NH Legislature This Week—June 8, 2015
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“According to a report released Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission, [Frank Guinta’s mother] Virginia Guinta told FEC investigators that she and her husband expected their son to repay the $335,000 they gave him in 2010, when he was a candidate to represent New Hampshire’s 2st Congressional District. One clue that the money was a loan: the word “loan” was written in the memo line of nine of the 10 checks that the younger Guinta received from his parents.” Nashua Telegraph editorial, June 4, 2015.
Brookline Democrats next meeting
We will be meeting at the Fire Station on Tuesday, June 16th at 7PM. See everyone there!
Kinder Morgan has a lot of support in the Senate
HB572, as introduced, would require Kinder Morgan to buy out any land parcels that the pipeline went through if the owner chooses to sell. It also would have required the company to pay the town the land use change tax for any land that is currently in “current use”. The House passed this bill with an overwhelming 364-5. The Senate did not like this at all.
Last week, the Senate amended the bill to remove all of that. The version that was passed by the Senate simply instructs the site evaluation committee to make rules about where the pipeline will go. That is all that the Senate version of the bill does.
The Senate votes on the bill were unrecorded voice votes, so it is impossible to tell which Senators supported and opposed the House version. However, Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) introduced an amendment that would have brought the bill back very close to what the House passed. This amendment was a recorded roll call and failed 5-19. Senator Sanborn’s amendment was supported by Sen. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), Sen. Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Sen. Gary Daniels (R-Milford), and Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield). All 10 Democrats joined with 9 of the Republicans to defeat the amendment.
The question now is whether or not the Senate will be willing to form a Committee of Conference with the House to pass some compromise. If the Senate refuses to form such a committee, then the bill becomes defeated.
The Senate Republicans have now passed their budget and will now be negotiating with the House Republicans on a final version to send to Governor Hassan. The Governor, however, has warned that she will exercise her veto pen if the budget does not provide some adequate funding for priorities.
The budgets passed by both the House and Senate cuts funding for Medicaid, which will cause 40,000 NH citizens to lose their health insurance and would create uncertainty for hospitals and the large medical industry. 95% of these costs would be paid for by the federal government.
CACR5, which would allow any taxpayer to challenge a tax in court, was retained in the House Judiciary Committee until next year.
Editorializing by the Union Leader? Who would have guessed???
Members of New Hampshire’s transgender community recently held an educational session in the statehouse to educate legislators on anti-transgender discrimination. On NH1, Kevin Landrigan wrote an article about the session titled “Transgender adults, advocates urge NH lawmakers to support anti-bias law”.
The Union Leader, on their web site, provided a link to Landrigan’s article, but retitled the link “Lobby says NH needs law to impose acceptance of transgenders”. We think that it is safe to assume that no one from the Union Leader actually attended the session or listened to the stories.
New Hampshire is the only state northeast of Pennsylvania that does not have a law protecting transgender people from employment discrimination.
Raptor Saga has a happy ending
Remember the debate about naming the red-tailed hawk as the state raptor? The bill was introduced by a 4th grade in Hampton Falls, but the House defeated the bill after a testy exchange on the House floor. They later apologized to the students.
Recently, a red-tailed hawk has taken up residence on the grounds of the White House, near the East Wing. The White House decided to ask the students from that class to name the hawk. They decided to name the hawk Lincoln and now Lincoln the Hawk has his own twitter account, @LincolnTheHawk.
You can read more about the hawk here:
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
SB218 would make “spoofing” an unfair and deceptive act under the consumer protection law. Spoofing refers to transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller identification information. The House defeated the bill on an almost party line 203-158. Rep. Adams, Ammon, Belanger, Flanagan and Gargasz all voted against the bill.
Last week, the Senate voted on the following bills:
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. The bill would also require Kinder Morgan to pay moving expenses, including up to 6 months of rent. Rep. Belanger is the sponsor. The Senate gutted the bill, turning it into a meaningless bill to direct the site evaluation committee to come up with some rules, effectively defeating it. The final vote was a voice vote.
HB1 and HB2 are the state budget and the policy changes needed to implement the budget. The Senate passed its own version of the budget on a party line 14-10. The House and Senate are setting up a Committee of Conference to work on a compromise between the Republican House version and the Republican Senate version.
HB468 would prohibit the government from tracking and/or locating people using electronic devices such as cell phones or GPS without a warrant. Exceptions are made for emergency situations. Private companies, such as rental car providers must make the customer aware of tracking in a written statement and may not share the information with the government without a warrant. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote after making some minor amendments and adding a provision to make violations of the law a class B misdemeanor.
HB208 would eliminate funding for energy efficiency programs and energy assistance for low income families. The Senate passed an amended version, which would increase funding for government energy efficiency programs and energy assistance for low income families, while removing funding for commercial energy projects. The amendment to increase instead of decrease funding for these programs was supported by Sen. Avard (R-Nashua) and 3 other Republicans along with all of the Democrats. However, Sen. Avard voted against passage of the final bill, which was passed by the Senate 13-11. The House has voted to set up a Committee of Conference.
HB618 would reduce the penalty for possession of a small amount of marijuana from a class B misdemeanor (a criminal offense) to a violation (something that is illegal, but subject only to a fine, such as a parking ticket). The Senate tabled the bill, effectively defeating it, on a voice vote.
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