NH Legislature This Week—May 8, 2017
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quote of the Week
“[Rep. Fisher] nurtured and cultivated it like a garden of poisonous weeds.” Rep. Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham) on the involvement of Rep. Robert Fisher (R-Laconia) with the “Red Pill” forum on reddit.
Aaaannndddd…. we’re back
We missed putting out an issue last week because, well, there is life outside of newsletters. 🙂 As we are now coming towards the end of the term, we may occasionally drop a week if there is nothing of particular note going on, but we are still waiting for the Senate to propose a budget among other things. This session wraps up June 22nd with June being dedicated to negotiations between the House and Senate over bills that they both support, but have disagreements over. This week, the Senate will be meeting, but the House will not, aside from committee meetings.
Rep. Fisher seems to be choking on a red pill
Controversy erupted recently when it became public knowledge the Rep. Robert Fisher (R-Laconia) was one of the founders of The Red Pill, a reddit forum for emotionally stunted, sexually desperate men with exceptionally poor attitudes toward women and relationships.
Several top politicians in the state have publicly called for Rep. Fisher to resign, but he has refused to do so. This last week, the House asked for investigation to be conducted, but the details of how the investigation was ordered leave it clear that they are not expected to find anything wrong.
First, the House narrowly voted to include an investigation into a series of controversial tweets made by freshman Rep. Sherry Frost (D-Dover) so that the focus could be shifted away from Rep. Fisher. Although House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) has publicly called for Rep. Fisher to resign, he has instructed the committee that it can only look into statements that can be verified as having been made since January, the start of the current term. Rep. Fisher has been a member of the NH House for over 2 years. All of the statement that can be verified as coming from him from previous years are not to be considered. Finally, the Speaker has declared that this is not an “investigation” at all. We are not certain what he wants it to be called, but he definitely does not want to be called an investigation.
Curious about what The Red Pill is, but don’t want to subject yourself to it? Smart choice. We decided to take a peak over there to get a sense of what the site is really about. It reads like the stereotypical bragging of a 14 year old in a locker room trying to convince the other boys that he knows everything when he actually knows nothing. Seriously. The major topics of conversion are 1) don’t try to be friends with women, only men can be friends; 2) how to make women sleep with you by lying to them; 3) women like it when you are violent and abusive and don’t let them tell you otherwise and 4) how to get out of any responsibility when they get pregnant.
The topics on the first page (things discussed in the last 24 hours) include “Why Are So Many Women Searching for Ultra-Violent Porn?”, “Why I Don’t Believe in Having Female Friends”, “Why its not worth being friends with women (As many of you already know)”, “What do women really mean when they use words like ‘intimidating’ or ‘threatening’”, “Women don’t want your kindness; they want you to be selfish”, “You are the man you are a [sic] in charge”, and “Women are petrified of failure. Use that”. The “References” section includes links to 6 pages with helpful titles like “How to Manage Your B*****s”. Asterisks provided by us.
Progress for All Day Kindergarten
The debate over state support for all day kindergarten is apparently settling down to a debate between how much funding the state is going to provide. Governor Sununu and the Senate are supporting $9million per year while the House is pushing for $14.5million per year. However, in NH state politics, nothing is ever done until the Governor signs it into law. There have been bills in the past that were publicly supported by the House and Senate, but died anyway because leaders in the two chambers were unwilling to come to an agreement on the details. This bill should be watched closely in the coming days.
The bill is supported by Sen. Avard and Rep. Carr and Gargasz. Rep. Ammon, Belanger and Lewicke opposed the bill. The bill passed 247-116 with no Democrats voting against it.
Last week, the House voted on the following bills:
SB45 would require high schools to include a course in civics as part of the requirement for graduation. The bill was passed by the House on a voice vote and had earlier passed the Senate on a voice vote. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence with minor changes made by the House.
SB234 would allow the operation of a needle exchange program in New Hampshire. The House passed the bill on a voice vote. The bill now goes back to the Senate to reconcile changes made by the House.
SB191 would provide state funding for full day kindergarten. Governor Sununu suggested that the bill be funded at $9 million per year and the Senate passed that amount. The House voted to raise that amount to $14.5 million per year. The House passed the bill 247-116, but the bill now goes to the House Finance Committee for further review and will come back to the full House again after that. Rep. Carr and Gargasz voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Ammon, Belanger and Lewicke voted against the bill.
Two weeks ago, the Senate voted on the following bills:
HB238 would establish a committee to study broadband access to the Internet. The Senate amended the bill by giving more specific direction to the committee and extended the deadline for the report from Nov 1, 2017 to Nov 2, 2018. This is an issue that we follow because broadband is not yet available in many parts of Mason. The bill was passed by the Senate on a voice vote and now goes back to the House for concurrence on the changes.
This week, the Senate will vote on the following bills:
HB97 would place restrictions on the use of drones. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
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. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 5-0.
HB171 would prohibit the state or local governments from assisting the federal government in the collection of electronic data without a warrant. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 4-1.
HB209 would move NH from the Eastern Time Zone to the Atlantic Time Zone if Massachusetts decided to change. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommends that the bill be defeated 3-2.
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 Judiciary Committee recommends passing the bill 3-2, but reducing the amount to ¾ of an ounce.
House Hearings for this week:
House Finance Committee (LOB room 210)
SB191 would provide state funding for all day kindergarten. Tuesday 1:30.
House Legislative Administration Committee (LOB room 305)
Public hearing on matter of Rep. Fisher and Rep. Frost. Tuesday 10:00 and Wednesday 1:30.
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