One of the interesting dynamics of the legislative process I think is the suspension of the rules. During my two terms in the NH House I saw this used on several occasions especially during times like crossover where important pieces of legislation, usually from the Finance Committee would after a motion and floor vote by the Speaker be allowed in.
This suspension of rules, as I would later learn also included legislative amendments that may not even have been deliberated or considered by the committee but since the amendments are part of the bill they too are included in the suspension of the rules and were allowed in. For example there could be a bill lowering the Rooms & Meals Taxes from 8.5% to 8.0% with an amendment allowing probation and parole officers and the Director of the NH Port Authority into the Group II retirement system and with a floor vote the legislation moves forward. And in some cases as I recall there was no fiscal note attached.
I'm thinking about Suspension of the Rules in the NH House now because every time I read a newspaper with an article about the finances in NH State Government it always seems to come down to that NH is increasing its spending at the same time as the continual state deficit is growing.
Money bills originate in the House this is in the State Constitution. But has their been a suspension of rules allowing for New Hampshire to increase its total spending while at the same time increasing the total state indebtedness?
What is to stop the Legislature from increasing the state deficit another 700-800 million dollars? After all they have the ability to suspend the rules. Their rules.
During these same legislative sessions there was often discussion about the state's bond rating and what increased debt would do to the state's ability to raise capital through the issuance of debt. Debt that becomes all important in capital projects like school construction. Curiously, I don't see the state's bond rating even mentioned anywhere.
And does it even matter?