NH Legislature This Week—January 08, 2018
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
Quotes of the Week
“Donald Trump has once again disgraced the Office of the President and embarrassed the United States of America” Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D-NH) on President Trump describing Haiti and African nations as “s***hole countries”.
“Disgraceful. These comments do not represent America and they are an affront to the inclusive values that make us strong.” Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on President Trump describing Haiti and African nations as “s***hole countries”.
“” Governor Chris Sununu on President Trump describing Haiti and African nations as “s***hole countries”. We are still waiting for the Governor to address the issue of our President’s demeanor.
Welcome to seventh year edition of NH Legislate This Week! This year promises to be an exciting one with the midterm elections in November and candidates already visiting New Hampshire, looking forward to the next Presidential election. At the Statehouse, Republicans control the House, Senate, Governor’s office and the Executive Council while the Democrats hold all of the federal Congressional seats. How will this change in November? It depends on what members of both parties do between now and then.
Mark your calendar! Women’s March Saturday in Concord
“Together We Rise, March on NH Rally 2018” will be at the Statehouse from 10am to 2pm. Speakers begin at 11am. For more information, you can email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
An interesting look at corporate lobbying
If you did not read Bill Tucker’s article “The shadowy world of dark money corporate lobbying: A case study” on his Miscellany: Blue blog back in November, go read it now. It is an interesting look at corporate lobbying and how difficult it is to trace.
Legislature reviews youth marriage laws
On Tuesday, the House Children and Family Law committee (Rep. Lewicke is a member) will be holding a series of hearings on bills related to the age at which minors may marry. Under current law, applicants must be at least 18 to enter into a marriage. However, with the permission of their parents or legal guardian and a judge, boys as young as 14 and girls as young as 13 may enter into opposite-sex marriages.
HB1287 will be heard at 10:00am and would impose the additional requirement that, for opposite-sex couples in which at least one is below the age of 16, the marriage would only be granted if there was a pregnancy or one of the applicants was a member of the United States armed forces. Presumably, a member of the armed forces would not be below 16, so why should they be allowed to marry someone as young at 13? This is permitted under existing law with the requirement of being in the armed forces, but why would we want to make this distinction? It will likely be in interesting hearing. HB1287 is sponsored by Rep. Brian Stone (R-Northwood) and Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield).
At 11:00, a hearing will be held on HB1586, which would prohibit judges from granting marriages involving a minor if the other party, but for the marriage, would be guilty of sexual assault. Current sexual assault law makes it illegal to have sexual relations with anyone under 16, so this would effectively prohibit marriages before 16 for opposite-sex couples. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jackie Cilley (D-Barrington), Rep. Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham), Rep. Amanda Gourgue (D-Lee), Rep. Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua), Rep. Kari Lerner (D-Derry), Rep. Ellen Read (D-Newmarket), and Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester).
At 1:00pm, the committee will hold a hearing on HB1587 which would raise the minimum age of marriage for opposite-sex couple to 16 for both males and females. Parental or guardian plus judicial approval would still be needed when an applicant is below 18. The bill would also create a new emancipation procure in which minors as young at 16 can become emancipated if they have been successfully living on their own and have or are working toward a high school diploma. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jackie Cilley (D-Barrington), Rep. Kate Murray (D-New Castle), Rep. Polly Campion (D-Etna), Rep. Mary Jane Mulligan (D-Hanover), Rep. Ellen Read (D-Newmarket), and Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester).
I did not know that
Did you know that it is illegal to collect seaweed or rockweed from the seashore at night? Yes, there is specific law making that illegal that was enacted in 1973. It would be interesting to know the history of how this came to be. The House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee will be holding a hearing on a bill (HB 1376) to repeal this law on Tuesday.
The last couple of weeks, the Senate voted on the following bills:
SB170 would allow towns to use bonds to pay for infrastructure to expand broadband Internet access. The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote.
The last couple of weeks, the House voted on the following bills:
SB193 establishes a mechanism for the state to take money from public schools to give to private schools and churches. The House passed the bill 184-162, but it now goes to the House Finance Committee and will come back for a second vote. The Senate passed the bill last year 14-9.
HB587 would prohibit “conversion therapy” for minors, which claims to make gay people heterosexual. The House defeated the bill 166-165 with House Speaker Gene Chandler casting the tie-breaking vote. Rep. Belanger voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Ammon, Carr, Gargasz and Lewicke voted against the bill. SB224, which was passed by the Senate 15-8 would have accomplished the same goal and was also defeated by the House 170-169, again with Speaker Gene Chandler casting the tie-breaking vote. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Avard and Rep. Ammon, Carr and Lewicke voted against the bill. Note that Rep. Gargasz voted in favor of one bill and in opposition to the other.
HB656 would legalize small amounts of home grown marijuana. The House passed the bill 207-139. Rep. Ammon, Belanger, Carr and Lewicke voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Gargasz voted against the bill. Rep. Belanger voted against the bill initially, but voted in favor after the first vote failed to defeat the bill.
HB592 would eliminate funding for energy efficiency but reduce electricity rates. Originally, this bill would have repealed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. An amendment recommended by the committee and adopted by the House instead continues participation in RGGI (a northeastern effort) but would instead require all money produced from the sale of carbon credits go to reducing electricity rates. Currently, 80% is used for this and 20% is used to fund grants for projects to increase energy efficiency. The House defeated the bill 165-180. Rep. Ammon, Carr and Lewicke voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz voted against the bill.
CACR7 is a constitutional amendment to give the legislature full authority to decide how much and if to fund education. The House defeated the bill on a voice vote.
SB193 would take tax money from public schools and use it to subsidize private and religious schools. The bill had been passed by the Senate 14-9 (Sen. Avard voted in favor). The House passed the bill 184-162, but sent it to the Finance Committee for a second hearing. It will come back to the House for a second vote. Rep. Ammon, Carr and Lewicke voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz voted against the bill.
HB628 would create a state-wide insurance pool for participants to draw from when on federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The final version of the bill uses an opt-in version that supporters are concerned will make the program unsustainable. The House passed the bill 183-151 but it has now been sent to a second committee and will come back to the full House for a second vote. Rep. Gargasz voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Ammon, Belanger, Carr, and Lewicke voted against the bill.
House Hearings for this coming week:
House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee (LOB room 204)
Rep. Gargasz is a member of this committee.
HCR13 is a resolution condemning hate crimes and any other form of racism in New Hampshire. It is sponsored by Rep. Mindi Messmer (D-Rye), Rep. Yvonne Dean-Bailey (R-Northwood), Rep. Robert Cushing (D-Hampton), Rep. Jeffrey Salloway (D-Lee), Rep. Charlotte DiLorenzo (D-Newmarket), Rep. Ed Butler (D-Harts Location), Rep. David Luneau (D-Hopkinton), Rep. John Cloutier (D-Claremont), Rep. Martin Bove (R-Londonderry), Rep. Erin Hennessey (R-Littleton), Sen. Dan Innis (R-New Castle), Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord), Sen. David Watters (D-Dover), Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth). Tuesday at 10:00am.
House Finance Committee (LOB room 210)
SB193 would take tax money from public schools and use it to subsidize private and religious schools. The bill had been passed by the Senate 14-9 (Sen. Avard voted in favor). The House passed the bill 184-162, but sent it to the Finance Committee for a second hearing. It will come back to the House for a second vote. Rep. Ammon, Carr and Lewicke voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz voted against the bill. Tuesday at 1:30pm.
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 email@example.com.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R) P: (603)465-7463 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Brookline and Mason
Rep. John Lewicke (R) P: (603) 878-2610 Lewicke@yahoo.com
Brookline and Mason