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Wednesday
Dec192012

Criminal Justice Here I Come?

New Hampshire House committee assignments and chairmanships should be announced tomorrow, so we can forego further speculation and just wait.  There will be 20 committees (Grievance and Constitional Review will be gone, Gott sei Dank).  I've heard that most committees will be comprised of 11 Democrats and 9 Republicans (Finance will be 14-11); Election Law and Legislative Administration will have slightly fewer members.

Republican leader Gene Chandler told me today that he attempted to allow all returning Reps to remain on their committees if they chose to do so.  My guess is the Speaker will accept most, if not all, of Chandler's appointments.

That's the tradition.

Thus, I can say with some degree of certainty that I received my second choice of Criminal Justice (my first choice was Ways and Means, but a full slate of returning Republicans is back).

Actually Criminal Justice was my second choice when I was first elected in 1996; I went to Public Works back then since I thought, with the airport access road in the planning stages, someone from Ward 8 Manchester should be there.  It was okay (Gene Chandler was chair); the capital budget goes to that committee.  However, one term was enough.

It seems that most Reps want to stay on the same committee year after year.  I've never been that way.  Election Law was always of interest (but two terms there was more than enough).

I've always wanted to try something new; we should all expand our horizons.  Plus, many of the issues I care about (from death to marijuana, not to mention rehabilitation) are criminal justice-related.

Emails are flying back and forth among State Reps today regarding a proposed new bill in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.  As Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, points out, the purpose of late filing is for items which could not have been foreseen during the orginal filing.  Thus, this new bill will most likely be allowed in.

I have a rather open mind on gun control.  I personally am not interested in having a gun, never have been, never will be.  However, I have never let my personal likes and dislikes affect my view of what is best for society.  I am not convinced that more gun laws would have stopped what happened in Connecticut.  On the other hand, I've never seen the need for anyone to possess weapons of mass destruction.  Also, unlike the United States Supree Court apparently, I take seriously the clause of the Second Amendment about a well regulated militia.  I don'be believe the founders ever anticipated a populace carrying semi-automatics around.

As for guns in the State House, I was one of the few Republicans who sided with Democrats when they were removed three or four years back.  My opinion has not changed.  We should certainly not have guns in the State House.

Oh yes, I've always believed that our prisons are too crowded (at a cost of about $30,000 a year per person) with people who could be rehabilitated and become productive members of society again.  If that makes me "soft on crime", so be it.

Those are some of my thoughts as I appear to be headed for Criminal Justice.

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Reader Comments (3)

Just a thought about guns and militias. The constitution actually says the militias of the states are under the authority of the President. So these right wing militias aren't the ones the constitution is talking about. They are paranoid anti-government gun-nut clubs

Another thing: In the conservative world there is this defiance towards the constitution being a living document. So wouldn't strict constructionism/originalism mean the second amendment guarantees the right to bear a musket? hehe

Australia overhauled its gun laws after the massacre in 1990s of 35 people. They have not had a mass shooting since so to say clamping down doesn't work may be wrong. We should at least try. Never mind what the glassy-eyed Bible thumping flag waving right wingers say; lets take care of America.
December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Veverka
I trust our fathers included the second amendment because they feared men with Red Coats being quartered in private houses. For some reason, I don't fear men with Red Coats today. Al B with a gun at the State House--now that's something to fear!
December 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterRep Steve Vaillancourt
All good, Steve! Sounds like you have everything in place for a great startup on Jan. 2. It will be good to see you in action!

Holiday cheer to you!
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterswcorner

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