RLCNH Report - April 16, 2012

ACTION ALERT
Stop Smart Meters from Spying Into Your Homes

SB 266 would require folks to opt-in (not opt-out) to certain smart meter devices, such as the load control devices that allow smart meters to control appliances inside the home as well as the motherboards that allow them to monitor appliances inside the home. It also allows consumers to remove such devices if they buy a home or business with these devices already installed. This bill will ensure that consumers have a choice if a utility decides to pursue these spy capabilities, thus protecting their right to privacy. It is important to note that this bill does not affect the installation of basic Smart Meters that allow for the remote reading of household electric usage, and only the enhanced devices are covered by this bill. Nevertheless, for most people, the spy capabilities of Smart Meter gateway devices are the problem, and this bill fixes that problem.

TAKE ACTION:  

  • Please e-mail members of the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee and ask members to support SB 266.
  • Please attend the hearing at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 17 in the Legislative Office Building Room 304.

Keep Up the Fight Against Obamacare

The RLCNH has learned that the Senate under the leadership of Sen. Ray White may be considering a compromise on HB 1297 that will preserve the intent of the bill and add New Hampshire to the list of states taking a strong stand against Obamacare, which the Congressional Budget Office now says will cost American taxpayers $1.7 Trillion over 10 years. All liberty-loving Republicans should applaud this effort. HB 1297 amends the Federal Health Care Reform Oversight Committee statute (RSA 420-N) as a preventative measure that would prohibit state officials from creating a state health insurance exchange and force Washington to repeal, replace or drastically amend Obamacare. Remind Senators that the People of New Hampshire and the N.H. GOP are backing the effort to stop Obamacare, and let them know you want to stop the federal overhaul that will drive up the cost of health insurance, reduce the quality of care and take away citizens' autonomy to pursue the best treatment options by consulting with their doctors.

What's Happening in the House this week

The House is not meeting this week. The House will meet in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 10 a.m. Please review the House Calendar for more details.

  • Take CACR 8 Off the Table and Pass It: Restore Educational Standards and Funding Decisions to the People
    CACR 8, the best constitutional fix to the Claremont decision, did not get the necessary 239 votes to pass the House last month. The vote was 222-133, just 17 votes short. This bill is still alive, however, because it was Laid on the Table. Now that we're past Crossover, the bill will require 2/3 of the House to remove it from the table, but incidentally, that's about the same number of votes it will need to pass. Thus, there is still hope for this constitutional amendment. If CACR 8 passes, it would give the people the opportunity to restore Part 1, Article 6 of the N.H. Constitution to the meaning our state's founders intended. The amendment can be summed up as restoring the local control of educational standards and funding, restoring the authority of the Legislature to determine what standards and funding decisions should be made by the state, and removing the court from having anything to do with these decisions. Please review the past Roll Call votes for this constitutional amendment and determine which legislators you might be able to call to change their minds on CACR 8. Also, email HouseRepublicans@leg.state.nh.usand ask all Republicans to continue supporting CACR 8. Finally, e-mail the House Speaker and the Majority Leader and ask them to make passing CACR 8 part of their agenda.

In House Committees This Week

Please try to be in attendance at any or all of these hearings to testify in favor or in opposition to the bills as recommended by the RLCNH, or e-mail committee members to urge the RLCNH position on a bill. For executive sessions, please just call or e-mail committee members to support the RLCNH position.

House Committee Hearings for Tuesday, April 17, 2012

  • 11 a.m., LOB 304, SB 266: Stop Smart Meters from Spying Into Your Homes
    SB 266 would require folks to opt-in (not opt-out) to certain smart meter devices, such as the load control devices that allow smart meters to control appliances inside the home as well as the motherboards that allow them to monitor appliances inside the home. This bill will ensure that consumers have a choice if a utility decides to pursue these spy capabilities, thus protecting their right to privacy. It is important to note that this bill does not affect the installation of basic Smart Meters that allow for the remote reading of household electric usage, and only the enhanced devices are covered by this bill. Please e-mail the House Science Technology and Energy Committee and ask members to support SB 266.
  • 11:15 a.m., LOB 207: Non-Germane Amendment to SB 328 would rescind HHS rules that restrict use of 'Time-Outs' for disciplining children
    A non-germane amendment to SB 328, a rather inconsequential bill about membership on a cooperative school board, would rescind State Health and Human Services rules prohibiting the use of "time-outs" at day care facilities to discipline children. Currently, HHS has unbridled authority to write any rules regarding discipline at day-care facilities that it wants, and the amendment to this senate bill would rein-in that authority just a bit. In the long term, the Legislature should eliminate the department's ability to write rules regarding discipline, but in the short term, parents should be able to decide for themselves what type of discipline they want their day-care provider to use, and a day-care provider should be able to make its own disciplinary policies without the state's interference. For parents who want time-outs to be used on their children as needed to ensure good behavior, this amendment to SB 328 will fix the problem with HHS's overreach. Please e-mail the House Education Committee and ask members to support this non-germane amendment to SB 328.
  • 1:15 p.m., LOB 302: Executive Sessions on Three Important Economic Liberty Bills in the House Commerce Committee
    The House Commerce Committee will vote Tuesday on recommendations for three important bills. The RLCNH will take a position supporting two of them, and remain neutral on the third.
    • SB 203 is a complete rewrite of the state's LLC law, which modernizes the law and will make it more accessible and user friendly to everyday people. The bill's passage would lead to new, expanding and relocating LLC businesses in New Hampshire. This bill, written by the N.H. Business and Industry Association, is the type of job-creating effort Republicans were elected to support, and the RLCNH urges support as well.
    • SB 335 is a common-sense bill that allows condo owners in high-rise buildings to opt-out (with a vote of members) of newly adopted fire codes, which require all high-rise buildings to be retrofitted with expensive sprinkler systems, regardless of whether the sprinklers are actually needed to make the building safer or whether the owners of the condos want the sprinklers or have the ability to pay for the sprinklers. No one should ever be forced to buy a product they don't want and retrofit it into their homes, regardless of cost, but what makes these NFPA Fire Codes even worse is the cost of at least $10,000 per condo owner to comply with the new codes. The RLCNH urges support.
    • SB 205 is similar to SB 203, however it addresses business corporations such as C-Corps and S-Corps instead of LLCs. The reason the RLCNH is hesitant to support this bill is because it was written by the American Bar Association, and we have not yet had the time to analyze it for unintended consequences. RLCNH supporters should be attentive to this bill and follow it through the remainder of the process.

Please contact the Commerce Committee and ask members to support SB 203 and SB 335. Use your conscience on SB 205.

House Committee Hearings for Thursday, April 19, 2012

  • 10 a.m., LOB 302: Create legal "Health Sharing Organization" entity
    SB 245 would create new legal entities called "Health Sharing Organizations" that would facilitate private, faith-based charity to pay for other people's health expenses, when these people are part of the faith-based organization. This is an intriguing idea worth further study, and thus it is considered here. While it seems like such cost-sharing deals should be legal without any law articulating their legality, the RLCNH is cautiously optimistic that this bill could be the start of a movement to create more widespread medical cost-sharing arrangements that might even replace the heavily regulated health insurance market if done the right way. The RLCNH is concerned, however, that this bill limits such sharing organizations to faith-based communities, when any group of people should be able to develop contracts to share costs as this bill suggests. The RLCNH is also concerned that this bill could open a door for government to regulate the behavior of churches, synagogues and the like, but faith-based communities are organized around the principle of caring for members who are downtrodden, so it makes sense for a movement like this to start in the faith arena. At the same time, this bill certainly doesn't make other cost-sharing arrangements illegal, and other arrangements not permitted by this bill certainly could be developed by contract. I suppose this last point begs the question: "Why is this bill necessary?" It is for these reason that the RLCNH remains cautiously optimistic about this bill, but doesn't want to take a formal position just yet. Send your thoughts to the House Commerce Committee according to the dictates of your own conscience.

What's Happening In the Senate This Week

The Senate will meet in Regular Session on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 10 a.m. Please review the Senate Calendar for more details.

  • Overturn the Committee's Report on HB 1534: Protect Businesses from Fines and Fees
    The Legislature mistakenly allowed the Department of Labor to have a dedicated fund for its programs, using fines and fees to cover its budget costs. Naturally, this change created a great risk that the Labor Department might increase fines and fees on businesses in order to boost its spending capabilities—a risk that Republicans can't afford after promising to make things better for New Hampshire businesses. HB 1534 would reverse this error and require House budget writers to appropriate funds to the Labor Department, limiting their expenditures to what the Legislature deems appropriate. This will also ensure that fees and fines will not be used inappropriately to boost government spending. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to take this bill off the consent calendar, overturn the committee's report of ITL and then support this bill with an OTP motion.
  • Overturn the Committee's Report on HB 383: Prohibit state employees' unions from collecting fees from non-members
    HB 383 would prohibit the state employees’ union from collecting “agency fees” from non-members. It goes into effect only with the next approved contract, and applies only to state employees, however it is an important step in the right direction toward making New Hampshire a Right to Work state. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to take this bill off the consent calendar, overturn the committee's report of ITL and then support this bill with an OTP motion.
  • Oppose the Committee Amendment on HB 1460: Fix the N.H. Pension System for Once and For All
    HB 1460 is the pension-reform bill that we've all been waiting for, but the Senate's amendment would create a study committee and kick the pension system default problem down the road to the next Legislature, something the people of New Hampshire simply cannot afford to do. After an initial period, the House version of the bill (originally drafted by Sen. Groen) would permanently fix the New Hampshire pension system and eliminate the state's growing unfunded liability. The bill would no longer offer the current pension plan, but instead establish a 401(k)-style plan for all new state hires starting on Nov. 1, 2012. The plan would pay for the unfunded liability by using a portion the state's contribution to each employee to pay down the debt, and would gradually increase the contribution employees receive during that same period. While the bill takes a long-range approach to fixing the pension system, it will actually fix it once and for all and ensure state solvency without the need to further tap taxpayer dollars to address funding shortages or rely on bankruptcy, an end in which everyone loses. The RLCNH is making this pension-reform bill among its top priorities and urges your support of the bill. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to use some of their courage to pass this bill. Do not let the Senators kick this can again.
  • Oppose the Committee Amendment to HB 514: Protect private property from search
    HB 514 addresses a growing problem in New Hampshire, namely officials and others trespassing on private property to gather information about the property without landowner permission. The bill as written by the House clarifies and upholds the natural right guaranteed by Article 2 of the New Hampshire Constitution to exclude others from one’s property, while also addressing the realities of our modern society by allowing a small number of exemptions to avoid conflicts with existing laws. Specifically, the bill prohibits any person from entering private property to gather information without written permission from the property owner or a lawfully issued warrant. The bill also prohibits the use of any information gathered in violation of the requirements set forth in this bill and provides remedies to landowners whose rights have been violated. The Senate amendment erases many of the protections provided by the House language and sets up a needless study committee; needless because it has already been studied. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to pass this bill without amendment.
  • Oppose the Committee's Recommendation on HB 628: Expose TSA Abuses
    HB 628 would allow citizens to report to a police officer on the scene or the county sheriff any invasive search by TSA agents, and that report will be sent to a designated directory for public viewing with the state police. This bill also allows citizens to video- and audio-record their own search to verify their report, and it requires police officers to be of assistance in the taking of the citizen’s report. While security is of utmost importance, the maintenance of that security must be conducted in a way that respects citizens’ rights and decency. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us with your support for HB 628 and urge Senators to overturn the Transportation Committee's Report of ITL so that an OTP motion can be adopted.
  • Oppose the Committee's Recommendation on HB 1440: Enhance Parents' Rights to Teach Their Own Children
    Current N.H. Law requires teens from 15.5 to 18 years of age to take expensive driver's education courses or wait until they're 18 to get a license to drive their cars, so many teens just go without the training and wait until they're 18. HB 1440 as amended by the minority of the Transportation Committee would allow teens to take an online driver's course approved by the N.H. Department of Safety and then receive behind-the-wheel training from their parents, after their parents have passed a separate test designed to update them on the rules of the road. This bill will likely make our roads even safer by educating teens and their parents, and by ensuring the care and dedication of a parent who knows his or her teen best during behind-the-wheel training. Most importantly, this bill advances the concept that parents know what's best for their children and empowers parents to raise their own children as they see fit. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us with your support for HB 1440 and urge Senators to overturn the Transportation Committee's Report of Interim Study so that an OTP motion can be adopted.

In Senate Committees This Week

Please try to be in attendance at any or all of these hearings to testify in favor or in opposition to the bills as recommended by the RLCNH, or e-mail committee members to urge the RLCNH position on a bill. For executive sessions, please just call or e-mail committee members to support the RLCNH position.

Senate Committee Hearings for Tuesday, April 17, 2012

  • 1:20 p.m., LOB 103: Reestablish 

Equitable treatment for home schoolers
HB 1571 is an important parental rights and educational freedom bill. This bill respects a parent’s right to direct the education of his/her child without interference from the state; in this case, an annual evaluation of parents who are teaching their own children undermines the parents' authority to teach their own children as they see fit. Since parents have the Natural Right to direct their own children's education, this bill simply codifies Natural Law. 

Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us with your support for HB 1571.
 

  • 2 p.m., LOB 103: Tax breaks to encourage educational competition
    HB 1607 is the House version of SB 372. This bill creates an education tax credit against the business profits tax for businesses that contribute to scholarship organizations that help students attend schools other than their assigned public schools. This bill should encourage competition for education and may increase the quality and decrease the cost of education, over time. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1607 in its current form.

Senate Committee Hearings for Thursday, April 19, 2012

  • 9:15 a.m., LOB 103, HB 1549: Prohibiting E-Verify or other such National ID programs
    HB 1549 would prohibit the requirement that employers participate in an E-Verify System. The E-Verify System of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services raises the same concerns as the Real ID Act of 2005, which prompted the state of New Hampshire to reject participation in a national identification system. An E-Verity System is contrary and repugnant to Articles 1 through 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution as well as Amendments 4 through 10 of the Constitution for the United States of America. Therefore, the state should not require any employer to ever take part. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1549.
  • 9:30 a.m., LOB 305-307, HB 1490: Repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cap and trade system that has operated in the region for several years. It is nothing more than an invisible broad-based tax—a way for government to extract even more funds from the people to support a small group of investors improperly profiting off the scheme and a handful of renewable energy companies hand-picked by a government agency. HB 1490 would add some stumbling blocks to those trying to keep RGGI alive and significantly cut electricity costs, which would help stimulate the economy. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1490.
  • 10:30 a.m., LOB 103, HB 1701: Stop N.H. From Enforcing Mass. Tax Law
    HB 1701 would prohibit the state of New Hampshire from taking away drivers licenses or other state privileges because a N.H. resident has failed to pay out-of-state taxes. New Hampshire should not be in the business of enforcing out-of-state tax laws, and this law would prohibit the practice. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1701.
  • 2 p.m., LOB 102, HB 1560: Help Restore a Free Market for Health Care in New Hampshire
    New Hampshire Republicans shouldn't just be about shutting down bad Democratic ideas for medical care and health insurance reform, but also proposing their own vision of free market reform. With the introduction and advancement of HB 1560, no one can say the current State Legislature doesn't think outside the box. In a revolutionary move, members of House and Senate leadership are proposing a Health Care Compact that would allow member states to suspend federal laws, rules and regulations for health care, including Medicare and Medicaid, and create their own health care systems. Compacts are agreements with other states that must be approved by Congress, according to Article 1, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution. Under HB 1560, an act relative to the interstate Health Care Compact, member states upon receiving the permission of Congress would be able to enact state laws that supersede any or all federal laws regarding health care within each state. At the same time, member states would still receive federal funding equivalent to the amount they received in 2010, adjusted for inflation and other factors. The member states would not have any authority over the other member states under the plan, and nor would the federal government, once it ratifies the compact. RLCNH is supporting the idea of a Health Care compact. Learn more by visiting www.healthcarecompact.org/new-hampshire. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1560.
  • 2:15 p.m., LOB 101, HB 1615: Allow hemp to be used for industrial purposes
    Back in the early 1900s, industrialists who created synthetic materials drummed up a public relations campaign to literally "demonize" hemp by calling it the "devil's weed" among other propaganda in order to clear the market of all competition. You see, marijuana can also come from hemp, but the variety of hemp used for rope, clothing, oils and other industrial products does not contain nearly enough THC to be used as a drug. That type of hemp is bred for such medicinal purposes and is a different variety. Nevertheless, the industrialists were successful in unconstitutionally prohibiting hemp from being grown, and thus they shut out all of their competition. The industrial synthetics industry took off almost immediately. New Hampshire is in a perfect position to reclaim the lost industry and create all kinds of jobs processing the raw material and making products out of the material. HB 1615 would allow New Hampshire to grow hemp and use it for industrial purposes by taking the industrial variety of the plant off the schedule of controlled substances if at least one other New England State passes a similar law. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members of the Senate Education Committee to support HB 1615.