NH Legislature This Week—February 9, 2015
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“The majority felt that there was no need to celebrate various Federal Acts in the state legislature. Although this act made changes in the dispensing of medical care it wasn’t to be recognized by this resolution.” Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), writing the majority committee report opposing HR8, a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Social Security Act of 1965.
“The bill assumes from its beginning that the Supreme Court has made several ‘wrong’ decisions with respect to campaign finance…the majority of the committee believes the inferences supposed in this bill are without merit to begin with.” Rep. Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), writing the majority committee report opposing HB371, which would create a committee to assess the consequences of the Citizens United decision.
Governor Hassan will deliver her Budget on Thursday
There will be a joint meeting of the legislature on Thursday at 1:00 to hear Governor Hassan present her budget.
The budget always begins with a proposal from the Governor. The House will then make what changes it wants. When the Governor is of a different political party than the majority in the House, then the changes can be very significant. We can expect that to happen this time as well.
The House passed version will then go over to the Senate, who will likely make their own changes. If the House and Senate are not in agreement, then the budget will go to a committee of conference in which both sides will negotiate a compromise that will finally be sent back to both bodies for a final vote.
Once the legislature has reached an agreement, the budget goes to Governor Hassan who can either sign the budget or veto it.
The event will most likely be streamed on the legislature’s web site. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/media/default.htm
No State Poem
Previously, we reported that the legislature was considering a bill to make “My Homeland Sea” by Richard Hartnett the official state poem. However, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee reports that “we also plainly saw several problems which rendered it unsuitable as the state poem.” They have unanimously recommended that the bill be defeated. It is now on the consent calendar for Wednesday.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
HB106 would exempt gifts and inheritance from divorce proceedings. Rep. Jack Flanagan is the primary sponsor. The House defeated the bill on a voice vote.
Next week, the House will vote on the following bills:
HB338 would require that only the NH House and NH Senate could place names of candidates for U.S. Senate on the primary ballot. The House Legislative Administration Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 9-0. The bill is on the consent calendar.
HB168 would prohibit a couple from divorcing based on irreconcilable differences if they have children under 18 years of age. The House Children and Family Law Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 13-4.
Next week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
SB81 would restrict the powers of the state Board of Education to just the Department of Education, removing any authority over local schools. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor. The Senate Education Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-1.
SB82 would restrict the commissioner of the Department of Education from having any authority over the local schools. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor. The Senate Education Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-1.
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. The Senate Education Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-1.
SB116 would repeal the license requirement for carrying a concealed gun. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be passed 3-1.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Criminal Justice Committee (LOB room 204)
HB605 would eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences. Tuesday 10:00
House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee (Representative’s Hall)
HB392 would create a state minimum wage, which would be $8.25 in 2016, $9.00 in 2017, and $10.00 in 2018. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually based on the cost of living. The current, federal minimum wage is $7.25. Tuesday 1:00
HB163 would create a state minimum wage, which would be $16.00. Tuesday 1:00
HB684 would create a state minimum wage, which would be $9.10 in 2016, $11.40 in 2017, and $14.25 in 2018. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually based on the cost of living. The current, federal minimum wage is $7.25. Tuesday 1:00
HB370 would allow towns and counties to establish local minimum wage rates. Tuesday 1:00
House Municipal and County Government Committee (LOB room 301) Rep. Belanger is Chair. Rep. Ammon is a member.
HB227 would require a vote of the town before public lands could be taken by eminent domain. Rep. Belanger is the primary sponsor. Rep. Gargasz is a cosponsor. Thursday 9:15
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Education Committee (LOB room 103) Sen. Avard is a member.
SB157 would require that high school students pass the same test given to immigrants as a condition for graduating from high school. Sen. Avard is a sponsor. Tuesday 9:00
SB204 would repeal the controversial tax credit established by the O’Brien legislature which allows businesses to fund private and religious schools using tax dollars. Tuesday 10:00
Senate Judiciary Committee (Statehouse room 100)
SB218 would make “spoofing” an unfair and deceptive act under the consumer protection law. Spoofing refers to transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller identification information. Tuesday 11:15.
Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee (LOB room 102)
SB027 would eliminate the requirement that voters who do not present valid identification be photographed. Eliminating this provision would save the state over $100,000 for the costs of cameras and training. Wednesday 9:45
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