RLCNH Report - June 4, 2012

The RLCNH Report
June 4, 2012

ACTION ALERT!
Defeat Destructive Educational Funding Reform Language in CACR 12

The RLCNH is confirming and reasserting its position in STRONG OPPOSITION to CACR 12 as amended by the conference committee. When amending the constitution and making a relatively permanent change to the supreme law of the land, legislators should be careful to prevent unintended consequences that could reduce liberty for parents and their children. Unfortunately, this amendment makes things worse, and the Legislature could fix most modern problems with education simply by asserting the authority it already has.

We urge you to contact your representatives and ask that they reject the conference committee report.

One of the more dangerous consequences of this amendment would be the Legislature's new "responsibility to maintain a system of public education," which an activist court could easily construe as a requirement that the Legislature level-fund education ad infinitum. When understood along with Part 1, Article 28-a, which requires the Legislature to fund all mandates to local communities, the new Part 2, Article 5-c created by CACR 12 would require the Legislature to fully fund any new standard of education and thus create a new baseline of funding that must be maintained. While the amendment is being sold as a way to prevent a new broadbased tax, it would most certainly would be the cause of one.

Additionally, the amendment gives the "legislature" the "full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education," which essentially removes parents and local communities from the process of determining what education is best for their own children and subjects them to the will of the state, permanently.

Finally, the amendment does nothing to change the court's erroneous decision that public education is a "fundamental right;" rather, it essentially agrees with that assertion by making it the Legislature's "responsibility to maintain a system of public education." By passing this amendment, freedom lovers will be permanently abandoning their ideals for expediency and giving in to the progressive mindset that the state knows best. We can't let that happen. 

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.

TAKE ACTION: 

  • Read RLCNH Chairman Carolyn McKinney's op-ed on the subject for more information.
  • Please urge defeat of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.

Urge the Governor to Sign These Bills

The following RLCNH-supported bills recently passed both bodies of the Legislature and are now headed on to the governor. Please contact the governor and urge support of these bills.

  • HB 1297 is a significant step forward for liberty that prohibits the implementation of a state health benefits exchange under Obamacare. The bill will also save the state about $15 million to $20 million a year. The passage of this bill would make the repeal or amendment of Obamacare much more likely in Washington, but it also gives the state departments direction as to how they can interact with the federal government regarding Obamacare with a preference toward preserving the free market for health insurance in New Hampshire. 
  • SB 266 limits the use of Smart Meter gateway devices to spy into private homes and businesses without a property owner's consent.
  • SB 372 and HB 1607 are bills that create tax credits against the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax for businesses who contribute to a scholarship fund for private schoolers and home schoolers. This will encourage competition for education and will likely increase the quality and decrease the cost of education, over time. The House and Senate both passed both bills in identical form.
  • HB 574 is a property rights bill, which repeals an unconstitutional law that punishes people who have gone out of the way to prepare their families for the worst.
  • HB 1553 repeals obsolete sections of the law.
  • HB 545 repeals the annual reporting requirement of homeschooling parents, improves the home education statutes by granting more oversight over rulemaking and restricts local communities from making stricter homeschooling laws than the state.
  • HB 1571 makes it illegal for state or school officials to use annual evaluations of homeschooled children as a rationale to terminate a homeschooling program against a parent's wishes and instead uses the evaluations as benchmark reports for parents to monitor their children's educational progress. The reports will no longer be sent to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent or nonpublic school principal and will only be kept by parents. This bill is an important parental rights bill for these reasons. (As an aside, the RLCNH was opposed to a provision in the bill that limited school districts' liability for homeschooled children who then go to public schools, but this provision is minor compared to the good that comes from passing this bill.)
  • HB 137 is a significant step forward for liberty that creates a New Hampshire-focused process for adopting provisions of the national fire and building code that takes power away from the state Fire Marshall and creates a board of builders and other interested parties to determine whether a new national code provision is good for New Hampshire's builders and property owners before allowing it to be adopted through the administrative rules process. Additionally, the bill allows property owners to choose whether to use the building code or the fire code when a provision in the two codes conflict.
  • HB 1332 restricts fish and game and conservation officials' ability to conduct searches and seizures by clarifying that the constitution's requirement for probable cause also applies to them, which strengthens the law's compliance with Part 1, Article 19 of the N.H. Constitution.
  • HB 514 restricts conservation commission officials' or other environmental officials' entry onto private property without a warrant or a property owner's permission, which strengthens the law's compliance with Part 1, Article 19 of the N.H. Constitution.
  • HB 574 repeals a law that allowed the state to seize personal property from families during a state of emergency, which recognizes the importance of the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as Part 1, Article 19 to the N.H. Constitution. Unfortunately, the law will still allow the seizure of land and commercial property, provisions that must be repealed later.
  • HB 1223 adds teeth to the state's Right to Know law by making a public body or agency liable for attorneys fees incurred by a person attempting to get access to public documents and also makes public officials acting in bad faith personally liable to a civil penalty if they violate RSA 91-a, the Public Right to Know Law, which is required by Part 1, Article 8 of the N.H. Constitution.

Urge the governor to veto these bills

The following RLCNH-opposed bills recently passed both bodies of the Legislature and are now headed on to the governor. Please contact the governor and urge him to VETO these bills.

  • HB 1699 expands current law by changing the prohibition on driving under the influence of a controlled drug to driving under the influence of a controlled drug, prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, or any other chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which impairs a person’s ability to drive. Someone could literally be required to submit to a blood test for drinking coffee or taking allergy medicine, and then be convicted of a DUI for testing positive. While the House is reconsidering its vote to pass this bill on Wednesday, we're including it also in this section with the expectation that the House will unfortunately uphold its earlier position. Start pressuring the governor now to veto this bill.
  • SB 282 allows the commissioner of safety to order ignition interlock devices to be placed in a vehicle with video monitors after a person convicted of a DUI is allowed to drive again. While DUI is a serious crime and preventing repeat offenses is important, this bill will force innocent spouses or children of people convicted of a DUI to blow into an ignition interlock device even though they have done nothing wrong. Additionally, a person convicted of a DUI could use a different car that doesn't have such a device and thus get away with driving drunk. Finally, no law should ever allow an executive commissioner to impose penalties on people after they have been released from their sentence. This is double jeopardy, which is unconstitutional at the state and federal level. Only judges should be allowed to impose penalties on individuals who have been convicted of a crime. Please pressure the governor to veto this bill.
  • SB 286 adds more burdensome controls on pharmacists who dispense opiates as prescription drugs, which will simply increase the cost of doing business as a pharmacist and as a result, increase the cost of health insurance. However, the bill will do absolutely nothing to stop the illicit sale or abuse of opiates. Please pressure the governor to veto this bill.
  • HB 1665 allows the Superior Court to create "one or more drug courts," making the losing "War on Drugs" ever more expensive while still abusive of a person's right to do what they want with their own body and ineffective in stopping the use of illegal drugs. Please pressure the governor

What's Happening in the House & Senate this week

The House and Senate will be meeting in Regular Session on Wednesday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Both the House and the Senate will be considering committee of conference reports with language that has been agreed on by members from both bodies. Consequently, there is no need to repeat our recommendations on the bills up for consideration. Please review the House Calendar and the Senate Calendar for more details of what's to come.

  • HB 1699: Stop the State from Giving DUIs to Coffee Drinkers and Allergy Medicine Users 
    Having voted the wrong way on the bill in error, Rep. J.R. Hoell is asking the House to reconsider its vote to pass HB 1699, which expands current law by changing the prohibition on driving under the influence of a controlled drug to driving under the influence of a controlled drug, prescription drug, over-the-counter drug, or any other chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which impairs a person’s ability to drive. Someone could literally be required to submit to a blood test for drinking coffee or taking allergy medicine, and then be convicted of a DUI for testing positive. This bill would drastically expand the New Hampshire police state and must be defeated. Please e-mail hreps@leg.state.nh.us and ask House members to reconsider their vote on HB 1699 so they can then vote to nonconcur with the Senate's amendment and kill this liberty-killing bill.
  • CACR 26 passed the Senate in an altered and less effective form than the version passed by the House, but the amendment would still restore the Legislature's role as the sole law-making branch of government by amending Part 2, Article 73-a in the constitution. Under the amendment, statutory law would trump court rules, as it should. For more information, see Carolyn McKinney's recent op-ed and the video of a seminar and panel discussion sponsored by the National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies. Urge the House to concur with the Senate version of the bill by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us.
  • SB 289 & SB 318: Voter ID
    SB 289 requires a voter to present a valid photo identification to vote in person at the polls. This bill accommodates those without photo identification by allowing them to execute a challenged voter affidavit, which will be verified by mail, and by requiring the secretary of state to pay the cost for a nondriver’s picture identification card upon presentation of a voucher to the division of motor vehicles. The conference committee enacts the Senate's version of the bill for an initial period, and then enacts the House version of the bill. SB 318 clears up state law to make it clear that only domiciled N.H. citizens can vote in our elections. Due to the clear evidence presented by Project Veritas in recent videos that voter fraud is possible and may occur regularly in New Hampshire, these voter ID bills are necessary to ensure that legitimate voters are not disenfranchised by votes from people who shouldn't be voting. Urge support of the conference committee reports by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • SB 409: Legalize Medical Marijuana
    Many people suffer from ailments, such as glaucoma, HIV or certain types of cancer, which could be treated with medicinal marijuana. Though it has many restrictions, SB 409 would make state legalized medical marijuana a reality for many of our sickest citizens, potentially offering them relief or even a cure. The House amendment makes the bill better by making the program self-sustaining via donations. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • CACR 6: Establish a Tax Cap for the State

If CACR 6 passes the Legislature and then in the ballot box, the House and Senate will each need a 3/5th vote to pass any new or increased tax or license fee or to issue new state bonds. The amendment adds a section making it clear that existing bonds and debt service must be paid, a responsible addition that ensures the state's bond rating will remain among the nation's highest. Certainly low taxes are the result of low spending, but if there was a constitutional limit on the passage of new taxes, such a restriction would also keep spending at bay. All limited government lovers should love this amendment. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.

  • CACR 12: Defeat Destructive Educational Funding Reform Amendment
    While CACR 12 as amended in conference committee is a constitutional amendment that desirably allows the Legislature to target aid to specific communities, the costs of passing the amendment are too high compared to the benefit and thus the conference committee report should be rejected. When amending the constitution and making a relatively permanent change to the supreme law of the land, legislators should be careful to prevent unintended consequences that could make the situation worse for parents and their children. Unfortunately, this amendment makes things worse, and the Legislature could fix most modern problems with education simply by asserting the authority it already has. Among the costs of CACR 12 are the Legislature's new "responsibility to maintain a system of public education," which an activist court could easily construe as a requirement that the Legislature level-fund education ad infinitum. When understood along with Article 28-a, which requires the Legislature to fund all mandates to local communities, the new Article 5-c created by CACR 12 would require the Legislature to fully fund any new standard of education and thus create a new baseline of funding that must be maintained. While the amendment is being sold as a way to prevent a new broadbased tax, it most likely would be the cause of one. Additionally, the amendment gives the "legislature" the "full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education," which essentially removes parents and local communities from the process of determining what education is best for their own children and subjects them to the will of the state, permanently. Finally, the amendment does nothing to change the court's erroneous decision that public education is a "fundamental right;" rather, it pretty much agrees with that assertion by making it the Legislature's "responsibility to maintain a system of public education." By passing this amendment, freedom lovers will be permanently abandoning their ideals for expediency and giving in to the progressive mindset that the state knows best. We can't let that happen. Urge defeat of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • CACR 13: Prohibit an Income Tax in New Hampshire
    CACR 13 is a Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit any new tax on personal income in New Hampshire from now on. Income taxes punish people for their success, thus discouraging the type of capitalism that was the basis of this nation's founding and its great, early success. By prohibiting an income tax, the Legislature and the People would be securing the New Hampshire Advantage for the long term future, attracting new companies and encouraging corporate expansion in New Hampshire, thereby promoting jobs and economic opportunity. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • HB 145: Defeat A Contraction of First Amendment Liberty
    HB 145 started out as a great idea to stop police from abusing citizens' First Amendment right to record them in the course of their duties, and it could have been a really great bill, too. However, since the opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F. 3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011) has surfaced, this bill has become mostly unnecessary, and in its current form, counterproductive. Under Glik decision, citizens have a First Amendment right to record police officers or any public officials when they are acting in the course of their public duty. This is a strong assertion of freedom. Unfortunately, as amended by conference committee, HB 145 would restrict freedom in two ways: First, it would prohibit citizens from using hidden cameras or even small cameras, which are allowed under the Glik decision. How big would a camera have to be so that it is "in plain view in a manner that would alert a reasonable public official observing such person that a recording is being made"? This section could easily be abused by public officials. Secondly, the bill would prohibit citizens from "physically interfering" with the course of police duty. While this seems to make logical sense on the surface, in practical use, police would use this as an excuse to limit the use of cameras while they are doing their jobs. If anyone was found guilty of "physically interfering" with police duty, they would be convicted of felony wiretapping, which is far too serious a crime for the actual offense. Unfortunately, this bill is an example of a well meaning but poorly worded statute, and it should be defeated as such. The Glik decision took a giant step forward for liberty. This bill is a step back from that. Urge defeat of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • HB 146: Support the right to Jury Nullification
    Our lawmakers sometimes pass bad laws, and, at times, good laws have been misused. Throughout history, reasoning jurors have refused to convict fellow citizens who were accused of breaking the law: They freed tax protesters during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, refused to convict those who aided runaway slaves in violation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, freed bootleggers charged during Prohibition 1920-30, and released Vietnam War objectors 1960-70. When our country was young, all jurors were told of their right to judge the law, as well as the facts of the case. Then judges decided that juries should no longer be told of their power to act as a safeguard against bad laws or unethical lawmakers. Now, all jurors are instructed to accept the law as it is given to them by the judge, even in cases where the law is clearly unjust. HB 146 would require that the court allow a defense attorney to instruct the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy. This is incredibly important to give power back to the people and protect our liberty—the jury would once again serve to function as the people's final check against the government's tendency to encroach upon the rights of its people. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • HB 1346: Reduce the Power Monopoly
    Currently, PSNH does all the work by law of expanding power lines into areas where new homes or businesses are being built. HB 1346 would allow power customers to contract with other companies to do the work for them, which would reduce costs and encourage competition. This bill also has the potential to promote jobs and economic opportunity. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • HB 1487: Protect N.H. From Environmentalism's Overreach
    HB 1487 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. Essentially, this would prohibit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative from being used to stymie fuel production, transportation or use in New Hampshire, which could help eventually undermine the counterproductive, self-serving RGGI in New Hampshire. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • 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. It would repeal RGGI if two other New England states also repealed RGGI. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • HB 1617 repeals Chapter 151-C, the certificate of need board law, though with the conference committee amendment, this won't occur until 2015, an improvement from the Senate's effective date of 2018. Regardless, the bill will start to unravel the grievous errors of so-called “progressive” ideology in New Hampshire that have led to the decline of quality medical care and natural cost controls in the state. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • 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. Urge support of the conference committee report by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.
  • Override the Governor's Veto: Prohibit E-Verify or other National ID Programs By Passing HB 1549
    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. Urge the House and the Senate to override the governor's veto by e-mailing hreps@leg.state.nh.us and Senators@leg.state.nh.us.