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NH State House Watch

NH State House Watch

 

AFSC’s New Hampshire State House Watch newsletter is published weekly to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more. For an email subscription, visit our main page and click on <get our newsletter>. 

Click here for back issues.

We also have a weekly radio show on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm, re-broadcast Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am.  You can listen live on WNHN, 94.7 FM in Concord, or over the internet. You can download a podcast of any of our earlier sho

 

State House Watch, June 17

2016 Issue 22

Greetings State House Watchers! As promised, we are back to report on the special session held on June 16.

But first, we want to acknowledge our deep sadness regarding the recent mass shooting in Orlando. From the AFSC statement issued on June 12:

The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that addresses the root causes of violence and oppression in communities worldwide, knows that violent responses to violence make us all less secure. We must stop the cycle of hateful violence that lands disproportionately on marginalized people, including LGBT people of color. There is no place for xenophobic responses to this attack, which will only make the targeted communities more vulnerable. We must instead bridge differences and work together to reject hate. We pray that all communities will stand up against bigotry and work to ensure the rights of each and every person. Please join us in true partnership, working for a world in which love drives out hate, and in which all of us are safe from violence.

Here in NH, there was a candlelight vigil in Portsmouth and one in Concord where members of the community came together to share their grief, their fear and their commitment to love and peace. We give composer, playwright, and poet Lin Manuel Miranda the last word. He wrote this sonnet for his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards:

"...We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside...."

We wipe away our tears and continue.

The Special Session

As we reported two weeks ago, the House failed to adopt the CoC report on SB 485, establishing a state grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in addressing the opioid crisis and making an appropriation therefor, relative to the health care premium contribution for retired state employees who are eligible for Medicare Parts A and B due to age or disability, relative to funding of retiree health benefits, and making an appropriation to the department of administrative services. The bill failed by one vote, because of the non-germane/poison pill amendment tacked on concerning retired state employee health plans.

The bill would have given $1.5 million to state and local law enforcement to address the opioid crisis. The governor wanted this bill. House and Senate leadership wanted this bill. Law enforcement wanted this bill. The non-germane amendment was stripped from SB 485, which was then repackaged, and brought forth by a bipartisan group of sponsors in this special session, where both the House and Senate voted on HB 1000, an act establishing a state grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in addressing the opioid crisis and making an appropriation therefor.

It was a rancorous House session. The debate on whether to suspend the rules to allow the bill to be debated went on for two hours. The rules were suspended by a roll call vote of 241-91. A motion to limit debate on the bill passed by a vote of 207-126. After that, seven non-germane floor amendments were proposed. Most were an attempt to tack on the wording of prior bills that had failed, including a repeal of the concealed carry license requirement, a bill to allow syringes to be sold in stores, and a bill to allow towns that don’t have public schools to use public funds to send those children to private religious schools.

We can’t avoid remarking upon the irony that the same people who were angry about being summoned back to vote on a bill that initially failed because of a non-germane amendment are the ones who proposed seven new non-germane amendments to this bill. All of them failed by a large margin. HB 1000 passed on a roll call vote of 235-74.

The Senate session was far less dramatic. They voted to suspend the rules to take up HB 1000, by a voice vote. They voted unanimously to pass the bill, in a roll call vote of 22-0.

Veto Override Attempts

The House also attempted to override the governor’s veto of 6 bills. A two-thirds vote is necessary to override a veto. All six of the attempts failed. These are the two we’ve been following:

HB 512
, prohibiting confiscation of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories during a state of emergency. The veto override failed by a roll call vote of 169-130.

HB 582, repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. The veto override failed by a roll call vote of 150-117.

We are disappointed to report that Governor Hassan recently signed HB 500, repealing the prohibition on the use of silencing devices for taking wildlife. Those in favor of this legislation argued that this will help decrease hearing loss (aka “hunter’s ear”) in hunters. We’ve maintained all along that it’s not very sporting.

To look at all of the roll call votes from this session, go here and choose 2016 search, then scroll down to 6/16/2016 and hit search again.

The filing period for state office has closed. The Secretary of State’s website has a list of all of the candidates available here.

We will be back with our special end-of-the-session wrap up edition sometime before July 1. Till then, enjoy the beautiful weather.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 25

“Standing on the Brink” is the theme of the 2016 NH Progressive Summit to be held this year at SNHU in Manchester.  AFSC is one of the sponsors of this event, which is organized by NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress.

Saturday, July 9

Walk for Independence From Big Money in Politics - Meet at 9 am at Portsmouth High School, 50 Andrew Jarvis Drive, Portsmouth (Rear Upper Parking Lot) and walk 4.4 miles to Fort Constitution in New Castle. Hosted by the NH Rebellion and Coalition for Open Democracy. More info on Facebook.

Friday, July 22

Mark your calendars and plan to join NH activists in Concord and Manchester for a day of activities with the Nuns on the Bus who visit NH as part of their national tour entitled Mend the Gap: Reweaving the Fabric of Society. More details are coming soon!

August 9 – 14

The 2016 World Social Forum will take place in Montreal, which as Ronald Reagan would say, is only 3 hours from the New Hampshire border.  The goal of the WSF 2016 is to gather tens of thousands of people from groups in civil society, organizations and social movements who want to build a sustainable and inclusive world, where every person and every people has its place and can make its voice heard.  Specific themes include: Economic, Social and Solidarity Alternatives, Culture of Peace and Struggle for Justice and Demilitarization, Decolonization and Self-Determination, Migration, Refugees and Citizenship Without Borders, and Fight against the Dictatorship of Finance.

- Maggie and Arnie

PS - Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.  Search for “American Friends Service Committee-NH” to “like” us.  After all, we are your Friends.

AFSC’s New Hampshire "State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.  Click here for back issues.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change.  Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on WNHN-FM.  Susan Bruce is a State House Watch researcher and writer.  Fred Portnoy produces the radio show.

"State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.

Your donations make our work possible.  Click the “DONATE NOW” button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program.  Thanks!