New Hampshire’s Constitutional Questions

by Steve MacDonald

Tomorrow you can decide some things that will change your New Hampshire State constitution.  Media outlets and others who object have been actively trying to make them as confusing as possible, so as a public service, we’re here to help.

Question 1 asks if you would like to keep the Legislature from taking taxes directly from your paycheck.  New Hampshire has never taxed your paycheck before, although progressives have tried repeatedly to do so in the past, and will continue to try in the future.  Passing Question 1 empowers you to prevent them from trying to do so.  It is an historical act of a legislature to limit itself, so if you like the idea of keeping a line item off your check stub that takes money and gives it to Concord before you even see it, you want to vote Yes on Question 1.

Question 2 fixes a change that was made years ago which allowed unelected judges to create rules with the force of law.  This is a direct violation of the separation of powers.  Only your elected legislature can write rules with the force of law, and these must pass both Houses, and then be signed by the governor, or if the governor objects survive a veto override before having the force of law.   This prevents the arbitrary abuse of power by unelected members of your state government.

Question 3 asks if you believe we need a constitutional convention.  Some folks would like to convene a little gathering to make some other changes to the state constitution.  I am voting no.  We can debate the why’s and what for’s in comments but I do not feel the need to hold one.

Leave a Comment

  • C. dog e. doG

    Thanks for the reminders. Not sure about #3 as the pace of reinfusing this state with a sense of purpose has been mighty slow.
    – C. dog

  • Thomvf

    Number 3 is dangerous – we should vote NO because it is unpredictable who the delegates to the convention would be (not necessarily your State Reps and/or Senators) and the agenda would be wide open – meaning ANYTHING could come for consideration, and pass (as a PROPOSED amendment), in the blink of an eye. VERY Dangerous.

    Right now there are 2 ways to PROPOSE an amendment to the NH Constitution: 3/5 voting in the NH House and Senate (which is how we got Questions #1 and #2), or Constitutional Convention – CONCON. I prefer the former method, using the representative body to propose amendments.

    The delegates for a CONCON are “elected by the people at a biennial election”, OR earlier, by the General Court. This is where the trouble lies – the CONCON delegates may not be properly vetted through an election, if the latter were to take place.

    Once an amendment has been successfully proposed, using either of the methods above, 2/3 of the voters in a biennial election must approve it to take effect. Again, Questions #1 and #2 have been successfully proposed and are now presented for ratification by the people.

    A CONCON would potentially allow proposed amendments, which were not written by duly-elected representatives, but by CONCON delegates (removed from the burden of DIRECTLY serving the people), to make it to a biennial ballot.

    You might think this could work, with a conservative legislature and governor (if we get both), but it could turn around bite us in the ass if the legislature and governor were liberal. Stay away from Question #3 and vote “NO”. Tell your friends.

Previous post:

Next post: