State House Republicans to Submit Legislation Amending SB500

Democrats to Block Necessary Suspension of the Rules

Concord— House and Senate Republicans today announced plans to bring forth language that would exclude persons convicted of violent or sex crimes from early release on probation or parole.  SB500, signed into law by  Governor Lynch on July 1, 2010, brought with it unintended consequences by mandating that prison doors be opened early for violent offenders as well as those incarcerated for non-violent crimes. 

The language agreed upon this week by Republicans in both chambers  would  not only exclude  a prisoner convicted of a violent crime or a sexually violent offense from early supervised release, but would also provide the parole board with greater discretion to recommit a person who re-offends while on early supervised release. 

State House Republicans face an uphill climb in their attempt to amend the language of SB500 however, because the motion will require a two-thirds vote in order to suspend the rules to allow in the new legislation.  Speaker of the House Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) and Senate President Sylvia Larsen (D-Concord) have both indicated an unwillingness to suspend the rules when the two bodies meet to deal with the governor’s vetoes on Wednesday.

In signing SB500 into law last summer Governor Lynch claimed that it would save taxpayers money by working to ensure that released offenders became productive members of our society.  State House Republicans are calling tomorrows vote to suspend the rules a “de facto” vote for the safety of New Hampshire citizens over any money that might be saved by the early release of violent offenders.

“The voters of this state should watch closely on Wednesday and remember those lawmakers who refuse to allow this legislation to be brought forth when they step into the voting booth in November,” said Rep. Packard. “This is not a partisan issue; this is an issue of public safety and an opportunity for the New Hampshire Legislature to correct its mistake.  I call upon Democrats in the House to do the right thing and join us in supporting our motion to suspend the rules.”