We learned that the Senate sure can pack a whole lotta “stuff” into Senate bills before they toss ’em over the wall to us! One of the bills (SB162-FN) they sent to us had 72 pieces of legislation in it! That would normally be 72 separate bills! There were some House members who voted against every Senate omnibus bill just on legislative principle. They called the Senate’s method of producing Omnibus legislation “an abuse of the legislative process”. Some bills were just jam packed with all sorts of unrelated stuff, kind of reminiscent of a yard sale. But, in the end, our House committees reviewed and heard each omnibus bill, cutting out stuff they didn’t like and trying their best to fix up the remaining items so we can vote on them. Most of the bills ended up decent enough to pass, but others just had to be sent to ITL land (Inexpedient to Legislate aka “killed”). You all might want to have a chat with your state senators and tell them to stop doing this!!!
We learned that the House voted to pass SB141-FN by a vote of 197-180. This means that pending the Governor’s signature, it will be the end of the line for the NH Gun Line. The NH Gun Line is a background check phone line, managed by the NH State Police, that firearms dealers call when they are selling handguns. The background check that the state performs includes the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), as well as other databases, to determine whether the person purchasing the handgun is “approved” to make the purchase. The Gun Line has had a troubled past and there has been much controversy with its operation and inefficiency. It has caused many unnecessary delays in gun purchases and the system is run at a great cost to state taxpayers. There has been a huge debate regarding the continuation of the NH Gun Line. Today, members of the House agreed with the Senate that the NH Gun Line is unnecessary, has too many problems and should be ended. Long gun purchasers are quickly verified only with NICS checks, and there is no reason why handgun purchasers cannot be verified in the same manner.
We learned that House Democrats wholeheartedly embrace us ignoring federal law when it comes to illegal aliens and sanctuary cities, but not so much when it comes to federal gun laws and NH being a 2A sanctuary state. It doesn’t matter though, because the House passed SB154 (199-177) which prohibits our state law enforcement from enforcing any unconstitutional anti-gun over reach enacted by the Federal government or Presidential Executive Orders that would restrict or regulate the right of Granite Staters to keep and bear arms. If the Governor signs this into law, we will be shielded from whatever Draconian anti-gun legislation the person occupying the Oval Office decides to sign his name to.
We learned that local schools will be able to find relief from unexpected special education costs. The House voted to pass SB147-FN (203-172) which is an omnibus bill that includes many items, one of which is that it allows the Department of Education to set up a risk pool of monies to help prevent significant financial harm to small school districts. This will be helpful to these school districts who have an unexpected emergency need to cover special education costs for students.
We learned that the House passed another bill to protect us from the Federal Government and its crazy legislation. A bill supported by our Secretary of State (SB 89) which asserts New Hampshire’s right to run its own elections. It specifically prohibits the implementation of the procedures and requirements included in the “For the People Act of 2021” (otherwise known as HR1) on any election where the Federal Government is not permitted direct oversight, including but not limited to: state, county, municipal, and presidential races. This means in accordance with our State Constitution, our current election law remains in full force. So, again, we will tell Washington DC: We like our own laws the way they are, thank you very much.
We learned that unfortunately, the while the NH House codified some of the select emergency orders with SB 155, it did not have the courage to pass a ban on vaccine passports in an amendment. The bill’s amendment was meant to protect people from losing their jobs, being discriminated against, and banned from business establishments, for lack of COVID (or other) vaccination. It failed adoption by 11 votes (Fail 193- Pass 182). This vote was a big disappointment, especially since so many constituents emailed us to ask for this protection. Granite Staters don’t want to be forced by their employers to take a jab or be “let go”. Rep. Terry Roy, and others, worked very hard to protect the right of people to control their own health without fear from being terminated from their employment or being denied access to the marketplace. Apparently for some, “My body, My choice” doesn’t apply to the very real threat of vaccine mandates in New Hampshire.
We learned that New Hampshire will just have to wait until 2023 to try again to pass Right To Work legislation. This morning as we drove into the Bedford Sportsplex, we were greeted by throngs of union bosses and employees, who no doubt took time out of their work day to hold signs telling us to “Vote NO on RTW”. They got their wish. SB61 died with a vote of 199-175 and concluded with a vote of Indefinite Postponement 196-178. So while public employees enjoy Right to Work in NH, private sector employees that work in a union shop will still have to pony up their monthly union dues, whether the union is worth it to them or not. So much for Live Free….
Finally, we learned that there’s more fun stuff to come with more Senate omnibus bills tomorrow! Stay tuned… and keep reading the Grok!