The following was written by Representative Greg Sorg. Can you imagine if the Republicans had pulled this stunt?
Citizens of New Hampshire who fail to follow the activities of their state government do so at the peril of their freedom and property. A stark demonstration why took place this week.
On Wednesday, June 4th, Governor Lynch invoked an obscure, nearly obsolete provision of the New Hampshire Constitution to call a “special session” of the Legislature, to convene that very day, a day in which the Legislature was already scheduled to meet in regular session and was in fact actually assembled in Concord and conducting business when his proclamation was officially issued. Why did he do this?
He did it because House and Senate rules prevent the introduction of new bills this late in their regular annual sessions unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Governor Lynch wanted a new bill introduced that would allow the borrowing of over $100,000,000 in order to cover the record budget deficit he and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature have run up. He realized that House Republicans, who comprise over one-third of its membership, would never accede to such a bill; that we would instead demand dealing with the deficit by rolling back the Democrat spending spree of the past two years that has created it. But if he were to call a “special session” of the Legislature, not only could a new bill be introduced, but new rules of procedure, stifling inquiry of and opposition to it and guaranteeing its immediate passage, could be adopted by simple majority vote.
And so it came to pass that immediately after completing the business of Wednesday’s regular session, we were called into special session, and all the normal safeguards to open government and mature consideration of proposed legislation were summarily jettisoned. The Governor’s bill, which few of us had even seen before we were required by our newly-adopted rules to debate and vote on it that very day, was not referred to a committee; was not given a public hearing; and was not discussed, voted on and forwarded to the full House with a committee’s written recommendation. So outraged were House Republicans by the resulting caricature of representative government that we staged a walkout that brought matters to a standstill for two hours, before yielding to the inevitable and watching the Undemocrats have their wicked way with Lady Liberty.
I had never expected to witness such an egregious, cynical display of raw political power in the Legislature of this state, and I hope never to again. The Lynch administration and legislative Democrats would do well to heed Alexander Hamilton’s warning:
“[N]o man can be sure that he may not be tomorrow the victim of a spirit of injustice by which he may be a gainer today. And every man must now feel that the inevitable tendency of such a spirit is to sap the foundations of public and private confidence, and to introduce in its stead universal distrust and distress.”
Hon. Gregory M. Sorg, (R) Easton
Grafton District 3