NH Legislature This Week—January 26, 2015
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“I don’t know if ever there has been a situation where some guy is beating the living daylights out of his girlfriend or his wife and there are two people sitting there watching. It just doesn’t make any sense.” Sen. David Boutin (R-Hooksett) on HB207, which would require written statements from two witnesses before police could make an arrest for domestic violence.
“The laws enacted over the last 20-plus years have really helped keep people safe. This puts things right back into the ’60s and ’70s.” Enfield Police Chief Richard Crate, president of the NH Association of Chiefs of Police, speaking on the same bill.
Legislature focuses on committee work
The Senate will meet on Thursday to vote on several bills, but none of the ones that we are tracking. The House is not yet scheduled to meet as both chambers continue to focus on holding public hearings and doing committee work.
Politico names NH as Best State
Politico has come out with their second annual ranking of “Best State” based on data on education, health, wealth, crime and unemployment. New Hampshire tied with Minnesota for first place. Vermont was 3rd, Massachusetts 6th, Maine 8th, Connecticut 13th, and Rhode Island was 28th.
Last year, New Hampshire did not have to share it’s 1st place status with another state.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative hearing
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cooperative effort of most of the northeastern states to incentivize energy companies to reduce carbon emissions and to encourage renewable energy sources and conservation. The companies pay a tax on carbon emissions with the funds being used to support renewable energy and conservation efforts. The goal is to provide a more sustainable long term energy strategy and to reduce greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming.
All of the New England states, along with New York, Delaware and Maryland are members. New Hampshire joined in 2008.
Rep. Jack Flanagan, the House Majority Leader, spoke during the hearing in support of repealing RGGI and stated that the Republican majority in the House supports repeal.
William Fitzgerald, the environmental programs administrator at the Department of Environmental Services, said “New Hampshire is not an energy island. States outside of New Hampshire will continue to issue certificates which will be reflected in the wholesale cost of power. We would continue to pay into RGGI, but would not benefit from the revenues received.”
Governor Hassan has pledged to veto the bill if it is passed by the legislature.
Sen. Avard concerned about psychological services for children
Senator Avard is cosponsoring HB303, which would prohibit schools from providing psychological services to students unless they have written permission from their parents. Concerns have been raised that this could prevent children from having access to needed services when the psychological issues involve a difficult home life. The House Education Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday to look into this bill and it’s implications.
Last week we had a bill to create an official state poem. This week, hearings are being held on bills to make the mastodon the official state fossil and to make the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor.
Rep. Christiansen continues his crusade against the Department of Education
Rep. Lars Christiansen (R-Hudson) has introduced a House Address (HA1) calling on the Governor and Executive Council to remove the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Department of Education. The address specifies that the reason for their removal is “is that these individuals brought their respective offices and the judiciary into disrepute, exceeded their constitutional authority, abused their discretion, and perpetrated a fraud on the people of New Hampshire by implementing educational programs that fail to adhere to the principle of local control and thereby forced the increase of local taxes, thereby violating the provisions of the New Hampshire constitution, part I, article 6.”
Part 1, Article 6 of the NH Constitution states this:
[Art.] 6. [Morality and Piety.] As morality and piety, rightly grounded on high principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as t he knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society, therefore, the several parishes, bodies, corporate, or religious societies shall at all times have the right of electing their own teachers, and of contracting with them for their support or maintenance, or both. But no person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination. And every person, denomination or sect shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of a ny one sect, denomination or persuasion to another shall ever be established.
Rep. Christiansen has been a sponsor of many of the more interesting bills that have graced this publication over the years, including the bill “recognizing the original Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Certain legislators want to be able select our U.S. Senators
HB338 would require that only the NH House and NH Senate could place names of candidates for U.S. Senate on the primary ballot. Any candidate for the offices that were not approved by the legislature would be forced to run write in campaigns in the general election, a virtually impossible task.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Richard Marple (R-Hookset), Rep. Susan DeLemus (R-Rochester), Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom), Rep. Lars Christiansen (R-Hudson), and Rep. Max Abramson (R-Seabrook).
This is not the first time that some legislators have attempted to do this. In 2012, when Rep. O’Brien was the House Speaker, the same bill was introduced, which was almost unanimously rejected by the House Election Law Committee and the House voted it down in a voice vote.
Legislature seeks greater power over the schools
CACR3 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would declare that “the legislature shall have the full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability and to determine the amount of, and the methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education.”
The amendment is cosponsored by Sen. Avard and Rep. Flanagan and faces it’s first public hearing in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. All of the sponsors are Republicans, including 9 of the 14 Senate Republicans.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Children and Family Law Committee (LOB room 206) Rep. Gargasz is the Chair
HB168 would prohibit a couple from divorcing based on irreconcilable differences if they have children under 18 years of age. Tuesday 2:00.
House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee (LOB room 204)
HB240 would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using drones to collect evidence unless a court order was obtained or unless it was an emergency situation. Tuesday 1:45.
House Education Committee (LOB room 207)
HB303 would prohibit schools from providing psychological services to children without written permission from a parent. Sen. Avard is a cosponsor. Tuesday 3:00.
House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee (LOB room 205)
HB202 would prohibit family planning clinics from dispensing prescription drugs. Tuesday 11:00.
House Legislative Administration Committee (LOB room 104) Rep. Flanagan is the Vice Chair
HB338 would require that only the state legislature could select the Republican and Democratic nominees for U.S. Senate. Any other candidate would have to run a write in campaign in the general election. Thursday 10:45.
Senate Hearings for this coming week:
Senate Education Committee (LOB room 103) Sen. Avard is a member.
CACR3 is a constitutional amendment that would give the legislature the power to set educational standards for schools and to determine state funding. Tuesday 9:40. Sen. Avard and Rep. Flanagan are cosponsors.
Senate Judiciary Committee (Representatives Hall)
SB116 would repeal the license requirement for carrying a concealed gun. Thursday 1:00.
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 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