NH Legislature This Week—May 15, 2017
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“This is not an investigation. It is not an interrogation.” Rep. Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) opening the “hearing” on Rep. Robert Fisher’s (R-Laconia) online comments about women.
“She should not be expelled but maybe be medically evaluated on why she used that word” Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) on Rep. Sherry Fisher’s (D-Dover) social media statement that some of her Republican colleagues in the Legislature were “making me homicidal” after defeating a bill to make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people and also for not changing a law that allows 13 year old girls to get married.
“Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason” Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) last July. A month later, he clarified that he was not calling for her assassination, but rather calling on the Government to put her in front of a firing squad and shoot her for treason.
NH House investigates – no, I mean holds a hearing on Rep. Fisher
While no one testified in Rep. Robert Fisher’s (R-Laconia) defense, Republican leadership has been bending over backward to protect him by repeatedly insisting that this was not an “investigation”, by trying to turn public attention to minor comments made online by a Democratic Representative, and by restricting the scope of the hearing just to statements that can be proven to have been made since the start of the current term in January, excluding all statements and actions made during his first term in the legislature.
Rep. Fisher admits that he is the reddit user Pk_atheist, who founded the forum, but he insists that he is no longer a moderator. The Daily Beast questions that, however, because when Pk_atheist stepped down as lead moderator, the new lead moderator used an account that had only been created the day before. Additionally, the new moderator of the forum claims to have created backup forums in case The Red Pill is taken down. These backup forums were registered months after Pk_atheist stepped down, using an email address connected to Rep. Fisher. The backup was created in July 2015 when Rep. Fisher was serving his first term in the NH Legislature. Last year, the domain registration was changed to a new email address, but that new email account also created web sites for Rep. Fisher’s campaign and his band.
There is far more evidence compiled by the Daily Beast that Rep. Fisher is still running the Red Pill which you can read about here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/05/08/red-pill-kingpin-all-feminists-want-to-be-raped.
Marijuana decriminalization passes the Senate
The Senate voted 17-6 to legalize possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana. The House passed the bill with a more generous 1 ounce limit on a vote of 318-36. Both votes are large enough margins to override a veto, but Governor Sununu publicly supported decriminalization during the campaign. Note, however, that this bill does NOT make marijuana legal. Instead, it reduces the penalty to just a fine and it does not show up on your record as a criminal offense.
Gov. Sununu wants it both ways
Governor Chris Sununu has asked the federal government for emergency disaster aid to cover $2.2 million in expenses that the state incurred while struggling with a serious natural disaster. Which one, you ask? That horrible winter storm that occurred on March 14th and shut down most of the state. You know, that one where the Governor and Legislature are so upset with the towns about because town elections were supposed to be held that day and many towns postponed. The Governor is upset that towns did not expect people to get out and drive to the polling place to take part in the elections and yet that same storm was a “natural disaster” that crippled the state and cost us millions to get through. Okay then.
Quarterly Granite State Poll results
The Granite State Poll is conducted four times a year by UNH polling researcher Andy Smith. They have released some new polls showing that approval of President Trump has remained steady at 43% approving and 47% disapproving. Broken down by party, 80% of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance, while 43% of Independents and 12% of Democrats approve.
Governor Sununu has a high approval rating with 57% approving of his performance compared to 17% who disapprove. The legislature also has good polling with 51% approval and 30% disapproval. Senator Shaheen is viewed favorably by 51% and unfavorably by 28%. Senator Hassan is viewed favorably by 46% and unfavorably by 33%. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is viewed favorably by 39% and unfavorably by 27%. Congresswoman Ann Kuster is viewed favorably by 27% and unfavorably by 31%, although the two most recent polls previously were much more favorable, so this could be an effect of sampling error.
Full day kindergarten is a concept that has strong support with 83% approval and 13% disapproval. Over the last couple of years, the opioid drug crises has become the top concern with 53% of respondents listing it as a top concern. Support for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use continues to grow with 68% support and 27% opposition.
You can read the detailed reports and past reports at http://cola.unh.edu/survey-center.
EPA is quickly being turned over to industrialists – environmental protection not a priority anymore
We cover events at the statehouse in this newsletter and we are not changing that. However, we are going to make an exception and recommend that you read this short article at Green Car Reports on the wholesale changes that are being made at the Environmental Protection Agency while everyone is busy being distracted by tweets.
Last week, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB97 would place restrictions on the use of drones. The Senate defeated the bill on a voice vote.
HB133 would instruct juries that they can choose to ignore the laws and find someone innocent even when they have been proven guilty in a process called jury nullification. This bill was on the consent calendar to be defeated, but Sen. Avard removed it and brought it up for a separate debate and vote. The Senate defeated the bill 6-17. Sen. Avard voted in favor the bill.
HB171 would prohibit the state or local governments from assisting the federal government in the collection of electronic data without a warrant. The Senate defeated the bill 6-17. Sen. Avard voted in favor the bill.
HB209 would move NH from the Eastern Time Zone to the Atlantic Time Zone if Massachusetts decided to change. The Senate defeated the bill 7-16. Sen. Avard voted in favor the bill.
HB640 would decriminalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana by someone at least 21 years of age. Although it would not be criminal offense, it would still be illegal and subject to a fine. The Senate passed the bill 17-6, but reduced the amount to ¾ of an ounce. Sen. Avard voted in favor the bill. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence.
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