CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

May 30, 2013

My Opinion: May 30, 2013

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND - Some of the Senate bills of interest that passed out of the House at the May 22nd session included. Any that were amended by the House has to go back to the Senate to be either re-passed or they can ask for a Committee of Conference, or kill it:

SB-22 - exempting small trailers from inspection requirements; allowing qualified dealers to inspect trailers; and deleting a reference to highway enforcement officers. Bill: (1) Eliminates registrations for trailers 10K lbs gross weight. (2) Allows qualified dealers to conduct inspections on trailers over 10K lbs. Passed Ought to Pass (OTP) on Consent Calendar.

SB-126-FN - relative to business practices between motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. This bill: (1) updates the existing Auto Dealer Bill of Rights. (2) incorporates equipment dealers under the same RSA as auto dealers. Bill passed RC 338-30.

SB-89 - relative to the definition of lead fishing sinkers and jigs and the penalties for prohibiting sales of lead fishing sinkers, and jigs. Billed passed on a RC 225-142. I voted against passage as this bill was not even supposed to come up this year. Last year, we formed a Fish & Game Committee to study this problem and they have not finished their work and it was supposedly agreed upon that a bill would not come forward until 2014 session. To date, there is no evidence that lead sinkers and jigs are a problem.

SB-152-FN-A-L - relative to video lottery and table gaming. For this bill the House Speaker formed a “special” joint committee, consisting of the full Finance Committee and the Ways & Means Committee to study the bill. After a month of heavy study, this Joint Committee recommended to the full House to Inexpedient to Legislate (kill) (ITL) on a roll call (RC) vote 23-22. This bill had many flaws in it with major long term unpredictable consequences. Even members of the Joint Committee were saying, “We don’t know, what we don’t know”. How can you correct unmet needs in a budget by creating more unmet needs? Even the proposed $80M licensing fee would not be received until late in FY 2014, a little late for the 2013-14 budget, right? This bill vests a Lottery Commission, a three-person, part time board, to: oversee, write and adopt rules, being appointed from the public sector, with, I’m sure, no previous gaming experience. This Commission would have no regulation or enforcement authority, what a joke. Let’s look at this sentence in the bill: proposes “to license one high end, highly regulated casino”... Now, let’s break that down: (1) license one - study committee established in bill is charged to study about more casinos. (2) high end - say they bid $450M, bill subtracts the property cost, say $150M, that’s $300M, then they subtract the $80M license fee, that put this high end down to only $220M. Then we have the highly regulated - whoa, let’s write the regulations and rules first, establish an educated commission, and then start over with a new bill. Another flaw was, that if there was only one applicant, and if a problem arose, there is, at this time, no judicial rule to settle this problem. SB-152 also grants a “forever” license for a low renewal fee due every 10 years. After about three hours of debate, a motion to ITL passed RC 199-164. If count is correct, vote went Republicans 115-52 and Democrats 84-112 to kill bill. Then a motion to reconsider was made, and maker asked everyone to vote no.

After a bill is voted on, there can be a motion to reconsider that vote, made only once, then passage is final. After a 20 minute debate, this motion was killed RC 152-219. I voted to kill this flawed bill which took three hours with 9 people speaking against the bill’s ITL and 8 speaking to kill it. Then, the reconsideration. Thank God it was killed; had the ITL motion failed and the process moved forward, there were about 18 amendments that people wanted to bring forward.

None of these amendments would have corrected the many flaws, but we would have been there until midnight.

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