RAYMOND — Let me start by saying that the Department of Employment Security released their January Unemployment Report showing an increase in jobs for the month. Avoiding all the media hype, the report said employed residents increased by 1,180 and the number of unemployed residents dropped by 280. Yes, 900 is not a very large figure, but it is an increase which is better than a decrease. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.2% due to adjustments made by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to account for population data updates from the 2010 census. I see this as good news, especially for this time of the year.
Also just released, the state annual financial report showing $17.7M surplus for the end of last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2011. Earlier this month, the House passed HB-1652 to move this surplus into the Rainy Day Fund, which currently stands at just $9.3M. This surplus is a far cry from the over-inflated revenue estimates of the Democrats by almost $40M. This is exactly why the House was so committed to using accurate, responsible revenue projections when we did this budget and cut spending where we could. As I've said before, we need to build-up the Rainy Day Fund, for real emergencies, and to shore up our bond rating. This is one step to bring fiscal responsibility back to Concord.
At the February 22nd Session, we started off adopting the Consent Calendar which had 69 bills, 47 of which were killed. We then moved on to the Regular Calendar passing:
HR-29 - urging the US Department of Health and Human Services to rescind its rule requiring health plans to provide sterilizations and contraceptives. HR-29 is not about the merits of contraception. It is not about whether insurers choose to offer coverage for these services in their policies. It also is not about the Catholic Church's policies on contraception, sterilization or any other of its teachings or beliefs. Rather, HR-29 stands up for our religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church and others, that have long-held principles and teachings that would be violated as a result, not of a law passed by Congress, but a rule that was promulgated by unelected bureaucrats who were empowered under ObamaCare. We need to send this message now to our congressional delegation, at this critical time, before they dream up more bad ideas. Remember, this is only a resolution. I was honored to be assigned as a "one-day substitute" to State, Federal Relations, and Veterans Affairs Committee to work on HR-29 where it was voted recommending OTP on a Republican led RC 13-5. Bill passed on House floor OTP YES RC 227-121.