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Entries in NH House (235)

Tuesday
Sep182012

NH House Leaders Blast Liquor Commission for Posting Jobs for Positions Held by Personnel Testifying Before House Special Committee 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson), Chair of the Special House Committee to Evaluate the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, today offered the following comments in response to the revelation that the New Hampshire Liquor Commission last week posted job listings for Director of Enforcement and Director of Administration while both positions are currently filled. Current Director of Enforcement, Eddie Edwards, has recently testified before the Special House Committee to Evaluate the NH State Liquor Commission and has been critical of the operations of the commission and the commissioners during the ongoing investigation in to several questionable matters.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“If a government agency were trying to look like they were attempting to engage in a cover up, they could not do a better job than the current efforts of the Liquor Commission.  Posting a job of an employee who is assisting a Legislative committee would be viewed as a great way of buying silence and limiting the value of testimony.  This is a wholly inappropriate act, and if the Commissioners have even a shred of common sense, they will pull back from this plan.  As a result, they have further blemished their agency, and undermined their own credibility while having possibly put the state in a position of facing a lawsuit that could cost taxpayers thousands.  This is one more bright light indication as to why it was an enormous mistake to take oversight responsibility away from the Legislature and Executive Council.”

Rep. Lynne Ober

“When a public employee comes to the Legislature to address a concern about his or her agency we would expect that he not be immediately fired.  The idea of punishing a whistleblower for sharing evidence of possible criminal activity is completely contrary to open, accountable government.  This may be tantamount to witness tampering and possibly violates employment statues and whistleblower protection laws. While Mr. Edwards is an at-will employee, having his career threatened simply because he cooperated with lawmakers in helping to address legitimate concerns is appalling.”

Thursday
Sep062012

NH House Speaker Blasts Democrat Governor Candidates for Opposing Death Penalty for Killings During Burglary in “Kim Cates” Bill

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien today blasted the three Democrat candidate for Governor for opposing a law to allow the death penalty for first degree murder committed during the act of burglary.  The “Kim Cates” bill (HB 147), signed into law by Governor Lynch last year, was sponsored by O’Brien in response to the tragic slaying of Kimberly Cates of Mont Vernon and allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty for this additional crime.  At the Granite State Debate televised last night at St. Anselm’s College, the three candidates all stated that they would have vetoed the bill had it come to their desk as Governor.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“I was stunned to hear that each of the Democrats running for Governor would choose to deny justice for families who have lost a loved one to such a heinous crime as having a murderer commit burglary and kill someone in the sanctity of his or her home.  Our homes should be a place of safety, and to see these Democrats so callously disregard the sense of wellbeing in our own homes is staggering.  My own community has seen the tragic reality of this type of violence that has shattered our security, and this law has helped to restore our confidence in our own homes, while ensuring that any other families who experience this type of tragedy know that there will be justice.  I am appalled by these candidates who would strip us of this comfort and bring us back to a time when murderers did not need to fear the most serious consequences for their actions.  I hope they come to my community, walk with me, talk to our residents and reconsider their misguided position on this important issue.”

Thursday
Sep062012

NH House Leaders Comment on Federal Approval of Law to Clarify Voter Forms that Requires Those who Vote in NH to Reside Here 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) today offered the following comments in response to the state receiving federal approval of Senate Bill 318.  The law, which was passed over Governor  Lynch’s veto, clarifies that to vote in New Hampshire, an individual must be a resident of New Hampshire.  The law also requires the Secretary of State and Attorney General to follow up on any individual who registers to vote without providing his or her identity.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“A fundamental premise of having elections that reflect the will of the citizens of a community or a state is that those who vote should be those who live in the city or town, and certainly the state, in which they are voting.  This commonsense law simply clarifies what should be obvious to all of us – people should vote where they live.  We are appreciative that the federal Department of Justice has now approved this, as well as all of the other election-related laws that the Legislature has passed.  It is a testament to the careful thought and planning that has gone into all of the work that we have put into these steps to restore integrity to the voting process.”

House Majority Leader Pete Silva

“This bill goes a long way to undoing the damage that the Democrats did to our voting laws in their efforts to create a permissive environment that was ripe for voter fraud.  We have made huge strides to give our citizens the confidence that the strength of their votes has not been diluted by the types of shenanigans that takes place in other states, and which was placed front and center for all of us from the videos of dead people being allowed to vote in the presidential primary.  Frankly, I’m surprised that the Obama administration didn’t try to block this, since it will make it harder for them to try to steal elections here, but they undoubtedly realized that the backlash from New Hampshire residents would be even worse for them.”

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Attachment: USDOJ Approval letter for SB 318

Monday
Aug272012

NH House Leaders Comment on HHS Efforts to Begin Implementing Law to Block Welfare Fraud

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Finance Chairman Ken Weyler today offered the following comments regarding the recently issued request for proposals (RFP) by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that will implement House Bill 1658, a new law that requires that all individuals signing up for public assistance have a comprehensive background check to block welfare fraud.  A report by one potential vendor suggested that there were potentially thousands of Medicaid and Food Stamp beneficiaries with primary addresses in other states, as well as many with substantial assets that should disqualify them from assistance.  O’Brien and Weyler were sponsors of the amendment to require identity verification.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“I want to offer my thanks to Commissioner Toumpas and the staff at DHHS for moving quickly to implement this law to ensure that all those who apply for public assistance are truly eligible.  Welfare fraud not only undermines our ability to provide aid to those who are truly in need, not just those looking to game the system, but it also corrodes the integrity of state government and the self-esteem of legitimate aid recipients.  The hardworking taxpayers of New Hampshire deserve to know there will be no excuses. Taxpayers’ money will be spent wisely and we will take every step to end fraud in our welfare programs.  This identity verification is a good first step, and we will work to reform our EBT system next year as we continue these efforts to bring honest and transparent government to our citizens.”

“I do have two small concerns with the RFP that I will be addressing with Commissioner Toumpas.  One is relative to ensuring that DHHS works with the federal government to reward vendors for rooting our Food Stamp fraud.  While Food Stamps are federally funded, our citizens are both state and federal taxpayers, so we want to make sure that vendors don’t ignore Food Stamp fraud because the state will not recognize the benefit in stopping it.  Also, one provision of the RFP requires DHHS approval before being giving information to the media or other groups.  We want to make sure that the Legislature and the public still have access to all information necessary to make appropriate policy decisions.  I’m sure we can resolve these issues quickly, get a vendor in place, and begin to deliver both savings and integrity to our citizens in short order.”

House Finance Chairman Ken Weyler

“As I talk to voters across New Hampshire, a major recurring theme is their concern and anger about those individuals who are abusing the system to get welfare.  That’s why I wholeheartedly joined this legislation as a sponsor.  This is an important step to cleaning up our welfare rolls and saving the taxpayers considerable money.  Citizens know that we are now headed in the right direction to having accountability in our welfare programs.  This is among the first steps we will take over the next few years to reforming a state government that has been allowed to languish and ignore issues of integrity.”

 

Attachment (1): letter to Commissioner Toumpas

Wednesday
Aug082012

NH House Leaders Comment on Marketplace Fairness Act

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) and House Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Stepanek (R-Amherst) today released the following statement regarding the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) support of the Marketplace Fairness Act. NCSL has cited the legislation as one of its “top priorities.” New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli is sworn in as the new President of NCSL this week. 

House Majority Leader Pete Silva

“Republicans have been working hard over the past two years to make New Hampshire as competitive as possible. Democrats, on the other hand, want to undermine the New Hampshire Advantage. This year we eliminated the internet tax in New Hampshire and now Rep. Norelli, in her capacity as President of NCSL, wants to destroy New Hampshire's right not to have a sales tax. Norelli and the Democrats continue down the same road of taxing our citizens and growing government even though we saw the ill effects of what four years of making New Hampshire less competitive does to our employers and our job market. The 25% spending increase over the Democrats reign, fueled by over 100 tax and fee increases, was destroying the low tax, limited government environment. This positive environment built by Republicans, including no sales tax, is what makes our state special and differentiates us from the rest of the states around us and we need to make sure the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act that Norelli is pushing does not impede upon that advantage.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Stepanek

“We need to be working with our employers to give them confidence and means to invest, grow and hire. That means making, and keeping, New Hampshire a competitive place in which to do business. Forcing our businesses that sell online to collect a sales tax does exactly the opposite and we need to fight this disastrous legislation and those who seek to impose it in order to protect the New Hampshire Advantage. Our businesses need an advocate in government, not an enemy.”