NH Legislature This Week—April 20, 2015
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“I’ve been watching over the last several months … what’s been going on with the state budget process, and quite frankly, I think it’s appalling and embarrassing. I have no problem saying that publicly or privately.” Congressman Frank Guinta, speaking to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Now comes along our Republican U.S. Representative who, it appears, wants it understood that he is no fiscal conservative. And that’s not just when he is voting to extend debt ceilings. I sure would like to have some conservatives representing me in Washington.” State Rep. Bill O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) in response to the above quote from Congressman Frank Guinta.
Hollis Dems to discuss healthcare and Medicaid Expansion
Peggy Gilmour will be speaking on regulations and the proposed state budget at this month’s Hollis Democrats meeting. The meeting is Tuesday, April 28th at 7pm at the Lawrence Barn. Pizza and beverages will be available starting at 6:30. Donations gladly accepted.
Brookline Dems next meeting: Tuesday, April 21st at 7PM at the Fire Station
No sessions this week
Neither the House nor the Senate will be meeting this week. Committees are continuing to meet to hold public hearings, but they are mostly meeting to work on the remaining bills. The two chambers have given themselves until June 4th to vote on all bills that were passed by the other chamber.
When the House or Senate decides to make changes to a bill that has already been passed by the other chamber, the bill is sent back to the first chamber to see if they will accept the changes. If they do not, then a committee of conference is set up with equal representation between the House and the Senate. This committee will come up with a compromise that they hope both chambers will accept. The compromise version will then go back to both chambers for a final vote. If either chamber rejects the bill, then it dies. Once a committee of conference has come up with compromise language, the bill can not be changed again. The House and Senate will vote on the compromise language only.
The House and Senate have until June 25th to vote on bills that were sent to a committee of conference.
Foreign Affairs up for consideration in the House
For the most part, the House is spending this week making final committee recommendations on the remaining bills, but there are few public hearings still going on. Two deal with foreign affairs.
On Thursday, the House State Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee will hold hearings on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 2.
SCR1 is a resolution recognizing the contribution of Bhutanese refugees to New Hampshire and urging Congress to work toward resolving the refugee crisis in Bhutan. Situated in the Himalayas between China and India, in the 1990’s, Bhutan expelled most of it’s minority ethnic Lhotshampa population – one fifth of the country’s population.
SCR2 is a resolution urging Congress to discontinue foreign aid to Argentina until the government there pays debts owed to The Riverstone Group, a New Hampshire company.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
SB101 would prohibit the state from requiring schools to implement the Common Core standards. The state does not currently require schools to implement Common Core. The House passed the bill 202-138. Rep. Ammon, Adams, Belanger and Flanagan voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Gargasz did not vote on the bill.
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 Mason Grapevine
Residents of Mason can submit letters to the Mason Grapevine at TheMasonGrapevine@yahoo.com
Hollis, Brookline, Mason Reps:
Sen. Kevin Avard (R) (603) 271-4151 Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us
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. Keith Ammon (R) P: (603)296-9879 Keith.Ammon@leg.state.nh.us
Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston
Rep. Jack Flanagan (R) P: (603)672-7175 Jack.email@example.com
Brookline and Mason
Rep. Chris Adams (R) P: (603) 673-3212 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brookline and Mason