NH Legislature This Week—May 19, 2014
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“This is the America that you all live in today, and it has to end. I’m telling you right now, it’s going to take—in my view—a little blood, it’s going to happen, this day is coming and you better be willing to pay for it.” Former NH Republican Party Chair Jack Kimball at the Operation American Spring rally in Washington, D.C. this week (he was the NH organizer). Organizers said that 10 million people would attend and that 1 million would stay to “bring down the existing leadership”, force the President and Congressional leaders to resign and create a “tribunal” to “recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees.” Kimball said that it was a “disgrace” that “only four or five hundred people showed up” at the rally, but another source says that “just over one hundred people were present.”
The End really is Near
…of the legislative session, that is. The House will not be meeting again until June 4th. The Senate will meet next week, but there is no legislation on the agenda. The meeting is likely a short one to create committees of conference to work out differences with the House on various bills.
Committees of Conference are being created for those bills which have been passed by both House and Senate, but have differences in language. These committees include members of both chambers. Once a compromise is reached, the final wording will be voted on by both the House and Senate and no further amendments will be allowed. If the House and Senate both pass the finalized bill, then it goes to Governor Hassan for signature or veto. If they do not agree, then the bill fails.
Because of this, we will not be publishing another newsletter until early June. That will likely be the last newsletter of the year as the legislature will adjourn.
Senator Gilmour and Representatives Belanger, Daniels and Gargasz to host town hall meeting in Hollis
Mark you calendar for May 31st from 10 to 11:30 AM. The elected representatives of Hollis will be holding a public meeting at Hollis Town Hall. This is a great opportunity to meet your legislators and talk to them about the issues that you care most about!
State Revenues down
Due mostly to a series of tax cuts that were enacted by the previous legislature, but didn’t take effect until now, the state government is seeing sharp decline in revenues, threatening to drive the budget into a deficit.
Governor Hassan is looking to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out of state travel to offset the decline in revenues.
April collections of business revenue taxes and interest and dividends taxes were $22 million below projections.
Governor Hassan said “The Department of Revenue Administration will need further data and further analysis to determine whether this is a short-term or a long-term trend…But given the limited information, we should act prudently, responsibly, and expeditiously to continue to ensure a balanced budget.”
The state will also need to deal with the loss of the Medicaid Enhancement Tax, which was ruled unconstitutional. The tax brings in $185 million annually. The 2-year budget for the state is $10.7 billion.
Last week, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB286 would make it easier for towns to issue bonds to bring broadband internet services to their citizens. The Senate sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it 14-10. The vote was not recorded.
HB1407 would prohibit employers from requiring employees to provide their social media login information. The Senate passed the bill with minor changes on a voice vote. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
SB202 is a bill making a minor change to the burglary laws, but the House added an amendment to repeal the death penalty. The amendment passed 218-117. The bill passed on a vote of 226-110. The bill now goes back to the Senate. The House had previously passed a death penalty repeal bill, but the Senate tabled it after it failed to pass on a 12-12 vote. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of the amendment and the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the amendment and against the bill.
SB319 would create a “buffer zone” up to 7.6 meters (25 feet) around reproductive health clinics to prevent protesters from preventing clients from accessing the clinic. The House passed the bill with minor changes 162-100. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger and Daniels voted against the bill. Rep. Flanagan did not vote on the bill or any amendments, but did vote on some of the procedural motions to limit debate.
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:
- The bill is assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
- The committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
- 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.
- 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.
- If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
- The bill is assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
- The Senate committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
- 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.
- 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.
- If passed by the Senate, the bill goes to the Governor who may sign the bill into law or veto it.
- If the Governor vetoes the bill, it goes back to the House
- If 2/3 of the House votes to override the veto then the bill goes back to the Senate
- 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:
- Assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
- The committee votes to recommend that the CACR be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
- 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.
- If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
- Assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
- The Senate committee votes to recommend that the bill be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
- 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.
- 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