RAYMOND - The February 5th Session was rescheduled to the 6th, and didn’t start until 2:00 p.m. After opening the Session, a Joint Session was called into order with the Senate and some state officials. Gov. Hassan then gave her State of the State Address.
Being a strong conservative, I truly believe in less tax and spend government, and helping the working class people in New Hampshire. Expanding the Medicaid Program is NOT in the best interest of our state. Increasing the gas tax is not good for the working class people, or for the small businesses, especially the ones along our state borders. What we really need to do is find true solid ways to eliminate government waste and to control spending. Of the eight State of the State speeches I’ve sat through as your state representative, I must sadly say, this one was the worst I’ve heard. What’s coming next: an income tax and/or a sales tax? Wake up New Hampshire!
At about 3:25 p.m., we finally started working on the peoples’ business. We started by finishing up the last 6 bills that were pulled off of the consent calendar back on 1/8. The only one of interest was:
SB-3-FN, eliminating certain ramp tolls on the Everett turnpike in the town of Merrimack. Bill was killed ITL RC 201-72.
Then we started on the 2014 bills. Not planning on staying late, the Speaker opted to take up bills that had no debates lined up. We passed four, killed 10, and tabled one. Bills of interest:
HB-1108-FN, requiring voir dire examination of prospective jurors in all criminal cases. The Constitution, Part 1, Article 15, asserts the right of the accused to a trial by jury, to have all evidence favorable to him produced, and to the judgment of his peers. The voir dire process can help to ensure an impartial jury. Bill passed OTP on voice vote.
HB-1135-FN, relative to penalties for driving without a license. With the tragedy that occurred last summer in Hampton, where an unlicensed driver was involved in a fatal crash, this bill will assist authorities in preventing unlicensed drivers from our roads. The Constitution, Part 1, Article 18 says, “all penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offense”. Bill passed OTP-A RC 231-33.
HB -1475, relative to expanding the research and development tax credit against the business profits tax to be a reinvestment tax credit. The reason I show this bill is not because it was killed on an ITL RC 165-95 vote, but because with the current total membership in the House being 394 members, whenever a vote total due to lack of members present, goes less than 263, to pass it needs to have 2/3rd of those present. This vote was only 260 total, so it failed. Bill was then voted to Table on a RC 195-68, which was more than the 2/3rds required. So, who were all those absent members? Ask your representative if they were present.
(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at email@example.com)