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>.
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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 – 2016 End of the Year Wrap-Up
By Susan Bruce, Arnie Alpert, and Maggie Fogarty
American Friends Service Committee, New Hampshire Program
The 2016 session of the NH General Court is over, and that means the State House Watch newsletter and radio show will be resting. But before sleep overtakes us, we want to give you a recap of the year.
Click here for the 2016 Wrap Up Report.
We followed a lot of issues, a real mixed bag. There were bills concerned with energy, voting rights, housing, guns, opioid addiction, minimum wage, workers’ rights, guns, and much more. (Did we mention guns?)
For us, the biggest issue of the session was passage of the bill to extend the NH Health Protection Program, complete with a “severability” clause that should enable federal authorities to delete a couple of harmful provisions. Passage required bipartisan cooperation, solid research, coordination of a wide range of advocacy and service provider groups, and effective lobbying. Passage means that some 50,000 NH low wage workers will continue to have access to medical care.
There were some issues, such as the bills to eliminate the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver, which return every session. Every year there are attempts at redefining the word “domicile” to ensure that fewer people vote. Every year there is a bill to establish casino gambling, though this year it came and went without much attention. Right-to-work (for less) bills were defeated, which is good, but bills to increase the minimum wage and the tipped employees minimum wage were defeated. Measures that would have harmed tenants went down to defeat, but so did a provision that would have helped them. A bill to suspend the use of the death penalty was defeated, as was a bill to expand it.
Efforts to demonize recipients of public assistance continued but were unsuccessful. A bill to limit food stamp purchases in convenience stores failed, as did a bill to force TANF recipients to be drug tested.
It was also tough inside the legislature. The warring factions within the majority party made for a lot of obstructionism and delay on the House floor. These divides were also evident in the snarky language used in some of the reporting on bills in the House calendar, usually a place where civility and plain language reign.
Governor Hassan has vetoed 13 bills so far. The House has already taken up override votes on six of them, all of which had the veto sustained. The Senate and House will meet again, probably in the fall, to take up additional override votes.
You can read our end-of-the-year summary by clicking here.
Incumbent Representatives who are running for re-election can file titles for new bills from September 12 to 23. After the election, another window for Representatives to file legislation will open on November 14 and close on December 2. Senate deadlines for new bills have not been set.
The state primary election will be held on September 13, and the general election is November 8. You can look up the candidates running for the House and Senate in your district here.
We are grateful for your interest and support, year-round. Please let us know if you have suggestions for ways to improve our newsletter.
We also want to let you know now that our annual fundraiser will be Saturday evening, October 29, featuring a concert performance by Magpie, a folk duo from upstate New York. Please mark it in your calendars now; we'll provide more details soon.
Events Coming Up...
World Fellowship's 75th summer season is underway, with educational and cultural programs every day, plus swimming and Whitton Pond and recreational outings led by the incomparable Howie Fain. Find out more at www.worldfellowship.org.
Saturday, July 16
A "Black Lives Matter" march will take place in Manchester. Meet at 7 pm at the corner of Elm and Mechanic Streets. Find out more on Facebook.
Friday, July 22
The Nuns on the Bus are coming to New Hampshire, to promote a social justice agenda and election year activism. Join us for a rally in Concord at the State House steps at noon and the "Mend the Gaps Caucus" at 7 pm in Manchester.
Saturday, August 6
Hiroshima Day activities in Concord. Speakers, march, riverbank ceremony. Details TBA.
August 9 to 14
The 2016 World Social Forum will take place in Montreal. 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. Details here. Let us know if you plan to attend.
Tuesday, September 13
NH Primary election.
Saturday, October 29
"Give Light," AFSC-NH's Annual Fundraiser, featuring a concert performance by Terry Leonino and Greg Arrtzner, also nown as Magpie. At the Concord Unitarian Universalist Church. Doors open at 5:30 pm. More details soon.
Tuesday, November 8
We hope you are having a great summer.
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!