By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler
RAYMOND — Although the last several columns have focused on the May 15,16 and 17 sessions, I'm taking a break to bring you some higher priority information.
At the June 6th House Session, four bills that were probably the most important bills this term, were voted on. A 3/5 majority vote (237) is required on Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution bills (CACR) for them to pass. We can't lose sight of the fact that it will take 66% of the New Hampshire voters voting 'yes' to pass these constitutional amendments into law, if they get on the ballot. Republicans have worked hard for a year and a half on these four key issues:
CACR-6 relating to taxation (super majority required to increase taxes) Providing that a 3/5 vote is required to pass legislation imposing new or increased taxes or license fees, or to authorize the issuance of state bonds and providing that the general court shall appropriate funds for payment of interest and installments of principle of all state bonds. This was the House version of the bill which we passed, on 3/30/11, (roll call - RC - vote recorded by name) RC 256-177. Bill failed RC 220-132.
CACR-12 relating to public education. Text of the bill: "[Art.] 5-c [Public Education]. In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. In furtherance thereof, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability and to determine the amount of, and the methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education." After more than 18 years since the Claremont decision, this bill would have put us in the unique position in history by allowing the voters of New Hampshire the opportunity to weigh in on the education funding issue. Bill failed RC 224-144, was reconsidered, and failed RC 224-141; surprisingly, the 224 were not all the same voters both times.
Back in the early 70's, New Jersey had the same situation we are in now. The New Jersey State Supreme Court closed the schools. After about two weeks, the legislatures bowed to a state income tax and more state taxes, just to get the court to reopen the schools. I believe our Supreme Court has been holding off during Gov. Lynch's time, but if a Republican gets in as governor in November, they will make their move. That way they can blame the Republicans for the new taxes.
CACR-13 relating to prohibiting (banning) any new tax on personal income. (1) Prohibiting any new tax on personal income. Providing that no new tax on personal income shall be levied by the state of New Hampshire. (2) Preserve the New Hampshire advantage! (3) This is essentially the same language the House passed RC 257-101 on 1/18/2012. This bill passed RC 256-110. Having already passed in the Senate, it will be on the November ballot for the people to vote on.
CACR-26 relating to administration of the Supreme Court (Supreme Court rule making authority) (1) This constitutional amendment is designed to limit the court's authority in terms of legislating from the bench, and puts the power back in the hands of the legislature. (2) The legislative statues will trump court rules, thus making the legislature superior to that of the court in the area of court administration. (3) This will help stop judicial overreach, as was seen with the Claremont decision rulings. (4) Repealing and amending the state constitution
would greatly limit the court's administrative power and rules from having the effect of law; allowing state statues to trump court administrative policy. Bill passed RC 242-96 and goes on the ballot also.
The Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond is up and running. The food is excellent. Service and atmosphere are great. Stop by and give it a try, I'm sure you'll love it, too. This is great for Raymond: fine food and a very nice pub.
(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at email@example.com.)