Excerpts from: A newsletter for our constituents: # 5- March 15, 2012 [from the Lebanon Reps]

posted Apr 4, 2012, 4:21 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Apr 4, 2012, 5:04 AM ]

A newsletter for our constituents: # 5- March 15, 2012 [from the Lebanon Reps]


GUNS (Rep. Andy White)
Bills passed by the House:

HB 1244:allows trappers to carry a pistol or revolver for the purpose of self-defense while in the wilderness; the bill appropriately excludes weapons which might be used for the taking of game.

HB 1341:will permit discharge of firearms within the urban compact part of a city or town. The urban compact is an area where houses are closer to each other than 300 feet plus 300 additional feet around the houses. For obvious reasons, the Lebanon reps. thought this was a bad idea.

Gun bills killed by the House (FYI- we are actually debating this stuff):

HB 1318:would have allowed anyone over the age of 18 to carry a firearm openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded without any form of licensing from the state.

HB 1511:would have allowed convicted felons to possess firearms; yes, you read that right. The proponents say “this bill has merit and would help reduce workload on the over burdened court system and restore rights under the law for felons convicted of nonviolent offenses.” The House killed it 261-58.

EDUCATION (Rep. Frank Gould)
The following have passed the House:

CACR = constitutional amendments-reminder: you will be voting on these in November if they pass the House and the Senate with the appropriate number of votes (60%).

CACR 12:was passed by the House and amended by the Senate. It is going to a committee of conference so that the House and the Senate can address their differences. This bill gives authority to the General Court to define standards, establish standards for accountability, provide for funding where needed and have full discretion to determine state funding for education. Some final form of this will surely be on the November ballot. Currently, the Lebanon Reps. oppose a constitutional amendment that addresses education. We are not comfortable leaving the decision re: state funding up to the legislature. Wonder why…..

H1571:changes the education evaluation requirements of home-schooled students. It takes the Department of Education out of the mix, allowing the parents to maintain the records of the evaluations.

HB 1703:requires local high schools to have courses in business and financial literacy as a requirement for graduation. The state will require this course but will not help pay for it. This is an unfunded mandate.

A narrow escape: education bills killed by the House

HB 1713:would abolish the Department of Education and transfer all duties, etc. to the Commissioner and the board of education.

HB 1146:requiring pupils to stand during the pledge of allegiance, after a lengthy debate, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL-killed) on a roll call vote.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE (Rep. Frank Gould/ Laurie Harding)

HB1696-FN:is an education bill in part. It would have allowed prison inmates “earned time credits” off their sentences for successful completion of education programs such as GED or higher education programs. This bill was supported by a 14-1 vote of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee. It had the capacity to decrease the rate of recidivism, improve an inmate’s chance for success upon release and save money by decreasing the prison population. The parole board in the end would have the final say as to who would be admitted into this program. However, in the end the House overturned the committee recommendation of ought to pass and killed the bill.

BUSINESS AND TAXES (Rep. Susan Almy)

In the area of business and jobs, the NH House this term lets tax cuts rise above all other considerations, and has been particularly hard on regulation, including self-regulation, consumer protection and professional training requirements.

Passed by the House:

HB 1431:This bill will slash the requirements for being a barber/manicurist over the objections of a very large part of the cosmetology profession, which uses chemicals that are dangerous in the hands of an amateur. The Senate will probably kill it, if our numerous cosmetology constituents email the whole Senate.

HB 1474:makes the state Bar Association voluntary, something a few lawyers would prefer but most have opposed in the past, since it makes it much harder to weed out bad apples.

HB 1489:This bill cuts [actually, it increases it.] the heating oil import fee ending the SAFETANK program that pays for replacing unsafe and unusable tanks of low-income people, and endangering the long-established oil-spill clean-up program. Insurance coverage for oil spills does not exist. This program has rescued oil distribution companies, other businesses, towns, churches and ordinary citizens from catastrophic loss.

CACR 6:This past week CACR 6 re-surfaced in and was sent to a committee of conference.The House's version requires a 60% vote to create or raise any tax or license fee. This freezes and then cuts revenues both for the government and for the numerous professional boards, Fish and Game, and similar endeavors, as inflation eats away the fees and as economic changes both reduce revenues and shift the tax burden unfairly between payers. The Senate's version instead requires a 60% vote to raise any future budget above the level of the previous budget plus general inflation. This sets in stone the terrible service cuts made this term and the further cuts that might occur in any future recession, and ignores shifting needs, costs and population growth. If any version of either of these passes both bodies, it will be on the November ballot.

HEALTH CARE & HEALTH CARE REFORM (Rep. Laurie Harding)

HB 1297:relative to health care exchanges. This bill passed the House with a vote of 219-94 and would prohibit NH agencies and departments from participating in any planning effort that would put in place an exchange for health insurance. This exchange is an important part of the Health Care Reform law of 2010. NH’s lack of planning now will mean that the state will have to default to a federally designed health insurance exchange by 2014. HB 1297 stands in the way of NH being prepared for the future. This bill was opposed by the NH Attorney General, Department of Health and Human Services, NH Voices for Health, the NH Insurance Department, Anthem Blue Cross, the Business and Industry Association etc.

HB 1546:This bill encompasses the now infamous contraception amendment which passed last week by a vote of 196-150. This amendment offers an exception to current insurance coverage requirements for contraceptive drugs and procedures based on the business owners religious beliefs. Under the provisions of HB 1546 a business owner has the right to refuse to pay for contraception. It is important to recognize that the contraception mandate has been in place in NH for 12 years. At the time it was enacted, the Catholic Church remained silent. Religious organizations handled their religious opposition to paying for contraception by self-insuring or by not having a prescription drug program as part of their insurance options. The passage of HB 1546 represents the continuation of an ominous downhill spiral of women’s reproductive health rights.

Comments