NH Legislature This Week—May 6, 2013
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“I went to Infowars and I started opening my eyes. I thought, you know, Alex Jones, everyone says he’s crazy, but perhaps there’s some truth to this. And the more I looked at this, in my heart, something told me there’s something wrong here…Then, my first gut reaction seeing the horror of that person that has their legs blown off. You know, the bone sticking out? He was not in shock. I looked and I thought there’s something… I don’t know what’s wrong, but it seems surreal to me… He was not in shock. He was not in pain. If I had had those type of injuries, I’d be screaming in agony.” Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn).
“My sincere apologies if I have offended anyone with my comments regarding the Boston Marathon bombing. It was out of my sincere desire to question the violated constitutional rights of the residents of Watertown in the name of searching for one fugitive…President Richard Nixon was impeached when the media asked the tough questions. Inquisitiveness is only natural when the media is not doing their jobs…” Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn), sort-of-but-not-really apologizing for her earlier comments.
“Representative Tremblay’s vile and disgusting comments have crossed a new line…she is unfit to serve in public office.” NH Republican Party Chair, Jennifer Horn.
“You had mentioned that the burden to owners of gun stores that these expanded background checks would cause. I’m just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the hall of her elementary school isn’t as important as that?” Erica Lafferty, whose mother was the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lafferty was addressing Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) at a town hall forum in Warren, NH.
“Obviously, I hope not.” Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), responding to a question about whether or not there would be a violent civil war because of Republican opposition to President Obama.
“If back ground checks actually helped prevent murders I would consider them, but they do not. What helps is better firearm training, more people trained, more people carrying concealed. What about getting rid of ALL laws on the books restricting concealed carry? What about training and arming teachers? What about in service days dedicated to prepping teachers to deal with violent students? [teaching them to throw books at the assailant is worst then not teaching them at all] What about the societies that just said checks that then became prohibitions? PS. Why can’t I go buy a full auto[matic] firearm? The issue in 1934 was just a $200 tax stamp, and now is a 4 page form that requires you to contact the BATF prior to crossing state lines, finger prints, LEO approval, etc.” Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton) on his facebook page. Underlining is ours.
“The effort to take away firearms is increasing as this is the only way POTUS [President Obama] and his allies can totally destroy America.” Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton) .
Legislature continues to wind down
The House is scheduled to meet this week, but none of the bills on our watch list are up for a vote. The Senate will not be meeting this week. As always, the House and Senate will be holding a lot of committee work, however.
Last week, the Senate continued it’s tradition of opposing marijuana decriminalization by defeating a bill, passed by the House, that would decriminalize possession of less than a quarter of an ounce of marijuana. Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is illegal, but not a criminal offense (ie, a fine rather than a potential jail sentence) in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, although marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Governor and legislature now hopeful for a budget surplus
This last month, the state has received $15 million in unexpected, additional tobacco settlement revenue. The state has also seen higher revenues from business taxes than had been expected. These combine to wipe out the $40 million budget deficit (for the 2011-2012 budget which ends in June) that had been expected as of a month or so ago. The House has passed a measure as part of the budget bill to give the Governor extraordinary powers to ensure that the current budget doesn’t end in a deficit. However, those measures now look like they won’t be needed and legislators are cautiously optimistic that we may even have a small surplus, which can be used to rebuild part of the Rainy Day Fund.
Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund Bike Ride and Walk is Saturday, May 11
Saturday is the annual Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund Bike Ride and Walk, to start at the Lawrence Barn in Hollis. This is the 6th year for the fund, which raises funds for New England Zoos to work on conservation projects, research, education and other wildlife efforts. There are 10, 25, and 50 mile routes for bicyclists and a 3 mile path for walkers, followed by a festive cookout. Registration is 8am to 10am. For more information, visit www.jonathangilmourfund.org or call 617-989-3760.
Rep. Tremblay—it just goes from awful to even worse
Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) continued to make national news this week. She went on two local radio shows to continue to support her theory that the Boston Marathon Bombings were carried out by the U.S. government. This time, she went even further and suggested that the people who were injured in the explosions were faking their injuries. In particular, she questioned the injuries of Jeff Bauman, who works at the Nashua area Costco, and who lost both legs.
In one of the interviews, she had an interesting way of apologizing: “I would like to go and apologize to [Jeff] if he was hurt.” When asked if she believed that he was hurt, she said “I don’t know.”
NH Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn then made a statement that Rep. Tremblay is “unfit for public office” and that the state Republican Party will no longer provide her with support. However, she did not go so far as to publicly call for her resignation. Rep. Tremblay told the press that Horn had told her privately that the state party would not ask her to resign. When state newspapers asked the NH Republican Party if they would call on her to resign, they responded that they could not unless she had committed a crime.
The Nashua Telegraph has also now published an editorial calling on the Representative to resign.
The Senate has voted 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 defeated the bill on a voice vote.
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 defeated the bill on a voice vote.
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 defeated the bill on a voice vote.
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 sent the bill back to committee, thus pushing consideration of the bill to next year.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Public Works and Highways Committee (LOB room 201)
SB3 would eliminate the exit 12 toll in Merrimack. The Department of Transportation estimates that this would reduce state income by $900,000 per year. Tuesday 1:30.
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Finance Committee (Representatives Hall)
HB1 is the 2013-2014 state budget. Thursday 3:00pm to 8:00 pm
HB2 is the 2013-2014 state budget companion bill, which makes changes to the laws that are required to implement the budget in HB1. Thursday 3:00pm to 8:00pm.
Senate Ways and Means Committee (Statehouse room 103)
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 $0.30 per gallon over the next three years. The gas tax was last raised in 1991. The increase is expected to generate almost a billion dollars in funding for road and bridge maintenance over the next 10 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 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