NH Legislature This Week—February 2, 2015
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“What happens if, for example, we cross a human being and a pig? And we create something called a chimera? Or we cross that human being with a cow, or a rat? Is the result of that crossing – a person who’s subject to protection under our laws? If not, how do we say that it’s not when we have no definition of what a person actually is?” Rep. Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford) on HB194, which declares that “human life is deemed to exist at conception.”
“This would allow kids, 13, 14 years old, to carry guns concealed because there is no minimum age in New Hampshire” Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury on SB116, which would eliminate the license requirement for concealed guns.
House Meets this week to start voting on legislation
The House will have it’s first full session of the year on Wednesday, starting at 10:00 to start voting on bills coming out of committee. The Senate is not scheduled to meet this week.
The House will be voting on HB106, sponsored by Rep. Jack Flanagan, would exempt inheritances and gifts from divorce proceedings. The House Judiciary Committee, however, disagreed with the bill and has recommended unanimously that it be defeated (Inexpedient To Legislate). The bill is on the consent calendar for Wednesday. The Committee notes that current law gives the courts the ability to decide how to divide property on a case-by-case basis.
The House will also look at HB102, sponsored by Rep. Jim Belanger and cosponsored by Rep. Jack Flanagan, would prohibit towns with less than 10,000 population (such as Brookline, Hollis and Mason) from being able to “pass over” warrant articles at town meetings and school district meetings. Towns with population over 10,000 are currently prohibited from passing over warrant articles. The House Municipal and County Government Committee, which Rep. Belanger is the Chair of, recommended unanimously that the bill be passed. The bill is on the consent calendar.
Additionally, this week’s House Calendar notes five “Redress of Grievances” that have been filed. In all five cases, the sponsoring Representatives are asking the legislature to “review” specific divorce and child custody proceedings that have been settled in the courts. Four of the grievances were filed by Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont).
The other was filed by Rep. Robert Luther (R-Laconia) and requests “disciplinary action against a certain judge … review of judicial salaries … and reimbursement of financial damages” among other things. This is the third year in which Rep. Luther introduced the same grievance.
While the grievances were listed in the House Calendar, it is not clear what, if anything, will happen to them.
HB572 would give property owners the option of selling their property to Kinder Morgan if Kinder Morgan is successful in taking part of their property under eminent domain laws to build a natural gas pipeline in southern New Hampshire. The bill would also require Kinder Morgan to pay moving expenses, including up to 6 months of rent. Additionally, Kinder Morgan would be required to pay the land use change tax for any land that is in current use. Hearing is Tuesday at 11:00 in room 301.
Rep. O’Brien considers himself to be the NH House Republican Leader
Last week, at a rally in Iowa, Rep. Bill O’Brien referred to himself as “the present New Hampshire Republican House Leader”. The House Majority Leader is the leader of the majority party and that post is currently occupied by Rep. Jack Flanagan.
This continues to show a significant split in the House Republicans over control of the leadership.
Rep. Dan Itse REALLY wants a state military
Once again, Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont) has introduced a bill to create a state military. This time it is called a “state guard” and would be an all-volunteer force. Previously, Rep. Itse has proposed that the Governor be able to draft almost all adult citizens into the new para-military force. Gone from the current bill are also references to defending the state from invasion and defending the state from “overreach” of the federal government.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing this week and is cosponsored by Rep. J. R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton), Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) and Rep. Joseph Hagan (R-Chester).
Rep. Bickford wants to defund domestic violence programs
Rep. David Bickford (R-New Durham) had introduced a bill (HB654) to defund about $300,000 from domestic violence programs. Currently, $38 from each marriage license issued goes to domestic violence programs. This bill would instead put that money in the general fund. The House Finance Committee is holding a public hearing on the bill on Monday, although that may be rescheduled due to the expected snow strom.
Next week, the House will vote on the following bills:
HB106 would exempt gifts and inheritance from divorce proceedings. Rep. Jack Flanagan is the primary sponsor. The House Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee (LOB room 302)
HB686 would create a single payer health care system in which every citizen of New Hampshire would have health insurance which would be paid for by the state. Tuesday 11:00.
House Election Law Committee (LOB room 308)
CACR11 is a Constitutional Amendment that will allow the legislature to extend absentee voting to all voters. Currently, the Constitution restricts absentee voting only to people who will not be in their home town on election day or people with disabilities. Tuesday 10:00.
CACR12 is a Constitutional Amendment that would require all candidates for public office to reside in that district for at least the same amount of time as the term of the office being sought. Tuesday 10:20.
HB627 would eliminate the ability to register to vote on election day. Thursday 10:30.
House Finance Committee (LOB room 210)
HB654 would defund domestic violence programs. Monday 11:15.
House Municipal and County Government Committee (LOB room 301) Rep. Belanger is Chair
HB572 would giver property owners the option of selling their property to Kinder Morgan if Kinder Morgan is successful in taking part of their property under eminent domain laws. The bill would also require Kinder Morgan to pay moving expenses, including up to 6 months of rent. Rep. Belanger is the sponsor. Tuesday 1:00.
House State Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee (LOB room 303)
HB433 would create a State Guard, a para-military force controlled by the Governor. This state military force would be all volunteer, but a different version of this bill submitted in previous years allowed the state to draft almost all adults. The Governor currently has the ability to create a temporary militia in emergencies if the New Hampshire national guard is in active service to the United States government. Thursday 11:00
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Education Committee (LOB room 103) Sen. Avard is a member.
SB81 would restrict the powers of the state Board of Education to just the Department of Education, removing any authority over local schools. One of the provisions removes the BOE’s responsibility “to secure the efficient administration of the public schools”. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor. Thursday 9:00.
SB82 would restrict the commissioner of the Department of Education from having any authority over the local schools. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor. Thursday 9:20.
CACR3 is a Constitutional Amendment that would give the legislature the sole power to determine how much, or if, it funds public education. The legislature would also be given the power to set education standards. Sen. Avard and Rep. Flanagan are cosponsors. Thursday 9:40.
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 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