CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

April 12, 2012

My Opinion: April 12, 2012

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler

RAYMOND — I'm finally wrapping up the March 14-15 Session. I told you it was long. HR-21 - requiring the Congress of the United States of America to reaffirm its adherence to the Constitution of the United States regarding international agreements and treaties. This resolution places our government representatives on notice that the citizens of New Hampshire require it to follow the wording and intent of the constitution understood by the authors of that document. Passed (ought to pass) OTP RC 206-97. (RC) is a roll call vote by name.

HB-1478 - relative to the definitions of resident for motor vehicle law purposes and domicile for voting purposes and relative to vehicle registration and driver's license requirements. This bill: (1) clarifies the meaning of resident for both voting and motor vehicle law purposes. (2) states that once you declare your residence for the purpose of voting, you are declaring your residence for observing motor vehicle laws. Bill passed OTP-A D 222-84.

HB-1635 - relative to motor vehicle inspections. This bill cleans up the language of RSA-259 requiring a vehicle to be both inspected and show a valid inspection sticker on the vehicle. A-0792h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1418-FN-A - increasing the threshold amounts for taxation under the business enterprise tax (BET). Bill: (1) increases the BET threshold from $150K to $200K and the enterprise value tax base from $75K to $100K. (2) adjusts for inflation as tied into the Northeast Region Consumer Price Index. (3) rounds off each year's amount to the nearest $1K. (4) eliminates thousands of unnecessary returns at a very low cost to the state and most certainly a tremendous savings to small businesses. A-0939h YES VV. Pass OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1631 - allowing persons licensed to provide emergency medical services to work at social or sporting events. As amended, bill allows NH emergency medical services providers to provide emergency medical services at a social or sporting event under certain circumstances. Bill passed OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1549 - prohibiting the use of motor vehicle records for any federal identification database. Bill as amended, prohibits the use of motor vehicle records for any federal identification database. Bill also updates some references in an employment statue. A-1084h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.

HR-23 - urging the federal government to reduce the federal deficit in proportion to federal aid. This resolution sends our voice to Congress that we want a balanced budget, and brings out the $68M we send overseas. A-1122h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1716 - relative to the state 10-year transportation improvement program. Bill is the 10-year plan for 2013-2022 and contains following projects: (1) Highway funding - $1.87B. (2) Turnpike improvements - $431M. (3) Airports- $269M. (4) Federal transit funding - $212M.

We also adopted the Consent Calendar for March 14 Session, which only had three bills on it. This closes out this Session.

The March 21st Session started out with a rules amendment proposed by the Committee on Rules, by adding House Rule 66 clarifying subpoenas by House committees. Rule specifies conditions and subpoenas "duces tecum" (come and bring information requested). Rule passed RC 241-114, which required as 2/3 vote of House (239).

We adopted the Consent Calendar for this Session, which only had five bills, including HB-1671 - aportioning congressional districts, and HB-1225 - permitting a charter school to incur long-term debt. Then we went to Regular Calendar bills that passed the following:

HB-1642-FN - relative to destination specialty hospitals. Bill: (1) will allow specialty care hospitals to come to the state by exempting them from the certificate of need CON process. (2) has potential to bring in hundreds of new jobs. (3) will create more competition, lowering health care costs. These will be 50 bed limit facilities, with a 65% factor, making only 17 beds available for NH residents. As a fore-profit facility they will pay: (a) rooms & meals tax. (b) business enterprise tax. (c) business profit tax. and, (d) local property taxes. A-1017h failed D 36-318. A-1261h passed RC 196-164. Bill passed RC 198-161.

CACR-26 - Relating to administration of the Supreme Court. Providing that the article authorizing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to make rules governing the administration of all the courts of the state shall be repealed. This CACR seeks to repeal Article 73-a of Part II of the New Hampshire Constitution. It is aimed at correcting the perceived improvident cumulative transfer of authority from the legislative to the judicial branch through several constitutional amendments ratified between 1966 and 1978. Bill passed OTP RC 239-114.

We started the March 28-29 Session voting on the Governor's veto override of HB-592, the redistricting of State Representatives. The veto was overridden on a vote RC 246-112. Later in the day, the Senate also overrode the veto on a vote RC 17-7, making the bill law. The Governor's veto was ill-conceived and purely political. It's what the people wanted when they passed the 2006 Constitutional amendment to have smaller, more close relationship with their representative, by increasing the current 103 districts to 204.

Another bill I want to explain is HB-1658-FN - establishing an income and identity verification system for public assistance recipients; relative to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHDHHS) payment of residential care services; and relative to implementation of the Sean William Corey pilot program. As a result of testimony at the hearing, House Speaker O'Brien had a free test done by LexisNexis to see results. Two tests were performed: (1) Food stamp clients who are not enrolled in Medicaid. (2) Clients enrolled in Medicaid. After hearing about the test results, the amendment A-1376h passed YES VV. Bill passed OTP-A RC 245-84.

Watch for other important bills that passed in this session in next Week's article. Have a good week.

(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net.)