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TODAY, Thursday, 6/13/24State Legislature Final Session

Updated: Jun 13


Both the Senate and the House will have one final session on Thursday to decide whether to accept the reports that were written by committees of conference last week. Each committee was tasked with looking at a particular bill in order to try to iron out the differences between the two versions of the bill passed by the chambers. The compromise struck in the committee of conference for each bill must be approved by both the House and the Senate on Thursday in order for the bill to be sent on to the governor. If either chamber balks, then the bill dies.

 

There were sixty-two bills for which committees of conference were formed:

· Eleven bills died because their committees failed to find a compromise.

· Broad consensus was easily found for ten bills, and the vote to approve the committee reports were placed on the consent calendar in each chamber, meaning they will likely be approved on a voice vote.

· This leaves forty-one bills for which there will be likely be a debate and a vote on Thursday.


One of the bills for which no compromise could be found was HB 1593, which had a non-germane amendment added at the last minute by the Senate to try to address the expiration at the end of June of the current arrangement for reimbursing hospitals for uncompensated medical care costs. The House objected to the late amendment. The governor did not like the details of the amendment. And the committee of conference failed. Note that this is a disagreement among Republicans, that will likely result in costly litigation, with the hospitals demanding fair compensation while arguing that a lack of an agreement will destabilize the state's healthcare systems.


 

Republican control of the House, Senate, Executive Council and the governor's office has resulted in this kind of chaos. The ball is dropped on a critical issue, costly litigation will likely ensue, and the common people may suffer from additional closure and consolidation of facilities.

Credit: NHPR

In the committee of conference for HB 1370, the House acceded to the Senate use of a late non-germane amendment to hijack the bill. The result is a radical bill that would eliminate all voter affidavits, the sworn statements that have been allowed for decades to be used by voters to prove their qualifications to vote. For instance, all other states allow affidavits to be used to demonstrate citizenship. This is not by chance, or always by good will, but rather because Federal courts have generally demanded that voters be given latitude in establishing citizenship. If HB 1370 is enacted, voting rights advocates will certainly challenge it in court. https://www.nhpr.org/search?q=NH+Secretary+of+State+signals+support+for+%E2%80%98significant%E2%80%99+change+to+voter+registration+process#nt=navsearch

The NH Town Clerks Association and the NH Municipal Association beg to differ, believing the bill is not necessary and will likely result in chaos in polling places.

 

So, here we are again. The Republicans are in charge, and chaos and litigation will likely ensue.

 

The committee of conference report on HB 1665 will be included in the votes on Thursday. This bill would expand the number of families eligible for education vouchers, the so-called "education freedom accounts." The Republicans were again arguing among themselves, not about whether the vouchers are a good idea, of course not, but rather how much to expand them. They compromised, but let's hope the bill is killed on Thursday.

 

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Education is another area, of course, where Republican control has resulted in pain, litigation and chaos. Pain for the kids in property-poor towns who just want a chance at a decent education. Litigation that seems to never end because the legislature and the governor refuse to fulfill the constitutional requirement to provide an adequate education. And, chaos such as Gov. Sununu's childish attacks on the judge who issued the most recent rulings.

 

So, was there any good news in the legislature last week? Yes, I think there was. Here are two examples.

· No compromise was found for HB 1298, which would have allowed untrained people to serve as educators as long as they did not work more than 30 hours per week, so the bill thankfully died.

If you have opinions about the deal struck, I am sure your reps and senator would like to hear from you. https://www.dovernhdemocrats.org/our-elected-officials


Thank you to everyone who spoke out against this re-write!

Alice Wade

Finally, this email is a call to action, but I haven't requested you do much so far. Let me fix that and remind you that we all need to contact the governor, as often as we can, and demand that he veto the bills passed by the legislature that attack LBTGQ+ rights. Here is how our friends at New Futures characterize those bills:

· Discrimination in Public Spaces: HB 396 would allow for discrimination against transgender people by banning them from using restrooms or locker rooms and participating in sports that align with their preferred gender identity. Bans such as these prohibit transgender youth from participating in typical daily activities and make them feel unwelcome in their communities, which leads to poorer mental health outcomes.

· Sports Ban for Transgender Girls: HB 1205 would ban transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity at public middle and high schools. It is unclear how this bill would be enforced, which could lead to intrusive and damaging inquisitions on any student-athlete. 

· Censorship in Schools: HB 1312 attempts to silence discussions of gender and sexuality in the classroom by implementing a two-week advance notice of any curriculum including those topics. When LGBTQ+ youth feel support, acceptance, and open representation within their homes, schools and communities, they have much better mental health, educational and social outcomes.

· Restricting Access to Medical Care for Transgender Teens: HB 619, as amended, would ban gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth and prohibit doctors from referring care for transgender youth to out-of-state doctors. Transgender youth, like all youth, have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and can get the doctor-prescribed medical care they need when they need it. Gender-affirming care is evidence-based and supported by medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

Here is how to contact the governor:

Gov. Chris Sununu

603-271-2121

 

And, to fight Republican control of our state, we need to ensure that Dover stays BLUE. We are currently blessed that in Dover all our state reps and our senator are Democrats. We need to work hard to keep this true, while working to elect a Democratic governor and to send a Democrat to the Executive Council. As well as providing any support that we can to other Democrats running across the state.

 

To help yourself get into campaign mode, consider going to Sen. David Watters' campaign kickoff/fundraiser at 5:30 TODAY, Thursday, 6/13/24. Garrison City Beerworks, 455 Central Avenue. An RSVP would be appreciated, mail to jspeaks@nhdp.org

(Please note, the Dover Democratic Committee shares this for informational purposes only. This communication does not imply an endorsement or favoritism of any kind to any Democratic candidates engaged in competitive primary contests.)


 

 

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