NH Legislature This Week—March 3, 2014

NH Legislature This Week—March 3, 2014

Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats

www.BrooklineDemocrats.org

 

Quote of the Week

 

“It should go away, but that’s a long-term goal, not a short-term goal.”  Rep. JR Hoel (R-Dunbarton) on eliminating the national background check for gun purchases.

 

 

 

Back from Vacation

 

The legislature will be back in session this week after taking last week off.  There are few hearings left in the House and both chambers are eyeing finishing up their bills before the end of the month.  After that, they will each be dealing with the bills that were passed by the other chamber.

 

On Tuesday, the legislators will be joined by the 4th graders from Captain Samuel Douglass Academy in Brookline, who will be touring the Statehouse.

 

 

Important Town Dates—Brookline

 

Monday, March 3rd is the Hollis/Brookline Coop School District meeting at 7PM at the High School in Hollis.  There are a lot of warrant articles that can have a major impact on the schools and the tax rates.  This is expected to be a large meeting, so make sure you don’t miss this one.

 

Wednesday, March 5th is the Brookline School District meeting at 7PM at Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.

 

Tuesday, March 11th is town and school elections.  Voting booths are open from 7AM to 7PM at Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.

 

Wednesday, March 12th is the Brookline Town Meeting, also at 7PM at the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.

 

 

Important Town Dates—Hollis

 

Monday, March 3rd is the Hollis/Brookline Coop School District meeting at 7PM at the High School in Hollis.  There are a lot of warrant articles that can have a major impact on the schools and the tax rates.  This is expected to be a large meeting, so make sure you don’t miss this one.

 

Tuesday, March 4th is the Hollis School District meeting at 7PM at the Middle School.

 

Tuesday, March 11th is town and school elections.  Voting booths are open from 7AM to 7PM at the Lawrence Barn.

 

Wednesday, March 12th is the Hollis Town Meeting, at 7PM at the High School.

 

 

Important Town Dates—Mason

 

 

Wednesday, March 5th there will be a Candidates Night at 7:30PM at Town Hall.

 

Tuesday, March 11th is town and school elections.  Voting booths are open from 11`AM to 7PM at the Town Hall.

 

Saturday, March 15th is the Mason Town Meeting, at 9AM at the Elementary School.

 

 

 

Next week, the House will vote on the following bills:

 

 

Agriculture

 

HB1221 would declare NH fruit and vegetables exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 17-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1263 would declare NH maple syrup exempt from federal regulation.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 18-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1270 would declare NH meat and meat products exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 18-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1273 would declare NH dairy products exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 18-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1273 would declare NH agricultural products exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be studied 13-0.  This would effectively defeat the bill.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1582 would declare NH poultry and poultry products exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 18-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

HB1582 would declare NH apian products (such as honey) exempt from the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 18-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.

 

 

Assisted Suicide

 

HB1325 would allow a doctor to prescribe a lethal medication to a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a prognosis of six months to live or less by two corroborating physicians.   The patient would decide whether or when to take the medication.  The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 9-8.

 

 

Crime

 

HB1435 would require that the location, time and duration of any police (sobriety) checkpoint be made public a week beforehand.  The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be passed 11-8.

 

HB1533 would prohibit government entities (such as police) from searching “portable electronic devices” such as cell phones, without a search warrant.  The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be passed 12-1.

 

HB1548 would eliminate separate penalties for crack cocaine.  The penalties would become the same for possession of other forms of cocaine.  The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be passed 13-2.

 

HB1550 would allow audio and video recording of any public official (such as police) while in the course of his or her official duties.  The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommends that the bill be passed 10-6.

 

 

Education

 

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 “one 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 House Education Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 19-0.  The bill is on the consent calendar.  The committee states “student’s rights … are already well-protected by existing law.  This bill could likely result in religious coercion of students who are subjected to the ‘limited public forum’ condition of this bill.  It could also result in costly litigation for school districts.”

 

 

Environment

 

HB1608 would prohibit hydraulic fracturing (AKA, “fracking”) for natural gas or oil.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee recommends that the bill be defeated  17-1.

 

 

Health

 

HB1622 would allow patients and caregivers who are authorized to purchase medical marijuana to also cultivate their own medical marijuana.  The committee recommends that the bill be expanded to allow for medical marijuana for the treatment of epilepsy, lupus, Parkinson’s disease and dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease as well as Crohn’s disease.   The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommends that the bill be passed 13-3.

 

 

Reproductive Health

 

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 Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 17-0.

 

 

Town Government

 

HB1573 would disband all regional planning commissions.  The House Municipal and County Government Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 15-0.

 

 

 

 

Next week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:

 

 

Medicaid

 

SB413 would expand Medicaid coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters under the federal Affordable Care Act.  The Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee recommends that the bill be passed 4-1.  It is widely reported that the bill has enough support to pass the Senate.  Senator Gilmour is a sponsor of this bill.

 

 

 

Senate Hearings for this coming week:

 

 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (LOB room 101)

 

SB281 relative to the siting of wind turbines.  Wednesday 9:15.

 

 

Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee (LOB room 103)  Senator Gilmour is a member of this committee.

 

SB380 would require healthcare insurance companies that participate in the healthcare exchange to include access to a hospital in each county.  Tuesday 10:55.

 

 

Senate Rules, Enrolled Bills and Internal Affairs Committee (Statehouse room 100)

 

SB314 would establish an independent legislative redistricting commission.  Tuesday 1:00.

 

CACR17 is a constitutional amendment that would add “sexual orientation” to the list of categories where discrimination is prohibited.  Tuesday 1:15.

 

 

Senate Ways and Means Committee (Statehouse room 103)

 

SB369 would eliminate the Medicaid enhancement tax on special hospitals for rehabilitation.  Wednesday 9:15.

 

SB420 would reduce the tax rates for the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax.  Wednesday 9:30.

 

 

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 brooklinedemocrats@gmail.com.

 

Watch and listen to House and Senate sessions live

 

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/media/default.htm

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/Media/Session_Media.aspx

 

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:

 

Nashua Telegraph

letters@nashuatelegraph.com

 

Hollis Brookline Journal

cabnews@cabinet.com

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.

 

The Brookliner

thebrookliner@yahoo.com

Submission deadline is noon on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month.

 

The Hollis Times

hollistimes@tds.net

 

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   peggilmour@aol.com

Nashua Wards 1, 2, 5, Hollis, Brookline, Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge

 

Rep. Jim Belanger (R)   P: (603)465-2301   Jim.belanger@leg.state.nh.us

Hollis

 

Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R)   P: (603)465-7463   cgargasz@cs.com

Hollis

 

Rep. Gary Daniels (R)   P: (603)673-3065   gldaniels@myfairpoint.net

Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston

 

Rep. Jack Flanagan (R)   P: (603)672-7175   Jack.flanagan@leg.state.nh.us

Brookline and Mason

 

Rep. Melanie Levesque (D)  P:(603)249-3367   mlevesque1@charter.net

Brookline and Mason

 

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