NH Legislature This Week—March 24, 2014
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“I think when they’re born, and we know this when they’re born, they’re issued a Social Security number. There’s a lien put on that future generations out there. When they come out, they owe that money based on that lien. When they die, that Social Security number, that corporation is dissolved. So we have a corporation that’s started and dissolved, from the time they’re born to the exact time they die…So all I’m asking for is just give the baby, the fetus, that nine month free time zone to survive. Because I’ll tell you, if you ever put a Social Security number on a fetus when you first realize that it was a viable life, I guarantee the state would not stand to lose that asset at that point…When the corporation is formed until the time it dies, we are an asset to our government. Believe it folks, we are. We think we’re living. We think we’re the asset. No, the number is the asset. Take your Social Security number away and you’ll find out how much of an asset you are to your government.” Rep. John Hikel (R-Goffstown) speaking in favor of HB1503, which increases the penalties for certain crimes that result in the death of a fetus. His full speech can be read (although not necessarily understood) at http://miscellanyblue.com/post/80283199252
Thursday is Crossover
The end of this week is the date that the legislature refers to as “Crossover”. By that date, each chamber of the legislature will have voted on all of their own bills, either defeating them or sending them to the other chamber. After that date, the House will be dealing only with Senate bills that passed the Senate. The Senate will be dealing only with House bills that have passed the House.
Important Town Dates—Brookline and Hollis
Wednesday, March 26th is the 3rd Coop School District meeting, at 7PM at the High School. We will be re-voting on the bond and there are also some other articles that we haven’t addressed yet.
The Sugar Bowl Saga
Last week, we mentioned in passing a bill to repeal a state law requiring the use of sugar packets in restaurants rather than using open sugar bowls. While there was no official debate on the bill, the House did do a roll call vote which generated some amusing quotes.
“This is a stupid, unimportant bill that repeals a stupid, obsolete and unenforced requirement that shouldn’t still be on the books…we have the opportunity to repeal this unenforced and silly requirement…” Rep. Carol McGuire (R-Epsom).
“This is against Dept. of Health regulations… and I don’t want to be taking sugar out of a bowl after the 2 year old has stuck it back into the bowl after licking the spoon… and as a restaurant owner, I know that the health inspector …see that we are serving sugar from open bowls would clearly dock me for that.” Rep. Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location).
If anyone is interested, Rep. Belanger and Daniels voted to repeal the sugar packet requirement, while Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted to keep the requirement. Rep. Flanagan did not cast a vote on this one.
So what is the legislature doing that we are not reporting on?
As we have said before, we only report on a small fraction of the bills that the legislature deals with each week. We pick a few bills that we believe will have general interest to Hollis, Brookline and Mason residents.
To give a better sense of what is going on, this week the House will vote on 79 bills. The Senate is scheduled to take up 54 bills this week.
As a random sampling, here are the first bill from each committee that the Senate will take up from the regular (non-consent) calendar.
SB237, relative to local land use board hearing notice to condominium owners
SB267, extending the effective date for integrated land development permits
SB391, relative to the juvenile justice advisory board and relative to the policies and procedures of the youth development center
SB204, relative to a fund for certain medical conditions covered by workers’ compensation and establishing a commission to study soft tissue injuries under workers’ compensation
SB250, relative to ambulatory surgical facilities
SB244, requiring the names of certain persons to be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Index
SB228, relative to notice of changes to zoning and historic districts
SB307, establishing a committee to review Citizens United amendments to the United States Constitution
Here are the first bill from each committee that the House will take up from the regular (non-consent) calendar.
HB1372, making an appropriation for the ongoing training and education of pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners
HB1615, relative to emergency prescriptions
HB1504, providing that life begins at conception
HB1228, establishing a commission to investigate the procedure for public employee collective bargaining
HB1167, relative to exemptions from boiler inspection requirements
HB366, relative to showing a ballot
HB1239, relative to the implementation of new educational standards
HB1189, relative to temporary worker rights
HB2014, relative to the state 10-year transportation improvement program
HB492, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana
The list of bills to be voted on is published each week in the Senate Calendar and House Calendar.
In addition, the House Calendar includes the arguments made in favor of and opposed to each bill. Here is the entry for one bill, as a sample:
HB 1239-FN-L, relative to the implementation of new educational standards. MAJORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. MINORITY: OUGHT TO PASS.
Rep. Rick M Ladd for the Majority of Education. For the past seven years the New Hampshire department of education (DOE) has been creating and implementing upgraded educational standards. School districts have been actively transforming their curriculum to these new standards for the past four years. The cost for this transformation has been incorporated into the budgets of school districts as a normal cost of doing business. The majority of the committee was not convinced that there was a need for the cost study as demanded in the legislation. Further, this proposal would bring a halt to the progress being made in transforming schools to meet the 21st century skills needed by our students. Vote 13-6.
Rep. Glenn Cordelli for the Minority of Education. The minority believes that this bill is about open and transparent government. It addresses the ongoing conversations about the cost of the implementation of common core by requiring the BOE, DOE and local district to do an analysis of the costs for implementation.
It also requires that for any NEW standards the BOE and DOE to do a fiscal analysis of costs and an evaluation of proposed standards. In addition, public hearings will be required in each executive council district. We believe that it is better to have these discussions prior to standard adoption rather than later. There was
also a misconception in the committee that this would block common core implementation, but it does not.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
HB1501 would impose extensive licensing requirements on abortion providers. The licensing would make it practically impossible to provide abortion services outside of a major hospital. The House defeated the bill 211-86. Rep. Belanger and Daniels voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Flanagan, Gargasz and Levesque voted against the bill.
HB1503, as amended by the House, would increase the penalties for murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide if the death results in a miscarriage or stillbirth. The original bill would have created a separate charge for death of the fetus and would have included causing or aiding suicide. Rep. Belanger and Daniels supported the original bill, while Rep. Flanagan, Gargasz and Levesque supported the amended version. The amendment passed 176-116. The amended version of the bill was passed 243-42. Rep. Belanger, Flanagan, Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of final passage. Rep. Daniels voted against final passage.
Next week, the House will vote on the following bills:
HB1508 would terminate state participation in Common Core education standards. The House Education Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 13-6.
HB492 would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The House Ways and Means Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 14-5. The bill had been passed by the House earlier on a vote of 170-162, but it was sent to the Ways and Means Committee for a second review because of the fiscal impact.
SB413 would expand Medicaid coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters under the federal Affordable Care Act. The House Finance Committee recommends that the bill be passed 15-10. The bill has already been passed by the Senate.
Next week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
SB307 would establish a committee to review potential amendments to the United States Constitution to address the issues raised by the Citizens United decision. The Senate Rules, Enrolled Bills and Internal Affairs Committee recommends that the bill be passed 4-0.
SB244 would require that people who have been adjudicated as not mentally competent should be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be passed 3-2.
SB 367 would increase the gas tax to provide extra funding for highways and bridge repair, and for widening I-93.
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Judiciary Committee (Statehouse room 100)
HB1125 would repeal the crime of adultery. Tuesday 9:00.
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 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 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
Brookline and Mason
Rep. Melanie Levesque (D) P:(603)249-3367 email@example.com
Brookline and Mason