RLCNH Report - May 7, 2012

ACTION ALERTS

The Time is Now: Stop Obamacare in New Hampshire!

The Senate Commerce Committee was split on the fate of HB 1297, which would prohibit the implementation of a state exchange under the terms of Obamacare, and eventually, one member had to leave for another meeting and the bill was voted interim study. The Senate MUST be convinced to pass this bill as amended by compromise between the Senate and the House. This amendment 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.

By prohibiting the creation of a state health insurance exchange under Obamacare, New Hampshire will be exercising its 10th Amendment Authority to say no to unconstitutional federal law, and will be resisting the creation of another costly federal unfunded mandate. While proponents of a state exchange argue that the state will preserve authority in a state exchange, they are sadly mistaken. An exchange for New Hampshire would be fully controlled by the federal Health and Human Services Department, whether New Hampshire creates an exchange or not, and the federal government would get away with another abuse of power. All liberty-loving Republicans should applaud the compromise effort, because it does not implement the federal act but rather gives state officials guidance on how they should interact with federal officials regarding the federal law—all while continuing to prohibit a state health insurance exchange.

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.

TAKE ACTION: 

Stop Political Censorship

A Senate amendment to HB 1704, what the RLCNH is calling the Incumbent Protection Act, would essentially put a gag order on all political committees by preventing them from spending more than $500 criticizing members of the General Court without disclosing the expenditure within 24 hours. In addition, ALL political organizations (including 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations) will be required to disclose all their donors to the Secretary of State prior to the primary election. This amendment seeks to effectively silence groups ilke the RLCNH that criticize politicians who behave badly, and it runs totally contrary to the political rights of the people of New Hampshire. (Notice that this wouldn't require reporting when political groups say something nice about an incumbent—only when the groups are critical of incumbents!)

TAKE ACTION: 

  • Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to oppose the amendment to HB 1704.

Thanks to your efforts
The Senate passed the following bills:

  • HB 574, which originally repealed a post-9/11 law that allowed state officials to take private property during emergencies, passed the Senate in a weakened form that merely clarifies that the law does not apply to the personal property of families, but can still be used to take property from corporations and real estate. Further improvements to RSA 4:46 are needed!!!
  • HB 1487, which would prohibit the state from participating in any low carbon fuel standards program requiring quotas, caps, or mandates on fuels used for transportation, industrial purposes, or home heating. The bill included a non-germane amendment that redirected $3 in fees collected for vital records from the general fund to the various town clerks.
  • HB 1490, which would remove N.H. from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative if two other New England states leave the compact, a weaker bill than the House's RGGI-repeal version.
  • HB 1367, which after a Senate amendment defines probable cause for a property inspection to be when an inspection is necessary to assess the fair market value of a home, which may or may not change the status quo. A committee of conference to further improve this bill would be beneficial.
  • HB 1537, which would prohibit anyone, including a law enforcement officer, from observing the location or movement of individuals audibly or visibly using an electronic device.
  • HB 1549, which would prohibit the requirement that employers participate in an E-Verify System.
  • HB 1701, which 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.

What's Happening in the House this week

The House will meet in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10 a.m. Please review the House Calendar for more details of what's to come.

  • SB 222: Stop the Legislature from Subjecting Insurance Companies to Global Regulation
    SB 222 would allow the N.H. Insurance Commissioner to share documents, materials, or other information, including confidential and privileged documents, materials, or other information, with the Bank for International Settlements and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, an addition to current law, which allows such sharing with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Current law is already too beholden to regulatory burdens on insurance companies imposed by state and national agencies. We do not need to add international organizations associated with the World Bankers to the mix. A global economy is great for liberty, but a global regulatory structure will lead toward the end of U.S. sovereignty and any potential for a free market that might still remain a distant hope. This bill would enable the global regulatory structure for insurance and therefore must be killed. Please e-mail HouseRepublicans@leg.state.nh.us and ask members to OPPOSE this bill.

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

  • There are no public hearings of note this week
    Please consult the House Calendar for more details about the work sessions and executive sessions for your bills of interest this week.

What's Happening In the Senate This Week
The Senate will meet in Regular Session on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10 a.m. Please review the Senate Calendar for more details.

  • HB 137: Stop Onerous Abuses of the Fire and Building Codes
    HB 137 as amended by the Senate Public and Muncipal Affairs Committee is a drastic improvement over the House version of the bill, which added checks on the adoption of the State Fire Code or State Building Code but did not do so comprehensively. The Senate version employs private sector representatives as a check on the State Fire Marshall and other state building code officials wanting to implement fire code and building code rules written by national organizations not necessarily looking out for the best interests of the state. Remember when New Hampshire threatened to force single- and two-family homeowners to install sprinklers in their homes? That was a NFPA rule, written by a national company associated with insurance interests imposed on New Hampshire by rubber stamp. Thankfully, the Legislature acted to prevent these rules from being implemented after the fact, but it shouldn't have to be that way. This bill, as amended by the Senate, will put the necessary checks and balances into the process ahead of time, so homeowners and business owners will never be caught unaware again. Never again will national code be enacted by fiat Executive Branch rules without any meaningful New Hampshire oversight. New Hampshire should always be responsible for its own laws and rules, and this bill will ensure it. Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to support HB 137 as amended by the Senate.
  • HB 1297: Keep Up the Fight Against Obamacare
    The Senate Commerce Committee was split on the fate of HB 1297, which would prohibit the implementation of a state exchange under the terms of Obamacare, and eventually, one member had to leave for another meeting and the bill was voted interim study. The Senate MUST be convinced to pass this bill as amended by compromise between the Senate and the House. This amendment 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. By prohibiting the creation of a state health insurance exchange under Obamacare, New Hampshire will be exercising its 10th Amendment Authority to say no to unconstitutional federal law, and will be resisting the creation of another costly federal unfunded mandate. Please e-mail ALL Senators and ask them to support HB 1297 with the new Senate amendment that improves the bill. Get informed: Read more on why state exchanges are a bad idea from the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy Studies, the Cato Institute, the Goldwater Institute and the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
  • HB 1300: Allow Legislative Officials to Petition for a State Employee's Removal
    The Legislature may impeach constitutional officials in the two other branches of government, but an appointed executive or judicial official (i.e., an employee) cannot be removed by the Legislature. HB 1300 allows a Standing Policy Committee of the Legislature to petition the governor for the removal of such an employee, citing several reasons; namely, "intentional non-performance, incapacity, incompetency, or unfitness to perform assigned duties, or for the good of the department, agency, or institution to which such official is assigned." Please e-mail ALL Senators and ask them to support HB 1300.
  • HB 1560: Help Restore a Free Market for Health Care in New Hampshire
    Unfortunately, the Senate wants to study one of the better ideas introduced by House and Senate Republicans this year, even though no changes to the bill can legitimately be made. 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 House of Representatives doesn't think outside the box. A Health Care Compact 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.
  • HB 1699: Stop the Legislature from Conducting Blood Tests During Traffic Stops
    HB 1699 as passed by the House was a horrible piece of liberty-killing legislation that could have led to routine blood tests after a traffic stop just because an officer suspects a motorist is under the influence of "a natural or synthetic chemical substance," which could be anything from marijuana or codeine to coffee or nicotine. The current law uses the words "controlled substance" instead, which while still a concern, is far more reasonable. The bill as amended by the Senate is far more reasonable, but still an expansion of current law that should not be adopted. Rather than use "a natural or synthetic chemical substance," the Senate amendment uses "any controlled drug, prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors used for the purpose of causing a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulled senses of the nervous system, which can impair a person’s ability to drive." Please e-mail Senators@leg.state.nh.us and ask the Senators to oppose HB 1699.
  • HB 1704-FN: Stop Political Censorship
    A Senate amendment to HB 1704, what the RLCNH is calling the Incumbent Protection Act, would essentially put a gag order on all political committees by preventing them from spending more than $500 criticizing members of the General Court without disclosing the expenditure within 24 hours. In addition, ALL political organizations (including 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations) will be required to disclose all their donors to the Secretary of State prior to the primary election. This amendment seeks to effectively silence groups ilke the RLCNH that criticize politicians who behave badly, and it runs totally contrary to the political rights of the people of New Hampshire.

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 Thursday, May 10, 2012

  • 1:45 p.m., LOB 101, HB 1332: Extend Freedom from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

HB 1332 would protect hunters, fishermen and others from unreasonable searches and seizures from Fish & Game officers unless the officers had some probable cause to search or seize a person. This bill also puts the burden on the state to pay for any seized items kept in storage, which would have the effect of decreasing the frequency of such seizures. Please email Senators@leg.state.nh.us today and ask members support HB 1332.

Defeat Destructive Educational Funding Reform Language in CACR 12

The RLCNH is confirming and reasserting its position in STRONG OPPOSITION to CACR 12, and is adding an Op-Ed on the subject from Chairman Carolyn McKinney. The following report was written in full in last week's action alert. Please take action on this item as your conscience dictates:

House leaders met with political leaders last month, including the RLCNH, in an attempt to persuade support for a compromise version of CACR 12, one of two educational funding reform constitutional amendments that are still alive in the current session. The RLCNH firmly opposes the suggested language, which reads as follows:

[Art.] 5-c [Public Education.] In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the Legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity.  In the furtherance thereof, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to make wholesome and reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability as it may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state and the full power and authority to make determinations as to the amount of, and the method of raising and distributing, state funding for public education as it may judge for the benefit and welfare of this state.

This language, which is even worse for liberty than the language passed by the Senate (and that was even worse than the language we opposed that was passed by the House), would permanently enshrine the erroneous Claremont decisions in the constitution. Considering the court's misinterpretation of the word "cherish" in Part 2, Article 83 of the Constitution, it is clear that giving the Legislature “the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education” would certainly lead to higher taxation to make sure none of the state's public schools ever fall below their current level of funding. If this language passes the Legislature, the teachers' unions would be out in force to support this generous ballot offering to the status quo.

But that's not the worst of it. The compromise language also gives the Legislature “full power and authority to make wholesome and reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education.” This change to the constitution could remove parents and local communities from the educational decision-making process all together, and the state Legislature could take total control over what children are taught at school. To anyone who cherishes the traditional role of parents to raise and educate their own children, sometimes in partnership with local communities, this would be a troublesome development, at best.

All hope is not lost. You can help defeat this language now, or help defeat it if it happens to make it past the Legislature. The RLCNH is urging all of you to contact your representatives and senators and ask them to vocally oppose the compromise language to CACR 12 and instead support a solution proposed by the RLCNH.

The RLCNH proposal uses two different outstanding constitutional amendments to address educational funding reform and educational curricula reform that would permanently negate the Claremont decision and restore the original intent of the founders when it comes to education. Previously, the thinking was that CACR 12 could be used for both; however, the language proposed to address curricula in CACR 12 is simply anti-liberty and contrary to the original intent of the founders. By removing curricula from CACR 12 and focusing only on educational funding, the amendment improves drastically. Likewise, CACR 8 was attempting to address both, but had the right approach for addressing educational curricula. Thus, it should be amended to clarify the intent of New Hampshire's founders by focusing solely on curricula.

  • CACR 12 appears to be the appropriate vehicle for educational funding reform, and should read as follows:

    [Art.] 5-c [Public Education] In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. In the advancement (or fulfillment) thereof, the Legislature shall have full power and authority to determine the amount of, and the method of raising and distributing, state funding for public education, so long as such determinations are not otherwise repugnant or contrary to this constitution.
  • CACR 8 appears to be the appropriate vehicle for educational curricula reform, and should read as follows (bold/italics indicates new language):

    [Art.] 6. [Morality and Piety.]
    As morality and piety, rightly grounded on high principles, and inculcating the precepts of self-government embodied in this constitution, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the establishment of schools; therefore, to promote these purposes, the people of this state have the right to empower, and do hereby fully empower the legislature to authorize from time to time, the people within the political subdivisions of this state to make provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of teachers and schools. Provided, notwithstanding, that all schools, public and non-public, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own teachers, of contracting with them for their support and maintenance, and of defining and establishing their own curricula. But no person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any religious persuasion, sect or denomination. And every person, persuasion, denomination or sect shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect, denomination or persuasion to another shall ever be established.

TAKE ACTION: 

  • Read RLCNH Chairman Carolyn McKinney's op-ed on the subject for more information.
  • Please ask Representatives and Senators to reject the compromise language for CACR 12 and support the RLCNH plan by contacting them by phone or by e-mail as follows: hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • E-mail Speaker O'Brien and Majority Leader Bettencourt and ask them to back down from their current approach, and to back the RLCNH plan instead.
  • E-mail Senate President Bragdon and Majority Leader Bradley and ask them to support the RLCNH plan.