday, the House “supercommittee” that is looking into casino gambling will make it’s recommendations. The House has traditionally opposed casinos while the Senate has traditionally supported them. It is unknown if the House will change it’s mind when the final vote comes up, but if they do, they will certainly be making some major changes to the bill—some of which may be unacceptable to the Senate.
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