NH Legislature This Week—March 27, 2017
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Senator Scott McGilvray’s passing. Senator McGilvray will be remembered for this deep dedication to education and for the young people and educators whose lives he has impacted so greatly over his 25 years as a social studies teacher and football coach. He spent his last months serving his state and fighting for the people of New Hampshire and for that we are endlessly grateful. He will be dearly missed.” NH Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley.
“Valerie and I are deeply saddened by the news of Senator McGilvray’s passing. He was a dedicated public servant and we send out most sincere condolences to his family and friends.” Governor Chris Sununu.
“Scott’s devotion to public service grew out of his passion for students. Whether on the football field, in the classroom or in the New Hampshire Senate, Scott worked tirelessly to help New Hampshire’s children reach their full potential. Scott’s legacy will live on in the many Granite Staters whose lives he changed. I extend my deepest condolences to Scott’s wife Patti, his daughters and his family. My thoughts are with them as we all mourn his passing.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
This week in the legislature
The full House will not be meeting this week, but will meet next week on April 5th. The Senate will meet on Wednesday at 1pm and Thursday at 10am to vote on a few remaining Senate bills and some House bills.
This week is crossover in the Senate. By the end of the week, the Senate expects to have acted on all Senate bills and will then focus on House bills that have passed the House. The House has already voted on all House bills except for those related to the Budget. April 6th is the House’s deadline to finish budget related bills and thereafter the House will focus on Senate bills that have passed the Senate.
Democratic Senator McGilvray passes away
The legislature was mourning the death of Senator Scott McGilvray (D-Hooksett). He was just elected to his first term in the Senate in November and represented Dunbarton, Bow, Hooksett, Candia and Manchester wards 1, 2 and 12. He was also the president of the NH chapter of the National Education Association, the teacher’s union.
The Senate held a special session last week in which all controversial bills were delayed a week in honor of his passing. The Senate will be holding 2 sessions this week to make up the time.
SB43 would make it very difficult to evaluate programs to reduce violence, risky behavior in schools
Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor of SB43, which would require that parents opt-in to allow their children to take non-academic surveys in the schools. Currently, some schools are implementing programs to reduce violence, drug use, and other risky behaviors, but rely on anonymous surveys to judge the efficacy of these efforts.
Current state law requires schools to notify parents before such surveys are conducted and to allow them to opt-out. “SB43 would make this work more difficult, expense, and unreliable, potentially limiting our ability to continue to work in our state. Without this evaluation research, it will be challenging for administrators to accurately determine the effectiveness and efficiency of their programs” said Thomas Cronin, a spokesperson for UNH.
SB43 does allow one exception – the biannual national youth risk behavior survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill was passed by the Senate on a mostly party line 13-10 with Republican Senator Dan Innis joining Democrats in opposition. The Concord Monitor has an excellent article with more detail.
This week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
SB107 would establish an independent redistricting commission. The Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee opposes the bill 3-2.
SB111 would create a bipartisan commission to evaluate New Hampshire’s response to Russian interference in our democracy. The Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee opposes the bill 3-2.
SB248 would officially ratify the elections and meetings that were postponed due to the snow storm on March 14th. There are differing legal opinions on whether the towns had the authority to postpone local elections. The Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee recommends 3-2 that the bill be turned into a study committee instead. Rep. Belanger is a sponsor.
SB7 would restrict eligibility for the federal food stamp program. The Senate Finance Committee recommends that the bill be sent back to committee for further study 6-0. Sen. Avard is the prime sponsor.
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