NH Legislature This Week—May 14, 2018
Brought to you by the Brookline Democrats
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/
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 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:
Nashua Wards 1, 2, 5, Hollis, Brookline, Mason, Greenville, New Ipswich, and Rindge
Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston
Brookline and Mason
Rep. John Lewicke (R) P: (603) 878-2610 Lewicke@yahoo.com
Brookline and Mason