We haven't even made it to the first session day of the year, and I'm already off the Republican reservation on two major issues, at least if the 6-4 votes strictly along party lines from the Rules Committee last week are any indication.
As noted here previously, I do not favor guns in the State House, yet all four Republicans on the rules committee voted to continue to allow them. Prior to the January 2 session, it will be interesting to learn how many other states allow firearms in their Houses during business. To the best of my knowledge, we don't allow firearms in United States Senate or House chambers. We certainly don't allow guns in court houses, and the New Hampshire Legislature, after all, is known as the "General Court".
Why on Earth Republicans are going to the mat to keep in place this inane (if not insane) policy is totally beyond me, but then maybe I'm the only Republican who thinks so. At least Republicans aren't going so far as to demand that every Rep bring a gun to his seat in the chamber.
Whoops! I shouldn't give them any ideas.
Also, I agree with Democrats that the Grievance Committee and the Constitutional Review Committee should be abolished. All four Republicans on the Rules Committee voted to keep these two remnants of O'Brienism.
If there's a question as to Constitutionality of a bill, the House and Senate always have the option of sending it up to the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion. Frankly, I value the opinion of the justices more than that of Representatives who--let's be honest here--have a vested interest in laying claims to constitutionality.
For example, Republicans last year passed what, in my humble opinion, was a totally unconstitutional tuition bill for religious schools. Why? Because Republicans are so enamored by vouchers that two Constitutional provisions against funding religion escaped the great solons on the Constitutional Review Committee.
As for the grievance committee, pardon me not wasting words to express how silly the idea was. Flash back with me if you will to ninth grade civics; the Legislature makes laws; courts interpret laws and rule on individual cases. I know, I know, the Constitution gives citizens the right to petition the legislature, but it doesn't say we have to have a full time committee to receive these complaints.
Oh my, I'm off the Republican reservation again, but then I'm none to enamored by Gene Chandler's leadership choices either. After two years with Bill O'Brien's bad new boys, we seem headed back to the good old boys.
I prefer neither. But then I’m none too happy with a Speaker who, as her first action upon assuming the gavel, fires her beloved receptionist. Consider me an equal opportunity complainer, needed now more than ever since both parties seem determined to do just plan silly and perverse things.
Merry Christmas Betty from Terie!