CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

May 24, 2012

My Opinion: May 24, 2012

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler

RAYMOND — Our House Session of May 9th was quite a quick one with only 27 bills on the Consent Calendar, with three pulled off for debate. We quickly moved on the Regular Calendar which only had six. Bills that passed from Regular Calendar were:

SB-222 - relative to property and casualty insurance, insurance investigations, and insurance certificates. This bill: (1) makes technical corrections in the laws relating to property insurance. (2) makes minor corrections to a bill passed, by the House, last year that further clarifies the law regarding certificates of insurance. (3) clarifications were made regarding the insurance commissioner's ability to share information during investigations and examinations to include state, federal, and international regulatory agencies, provided that the recipient agrees to maintain the confidentially and privileged status of the document, material, and other information. (4) the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee believes these changes will improve our competitive position in world insurance markets. Bill passed

SB-274 - removing the phrase "mentally defective" from the aggravated felonious sexual assault statute. The bill replaces this archaic 19th Century term with a term used by the Supreme Court to define an individual who doesn't possess the capacity to make an informed decision. Bill passed.

SB-297 - relative to the apprentice hunting license. This bill is strictly a housekeeping bill smith-wording RSA's. Passed.

SB-255 - relative to liens for land use change tax assessments. This bill restores a 6 month window, that was in effect prior to the Dem's 2010 change, for the taxpayer to pay the tax from the date of the tax levy. Bill passed.

SB-382-FN-L - allowing for pro-ration of property assessments for damaged building. This bill as amended, allows that a tax assessment may be prorated to the extent that a damaged building is unusable and extends eligibility to all buildings rather than just homes. Bill passed.

Also the hot topic bill, SB-224, relative to lead fishing sinkers and jigs., was voted to Interim Study (IS). Since we're in the 2nd year of this House term, this is slow death for this bill. It can be studied over the summer and fall, but would have to come back next term as a new bill. Bill voted IS YES VV.

Pulled from the Consent Calendar for debate:

SB-270 - relative to civil commitment of persons found incompetent to stand trial. Bill: (1) amends the notification procedures for persons charged with a violent crime and found incompetent to stand trial. (2) expands the list of offenses which will require notification. Bill passed (roll call, vote recorded by name - RC) RC 209-46.

Our next scheduled Session was for May 15,16, and 17. All Senate bills had to be acted on by the House by May 17th. This Session's bills will be in next couple articles. Stay tuned.

The Rockingham County Executive Committee met on May 14th for a brief meeting for the purpose of voting the salaries and benefits for Elected Officials for the two year Term of Office 2013-2014 in accordance with RSA 23:7, Establishing Compensation. RSA 655:14 Filing, states the salaries and benefits must be voted on for elected officials prior to the filing date. The filing period is between the first Wednesday in June and the Friday of the following week. Fourteen (14) Representatives were present and seven (7) were absent/excused. Motion was made, seconded, and passed to recommend to full Delegation "that the salaries and benefits for elected officials remain the same". There was only one "no" vote. The full Delegation meeting was called to order, but we didn't have a quorum (46 needed) to conduct Delegation business: only 37 Representatives were present for roll call, with one more coming in late.

It's too bad that so few felt it was important enough to attend this meeting, as we are required by law, to make this vote. With no quorum, a motion was made to recess meeting until May 15 at lunch break of the House Session. Noon break comes, and meeting is called to order. The roll call was 69 present, with 20 absent, that took 10 minutes for roll call and vote.

My question is, "why couldn't the rest of our County representatives stay for those 10 minutes and do our County business?" A motion was made and passed that kept the salaries and benefits for elected officials the same as this past year. These salaries were: County Treasurer, $6,500; County Attorney, $85,000; High Sheriff, $67,000; Registrar of Deeds, $62,000; and the Board of Commissioners, $19,750 each.

Raymond's new "Tuckaway Pub" should be opening about the time you read this. After eating the items they sell in the Marketplace, I can't wait. See you there.

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