We learned that life is precious as we memorialized two House members, one past, one present, who recently passed away. The House paused to recognize the life and contributions of Rep. Doug Ley and the Hon. Jack Balcom. May they both be remembered kindly.
We learned that Rep. Bob Greene can deliver an incredible trombone rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. We’ve got some very talented House members!
We learned that “Budget Day” in “House Chambers South” (AKA NH Sportsplex in Bedford) was a huge win for New Hampshire. The House delivered a plan to eliminate the Interest and Dividends Tax over the next 5 years, cut the Meals and Rooms tax to 8.5%, cut the Business Enterprise Tax to .55%, cut the Business Profits Tax to 7.6%, allowed for 30,000 businesses to be exempt from tax filings, gave $100 million in PPP tax relief, and more!!! Plus money is coming back to towns! $100 million in direct property tax relief through SWEPT, $50 million increase in meals and rooms tax distribution to cities and towns, $30 million in new building aid, and more! Not a bad day for Granite Staters, brought to you by House and Senate Republicans! During the debate on the trailer bill, HB2, Deputy Speaker Steve Smith referred to it as the “Grubby Paws Protection Act”, because the state needs to keep its grubby paws off your money!
We learned that just before the vote on HB2, House Majority Leader Jason Osborne took a moment to thank the Democrats who spoke in opposition. In a kind gesture of recognition for those Democrat speakers who lamented for the past hour about the budget, Majority Leader Osborne said, “I’d like to thank the last 20 speakers for so thoroughly selling me on House Bill 2, they kept impressing on me how many taxes we were cutting and all the businesses we were helping. Who could vote No?”
We learned that there were Democrats that were confused about the difference between HB1 (the budget) and HB2 (the trailer bill which directs how the money is dispersed). I’ll just offer this simple explanation: One for the money, Two for the show… We passed them both and we’re ready to Go! HB1 passed 208-172 and HB2 passed 198-181.
We learned that bill HB542, regarding the protection of religious liberty during a state of emergency, passed 205-158. During the debate, Rep Tim Horrigan (D -Durham) decided to ramble on for quite some time giving us a history of the Grateful Dead and some other unrelated verbalization of his stream of consciousness. Thank goodness it will all be printed in the House Permanent Journal by a vote of 254-104. A Grateful Dead album and pussy hat may be a prize to the winner who can figure out what it was that he was trying to convey.
We learned that many many other fantastic House bills that came back to us from the Senate, with changes, were passed with voice votes. Everything from being able to have tinted windows on your car (HB224), to moving the date of primary elections to August (HB98), to ending prohibitions on carrying loaded weapons in OHRV’s and snowmobiles (HB334), to defining what an adequate education is (HB242) and more!!! We accepted the Committee of Conference reports on many good bills on just voice votes! A lot of really good wins for Granite Staters highlighted the afternoon.
We learned that one vetoed bill from the Governor punctuated the end of the day. That bill was HB184, which had to do with operation of personal watercraft around the marshlands or flats around the Rye estuary and the New Castle backchannel. The Governor vetoed it saying that the bill created an unnecessary 300 ft. barrier to public use in an area that is not used frequently due to its shallow nature. Rep. Suzanne Smith (D – Hebron) spoke against the veto and then yielded to a question by her colleague Rep. Kevin Verville (R- Deerfield). He wanted to know if the marshland areas that this bill sought to protect are already underwater as a result of climate change (wink). Rep. Smith replied that these areas are protected from rising waters by eel grass. Who knew? No matter, the Governor’s veto was sustained by the House.
We learned that all in all, this was a very successful year for the Republican majority. Despite our slim advantage, we managed to pass many good policies. We passed stronger pro-second amendment legislation, school choice, protection from racist Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, a third-trimester abortion ban, election integrity laws, State of Emergency reforms, a myriad of sensible policies, and Tax Cuts, Tax Cuts and more Tax Cuts! And even taking into account some additional legislative tweaks planned for the fall, this year was a total legislative success delivered by Republicans for New Hampshire! On to next year!