Guest Blogs


To the Legislators and Governor: Do Your Duty

by Mike Biundo, Chairman NH Advantage Coalition

When you entered the ballot box last fall, did you vote for a state Representative?

If you did, did you expect that he or she would take an oath to uphold the NH Constitution?

And did you, when you had the ballot before you, vote for your representative Supreme Court member?


Funny, because the justices are acting like legislators, and if we don’t tell them to stop, we may be backed into a sales or income tax in NH.

You see, in 1993, the Court made up a “right” to a state-funded education. The fact that the NH Constitution doesn’t do this was irrelevant to them. In 1997, the justices ruled that since they had already said that the state had an obligation to fund education, and towns and cities fund education through the use of a portion of their property taxes, that local property tax for education was really a state tax, and all state taxes had to be “proportional and reasonable”. Therefore, there had to be one, uniform tax to fund education equally all across the state. Some politicians, ready to comply in order to get to the political end-game they had desired, proposed, yeah, you guessed it, state-wide income and sales taxes. Luckily, the traditions of NH won out. The sales and income taxes were avoided, although a state-wide property tax of $6.60 per thousand was instituted. That merely began a long period of town-to-town redistribution of wealth, rather than directly taking it from innocent victims. Plunder is plunder, but it was excused by some because, they told us, we all “live in a community” and to resist having money taken from your town and given to another was just un-neighborly.

Well, have no fear. The justices are not done trying to shove us into the economic Mack truck that is a broad-based tax. Their recent “Londonderry” decision, ordering the legislature to somehow define an “adequate” education, will get us there if we do not stop their malfeasance now.

The justices have set a deadline of July 1, 2007 for the legislature to define a “constitutionally adequate education”, despite the fact that the term “adequate education” doesn’t appear in the NH Constitution. If the legislature does not jump to the Court’s demands, the justices will appoint a “magistrate” to handle this work for them.

Interesting, huh? The appellate judicial branch of the NH government will make law. Remember when you voted for them?

You remember, don’t you?

Ever read the NH Constitution? Just like a “right” to a state-funded, “adequate” education isn’t in there, the legislative power of the judicial branch isn’t anywhere to be found either!

If the real legislators do not stand up for their civic duty as our representatives and rebuff the Court, they will not only be giving up their Constitutional power, they will be backing us right into a broad-based tax.

As it stands, the proposals for “education adequacy” being produced in concord to fulfill this unwarranted Court “mandate” bring the overall financial liability of NH for education to upwards of $2 billion. If that burden is accepted, you can say goodbye to your control over your own school, and you can say goodbye to the financial distinction that gave New Hampshire an advantage over our neighbors. We will be backed into a broad-based tax to pay for this. The legislators need to know, and Governor Lynch needs to know.

Likewise, they need to know that they have the duty, the responsibility, to tell the court they cannot make law, that their rulings are improper, and that the legislature will not be treated like second-class members of the government.

We elected our representatives, not the justices.

Before July 1, lets tell them we are still aware of this.


Trial Lawyers Love House Bill 143

by Rep. Steve Stepanek, Republican Whip

The Trial Lawyers are in heaven now that the New Hampshire House passed a bill that will allow them to sue and collect damages from the defendant with the deepest pockets, regardless of how liable the defendant is. House Bill 143 would change the way damages are apportioned in personal injury action involving multiple parties.

The easiest way to explain this is to provide an example. The New Hampshire Municipal Association states this: a car runs a stop sign and collides with a town plow truck. A passenger in the car is injured. The passenger sues both the driver of the car (his friend) and the town. Before trial, he settles the claim against his friend for $25,000. The trial proceeds, with the town now as the sole defendant. The jury finds that the plaintiff’s friend was 99 percent at fault and assesses total damages of $170,000. Under existing law, the town would pay only its proportionate share of the damages: one percent of $170,000 or $1,700. Unfortunately, HB 143 would force the town to pay 100 percent of the damages awarded even though the town was found to be only one percent responsible. To be fair, this scenario would have the town actual pay $170,000 less the $25,000 paid by “the friend” for a total payment of $145,000. This is still far greater than the $1,700 for which the town would be responsible under current law.

Supporters of the trial lawyers and HB 143 argue that this allows plaintiffs to collect the full damages regardless of each defendant’s ability to pay. They claim that the plaintiffs should have the right to go after whomever they wish, even if that means the defendant with the deepest pockets but the least amount of responsibility. I believe that all plaintiffs have the right to sue for damages, but the question is who should shoulder the most blame? If the defendant most at fault does not have the resources to pay his or her portion of the damages, should the other defendants who have been found proportionally less at fault be forced to pick up the balance of the settlement just because they have more insurance coverage or “deeper pockets”?

The answer is no. If fairness is to prevail in our justice system, defendants must be held accountable for only their proportion of responsibility. The NH Supreme Court agrees and recently ruled that damage awards in civil actions must be proportional to the level of responsibility for the action. HB 143 would overturn this ruling, which is why the NH Municipal Association, the NH Business & Industry Association, NH Police Chiefs Association, New Hampshire’s Hospital and Medical Associations, numerous chambers of commerce (Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth among others), and many other organizations all oppose this legislation.

The bottom line is that businesses, our towns, cities, and our insurance companies will foot the bill of those who cannot afford to pay their proportion of the decision. This legislation, if passed by the senate and signed by Governor Lynch, would mean increased taxes when our communities pay beyond their fair liability; means increased insurance premiums for us from our companies forced to shoulder more risk in excess of their own; and would put our strong economy and friendly business environment in jeopardy.

Please encourage your senator and Governor Lynch to stand with the Supreme Court, our communities and our businesses and do the right thing by killing this unfair piece of legislation.



Boscawen Shooting

by David Zwald

Friday night I was working late at the State Prison facility in Concord when I noticed several police and EMS units heading north on State Street. I turned on my scanner and learned what tragedy was transpiring in Boscawen that night. This brought back memories of words that were etched into my mind that I heard in a Child and Family Law legislative hearing on May 19th of 2005. These words came from the Administrative Judge for the State Courts Family Division. It was when Representative Blanchard asked Judge Kelly if the courts review findings to learn from their mistakes. The Judge answered, "only in cases where there is a homicide". This legislative session was recorded on video tape and posted on the internet, so there is no denying that he said such a statement. Although his answer was always with me, I had to review it to recall just who asked him this important question.

I found such an answer very disturbing. Based on my experience, the court makes numerous mistakes , yet someone has to die before they will be bothered look into them. Most of these "mistakes" are blatant and are a result of judges legislating from the bench following personal and/or political beliefs over the laws put in place by the states elected officials. Yet in my case, which will never be reviewed because it doesn't fit the "criteria" set by the court that someone must be killed first. Because in my case, the only thing "killed" was my relationship with my children, and also my savings account, both which the court has no concern over. The fact that several media outlets reported that the mother "won custody" or was "given full custody" shows that RSA 461-A, which has been in effect since Oct 2005 is not being followed. I'm sure this case was after that RSA became effective, yet the "custody attitude" is still there in the courts based on media reports. The whole purpose of this legislation was to prevent children from being seen as a piece of property to be fought over and "won or lost", and shows that personal beliefs of judges are still being placed over law.

While I have absolutely no sympathy for the person who committed this act, that all goes to the child who will be scared for life from this, I do feel that a FULL investigation into this case be done, now that the homicide criteria has been met. I would like it to be done in such a way that any attempted cover-up from the court for any "mistakes" they may have made will not happen. I do not want this to turn into yet another case of the courts doing to little to late, and although for this child it already is, it may save another innocent child in the future from this same tragedy.

Sadly, I think Mr. Smith felt that he was not treated fairly, and feeling he had nowhere to turn, took the law into his own hands. And now two people are dead, two more in the hospital, one of them a innocent child, and many others traumatized for life because of it. Why do I think that? It is because in my opinion Mr. Smith was treated no differently in the courts than the hundreds such as myself before him, it's just he handled it differently, violently. That is why I firmly believe there should be a though investigation into this matter, to insure that there will be no more Mr. Smiths. If there is not something done about it, it will only be a matter of time before this senseless act of violence will be repeated.

While this incident shows just how important your work is, and I, like many others respect all the hard work put into family law reforms to insure that ALL parties are treated fairly and equally. I think the important thing to do right now is follow the checks and balances that our founding fathers based our government on and find out WHY this happened. Maybe if the court did not have the "homicide criteria" this event may have never happened.

While I do not want to use this tragedy to further an agenda or legislation on my part, but I'm sure there will be many who will. My primary "agenda" is to see that this NEVER happens again, and I hope yours is too. But I feel this can only be achieved if all people can go into a court room and be treated both fairly, equally, and with dignity and respect.


Who's Supposed to Serve Who?

by Tom Sutliffe

Dear Ms. Munsey:

We were a little confused and rather concerned with your untimely response to our letters of February 8th, 12th & 26th, 2007, with full knowledge that time was of the essence. The 2006 School Annual Report, as you know by statute, is required to be in the voter’s hand 7 days prior to the election which is March 13th. A letter from you was received March 3rd, 2007 wherein you stated, [our concern] “is a matter for the Epping School Board” and “I will let you know their decision as soon as I know”.

We wrote to you because we are very concerned with what your understanding is regarding our request for “having our viewpoint included, only if the school board has planned to open a forum by presenting selectively biased information concerning the school warrant articles.” We believe that you are the appropriate public official to voice our concerns to regarding District and School Board advocacy issues as specifically instructed on the Epping School District Home page.

“Please feel free to contact me at or 603-679-8003. I request that all concerns be brought to the attention of the teacher, school principal, superintendent, and school board in that order per school district policy.”

It is our belief that as Superintendent, your advice and direction to the Epping School Board would have been instrumental in supplementing the School Board’s expanded understanding of the school ballot and warrant article statements contained within the 2006 School Annual Report relative to the constitutional constraints incumbent to their right to inform. We will no longer tolerate their crossing the line of State and Federal Constitutions prohibitions utilizing public monies and resources for purposes of advocacy. There are constitutional constraints that apply to the District and School Board’s right to fairly inform, when using taxpayers’ monies and resources, which you are charged with overseeing. We are mindful that the Epping School District is well acquainted with these issues, having already expended in access of $30,000 of the taxpayers monies for legal counsel on this continuing saga (Federal Case #06-CV-00474-SM) thus, you must be adequately informed that absent any specific statutory authorization to advocate, you have none.

We presume, at this late date, since the District has chosen not to respond in a timely manner to our citizen’s group concerns and most probably the Report been completed, that it has also chosen not to illegally engage in a one sided advocacy forum in the people’s 2006 Annual Town Report.

Click here to view warrant article



Veterans degraded by U.S. congress

by Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi

Veterans returning from war today are coming back to being treated sub-stand. Our political leaders receive the finest of medical and other care. This is not just the disabled Veterans of today’s wars. Congress as well as citizens spit on us during the Vietnam conflict.

NH Congress woman Carol Shea-Porter this past week used her influence on the Arm-services committee to have a Veterans Doctor sign a commitment letter to stop me from writing letters to the editor about her. I am a 100% disabled veteran from the Vietnam Conflict. This Congresswoman used the Dover NH police in the attempt to have me locked up for writing a threaten letter. This Congresswoman had a Special Agent fly up from DC in the attempt to have my freedom taken. This Congresswoman did this with lies and miss statements.

I try to file a harassment complaint against her and the Dover And Lee police refuse because of her power. Whom do the Police protect and serve? The money this Congresswoman is wasting for her selfish gain could be used to help today’s disabled veterans.

I have written President Bush, the Veterans administration and many others only to be ignored. The newspapers refuse to print my letters for many reasons. Our Constitution is a worthless piece of paper at this time. The government and powerful use it to increase their power.

The newspapers no longer have ethics and print the truth. No, newspapers print news that best increases their business. Today I heard friends talk about how radio stations are now discussing the newspaper articles about me. The news refuses to print my response to the lies that they write.

Today’s Veterans as well as all other Veterans come home a different person from when they left. You that never served can not understand. Today’s Veterans as well as all the other Veterans receive sub-stand treatment from the American people because newspapers and our political leaders have lost respect for the Veterans that protect our Freedom.