NH House Democrats Defy Tradition, Set Dangerous Precedent

Concord--In what can only be considered the parliamentary version of the “Cornhusker Kickback,” House Democrats created a dangerous new precedent on Wednesday by conjuring up new motions and using coin flips to determine the state’s fiscal policy for their budget shortfall. 

House Democrats came to an agreement with the Senate, behind closed doors and signed an agreement which called for a coin toss in order to determine which bill the House and Senate would work on in conference to address their fiscal mismanagement.  The chair of the House Finance Committee then offered what can only be called a “contingent” motion on the House floor, a motion that exists nowhere in rules or parliamentary procedure or has ever been used in the House that anyone can recall.  This motion passed on the House floor by only 12 votes, with a dozen Democrats joining Republicans in protest of this dangerous, precedent-setting vote. 

In comments to WMUR-TV, Speaker Norelli commented that she would welcome the Republicans participation in the process but that all she’d seen so far was obstruction.  In response to this outrageous comment by the House Speaker, House Republican Leader Sherm Packard (Londonderry) stated: “I am shocked by the comments of Terie Norelli.  When Republicans offered $200 Million in cuts to the budget last year, we were turned away.  When Republicans offered over $70 Million in cuts to the recent budget, we were turned away.  All Speaker Norelli has shown us is that her party has gone from ‘yes we can’ to ‘no we won’t.’  They have failed to balance their budget, they have failed to govern, and they have failed to even work with the Senate and their own governor.  The only way Republicans have been obstructionists is in protecting the interests of the institution. So I ask,  who’s really doing the obstructing in Concord?”

In a further slap to the face of proper procedure, Speaker Norelli refused to take up the Ways & Means committee’s revenue estimates BEFORE appointing the conferees on the budget bill, leaving them in the dark about where the state’s revenues are actually tracking.  “In my twenty years in the New Hampshire House, I have never been more disgusted by the lack of civility, the lack of respect for our traditions and precedent and the way the majority runs the House rough-shot,” concluded Packard.