Author Archive rich green

Byrich green

Brookline Democrats – NH Legislature This Week

NH Legislature This Week—May 14, 2018

Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats

www.BrooklineDemocrats.org

Quotes of the Week

Governor Sununu remains opposed to HB1264 and HB372 and believes that the bills should undergo a strict review by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in order to determine any potential unintended consequences.” Benjamin Vihstadt, Governor Sununu’s spokesman on the bills to discourage college students from voting by essentially creating a poll tax.

We are winding down! The House and Senate will meet on Wednesday, May 23rd to take up all remaining bills where the House and Senate have not come to an agreement. Those bills have been sent to committees of conference to work out a compromise. No further changes are allowed once the committees report out. The only voting options available are to pass or defeat.

These meetings of May 23rd (and, if necessary, May 24th) will be the last before the summer. After that, all bills will have been either defeated or sent to Governor Sununu. Several bills have already been sent to the Governor and he has yet to officially take action on the ones that we are following.

If the Governor vetoes a bill, it will go back to the legislature where a 2/3 supermajority is required in both the House and the Senate to override. There is no word yet on when such a session may be held.

We will not be publishing an issue next week. We will be back in a couple of weeks.

Senate create a mini-budget bill out of the blue

HB1817 started as a simple bill to create the position of a state demographer. However, the senate has added on several amendment to authorize spending on a wide range of areas – salary increases for state employees, red listed bridges, hospital payments, and Medicaid. It is not clear how much spending would be authorized by these changes, but it is in the tens of millions. The House has taken exception to this and asked for a conference committee to work out a compromise.

Legislature hands Governor an embarrassing defeat on the national stage

Governor Sununu has been advocating taking funds from public schools to give to private schools, religious schools and homeschooling families very publicly and nationally. He was set to make himself a national figure on this issue by inviting President Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos to NH just as the legislature was expected to pass a bill doing just this. However, Republicans were not able to get their House members in line and the bill was defeated despite making several attempts. The House defeated SB193 on a razor thin 172-165 vote. State Democrats point out that recent special elections which have given seats to Democrats may have made the difference. Another issue is several Republican House Representatives have missed many legislative sessions – including Brookline/Mason Rep. John Carr, as has been noted here on many bills.

The Senate decided to make another attempt by tacking the language from SB193 onto an unrelated House bill – HB1636. However, the House again rejected the amendments and defeated the underlying bill 168-173. Rep. Ammon and Lewicke voted in favor of the Senate amendment. Rep. Belanger and Gargasz votedagainst the amendment. Rep. Carr had an excused absence.

Republicans keep opposition to marriage equality in their platform

For many years now, NH Republicans have included in their state platform a statement opposing marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Now that the issue has been settled and polls show overwhelming support for equality, one would expect the GOP to remove this embarrassing position, but not so much. This weekend, the party bosses met to hammer out the next iteration of the state party platform and former Chair Jennifer Horn proposed to remove the statement in favor of a general statement in support of all families. This still generated significant opposition among Republican leaders and in the end, the anti-gay statement was kept by a technical maneuver that stripped Horn of her status as a delegate, in effect punishing her for even proposing to support civil rights.

How to contact Governor Sununu

There are many bills heading to the Governors desk that he should be encouraged to sign or veto. You can contact the Governors office through the state web site here: https://business.nh.gov/nhgovernor/comments.asp

Bills sent to Governor Sununu

HB587 would prohibit “conversion therapy” on gay minors.

HB1264 would essentially create a poll tax by requiring students registering to vote to register their cars in NH.

HB1319 would add “gender identity” to NH’s civil rights laws, prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

HB1575 would permit hunting with air rifles.

HB1586 would provide direction to judges approving marriages for under aged individuals.

HB1587 would set the minimum age for a marriage at 16 for all couples.

HB1686 would divert some education funding from public schools to private schools.

HB1816 would keep the expanded Medicaid program for another 5 years.

SB170 would allow towns to issue bonds to expand broadband infrastructure.

SB500 would allow loaded guns in stationary vehicles.

SB593 would repeal the death penalty. Senator Avard is the primary sponsor.

Bills in Conference Committees

HB1354 would make the Speaker of the House and Senate President voting members of the University System Board of Trustees.

HB1415 would provide a health benefit for teachers killed while performing their jobs.

HB1817 would provide new funding for state employee raises, red listed bridges, hospitals and Medicaid.

SB438 would create a process to allow elections to be postponed in the event of an emergency.

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 brooklinedemocrats@gmail.com.

Watch and listen to House and Senate sessions live and archived

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/media/default.htm

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:

  1. The bill is assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
  2. The committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
  6. The bill is assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
  7. The Senate committee either retains the bill or votes to recommend that the bill be passed (OTP), changed (OTPA), or defeated (ITL).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. If passed by the Senate, the bill goes to the Governor who may sign the bill into law or veto it.
  11. If the Governor vetoes the bill, it goes back to the House
  12. If 2/3 of the House votes to override the veto then the bill goes back to the Senate
  13. 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:

  1. Assigned to a committee and the committee holds a public hearing.
  2. The committee votes to recommend that the CACR be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
  3. 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.
  4. If passed by the House, the bill goes to the Senate
  5. Assigned to a Senate committee which then holds a public hearing
  6. The Senate committee votes to recommend that the bill be passed, changed, killed or sent to study
  7. 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.
  8. 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:

Nashua Telegraph

letters@nashuatelegraph.com

Hollis Brookline Journal

cabnews@cabinet.com

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.belanger@leg.state.nh.us

Hollis

Rep. Carolyn Gargasz (R) P: (603)465-7463 cgargasz@cs.com

Hollis

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 john.carr@leg.state.nh.us

Brookline and Mason

Rep. John Lewicke (R) P: (603) 878-2610 Lewicke@yahoo.com

Brookline and Mason

Byrich green

Democratic lawsuit – SB3 is the law for the mid-terms!

After over a year, Judge Brown ruled on a preliminary injunction preventing SB3 from taking effect before the mid-term elections, confirming the plaintiff’s argument that the new law places “a burden on the right to vote and disenfranchises low-income and minority populations” and many college students.  Moreover, Judge Brown wrote “voter fraud is not widespread, or even remotely commonplace” in New Hampshire and the following:

“Most importantly, the SB3 law does nothing to actually prevent voter fraud …. instead of combating fraud, the law simply imposes additional burdens on legitimate voters.

The state immediately challenged the ruling to the NH Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed with the state having made the decision that Judge Brown’s ruling will create confusion and disruption on election day.

The full case is still working its way through the courts. 

A summarized history and overview of the case is below.

On June 8, 2017, the Republican-sponsored New Hampshire Senate Bill 3, which may complicate same-day voter registration for New Hampshire college students, …… passed in the state Senate 14-9. It was signed into law in July.  The bill changes what domicile means in the context of voting and stipulates that proof of residence is required for same-day voters, including a written statement that verifies voters’ home addresses. It also authorizes government agents to visit a voter’s home to make sure that it is the voter’s primary residence.  A domicile exception is typically extended to college students.  SB3 is designed to tighten this up by requiring that college students provide letters, or other paperwork, proving their domiciliaries when they register to vote.

The NH Democratic party, the League of Women Voters and three individual voters are suing the state over this law, under a single lawsuit, which they believe will keep people who are legally entitled to vote from voting.

In September, Hillsborough County Judge Charles Temple placed a temporary restraining order on the state to keep officials from imposing any of the criminal penalties part of the law.  “The average voter seeking to register for the first time very well may decide that casting a vote is not worth a possible, $5,000 fine, a year in jail, or throwing himself/herself at the mercy of the prosecutor’s discretion.  To the Court, these provisions of SB3 act as a very serious detriment on the right to vote, and if there is a “compelling” need for them, the Court has yet to see it.” Temple wrote.

In spite of this lawsuit, on Jan 3, the Senate passed HB372, which further tightens eligibility requirements for voters.

The state of NH has refused to comply with a request for a voter database, which the plaintiffs believe will prove that there is no issue to address. The state claimed that the information is not relevant to the case at hand and it contains privileged information that cannot be released.

In April, Judge Temple rejected these arguments  and compelled the state to hand over the electronic voter database as well as make available communications about the law as it is being legislated.  In addition, a protective order must be crafted to keep sensitive information private.

Three Republican legislators involved in crafting SB3 – Kathleen Hoelzel, Barbara Griffin & Regina Birdsell – filed motions to squash subpoenas seeking information that they had proving or disproving instances of voter fraud before last year’s vote.  In July, Judge Brown ruled in their favor.    However, the Judge granted the prosecution to right to depose attorneys Bud Fitch and Matthew Broadhead.

The parties are having difficulty agreed upon the content of the protective order.  Asst Attorney General Anne Edwards wants the court to support keeping dates of birth, dates of naturalization and places of birth out of the public record when the database is handed over to the plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs filed a motion in response.

A hearing on the protective order was held on May 8.  At that hearing, Judge Temple suggested that he recuse himself as the judge in this case going forward due to a close friendship with Attorney Byron Gould, who was recently hired by the state Attorney General’s office.  The litigants suggested instead that Attorney Gould be barred from the case.

In June, Judge Temple did recuse himself.  Judge Brown has taken over the case, which has moved to Manchester.  One of his first rulings will be to consider the state’s request that he prevent three college professors from testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs.  Their testimony will cover:

  • The “understandability” of the law
  • Its impact on lines
  • Frequency of voter fraud

The state now asserts that the issue is not voter fraud, but rather the opportunity for voter fraud.

With the move to Manchester, the trial, scheduled to begin on August 20, 2018, is being rescheduled.

In the meantime, in July, the Governor signed HB1264 into law after the NH Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality.  Heretofore, out-of-state students attending institutions such as Dartmouth College or UNH must have a NH driver’s license or NH non-drivers ID to vote in NH.

And the saga continues …..

Is voter fraud really an issue in NH?  The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at preventing voter fraud by identifying duplicate voter registration records among those voluntarily provided by states.  Though there are some concerns over security and results, 28 states participated after the 2016 general election.  Out of 94, 610 voters, approximately 140 records were required further investigation – 51 of which were sent to the Attorney General’s office.

Per the NH Grassroots Newsletter of Jan 2:

“Why this matters: On November 28th, an amendment to HB 372, authored by Republican Senators Regina Birdsell and Jim Gray, passed the Senate Election Law Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote. The bill would redefine “domicile” status for voting purposes, effectively forcing registrants to declare residency upon registering to vote, chilling the right to vote for college students in New Hampshire. By forcing students to declare residency, this bill would act as a de facto poll tax, moving the goal posts on students who are legally allowed to vote in New Hampshire.”

Byrich green

NH Grassroots Newsletter

NOTE THAT THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEWSLETTER
FEATURING THE SUMMARY AND ANYTHING SPECIFIC TO THE NASHUA AREA.

Dear Friend,

Last week I had the honor of participating in the first Caucus of the new Democratic House majority. As I walked into Representatives Hall, it was striking to see the hundreds of other Democratic State Representatives and State Representatives-elect eager to get to work and represent their constituents. It was an incredible, concrete proof of what we accomplished on November 6th.

Together we took back the State House, State Senate, and Executive Council. Together we took back Congress. And together we elected the most diverse group of people to represent the state than ever before.

The work wasn’t easy, but it paid off, and for that we all deserve some time to celebrate and relax.

Today’s edition will be the final Grassroots Newsletter of 2018. We’ll resume as usual starting next year with updates on the state legislature’s activity and ways for you to get involved. But for now, take some time to catch up on sleep, spend time with your friends and family, and get ready for the new year.

Thank you again for everything you did this year to elect Democrats – your efforts made all the difference.

Please continue to use this newsletter as a tool for your local committee meetings or as a supplement to your own newsletter.  

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Best,

Sue Ford                                                                   Erin Cotton
NHDP Grassroots Chair                                           Operations Director, NHDP
Fmr. House Democratic Floor Leader                       ecotton@nhdp.org
sueford06@gmail.com

Nick Taylor                                                                 Erin Turmelle
Director, House and Senate Democrats                    Political Director, NHDP
ntaylor@nhdp.orgeturmelle@nhdp.org

And our months and months of hard work paid off on Election Day:

 

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