We learned that yesterday in “House Chambers South” (AKA NH Sportsplex in Bedford) it was “Concurrence Day”! It was a very good day to concur 51 House bills that were returned from the Senate with minor changes. Many good pieces of legislation are now off to the Governor’s desk! Additionally, there were 2 bills establishing committees and commissions (HB391 and HB186) that were voted Non-concur and killed, thereby saving NH taxpayers some money.
We learned that if the Governor signs House concurred bill HB195, no one in NH can be “McCloskey-ed”. You remember the McCloskey’s. Mark and Patricia McCloskey were the couple in St. Louis that protected their home with guns drawn as rioters broke down a gate and trampled onto their property. They were prosecuted for doing that. This bill, HB195, will protect people from that kind of prosecution. Displaying your firearm will be an exception to reckless conduct. The House was glad to concur with the Senate changes (206-155) which made the bill even better than the House version.
We learned that the Senate added “Live Free or Die” to HB 69 which gave authority for schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust”. The House concurred with that change (211-150). During debate against the bill, Rep. Woodcock (D – North Conway) compared God to a choice of French Fries (because not everyone likes French Fries) and suggested that the word “Die” in our State motto might trigger a student to be suicidal. Needless to say, he does not believe that either motto should be displayed in our schools. The debate will be printed in the permanent journal so his incredulous protest against our national and state motto will be immortalized.
We learned that House Democrats were adamant that parents NOT be allowed to take private action against a school if the school allows their child to be continually bullied and does nothing to stop the bullying. Yes it is true!…. Democrats voted to NOT give parents legal tools to protect their children from bullying in school. Thankfully, HB140 was concurred (203-158) by Republicans in the House and will now go to the Governor’s desk for signature. If he signs it, then parents will have legal recourse and be able to take private action, as they should.
We learned that House Democrats were against HB320 and concurring with the Senate version requiring a civics competency test requirement for high school graduation. House Democrats do not believe that knowing the material on a US civics exam makes someone a better US citizen. That begs the question about how well any of them would do taking the same test that someone applying for citizenship in our country must take. HB320 now goes to the Governor after a 202-161 vote to concur with the Senate’s minor changes.
We learned that, again, hypocrisy has no bounds in the House Democrat caucus. Rep. Tanner (D- Georges Mills), represented her caucus in opposition to concurring with the Senate version of HB321, which requires schools to compile and submit an annual report on gifted and talented kids, because she claimed it’s an “unfunded mandate”. If you had a dime for every bill her caucus voted for that was an unfunded mandate, you might very well be able to fund a few of the many unfunded mandates they have passed. In fact, she was one of the House Reps that was very much against the bill to repeal an unfunded mandate earlier this session (HB458) which requires middle and high schools to provide menstrual products in every bathroom. In actuality, HB321, is not an unfunded mandate. This is data they should be compiling as part of their administrative work and in support of gifted and talented students. It’s “for the children”. It’s also off to the Governor’s desk.
We learned that another bill (HB183) that is “for the children” was concurred overwhelmingly by the House (352-6). That was the “lemonade stand” bill. Yes, pending the Governor’s signature, no child’s lemonade stand will be required to have a license or permit to operate in NH. Lemonade stands give our kids their first introduction to entrepreneurship in NH and the House overwhelmingly supports that. If you want to know the 6 statist grinches who voted against concurrence they were Rep. Gallager (D-Concord), Rep. Gilman (D-Exeter), Rep. Harriott-Gathright (D- Nashua), Rep. Horrigan (D-Durham), Rep. Maggiore (D- North Hampton), and Rep. Parshall (D-Marlborough).
We learned that the House concurred with the Senate changes to HB220, the “Medical Freedom Act” (198-162). This bill is about medical freedom with regard to immunizations and also establishes a committee to examine the policy of medical intervention including immunizations. Section I (the important part) reads: “Every person has the natural, essential, and inherent right to bodily integrity, free from any threat or compulsion by government to accept an immunization. Accordingly, no person may be compelled to receive an immunization for COVID-19 in order to secure, receive, or access any public facility, any public benefit, or any public service from the state of New Hampshire, or any political subdivision thereof, including but not limited to counties, cities, towns, precincts, water districts, school districts, school administrative units, or quasi-public entities.” This bill is now off to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
We learned that the Senate’s change to HB174, relative to a collision between a cat and a motor vehicle, was to remove the name of this new law. The Senate doesn’t like to “name bills” so they removed the name. This bill now puts cats on equal status with dogs in the RSA that deals with this matter. The bill was named “Arrow’s Law” after Prime Sponsor Rep. Abbas’ cat, Arrow, who had been hit by a car and left to die. The concurrence passed with a voice vote, but the NH House will always remember Arrow.
We learned that all in all, it was a good day to complete House and Senate work. We’ve passed some very good legislation and now the Governor will have his say. The next time the NH House will meet it will be to vote on a State budget and any other bills that go to Committee of Conference. For the conferees, “may the odds be ever in their favor”.