NH Legislature This Week—February 27, 2017
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“I love this state, but I always am aware that someone may take an issue with who I am and cause me harm and take issue and just berate me”, transgender activist Gerri Cannon, speaking during the hearing on HB478, to add “gender identity” to the state civil rights laws.
A week off – sort of
This week, the legislature will be somewhat on vacation. The Senate will not be meeting nor are the committees scheduled to meet. In the House, the full House will not be in session, but the committees will be meeting to make recommendations on bills that have had public hearings. There are a very small number of public hearings scheduled, including HB438, which would prohibit the state from collecting union dues by withholding them from employee’s paychecks. This is sometimes one of the conditions negotiated in collective bargaining contracts.
Carrying a concealed, loaded gun no longer requires a permit
Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill this week (SB12) that repeals the requirement to be licensed to carry a concealed, loaded hand gun. The bill was very strongly opposed by law enforcement, but was passed by the Senate and House in record time to be signed into law. Almost all other Senate bills will not be taken up by the House until after crossover, which is how they are normally processed. The new law took effect immediately.
A step forward for transgender civil rights
Last week, the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee voted 15-2 to recommend passage of HB478, which would add “gender identity” to the list of categories where discrimination is prohibited. Existing categories include age, sex, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, national origin or sexual orientation. NH’s civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on employment, housing and public accommodations with some exceptions. Currently 21 states and DC prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity, including all New England states except New Hampshire.
At the public hearing, there was a speaker from a conservative, fake professional organization called the American College of Pediatricians. This organization was created in 2002 by socially conservative organizations to provide public testimony against civil rights laws and marriage for same-sex couples. The name was chosen to make it sound like the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the actual professional organization for pediatricians.
However, there were almost 100 speakers and they were overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, including a representative of the NH Business and Industry Association.
House Hearings for this week:
House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee (LOB room 305)
HB438 would prohibit the state and other government bodies from withholding union dues from employees’ wages. Currently, some union contracts specify that the employer will withhold union dues from employees’ paychecks and pay the union directly. Wednesday 10:00.
Last week, the Senate voted on the following bills:
SB44 would prohibit the state from requiring the implementation of the Common Core standards. The Senate passed the bill on a party line 14-9. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor and voted in favor of the bill.
SB224 would prohibit “conversion therapy” which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation for persons under the age of 18. “Conversion therapy” is strongly opposed as being harmful by all major medical, psychological, and psychiatric professional organizations. The Senate passed the bill 15-8. See also HB587. Sen. Avard voted against 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 and archived
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.
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. John Carr (R) P: (603)673-3603 email@example.com
Brookline and Mason
Rep. John Lewicke (R) P: (603) 878-2610
Brookline and Mason