Friday, January 20, 2017

Two Weeks In







The new legislative session got off to a bang – almost. The annual gun-dropping incident by a lawmaker has already occurred. Not only did we have a gun-dropping incident this early in the session, but this time it came with gender parity! Yes, finally a female member of the NH House has dropped a gun in a committee hearing. Ah, equality!

State Representative Carolyn Halstead of Milford was late for the hearing on all-day kindergarten in the Education Committee room. As she settled near a woman with some small children, she yanked off her backpack, and the gun she had stuck in the back waistband of her pants fell out. Her gun instructor had told her not to carry her weapon this way – but she did it anyway, and now she’s a national news story. This is a perfect illustration of why not every nitwit should have a gun, especially legislators.

It’s ironic that this incident took place days before the NH Senate votes on SB 12, the bill to eliminate licensing for the concealed carry of a pistol or revolver. The gun crowd loves to call it “Constitutional carry,” yet try as I might I see nothing stating, “every nitwit should have a gun” in the second amendment. One GOP former legislator turned felon commenting on a friend’s blog compared it to dropping a set of keys on the floor. One thing that the gun crowd won’t do is call it what it is – negligence.  Kyle Tasker is working on a thank you note from jail, to Rep. Halstead for replacing him as the latest gun dropping doofus in the NH House, thereby taking the focus off of him.  

The Senate is intent on ramming that through ASAP, along with SB 11, the so-called “right to work” bill that seeks to eliminate collective bargaining and unions. NH Republicans are furious at the thought that workers could band together and demand better pay, working conditions, and benefits, and have been trying to keep that from happening for over 30 years. It’s a bill that comes from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a group of far right legislators from around the country who are handed model legislation at their events to take home and present as their own. The Koch brothers fund ALEC. The title is a brilliant bit of deception - it should properly be called “Work without Rights.”  It was one of the centerpieces of Governor Chris Sununu’s campaign. Sununu showed his disdain for the collective bargaining process by taking office and immediately accepting the governor’s full salary AND a pay raise negotiated by the state employee’s union.

Neither of these bills will do anything to address the very real needs of our state.

Also coming up is HB 279, a bill to allow smoking in bars and supermarkets. Who doesn’t find the idea of smokers tapping their ashes all over the supermarket appealing? The sponsors of the bill are Rep. Robert Hull from Grafton, and Lino Avellani from Wakefield. Hull is a member of the Free State Project. Avellani may or may not be a Free Stater, but he’s certainly one of their allies. He’s also a restaurant owner, who apparently wants to serve a side order of lung cancer with breakfast. What’s droll about this is that the liberty crowd hates government and government spending. They don’t seem to have thought this through. Cigarette taxes fund the state, so increased tobacco sales work against their goal of dismantling the state government.

HB 106 would change our sexual assault laws. The new wording would go like this: "The testimony of the victim shall be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions under this chapter." If you’re lucky enough to get raped by a guy with a prior conviction, you won’t need to corroborate your testimony. The concern here is that some poor man will be wrongly accused. The concern is not for the actual victims of sexual assault. This bill will protect rapists and pedophiles.

If the intention of the sponsors is to ensure that even fewer victims come forward, then this bill will work as planned. Oh, and speaking of sponsors, this bill was written by Rep. William Marsh of Wolfeboro. Carroll County sure is having a banner year in bad legislation so far – and we’re only halfway through January. One of my friends referred to this bill as “Saudi Arabia on the Merrimack.” In Saudi Arabia in  2015, a woman who was gang raped was publicly flogged. Perhaps Representative Marsh can write up something like that for 2018.  

There are 776 LSRs listed on the NH General Court website. LSR stands for legislative service request, meaning that a lawmaker is submitting it to legislative services for help in writing it up in bill-like language. A number of bills have been submitted this year by legislators seeking to pass laws that benefit their companies or themselves.

Some glaring (and amusing) examples of that come from State Rep. Richard Marple of Hooksett. Rep. Marple was arrested at the polls on Election Day. It seems that the police stopped Marple in 2014, while driving with a suspended license. His license was suspended for not paying a court fine in 2013. When he failed to show up in court, an electronic bench warrant was issued. This isn’t the only problem that the 85-year-old legislator is having. The town seized his house in June 2016, because he hadn’t paid his property taxes for a number of years. Marple claims he didn’t have to pay them, because of an “elderly exemption.” So far, he has yet to produce any proof of having applied for any such exemption. In the fantasy world he inhabits, he is not required to pay taxes or obey state laws. 

Marple filed HB 292, which would grant a jury trial for execution of a tax lien. He also filed HB 383, prohibiting electronic bench warrants. There are 116 LSRs that were withdrawn before being written up. One of them was Marple’s, “relative to the allocation of delinquent property taxes.” Given his fearlessness in filing legislation to benefit himself, it’s a wonder he didn’t go ahead with that one, too.  

The session runs till June. Lace up your lederhosen – we’re only two weeks in.






This was published as an opinion column in the January 20 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

1 comment:

tworavens said...

I read this yesterday in the Sun and am so glad you addressed the "behaviors" that have made us throw our hands up in disbelief. I'm hoping Halstead remembers to take her piece to the airport, thus keeping up their traditions. How absurd and rather pathetic that the "I don't have a brain tea party" clutter is so fearful they have to be armed and delusional at all times. Sad really to have to live this way. Their hatred of all things good and helpful exemplifies itself in everything they do and say including union destruction (which ironically helped this once great nation achieve a successful middle class). One has to wonder how brainless an individual must be to desire to revert to the days where smoking was everywhere and we all hacked our way to poor health. As to the sexual assault bill, its reinforcing to note that female tea pee's out there are completely mindless and under the thumb of their male overlords. The mere fact they go along with such stupid and time wasting bill drafting is proof positive. Not paying taxes is a no brainer for this crowd. They are anti-social, and plain anti. This is common for those who cannot think for themselves and have no critical thinking skills. Another failure of our education system. But they have Norquist, Koch, Gingrich and the greatest loser of all time at their helm now. The crash of 2008 will look like a walk in the park.