Rep Steve Vaillancourt


A Dose Of Truth About Marijuana Legislation

Ever since my return from Quebec for the Thanksgiving weekend (ours, not theirs; see other posting for that adventure!), I've been hearing on the news that medical marijuana has a good chance of passing, and a bill should be introduced this week.
Do you really think so?
It passed the House and Senate last year, both more conservative bodies once could argue since Republicans tend to oppose such measures in much larger numbers.
Not only did it pass the House, we managed to override the Governor's veto.
Now that we have a governor who claims to be in favor of medical marijuana, one would hope it would pass.
As to the mystery of the bill's sponsorship, there should be no mystery.  When I learned that Evalyn Merrick, of Lancaster, had been defeated (to my great disappointment), I immediately went in and filed the very same bill that passed last year and made it through the House despite the veto.  After all, I had filed one of the very first versions of the bill, way back in 1999.  I'll never forget how the person who wrote the committee blurb against the bill (someone named Wendelboe) wasn't even there when the hearing was held.  Go figure. 
We've progressed far since those days thanks to Rep. Merrick and others.
The status of this year's efforts should not be a great mystery to any enterprising reporter; nothing I do is secret.
Similarly with the death penalty, I filed a bill to repeal that way back in September when I heard that both Hassan and LaMontagne were in favor of getting rid of it.  When I learned that Rennie Cushing, a long-time Democratic sponsor of eliminating the death penalty, was elected in Hampton, I turned it over to him and referred all media questions his way.
Meanwhile, it isn't just medical marijuana which needs to be considered this year.  Sitting in front of me are the bills which passed...not just for medical marijuana...but for recreational marijuana...not just in one state...but in both Colorado and Washington on November...and it actually wasn't even close.
Here's the research I just received. 
In Washington, Initiative Measure 502 passed by more than 11 percentage points--55.7 to 44.3 percent (1,724,209 yes and 1,371,235 no).
In Colorado, the bill for legalization of recreational marijuana (Amendment 64) passed by more than 10 percent, 55.32 to 44.68 percent (1,382,079 to 1,116,222).
Of course we need to pass medical marijuana, but we should go even farther than that.  We need to join the good citizens of Colorado and Washington and pass a bill to legalize, regulate, and TAX all marijuana.
Over the weekend while I was in Montreal, I read an article in the Gazette on how much money can be made from the substance.  At a time we look to gambling for revenue (and as a freedom initiative for those so inclined), we should look to total legalization of marijuana as well.
I guess we're back to 1999...I may be ahead of my time again, but I've given legislative services a copy of the Colorado bill for drafting here.
To everything there is a season.  History was on the side of gay marriage when Jim Splaine brought the bill in four years ago.  Hopefully the time is right to come in out of the dark ages on this other issue of freedom this year, but I suspect it'll take a few years of study before we join Colorado and Washington.
As for medical marijuana, it will be done...and this year, but it's not enough.

Half The New New Hampshire House Is New

If you don't count the two new members who seem likely never to be sworn in, then exactly half the members of the New Hampshire House are new this year.

That would be 199 of 398.

Actually, the clerk's office breaks new people down into new new people (those who have never served before) and old new people (those who served in past years, albeit not in the 2011-12 session); let's call them returnees.

46 Republicans are totally new; seven returnees.

For Democrats, it's 90 totally new and 56 returnees.

Overall, that's 136 totally new and 63 who have served at some time in the past.

Many of them are undergoing orientation today and tomorrow.

I seem to recall that on average, there's a turnover of about a third every two years, something in the 133 range, so we're way beyond that this year.

You won't know the players without a scorecard.

I have been asked if I could locate and list all the incumbents who were defeated on November 6.  The answer is yes and no.  There were 78 losers, four Democrats and 74 Republicans.  However, we apparently lack the technology to convey the names in electronic form (I know...I was baffled as well, but that's what I'm told).

Two of the four Democratic losers were real surprises, Sandy Keans of Rochester and Ben Baroody of Manchester Ward 6 (he's walking around with arm in sling today).  I wasn't surprised by Jennifer Daher of Hillsborough 25 which includes New Ipswich, the most Republican town in the state by my numbers.  Evalyn Merrick, of Lancaster, was from a swing district.

If I can get the 74 Republicans, I'll post them here.  I know that of the 21 Manchester Republican incumbents, only four of us are left.  Several chose not to run again; one died.  Two ran (and lost) for the Senate--Gail Barry and Phil Greazzo; one (Jerry Bergevin) lost in the primary; losing on election day were Win Hutchinson and Mike Ball from Ward 2; Ross Terrio from Ward 7 (he'd have be known as the biggest loser since he also ran for Charter Commission and came in 60th of 62 people running); Mark Proulx from Ward 8; Irene Messier and Tammy Simmons from Ward 10; Carlos Gonzalez from Ward 12.  Only one of the seven Manchester snakes (those who went back on their redistricting pledge) remains in office, and that's a name you'll never see mentioned here.


It's "Sieg" Arnie, Not "Seig"; It's "Arnesen", Not "Arneson"

English is a Germanic language.

Thus, much (albeit admittedly not all) of the spelling and pronunciation is similar.

Democratic blogger Arnie Arnesen, in a recent piece, claims that I blurted out "Seig Heil" on the House floor this past year.  Of course, I did nothing of the kind.

It was hardly a blurtation, and the word I used was most assured "Sieg", not "Seig".

I before E except after C is the English rule if you want the sound to be like in the word see.  It would be E before I if you wanted the sound as in sigh or height. 

It's the same in German.

It's Heil because the sound is like in sigh, but it's sieg because it's the sound as in see.

Arnie, a curious figure on the political scene, has every right to call me (and Rep. Tony Soltani) eccentric, as she does in her blog, but she and other Democrats should thank their lucky stars that a few Republicans had the courage to stand up to Billy the Bully this past year.

"Sieg Heil" means "Hail Victory", so we can now say "Sieg Heil" to Democrats, at least in part because someone had to courage to say "Sieg Heil" to Billy the Bully, and the world took note. 

You don't have to thank me, Arnie, but just remember the I before E rule, and your German spelling will seldom betray you.  

Oh by the way, whoever posted the article for Ms. Arnesen on the blue blog site spelled her name "Arneson".  It just didn't seem right to me, so I corrected it here.  Let's see how long it takes them to correct "Seig Arneson".

Don't take my word for it...

The Concord Monitor: Fair and Balanced - by Arnie Arneson

by: susanthe

Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 19:13:57 PM EST

( - promoted by William Tucker)


Democrats Fight Over Finance Chairmanship?

Even before Democrat Terrie Norelli is sworn in as Speaker (that's expected to happen December 5), there's controversy in the Democratic ranks over just whom will chair the House Finance Committee.

Don't get me wrong; I have no dog in this fight, but Democrats have told me about the infighting, so I feel obligated to pass it on.

When Norelli became Speaker in 2006, Marjorie Smith, of Durham, served as Finance Chair, then again after the 2008 election.  In 2010, Smith did not seek re-election, but she's back this year.

Personally I like Rep. Smith a great deal (hey, she sat next to me on Finance way back in 1999--remember I was a Democrat back then; she recommended a great bio of Attaturk to me).

However, I've learned that long-time Democrat Sharon Nordgren, of Hanover (Peter Burling's deputy back in the late 90s), is saying that Rep. Smith is too divisive a figure to chair the committee, and is pushing for Cindy Rosenwald, of Nashua, former Chair of Health and Human Services under Norelli.

Don't get me wrong; I like Rep. Rosenwald a great deal (she sat next to me on Finance this past year know until what transpired).

I thought she would be Chair of Division III (the human services division) this year, but apparently, more than one Democrat is pushing for her to head up the entire committee.


Just this morning, I was talking with Rep. Rosenwald urging her to go back on the Hillsborough County executive committee (it's a thankless job; but she's very good at it; and Nashua gets four Republicans on the panel).  She said she'd think about it, but might not have the time.


Peter Leishman (of Peterborough) another Democrat I like a great deal ( is it I like so many Democrats?) will most likely Chair Division I of Finance.  Since the Chair of the County delegation must be a Democrat from the towns this year, I was hoping Peter could do that, but he may not have the time.

One thing is sure; it's going to be an exciting week leading up to the fifth.  I've always understood December 1 is especially exciting.


A Second Democratic Rep Won't Be Sworn In

They're falling like flies, they being Democratic Representatives elected November 6 in New Hampshire.

From the total of 222 Reps, Democrats lost one in a Strafford County recount.

Down to 221.

Then came word that Stacie Laughton from Nashua Ward 4 would not be sworn in.

Down to 220.


Now this blog has learned, from no less than three sources, that Manchester Ward 2 Democratic Representative Robert Thompson, who served in the House in 2009-2010, has moved to Florida and will not be available to be sworn in next week.

Down to 219.

If you heard it here first, you haven't been listening to the many other sources talking about it.

Apparently Thompson knew before the election that he would be leaving for the Sunshine State, but didn't meet one of the three qualifications to get of the ballot (death; serious disability discovered since the filing period; or movement away).

As in Nashua, the seat may or may not remain empty.  In this case, the entire Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen would have to decide whether to ask the Governor and Council for a new election to fill the seat.

Unlike Nashua where another Democrat would almost certainly win an election to replace Laughton (it's a solid inner city Democratic ward), Republicans would have a decent chance of winning a special election in Ward 2, a swing ward, home of Mayor Ted Gatsas, not to mention Secretary of State William Gardner.

It's Hillsborough County District 9.  Democrat Linda DiSilvestro topped the ticket on November 6 with 2276 votes.  Thompson won with 1985 votes.  The two losers were both Republican incumbents, Win Hutchinson with 1706 votes and City Republican Chair with 1673 votes.

My guess is that Win Hutchinson would win a special election, but then I thought he was going to win three weeks don't take my word for it.

Ironically, this is not the first time in recent years that a Democrat elected in Ward 2 never got to serve.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it 2006 that Catherine Hackett won and then moved out of the ward before being sworn in, and yes, that would be the same Ms. Hackett who came in fourth of four candidates (only two won; she received 41 votes less than incumbent loser Ben Baroody, 1875-1834) this year in ward 6.

Altogether just can't make this stuff up.