NH House Majority - Leadership Statement on Supreme Court Decision Regarding HB 89

The following statement was issued by House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (r-Salem) in response to today's decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court that HB 89, as passed by the House, violates the Separation of Powers Clause and is unconstitutional.  

"HB89 is not about usurping the powers of the executive branch, but rather it is about protecting the people of New Hampshire against Obamacare, unfunded mandates and the tremendous costs associated with a program that our taxpayers will have to pay for out of their own pockets.  

The New Hampshire Supreme Court’s opinion that HB 89 is unconstitutional represents an egregious example of judicial activism and an abandonment of originalism in judicial interpretation.  The Court’s opinion is based on a completely untenable reading of Part II, Article 41.   While the justices claimed that history revealed that legislation like HB 89 usurped the governor’s powers under Part II, Article 41, they simply ignored the historical evidence presented in the speaker’s and majority leader’s brief that the 1964 amendment to Part II, Article 41 was not intended to give the governor constitutional authority over the State’s civil officers. 

Moreover, the Court did not cite a single source of New Hampshire legal authority or history to support its claim.  Instead, as the Court did in the Claremont II case where it wrote a 1989 decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court into Part II, Article 83 of the New Hampshire constitution, the Court wrote court decisions from Alabama and Mississippi and elsewhere into Part II, Article 41.     

Rather than defining the executive power based on what the voters of this State intended when they amended Part II, Article 41 in 1966, the Supreme Court has rewritten Part II, Article 41 to give the governor powers which the governor was never intended to have," said Bettencourt.

    Further inquiries should be directed to House Legal Counsel Edward Mosca 603-289-3662