RAYMOND — If the first session of this 2013-14 term, held January 2, showed anything, it looks to me that there will be many long, hard fought days, trying to get anything accomplished.
It started out okay passing several rule suspensions, and the first House bill (HB). HB-101, relative to calculation of the local tax cap by the Newfound Area School District (only). This happened peacefully and all were voice votes.
The rest of the day was spent on House Rules amendments, which is done at the first session of each new term.
As a group, four amendments were voted on together, passing on a voice vote. (I voted No-N).
Following amendments passed: Rule 4 first sentence: removed the word “petitions”. Rule 57 (b) 3 and 4: concerning personal privilege and unanimous consent. Rule 65: updates the session deadline dates for the new term. This is necessary, but should not have been included in the other bad amendments of this grouping. Rule 66: concerning issuing a subpoena to a person to appear to a House committee.
We then moved on to: Rule 18: concerning receiving and presenting of citizen’s petitions. RC 264-109 (N). RC is a roll call vote, recorded by name. Rule 30: disbanding both the Constitutional Review & Statutory Re-codification and Redress of Grievance Committees. This is a real slap in the face to citizens seeking redress. RC 226-147 (N). Rule 63: revoking the right to carry in all House controlled areas of the State House. Attempt to table failed RC 161-205 (Yes-Y). Rep. Richardson amend. passed RC 271-102, (N). Rep. Burt amend. failed RC 156-209 (Y). Rep. Kurk amend. A-0005h failed (D, a division vote, not recorded by name) D 117-247 (Y). Final vote on Rule 63 change RC 196-153 (N). Following this vote, I and many others signed a “protest” of changing this rule and filed these protests with the House Clerk. Debate on just this Rule 63 changes took over three hours. Rule 64: putting custom,usage and precedent over parliamentary manual (Roberts Rules of Order). Passed D 193-145, (N).
Point of interest: Look at the drop in Representative attendance from the first vote to the last vote. The total of first vote 373, total of last vote 349, as 24 Representatives left the chamber, and by the last vote of the day, a total of 49 Representatives were absent. Yes, these 49 absent State Representatives are members that “we the people” voted into office, sent them to Concord to debate, and vote for us, on all issues.
(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)