To my constituents in Allenstown, Epsom, & Pittsfield:
This week, my committee met for the last time this year, to finish three bills we’d held over. HB 457, changing the duties of the legislative youth advisory council, was amended to simply allow some of their meetings to be held virtually. This should help the lack of geographic diversity on the council, especially since many members are too young to drive. It was recommended to pass, 18-0.
HB 230, on regulation of child care centers, was amended to delete the study committee and add a stronger ban on retaliation by the licensing investigators, which has been an issue for some centers. It was also recommended to pass as amended, 18-0.
HB 275, on the governor’s emergency powers, was amended to clarify that the legislature may vote to end a specific emergency order, not just the entire state of emergency, and allow the governor to extend an emergency no more than three times, for 84 days in total. The legislature may declare an emergency for 90 days, and renew it as necessary. This amendment passed, 17-1, but the final recommendation was entirely partisan, 10-8.
The redistricting committee held public sessions as well. Most of the testimony was about the congressional map, but a few people did mention that they wanted their own representative from their own town. Well, we tried to do that, but the constitution requires every town to be in a nonfloterial district, and all districts must have equal population “within a reasonable deviation.” So small towns must be grouped, sometimes with larger towns. Chichester, for example, has less than one representative worth of population, and it’s surrounded by towns with more than one. All maps currently under consideration join it with Pittsfield, for a nice two rep district, but that means Pittsfield can’t get its own representative district. (Epsom, Pembroke and Louden also adjoin Chichester, but the numbers don’t work nearly as well with any of them.)
Based on comments from the hearings, I’ve revised my map to keep Concord intact and not share any districts with the adjoining towns. That lumps Hopkinton together with Bow, but that’s the only place a one-plus rep town is joined with another. We will be voting on the entire set of electoral districts: county commissioners, state representatives, and Congress, on Tuesday. I expect a partisan vote.
Representative Carol McGuire