CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

January 23, 2014

My Opinion: January 23, 2014

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND —The New Hampshire House met on January 8 to take up the Governor’s vetoes and close out the 2013 Session.

The three bills that the governor vetoed were taken up. Please bear in mind that both the House and Senate passed these bills and sent them to the governor to be signed. On each bill a “veto override/passage” (VOP) is taken, with a “yes” vote to override the veto and a “no” vote to sustain the governor’s veto. To VOP a 2/3 passage is required.

The three bills were:

HB-183 (HB - House bill), relative to processing absentee ballots.

VOP RC 176-163 (RC roll call), failed, veto sustained.

HB-403, establishing a committee to study end of life decisions.

VOP RC 124-218, failed, veto sustained.

HB-505, relative to the economic development advisory council.

VOP RC 165-175, failed, veto sustained.

With the 2013 work finished, we closed out the 2013 Session, took a break to switch over the voting system.

Returning, we opened the 2014 Session with 341 members present, out of the 400 seats. Was your representative present?

The consent calendar had 76 bills on it, of which six were pulled for debate. These will be debated after the regular calendar is done. Some of the bills of interest we did were:

HB-525, raising the age of minority for juvenile delinquency proceedings from 17 to 18 years of age. Amendment (A) A-2373h passed on a voice vote. Bill passed Ought to Pass (OPT) with A OTP-A RC 324-17. The main reason to pass this bill raising the age is the enforcement of the “Prison Rape Elimination Act and the “Civil Rights of Incarcerated Persons Act”. These two laws require very expensive sight and sound separation of an inmate under 18 from those over 18.

HB-544, repealing the prohibition on a state-based health exchange. The Democrats jumped on this bill, which the policy committee voted “Inexpedient to Legislate” (ITL), with a plan to bring back their special session bill, SSHB-1 “Medicaid-expansion” bill they passed, but the Senate killed. The vote on ITL failed RC 165-178, and A-0025h was brought forward. Debate on it being germaine failed. Attempt to divide the A failed RC 160-183. Challenge of the Speakers ruling of being germaine failed RC 215-116 upholding her. Three amendments to the newly amended bill all failed on RC votes. An attempt to recommit bill to the Commerce & Consumer Affairs Committee so it could receive a proper public hearing failed RC 152-184. Bill voted OTP-A RC 181-154. Attempt to commit bill to Finance Committee failed RC 151-184. Our only hope now is that the Senate in their wisdom will kill this crazy bill again. Please contact your Senator and ask that they vote to kill it. This is not for New Hampshire!

I was very proud of the Republican Representatives unity in the votes of HB-544. Key vote analysis: 100% voted to ITL (kill) HB-544. 100% voted to divide HB-544 sections 1-8. 99% voted against amendment A-0025h. 100% voted against OTP-A of HB-544. It’s a shame we are the minority party or we would have kill this crazy bill.

HB-498, permitting the use of firearms by military or veterans groups in the compact part of a town for military or veterans events, or national holidays. These firings are done with blank shot at funerals, and on special events, honoring our veterans.

This bill would allow firing without a written permit. Sometimes these events are last minute funerals involving out of town funeral homes and permit occasionally caused problems. Bill passed OTP-A RC 265-54.

HB-435-FN (FN - fiscal note), relative to funding for chartered public school pupils. This bill will simplify the calculations of state “adequacy aid” for charter schools by setting it at half the average total cost in other public schools. Bill came out of Education Committee as ITL, but we were able to kill the ITL RC 129-156, then pass it OTP D 177-124 (D -division vote).

Bill sent to House Finance Committee as 2nd committee.

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