NH Legislature This Week—January 27, 2014
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“Medicaid expansion does not include assets, I don’t know if you heard me say that before. So, let’s say somebody had their money in stocks or whatever and they made lots of money. They have lots of money. They’re living off their money. But they currently don’t have an income. Well, they qualify for Medicaid. They can get their picture taken with a glass of champagne next to their yacht and say, ‘Thank you New Hampshire taxpayers, I have free Medicaid.’” Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack).
Pasta for the People
Mark your calendar now! March 29th is the Brookline Democrats’ Spaghetti Supper at the Brookline Community Church. This will be our 3rd annual event. It’s a great chance to have a relaxing evening with friends and neighbors. See you there!
Death Penalty Repeal Forum Feb 10th
On Feb 10th, there will be a forum on the repeal of the Death Penalty at the Brookline Community Church. The forum begins at 7:00.
Monday, Jan 27th is an educational opportunity regarding Tar Sands Oil
An award winning photographer with National Geographic and first-hand accounts of First Nations will be presented in Concord for “Tar Sands Exposed: Exploring the Human Environmental Costs.” The topic covers mining in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. The oil from the project could pass through a pipeline across northern New Hampshire.
The event begins at 7 PM in the Lindsay Center, Room 131 at St. Paul’s School located at 325 Pleasant Street in Concord. A second event will be held on Tuesday, Jan 28th at 7 PM in the UNH Memorial Union Building at 83 Main Street in Durham.
Rep. Marilinda Garcia starts off on the wrong foot
This week, Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-Salem) formally announced that she would be running for Congress against Congresswoman Ann Kuster. In making the announcement, her campaign sent out a press release listing the names of 68 state legislators who “stood with Marilinda today as she launched her campaign.” The only problem was that some of these legislators have not actually endorsed her campaign and several are actually supporting GOP primary rival Gary Lambert (former Republican state rep. for Nashua). The list was actually a list of legislators who just attended her press conference.
One of the names in the press release was Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), who is endorsing Gary Lambert.
Last Week, the House voted on the following bills:
HB660 would require that genetically engineered foods be labeled as such. The House defeated the bill 185-162. Rep. Belanger, Flanagan, and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Daniels and Gargasz voted against the bill.
On Wednesday, the House is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
Note: the House may not be able to get to all of the bills on the calendar. Some of the bills may be postponed until the next week.
HB286 would allow towns with limited or no broadband internet access to purchase bonds to build such infrastructure. The towns would not provide the services, but could lease the infrastructure to the lowest bidding provider. The telecom industry has indicated that they have been reluctant to provide broadband in more rural areas because of the difficulty in recuperating the costs of building infrastructure. The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommends that the bill be passed 13-5.
On Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
SB217 would make it illegal to have collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the bill be passed 4-2.
HB153 would legalize the growth of industrial hemp. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be passed 4-1. The bill was already passed by the House last year.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Children and Family Law Committee (LOB room 206) Rep. Gargasz is a member of this committee.
HB1341 would prohibit divorce based on irreconcilable differences when there are minor children. Under the proposed change, parents would only be allowed to divorce if there was impotency, adultery, extreme cruelty, conviction of a crime punishable by at least a year in jail, treatment of the other so as to “injure health or endanger reason”, be absent for 2 years “and has not been heard of”, be a “habitual drunkard” for at least 2 years, join a religious sect that does not believe in marriage and refuse to cohabit for 6 months, or to refuse to cohabit for 2 years. Tuesday 11:15
House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee (LOB room 304)
HB1361 would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using drones to collect evidence. Thursday 10:00.
HB1620 is a lengthy and complex bill that would limit the use of drones by government agencies and individuals. Thursday 10:45.
HB1619 would generally prohibit state and federal agencies from collecting information about individuals from utility companies, banks, internet service providers, social media providers, financial companies, insurance companies and credit card companies except in certain situations (such as a valid warrant). Thursday 11:30.
HB1533 would require government agencies to get a warrant before searching portable electronic devices. Thursday 2:45
HB1567 would require government agencies to get a warrant before obtaining location information from an electronic device. Thursday 3:30.
House Education Committee (LOB room 207)
HB1388 would require public schools to give more leeway to students expressing religious viewpoints. In particular, the bill would require schools to allow a student or faculty member to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (including the phrase “on nation under God”) over the PA system. The bill would also require schools to have a “limited public forum” for students at all school events in which students may speak publicly, such as graduation ceremonies. The bill is not clear if sporting events would be included.
House Environment and Agriculture Committee (LOB room 303)
HB1221 would declare that fruit and vegetables in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 10:00.
HB1270 would declare that meat and meat products in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 10:15.
HB1273 would declare that dairy products in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 10:30.
HB1582 would declare that poultry and poultry products in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 10:45.
HB1583 would declare that apian products (honey) in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 11:00.
HB1263 would declare that maple syrup in New Hampshire is exempt from all federal regulation. Tuesday 11:30.
HB1464 would declare that agricultural products in New Hampshire are exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act. Tuesday 1:30.
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Judiciary Committee (Statehouse Room 100)
SB319 would require a “buffer zone” around reproductive health care facilities to allow patients and staff access to the facility. Tuesday 9:55.
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