CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

May 31, 2012

My Opinion: May 31, 2012

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler

Back when I was young, May 30th was Memorial Day. The day has since changed to the last Monday of the month to make it a 3-day holiday. I still like the original day, as it sets aside a "special day" to remember all our fallen military and other deceased family and friends. They all deserve that one special "day" to be remembered. May they all rest in peace. I want to say a big "Thank You!" to the Raymond American Legion and Raymond Veterans of Foreign Wars for a very very nice parade, ceremony at the cemetery, and ceremony on the "Common". Well done! Thank You - our fallen veterans deserve it.

Our May Session on May 15, 16, and 17 was a very long ordeal. It took us three full days to get through only 51 bills on the Regular Calendar, plus the six that were pulled off the Consent Calendar for debate. After adopting the Consent Calendar, the following bills passed off the Regular Calendar:

SB-175 - regulating the commercial use of a person's identity. Bill recognizes in statute, that a human being possesses the property right to their own image and the right to control the use of that image in commerce. As amended, it creates what 15 other states recognize as a descendible right of property, but sets a limit to ensure that after a respectable amount of years that right expires. Bill passed on voice vote.

SB219-FN - relative to guaranteed issue for health insurance and relative to federal health care reform and health care exchanges. (1) As amended, bill grandfathers certain state insurance policies under the federal health care overhaul of 2010, and implements a minor provision of the act, which guarantees issue for health insurance to individuals under 19 years of age and prohibits the imposition of a pre-existing exclusion period for these individuals. (2) Prohibits the state of New Hampshire from planning, creating, or participating in a state health care exchange. Bill passed on voice vote.

SB-356 - limiting the authority of delegates to Article V conventions and re-codifying the laws relative to religious societies and (/) adding a religious exemption to the insurance mandates relative to coverage for contraception. This bill: (1) Limits the scope of amendments that may be considered by delegates to a constitutional convention called pursuant to Article V of the US Constitution. (2) Re-codifies Title 29, relative to religious societies. (3) (A - Amendment) A-2215h adds (/) the text of previously passed HB-1546, a religious exemption to the insurance mandates relative to coverage for contraception. A-2208h passed voice vote. A-2215h passed (roll call - RC) RC 205-134. Bill passed (Ought to Pass) OTP-A RC 210-130.

These (/) amendments are passed House bills that the Senate killed, and were added back on to Senate bills in attempt to save them, by having a committee of conference.

SB-378 - allowing municipalities to remove snow from private roads and driveways and class VI highways. Back from second committee without change; passed OTP (D - Division vote, name not recorded) D 195-137.

SB-328 - relative to the procedure for filling a vacancy on a cooperative school board. Bill changes the statute to create a process for filling the vacancy for co-operative school boards for situations where there are either single or multiple members representing a town. A-2104h and bill passed OTP on voice votes.

SB-373-L - authorizing the retention of funds by a school district and (/) relative to regional vocational education centers in the Manchester school district. Bill: (1) Authorizes a school district to retain funds for emergency expenditures or to reduce the tax rate. (2) Makes changes to the definition and enrollment requirements for regional vocational education centers in Manchester school district. (3) Provides that the Manchester school district shall bear the costs associated with such changes. A-2193h and A-2260h passed on voice votes. Bill passed OTP D 245-68.

SB-402-FN - relative to the adoption of policies for the management of concussion and head injury in student sports. Amended bill: (1) Encourages the school board of each district to develop guidelines to inform and educate coaches, students, athletes and parents of the nature and risk of concussion and head injury while participating in student sports. (2) Requires a school coach, official, licensed athletic trainer, or health provider to remove a student athlete from a practice or game upon suspicion that the student-athlete has sustained a concussion. (3) in re NH Interscholastic Athletic Assoc. practice, the student-athlete may return upon receiving written authorization from a health care provider. (4) This legislation is only directed to student sport in grades 9-12. A-2124h passed on voice vote. Bill passed OTP-A D 296-26.

SB-236 - relative to nomination of candidates and political organizations, election procedure, and recounts. This bill was originally requested by the NH Secretary of State. As amended, it: (1) Modifies the procedure for nominating a political organization. (2) Changes various dates relating to nomination of candidates, recounts, and hearings by the ballot law commission. (3) Permits a voter who has been registered as an undeclared voter to register as undeclared after voting in a primary by signing an undeclared voter list. (4) Changes the requirements for the ballots cast form. A-2169h and bill OTP-A passed on a voice votes.

SB-289-FN - relative to presenting photo identification to vote in person. As amended, this bill: (1) Would require that a voter present one of four specified types of photo identification, starting November 1st, 2012. (2) If unable to do so, he or she must sign a qualified voter affidavit before voting. (3) Such affidavit requires a photograph of the voter to be taken and attached. This was a Republican bill with A-2169h passing RC 223-118, and bill OTP-A passed RC 226-115.

SB-318-FN - relative to voter registration. As amended, the bill: (1) Removes a statement from RSA 654:1that was added in 2007 that could be construed to mean that someone can vote in NH without being a resident of the state. (2) Restores language to the voter registration form that existed prior to July 1, 2007.

(3) Changes the verification procedure to follow up on people who register to vote without showing approved photo identification. Both A-2101h and Flr A-2223h passed on voice vote. Bill passed OTP-A RC 224-102.

With that, I'll continue next week.

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