NH Legislature This Week—May 5, 2014
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Weeks
“Men, by and large, make more because of some of the things they do. Their jobs are, by and large, riskier. They don’t mind working nights and weekends. They don’t mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements…Men are more motivated by money than women are.” Rep. Will Infantine (R-Manchester) in a speech opposing SB207, which seeks to insure paycheck equality between men and women.
We are back!
Sorry that we were not able to send out an update last week, but our writer had work and other commitments, so there wasn’t enough time left to write the update. We are covering the last two weeks with this update.
Hopefully, there won’t be a new sheriff in town
Jerry DeLemus is a founder of Rochester’s 9/12 Project (inspired by Glenn Beck). He recently went to Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada to support the cattle rancher who refused to pay grazing fees for grazing his cattle on federally owned lands. Bundy says that he is refusing to pay the grazing fees because “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”
There was a confrontation between about 400 militia members (including DeLemus) and about 30 police officers. While Bundy was a celebrity among conservative pundits for a while, his comments that African Americans were “better off as slaves” lost him a lot of support. DeLemus, however, defended Bundy and said “There’s not a racist bone in his body” and that welfare has “decimated the black family.”
On his way back to New Hampshire, DeLemus stopped to meet with one of the militia groups that had almost had a violent confrontation with the other militias. The leader of this group, the Oath Keepers, said that “we knew the situation was this close from being a gun fight, right there inside the camp” after another Granite State militia member assaulted one of the Oath Keepers.
So why are we, with a focus on state politics, so interested in Jerry DeLemus? Multiple sources (including his wife, a former State Representative) say that is planning to run for Strafford County Sheriff.
Gambling on Casinos
Casinos came the closest that they have ever come to being allowed in New Hampshire when the House defeated a casino bill by a single vote last week. Expanded gambling has strong support in the Senate and Governor Hassan has generally supported allowing a casino. With the House vote being that close, the legislators are expected to make a motion to reconsider the vote this week. The bill has seen increased support in the House since the courts have indicated that the tax on hospitals is likely unconstitutional.
Thank you, miscellanyblue
A special Thank you to William Tucker and your web site miscellanyblue.com, which a never ending source of great quotes and stories that we often draw from.
In the last couple of weeks, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB1548 would eliminate the sentencing differences between crack cocaine and other forms of cocaine. The Senate sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it, on a voice vote.
HB533 would require high school students to complete four mathematics courses to graduate, effectively requiring a math class each year. The Senate passed the bill 19-4. Senator Gilmour voted in favor of the bill. We did not report on this bill when it was in the House, but it passed 209-125. Rep. Flanagan, Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger and Daniels voted against the bill.
HB1622 would allow patients and caregivers to grow their own medical marijuana. The Senate voted to send the bill to study, effectively defeating it. Senator Gilmour voted to send the bill to study.
NH Public Television
HB1251 would allow the university system and other state agencies to provide funding for NH Public Television. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote.
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 sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it, on a voice vote.
HB1620 would restrict the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The Senate sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it, on a voice vote.
HB1533 would require a search warrant for a search of information on a portable electronic device. The Senate modified the bill and passed it, sending it back to the House for concurrence or negotiation. The changes and the vote on final passage were both voice votes.
The Senate version specifies that county governments are also included in the prohibition; that a search warrant is needed to search a portable electronic device “for inventory purposes”; and that the device shall be returned to it’s owner “as expeditiously as possible”. The Senate version also removes a provision that says that a government official that violates the law would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor (max sentence is a year in prison), but leaving in place a provision allowing an injured party to file a civil suit against the government agency.
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 tabled the bill. This allows the bill to be brought back later, but if it isn’t brought back then the bill will be defeated.
HB1279 would prohibit state agencies from complying with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes the federal government to detain citizens indefinitely or to transfer them to foreign prisons. The Senate defeated the bill on a voice vote.
This week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
HB1229 would establish a state minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. This bill would set NH’s minimum at $8.25 on January 1, 2015 and $9.00 on January 1, 2016. The minimum wage would then be raised each September according the Consumer Price Index. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-2.
In the last couple of weeks, the House voted on the following bills:
CACR17 is a Constitutional Amendment that would add “sexual orientation” to the list of categories for which discrimination is prohibited by the Constitution. NH already has strong anti-discrimination laws that were passed in the 1990s. This bill was passed unanimously by the Senate, but gay rights advocates lobbied AGAINST the bill in the House because it does not include “gender identity or expression”, which would provide protections for transgendered people. The House sent the bill to study, effectively defeating it, on a vote of 234-94.
SB318 establishes a new domestic violence law. The bill does not change the laws, but regroups certain existing laws under a category of domestic violence. NH is one of only a handful of states that does not currently have a specific domestic violence law. The House passed the bill 325-3. Rep. Belanger, Daniels, Flanagan and Gargasz voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Levesque was not able to attend that day.
SB366 would create 2 casinos with 5,000 slot machines. Some of the revenues would go directly to all towns in the state. This bill had passed the Senate 15-9 (Senator Gilmour voted in favor). The bill was defeated 173-172, however the House can still decide to reconsider the vote and this is expected to happen this week. Rep. Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Gargasz voted against the bill. Rep. Levesque was not able to attend that day.
SB244 was originally written to require that people found to have significant mental health issues be required to be listed in the national background check for gun ownership. The Senate changed this bill to instead make it easier for people to have their name removed from the background check list—the exact opposite of the intent of the bill. The House defeated the Senate-passed version on a voice vote.
SB253 would allow a court to terminate parental rights to a father if the child was conceived through rape. The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate and was passed on a voice vote in the House.
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 permanent increase in over 20 years. The bill is supported by the Business and Industry Association and the Nashua and Manchester Chambers of Commerce. The House passed the bill 193-141. Rep. Gargasz and Levesque voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger, Daniels and Flanagan voted against the bill.
This week, the House will vote on the following bills:
SB366 would create 2 casinos with 5,000 slot machines. Some of the revenues would go directly to all towns in the state. The bill was defeated in the House last week 173-172, however the House is expected to reconsider the vote this week.
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Judiciary Committee (Statehouse room 100)
HB312 would prohibit state agencies, counties and towns from collecting biometric data. 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 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:
- 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 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