RAYMOND — The February 1st Session started out with an odd Consent Calendar. Over half of the bills were killed. To be on Consent, a committee recommendation can only have one or two that voted against the committee majority votes; this tells me all those killed bills had non-partisan support to kill them. Also, FN bills coming from policy committees are not supposed to go on Consent.
After the Consent Calendar, we moved to those bills still pending that were removed from the January 4th Consent, so we get them finished, thus ending last year's bills.
HB-138-FN - relative to the cold case homicide unit. This bill repeals the sunset provision in the 2009 bill, allowing the cold case unit to continue for as long as funding allows. Passed OTP RC 254-93.
HB-574 - relative to the taking of private property during a state of emergency. This bill repeals the law enacted after 9/11/01, that allows the government to take private property from citizens during a state of emergency, including such things as: food, fuel, vehicles, bedding, medicines, medical supplies, etc. This was a tremendous over-reach of power that contravenes the natural right of citizens to acquire, possess and protect property iaw Article 2 of the New Hampshire Constitution. Attempt to Table failed RC 91-254. Bill passed OTP RC 257-87.
HB-121 - relative to eligibility for the property tax exemption for the disabled. This bill simply corrects an injustice to those who were not on the social security system during their employment, and allows them to apply for the tax exemption with proof of disability using the social security system criteria. A-1540h YES VV. Passed OTP-A D (division vote, count taken, but not recorded by name) 275-56.
HCR-2 - in support of the Arizona immigration law. This resolution expresses New Hampshire's support of legislation that Arizona passed to reduce the number of illegal aliens in Arizona. A-2270h YES VV. Passed RC 243-102.
We then moved on to the Regular Calendar, passing the following:
HB-1360 - relative to the rule-making authority of the state Board of Education (BOE). HB-1360 continues the practice of having the BOE propose rules. However, unlike current practice where those rules, through RSA 541-A, have the force and effect of law, HB-1360 allows only those proposed rules approved by a majority vote in each Education Committee of the House and Senate to be adopted and have the force and effect of law. For the first time, the legislature will have real oversight on the rule- making process and will be able to ensure that the intent of the Legislature is honored in agency rules. A-0389h YES VV. Republicans passed this important bill RC 238-88. Bill goes to Executive Departments and Administration, as a 2nd committee.
HB-1383 - relative to residency status for purpose of receiving in-state tuition status within university system of New Hampshire. This bill requires students receiving in-state tuition status be legal residents of the United States. This bill moves the proof of residency status from the university system to the student, including any costs involved. It simply requires that those receiving in-state tuition at university system of New
Hampshire schools be legal residents of the United States. A-0308h YES VV. Republican led, passed OTP-A RC 250-88.
HB-1433 - relative to the instruction for pupils on the issues of HIV, AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases. Bill requires BOE to assess the curricula and other information provided by schools to students for instruction on HIV, AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases, and present its findings by May 1, 2012, to the House & Senate Education Committees for review so that the House and Senate will have time for further action this year if necessary. Bills requires BOE to complete an evaluation of the materials it has developed in light of their effectiveness in reducing the rates and trends of infection, transmission, and sexual conduct of our students. Bill also requires BOE to compare what schools are teaching to the information provided to students in other states with the lowest rates & trends of disease. A-0153h YES VV OTP-A YES VV.
HB-1274-FN - transferring the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center to a private operator and making a supplemental appropriation therefore. A-0376h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.
HB-1285-FN - repealing the state art fund. This bill is about accountability and transparency in government by deleting a dedicated fund and replacing it with appropriations from the General Fund. Passed OTP D 214-108. Bill goes to Finance Committee as 2nd committee.
HCR-32 - to urge the Congress of the United States to withdraw the membership of the US from the United Nations so that the United States may retain its sovereignty and control over its own funds and military forces. Passed OTP RC 188-129. Unfortunately this bill is only a resolution.
HCR-34 - urging Congress to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in accordance with Article 2205 of the agreement. Passed OTP D 170-138. Again, it's only a resolution.
HB-1652-FN-A - requiring the transfer of insurance premium tax revenue to the revenue stabilization reserve account (rainy day fund). The "rainy day fund" should have in it at least 5% of total budget figure. If 5% is not maintained, it effects the state bond rating, causing increased interest charges on bonds and loans. Passed OTP RC 260-81. Bill goes to Finance Committee as 2nd committee.
Pulled from Consent Calendar:
HB-1488 - relative to the alternative budget procedure in a school administrative unit. Bill requires the school district moderator to cause a vote by secret ballot that would determine if budgetary votes for that session will be taken by paper ballots, which would allow for recounts.A-0409h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.
Announced last week, the Rockingham County Delegation had a ten minute meeting during this session lunch break, to take a very important county vote. We had to vote to allow "the County to spend $12.4M, of 2012 funds, for expenses during the months of January and February, until 2012 budget is passed". This is done annually, as money is needed to operate and for salaries, prior to the actual passage of the budget. I was appalled that, although we were sitting in our seats, at the lunch break call, some even gathered to talk a minute, but when the meeting was called to order, only 61 of our 89 county representatives thought it important enough to stay the ten minutes, and vote on this very important piece of county business. Did your representative stay? Ask them. Our County was depending on their vote to keep the County operating.
(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)