We learned that in order to protect us all from catching the Coronavirus the Speaker of the House decided it was best to send us all to the current COVID Capitol of NH… Durham.
Here we all were, gathered in the Whittemore Arena again to ostensibly social distance and wear face masks and face shields, but this time while UNH was in session.
Mind you, State Representatives were not mandated to wear face masks, and in fact we were given a choice. The seating had changed a bit though since last session. While all the so-called “Mask Compliant” Representatives sat inside the arena, the “Medically Compromised” folks were moved to the section behind where the Democrats sat.
The “Liberty Section” (otherwise known by House Democrats as “Non-Compliant”) was moved to the other side of the room, where the “Medically Compromised” folks sat the last time. It seems that the Democrats did not like having the so-called “Non-Compliant” people near them, or perhaps they didn’t want photos taken of them taking a knee during the National Anthem, or not social distancing and wearing masks at times. No matter, some of the Liberty Section Representatives had sufficient telephoto lenses to document House Democrats behaving badly.
We learned that the Democrat Majority is interested in running for office, but not actually showing up to do the work of the people. That was evidenced by a motion that they moved which would ask this question of the NH Supreme Court: “Would holding a session of the NH House of Representatives remotely, either wholly or in part, whereby a quorum could be determined electronically, violate Part II, Article 20 of the NH Constitution?”
Amendments were attempted by Constitutionally aware Republican House members to change the wording to say “any article” instead of just “Part II Article 20”, because there may be other places in the NH Constitution where actually being present may matter. The motion did pass without the amendments so now this ends up being an incomplete question which will render an incomplete answer by our NH Supreme Court.
As a result of COVID we’ve all seen the dismal failure of remotely trying to do public hearings and other House work, since Internet capability is not optimal, stable or accessible to everyone. Additionally, using a phone to “attend a meeting” is not an optimal experience and transparency of proceedings and public involvement suffers as a result. There is much that is missed by not being at a meeting face to face, plus can you imagine 400 State Representatives Zooming in, along with Gallery members, to do a House Session? Nevermind the cost of hardware and software for the State to accomplish this, but otherwise it appears to be an unmanageable and unsavory experience for the House Clerk and his staff and everyone else involved!
It makes me think that instead of a sincere move to “modernize”, the Democrats proposing remote House work are attempting to relinquish their duties to actually come to Concord and actually do the “People’s Work” face to face with each other and/or the public. Even to use remote methods to accomplish Committee Work was a nightmare and resulted in the mess of bills we had to deal with during these past 6 months.
This comes from the Democrat Majority who could not get all of their Committee work completed on time, or manage the House workload properly, even before COVID hit our state!
We learned that for each of the 22 bills vetoed by the Governor, and the plethora of separate bills included in those bills, those vetoes were summarily sustained by the House as a 2/3rds majority could not be reached to overturn the vetoes. (Note: 17 bill vetoes were sustained in the House and 5 in the Senate)
Speaker Shurtleff had to say, 17 times, “and the Governor’s veto is sustained” as well as announce “the question failed” 17 times. It’s a good thing too because some very bad legislation was struck down. Everything from net metering subsidies resulting in higher electric rates, to a couple of awful red flag gun bills, and a state income tax disguised as a family medical leave insurance program to an “independent” (wink, wink, nod, nod) advisory commission on redistricting, went up in smoke.
What’s more, is some of these awful bills had come through the pipeline before and were vetoed. The Democrat Majority does really and truly believe in recycling and the result was the same… it all ended up deservedly in the trash.
We learned that disparaging remarks about the Governor made by proponents of overturning his vetoes were allowed by the Speaker during debates and Parliamentary Inquiries, but taking a knee to the National Anthem was acceptable decorum and behavior.
We learned that the Sergeant-at-Arms can really belt out “Roll Call” and make it reverberate in the Whittemore Arena, and we will miss that melodious bellow until the next session roll call votes.
Most of all, we learned that when NH voters go to the polls this coming November, they should remember all of the 70+ bills that were vetoed and sustained by Governor Sununu and the House Republicans in these past 2 years.
We prevented higher taxes, restrictions on gun rights, and an income tax and sales taxes. We prevented more regulation on businesses and higher electricity costs to consumers. We prevented bills whose mandates would have raised insurance premiums and stifled choices in educating our children. We prevented bills that would have hurt businesses by mandating them to pay higher wages for unskilled jobs, and bills that would have hurt the integrity of our elections. We prevented bills that would have taken away privacy rights, parental rights, and personal freedoms. Most of all, the Governor and House Republicans worked hard to prevent New Hampshire from becoming California, New York, or Connecticut.
Prior to COVID, we had a strong economy and good public policy as a result of Conservative leadership. New Hampshire scores high on many metrics, is a great state to live, work, recreate, and do business in. As we close out this year’s session, may the voters of this State remember how special our State truly is; that we can weather the tough times of a pandemic and that we can be better in the end without radical Leftist Progressive policies which have been the downfall of the states which surround us. Let’s vote to keep New Hampshire New Hampshire. Live Free or Die.