NH Legislature This Week—April 21, 2014
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“cand[idate] Walt Havenstein on gay marriage—supports law on the books but would consider a bill to repeal.” WMUR’s Josh McElveen tweeting about an interview with Republican candidate for Governor, Walt Havenstein.
Hollis hearing on natural gas pipeline
On Monday, Hollis will host a hearing on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through Hollis. The meeting is at 7PM at the High School and there will be representatives from Kinder Morgan, the company that owns Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Inc. The proposed Hollis line would be a smaller line running off of the main trunk, which would run from New York to Dracut, Mass. The side line would run from Pepperell to the Nashua Airport through Hollis.
Death Penalty Repeal Fails
The bill to repeal the death penalty failed in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last week. Some Senators expressed concern that repealing the death penalty could effect the one person who is currently on death row, for the murder of a Manchester police officer. Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) offered an amendment that would specifically state that the repeal would have no effect on “a person convicted of a capital murder that was committed before July 1, 2014”, but that amendment was defeated 14-10 with Democratic Senator Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester joining all Republicans in opposition.
Republican Senators Sam Cataldo (R-Farmington) and Bob Odell (R-Lempster) joined all Democrats except for Senator D’Allesandro in voting to pass the bill, but that vote failed 12-12. The Senate then voted to table the bill.
CORRECTION: In the last issue we stated that the last time that a death penalty repeal bill had been passed by the legislature, it was vetoed by Governor Lynch. It was actually vetoed by Governor Shaheen in 2004. Thanks to Rep. Sylvia Gale for the correction.
Last Week, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB1125 would repeal the crime of adultery. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote. The bill now goes to Governor Hassan.
HB1170 would repeal the death penalty. Rep. Levesque is a cosponsor. The Senate defeated the bill 12-12. Senator Gilmour voted in favor of the bill.
HB1224 would require annual inspections of pipelines. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote. The bill now goes to Governor Hassan.
HB562 would limit title loans (short term loans secured by a car title). Currently, title loan companies can charge up to 25% interest per MONTH. This bill would allow 25% interest the first month, then cap the interest at 3% per month for each additional month. The Senate voted to study the bill 15-9, effectively defeating it. Senator Gilmour voted in favor of the bill by voting against the motion to send it to study.
This week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
HB1548 would eliminate the sentencing differences between crack cocaine and other forms of cocaine. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends sending the bill to study, effectively defeating it, 4-1.
HB1567 would prohibit government entities from using electronic tracking device information on an individual without a warrant. It would also prohibit individuals from placing a tracking device on someone else’s car without permission. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be sent to study, effectively defeating it. The bill is on the consent calendar.
HB1620 would restrict the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be sent to study, effectively defeating it. The bill is on the consent calendar.
HB1533 would require a search warrant for a search of information on a portable electronic device. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be passed 4-0.
HB1619 would create a new chapter of law called “Expectation of Privacy” and would prohibit governmental entities from collecting 3rd party information (from phone companies, social media, etc) except by warrant or for emergencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the provisions restricting government access be removed, leaving the bill with only making a general statement that individuals expect to have privacy with regards to 3rd party information.
This week, the House will vote on the following bills:
Roads and Bridges
SB367 would adjust the road toll according to changes in the Consumer Price Index and use the additional funds for highway and bridge repairs. The road toll has not seen a permanence increase in over 20 years. The bill is supported by the Business and Industry Association and the Nashua and Manchester Chambers of Commerce. A joint committee made of the House Public Works and Highways Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee recommend that the bill be passed 26-11.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Judiciary Committee (LOB room 208)
SB319 would assure access to reproductive health care facilities by creating a buffer zone to prohibit protesters from preventing patients from accessing the facilities. Monday 10:30.
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 Journal 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 Journal 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
Brookline and Mason
Rep. Melanie Levesque (D) P:(603)249-3367 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brookline and Mason