By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler
RAYMOND — The April 25th Session was quite the day. We started off with a note from the Senate telling the House they were not even going to bother to hold a Public Hearing on the following House bills we passed and sent over to them, but rather let them die:
HB-440 - requiring that New Hampshire join the lawsuit challenging federal health care reform legislation. HB-1181 - relative to offers of judgments. HB-1214 - banning corn-based ethanol as an additive to gasoline sold in New Hampshire. HB-1232-FN - relative to prerecorded political messages. HB-1282-FN-L - relative to workforce housing and the definition of community. HB-1327 - relative to official oppression. HB-1566 - relative to withdrawal from a school administration unit or an authorized regional enrollment area school. HB-1720-FN - relative to jury trials in class actions brought under the Consumer Protection Act. HCR-32 - Title: To urge the Congress of the United States to withdraw the membership of the United States from the United Nations so that the United States may retain its sovereignty and control over its own funds and military forces.
This move by the Senate really put the House members in a bad mood to start off the session day, especially when realizing that all the bills we were about to hear were Senate bills that they passed, and sent over to us for passage. The bill sponsors and
the various House committees worked hard on these bills, and the Senate should have held a Public Hearing, debated them, and acted on each one of them as they saw fit, thereby at least showing the same respect we do with their bills.
The Consent Calendar had 35 Senate bills on it, with five pulled off for floor debates. Of the 35, only 5 were killed, and the Consent Calendar was adopted.
Later in the day, a motion was made to Table six of the Senate bills that we had earlier passed and adopted that day, to draw the Senators' attention to the fact that the NH Constitution requires each chamber to act responsibly. Laying a bill on the Table is "shelving it" and unless removed, will die there. The bills Tabled were: SB-323 - authorizing accounting transfers by the Department of Corrections; SB-369-FN-L - relative to aid to assisted persons; SB-379 - relative to insurance fraud; SB-389-L - relative to sewer commission costs; SB-315 - requiring motorists to give wide berth to highway maintenance vehicles; and SB-317 - relative to tow-able devices permitted to be towed by a motorboat.
These bills, I'm sure, will be removed from the Table when the House sees the Senate acting responsibly with House legislation.
The next very unusual step by the House (first time I've seen it) was to pass the following four Senate bills, and add an amendment (*) to them with the exact wording of a House bill that the Senate recently voted to kill. These bills will now have to go back to the Senate, as the House amended them, for con-currents: (1) concur and vote to pass bill as House amended; (2) non-concur and request a committee-of-conference; or (3) non-concur and vote to kill their own bill that they had previously passed. It will be very interesting to see what happens to them. Following are bills:
SB-295-FN-A - increasing the research and development tax credit against the business profits tax, (*) and relative to the women's right to know act regarding abortion information.
SB-272-FN - relative to truancy, (*) and relative to negotiations for contracts for county employees. Original bill allows a municipality to adopt a truancy ordinance which would allow police and school resource officers to take control of truant children and oblige them to participate in programs that are less extreme than introduction to the criminal justice system. As amended, it will fix issues regarding record retention and town payments for particular types of schools.
SB-378 - allowing municipalities to remove snow from Private roads and driveways and class VI highways,(*) and relative to decertification of a bargaining unit. Original bill, as amended, allows a municipality, by approval of its legislative body, to remove snow from private roads and driveways, and class VI highways.
SB-155 - relative to section 179 expense deductions under the business profits tax, (*) and relative to refugee resettlement. New Hampshire follows the IRS code in permitting certain business assets to be written off in the year they are purchased, rather than depreciated over several years. In 2000, the New Hampshire limit was set at $20K and this bill would raise that to $25K and set the effective date to 01/01/12. This increase is overdue, revenue neutral, and would help stimulate the economy. A-1722h passed YES VV.
Note: The (*) in the title of the four bills above is the break point of the original bill title and the added portion of the old House bill.
I will stop here with this sessions work and finish it next week.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers. Hope you enjoy the day with family.
(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at email@example.com.)