Hassanosaurus Rex

by Steve MacDonald

Maggie Hassan has taken the bit on the issue of corporate speech and written an amendment to HB1459 that would shove her jackbooted hoof down the throat of any corporation that might want to make a public comment on any matter…


“”Advocating in favor or against any New Hampshire statute, legislation that is the subject of a bill pending before the New Hampshire legislature, or any bill or resolution introduced in the most recent session of  the New Hampshire legislature, or any matter that is the subject of a referendum which is submitted or intended to be submitted to a vote in a municipal election; or …That clearly identifies by name, image or voice a current holder of any elective office in New Hampshire, or a candidate for elective office.”” 

( reference numbers removed—I’ve pasted the entire amendment at the end of my blog post) 

What makes this intrusive assault on political speech that much more criminal is the bureaucratic process she has piled up before conscientious objectors exercising their rights of free speech and redress.


“”The corporation shall file the statement with the secretary of state, corporate division, at least 5 days before the date of commencement of political advertising and/or advocacy advertising. “” 

So imagine you have a beef with your Granite State big brother because the liberals just whipped up an amendment that could harm your business or force you to lay off the bread winners of "hard working middle class American Families."  You’d like to make a public statement about it at your companies expense to let them know why you object.  Well, there’s always a form you have to fill out.  You need to provide the formal approval of everyone with a vested fiscal interest in the company (stockholders), and the approving vote of the board of directors.  You have to identify how much you plan to spend.  You’d best be in compliance with all the others laws and statutes or Kathy Sullivan will be filing more complaints with the AG’s office.  And you must then submit it all to the pencil pushers at the Secretary of State’s Office and pay a $25.00 filing fee.  Yes, there is a fee to speek freely.  You must then also wait five days before you can air your position or opinion.  If it’s even still relevant by then. 

Failing to dot the ‘I’s’ and cross the “T’s” could cost you a $5,000.00 in fine. 

And get this… 

“”Each individual airing or broadcasting on radio or television or by on-line viewing of a political advertising or an advocacy advertisement by a corporation that has failed to comply with RSA 293-A:7.49 shall constitute a separate violation.””   

So imagine that your “advertisement” ends up on YouTube and it goes viral and Kathy Sullivan decides to file a complaint because you missed an ‘I’ or a ‘T’ while expressing your so-called right to political speech.  While you are deciding how much it will cost to litigate those charges against the State (Sullivan doesn’t have to pay for that the taxpayer does)  consider that the organization paying for the ad can be fined by Maggie Hassan and the State of New Hampshire for every hit that video gets.   100,000 hits times $5000.00 equals….?  oops.   Aren’t you glad you chose to do business in New Hamshire?

This is an assault on free speech.

It complicates the process of speech and by its very existence will repress legitimate political objection. 

It favors political speech by Unions like those that keep Hassan’s campaign and her liberal agenda fat and happy.

It assumes you are too stupid to not be mislead.

It uses state power to protect government and political incumbents from criticism.

And maybe I am overreaching, but it encourages business and industry to set up shop someplace where they are more free to represent the interests of their employees and investors when the state in which they operate goes off the reservation. 

So Maggie has produced for us an Orwellian, speech limiting, job killing-investment mauling-growth slaughtering amendment that objects to corporate speech but favors deep pocketed, well funded political speech by public sector unions that overwhelmingly favors Hassan and her democrat coven.  What’s even better?  That union money is the tax dollars paid by businesses (and residents) whose taxes pay the state union employees and from which union dues are drawn.   

This thing is ugly.  It’s the Hassanosaurus Rex.  And it represents the meddling of government in the finer points of the free expression of political ideas.  Do not permit your government  to fiddle with political speech, or you will soon find yourself with less and less of it. 

This amendment must die.  Find your state senator.  Tell this to vote against this

Text of amendment from the Senate Calendar

Amend the bill by inserting after section 47 the following and renumbering the original sections 48-49 to read as 52-53, respectively:

 

      ­48  New Subdivision; Shareholder Approval for Political and Advocacy Advertising.  Amend RSA 293?A by inserting after section 7.47 the following new subdivision:

Shareholder Approval for Political and Advocacy Advertising

      293-A:7.48  Political Advertising and Advocacy Advertising.  In this subdivision:

                  (a)  “Advocacy advertising” shall mean any communication:

                        (1)  Advocating in favor or against any New Hampshire statute, legislation that is the subject of a bill pending before the New Hampshire legislature, or any bill or resolution introduced in the most recent session of  the New Hampshire legislature, or any matter that is the subject of a referendum which is submitted or intended to be submitted to a vote in a municipal election; or

                        (2)  That clearly identifies by name, image or voice a current holder of any elective office in New Hampshire, or a candidate for elective office.

                  (b)  “Candidate” means any person who has registered or for whom a committee has been registered pursuant to RSA 664:3 for the purpose of soliciting receipts or making expenditures to support the person’s candidacy or possible candidacy for office including candidate’s committees, friends committees, exploratory committees, and draft committees.

                  (c)  “Commencement of political advertising and/or advocacy advertising” means the first dissemination by an organization of a communication containing political advertisement or advocacy advertisement by any means whatsoever.

                  (d)  “Communication” means “communication” as defined in RSA 664:2, VII.

                  (e)  “Political advertising” means “political advertising” as defined in  RSA 664:2, VI. 

      293-A:7.49  Filing with New Hampshire Secretary of State.  Prior to commencing any political advertising or advocacy advertising, any corporation, domestic or foreign, intending to engage in political advertising or advocacy advertising in the state of New Hampshire, shall file a statement with the New Hampshire secretary of state, corporate division, that the corporation intends to engage in either political advertising or advocacy advertising.  The corporation shall file the statement with the secretary of state, corporate division, at least 5 days before the date of commencement of political advertising and/or advocacy advertising.  The corporation shall attach to the statement a vote of the shareholders of the corporation, certified as true and complete by the secretary of the corporation, authorizing the corporation to engage in political advertising or advocacy advertising in the state of New Hampshire.  The shareholders’ vote shall be dated no more than 12 months prior to the date of filing with the secretary of state.  The corporation shall also attach to the statement a vote of the board of directors of the corporation, certified as true and complete by the secretary of the corporation, authorizing the president of the corporation to expend corporate funds or other corporate assets for the purpose of paying for political advertising and/or advocacy advertising in the state of New Hampshire.  The vote of the board of directors shall specify the maximum amount of corporate funds or other assets that the president of the corporation is authorized to expend in paying for political advertising or advocacy advertising.  The statement shall be in substance the following form:

______________________, of __________________________, ______________ County, State of ____________________, intends to engage in [check the appropriate box or boxes]:

      ? Political Advertising

      ? Advocacy Advertising

in the state of New Hampshire.  Attached hereto is a true and complete copy of a shareholder vote of the corporation authorizing the corporation to engage in political advertising or advocacy advertising, and a true and complete copy of a vote of the board of directors of the corporation authorizing the president of the corporation to expend corporate funds or other assets for political advertising or advocacy advertising.

                                                                                  ____________________________________

                                                                                  [Duly Authorized Secretary of __________]

      293-A:7.50  Filing Fee.  Any statement filed in accordance with RSA 293-A:7.49 shall be accompanied by a $25 filing fee.

      293-A:7.51  Penalties.  A violation of RSA 293-A:7.49 shall result in a civil penalty of $5,000 per violation.  Each individual airing or broadcasting on radio or television or by on-line viewing of a political advertising or an advocacy advertisement by a corporation that has failed to comply with RSA 293-A:7.49 shall constitute a separate violation.  Any candidate or voter may make a complaint in writing to the attorney general of any violation of this subdivision.  If the attorney general determines that a provision of this subdivision has been violated, he or she may:

                  (a)  Issue an order requiring the violator to cease and desist from its violation.

                  (b)  If the attorney general’s order is not obeyed, petition to the superior court of the county in which th
e violation occurred for an order of enforcement, and to enjoin any further political advertising or advocacy advertising until the appropriate statement has been filed.

                  (c)  Prosecute to final judgment through his or her designee if sufficient cause for such prosecution is found.

Cross posted at NH Insider

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