Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gold! Guns! Spam! Molon Labe - The Business Model

February 23 has been designated as a National Day of Resistance to Protect the Second Amendment. Gun advocates and supporters around the nation are participating in rallies, including folks right here in NH.

This Facebook page gives the information about today's NH rallies. There was one in Nashua this morning, sponsored by the Liberty Alliance/Free State Project. The afternoon rally was in front of the State House in Concord, brought to you by Molon Labe, NH.  (For those unfamiliar with libertarianspeak, Molon Labe is an ancient Greek phrase, used by King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae.)

The NH Facebook event page has a  link to this site:  where one can register for an event today. At the bottom of the page is this disclaimer:

Paid for by Stop This Insanity Inc., a 501 c4
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Mother Jones Magazine had a story about this group yesterday:

On Saturday, gun rights advocates will be organizing at least 121 rallies across the country in a "day of resistance" to President Obama's gun violence prevention proposals. But some tea party activists are questioning the credentials of the group organizing the rallies, a Mesa, Arizona-based outfit called that's been criticized as a data-harvesting operation designed to vacuum up contact information and credit card numbers from unsuspecting and largely clueless conservative activists. They've complained that the group raises tons of money under the tea party name but doesn't spend much to further the movement, and they're skeptical of its move into the gun debate.

and was founded by Todd Cefaratti, an Arizona man who is the CEO of a "lead generation" company for the reverse-mortgage industry and who has inserted himself into tea party politics in recent years. In 2011, sponsored a truck at NASCAR'sCamping World Truck Series, and it made a big splash by sponsoring a tea party "unity rally"at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, last year. It's been a sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC this year and last, raising its profile among conservative activists.
and more:

For years, tea party activists have complained that the group was ever so interested in collecting their personal information and their money, without spending much to support tea party political candidates. Activists griped that signing up with would earn them nothing but spam from gold companies and other advertising. (In 2011, Roll Callreported that the group was indeed renting out its email list to gold companies and soliciting clients through NewsMax, the conservative news service, though a spokesperson says the group no longer works with NewsMax.)

It seems that is a way to gather information and money from Tea Party/libertarian types, while making big bucks renting out their mailing list. They've made big bucks scamming the Tea Party crowd. Now that the Tea Party is on the wane, they're moving in to scam the gun nuts. Molon Labe isn't just a slogan, it's a business model.

Friday, February 22, 2013


After I left the medical marijuana hearing yesterday, I headed across the street to the NH State House, where 4 gun bills were being heard in the House Chamber, by the House Criminal Justice and Safety Committee.  The last round of gun hearings taught them that regular committee rooms at the Legislative Office Building weren't going to be large enough to hold all of the gun nuts likely to turn out, hence the  hearings were held in Rep's Hall. Some of the highlights:

HB 609: relative to possession of a firearm on school property, had just been introduced when I came in. The bill title isn't quite representative of the bill's text
This bill provides that a school district shall vote to require the school board to establish policies and procedures relative to licensed school employees carrying a firearm while on school property.
The intent is to allow school districts to vote on whether or not to allow school employees (teachers, administrators, janitors, lunch ladies) to carry concealed weapons on school property. 

The bill's lead sponsor is Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse, and Rep. Timothy Comerford. Rep. Itse testified of the need for this bill. He also pointed out that because each school district would decide for themselves, this provides LOCAL CONTROL. They could do it if they wanted, or not. 

The committee chose not to ask him any questions, which is rare, in the case of introductory testimony from a lead sponsor of any bill. 

A representative of the NH School Board Association (I missed his name) testified that arming people on our school property is an alarming proposition, and one that would expose schools and towns to serious liability issues. He also pointed out that engaging in a gunfight without shooting innocent people requires a great deal of training. Free Stater Rep. Mark Warden asked him if it was true that some schools in NH that currently allow guns on site. The SBA guy didn't know of any. 

Rep. Hoell gave an impassioned speech about fire  sprinklers in school buildings. They save lives! Guns will, too! 

Former State Rep. Spec Bowers testified that this bill is the epitome of local control, since all school districts will make their own decisions. "If you're a teacher and a bad guy is there with a gun, would you rather throw a book at him, or shoot  him before he kills more people? If the bad guy knows that some people at the school may be armed, he's going to go to another school that doesn't allow guns." 

[Note: That is not borne out by any school massacre, ever. None of them were random.]

Mary Bonser of Nottingham  read a letter written by a guy who was a student at Columbine when the shooting occurred. He wrote a long, nasty letter to President Obama (one that was seasoned with a dash of racism) that the committee Chair chose to allow Ms. Bonser to read in it's entirety, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with NH or the bill at hand.

While that was going on, a lobbyist from the NH Liberty Alliance came through with a group of people  from out of state, on a tour. It looked as if some (if not all) of them signed in on the bill. They were taken out to the anteroom and given a speech about how the Liberty Alliance hoped they would decide to move to NH.

Scott McGilvray of the NH NEA testified that his members (16,000) do not want to arm themselves, that guns have no place in our schools.

Angel Joy, a mother of 2,  said that decisions about children's safety should be left in the hands of parents. She wants her ex to be able to go into the kid's school with his gun. She considers herself a trained professional with a gun, since she had 13 weeks of training last year with an assault rifle. She supports the bill. Parents should decide. No word on how it would work if parents in a community disagreed.

Stephen Stepanek is a former educator who lives in Manchester. He was the subject of an assassination plot that was discovered by other students, who went to the authorities, who then called the police.  He says that gun free zones are the problem. If teachers and janitors were armed, the students would think twice.

Hal Jones, a fish and game guy and firearms instructor said, "As someone who has spent my life teaching firearms, the last thing we have to worry about is guns around kids."

Next up was HB 451AN ACT repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.

The sponsors of the bill are Rep. JR Hoell, and Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse. Neither were there to introduce the bill. Rep. John Burt from Goffstown filled in for them, and announced that he supported the bill (which he rather obviously read for the first time right there) because he's from OLD Vermont - not Vermont the way it is today. He was brought up with guns, that's just the way it was in Old Vermont, where there are no concealed carry permits. (In spite of the latte drinking, Birkenstock wearing, Volvo driving pinkos who live in NEW Vermont.)

Wayne Small from Bradford supports the bill. If you can legally own a firearm you do not need a permit. 

Rep. Hoell gave a dissertation on the Constitution. He also wants to reduce the permit fee for out of state residents. Massachusetts residents are upset about the fee. It's nice that Hoell cares about those socialists from Taxachusetts. I hope his Free State buddies won't make fun of him for that. 

David Wheeler rose in support of the bill (he said so). Constitutional Carry! Residents of the Live Free Or Die State! The out of state fee is a TAX AND IT IS WRONG! 

Rep. Vallaincourt from the committee asked Mr. Wheeler if he was aware that there had been a hearing a couple of weeks before on a bill to lower that fee? Mr. Wheeler sputtered that he was not. 

Jon Bresler commented that "Hoell is a representative who has no lack of ink in his pen for filing gun bills in a state that is one of the safest in the union." 

Former Republican Party Chair, Tea Merchant Jack Kimball spoke in support of the bill. He believes in Constitutional parity, and this bill returns us to Constitutional parity. You should only go through a background check once. Also, he's miffed that when he drives through Massachusetts, he's a criminal, because he can't legally have his gun there. 

Noted Constitutional Scholar Rep. Dan Itse supports Constitutional Carry. His right to carry a concealed weapon is enshrined in the Constitution, and the concealed permit is a violation of his Constitutional rights.  He believes that the requirement for a concealed carry permit is a mistaken sense of safety. The person you would grant a license to is the person you would never have to fear. 

Rep. Vallaincourt asked Itse if anyone has ever attempted to strike down the NH law, seeing as how it's been in effect for years. Itse said no. 

Spec Bowers tells us that we don't have to worry about the people who get permits, they're the good guys. The bad guys don't get permits. The permit puts a barrier in the way of the good guys. Honest people carrying a weapon are no danger to anyone other than bad guys. Also, to defend, it's not even necessary to fire = the honest citizen deters crime by letting the bad guy know the weapon is there.

Rep. Al Baldasaro says that a veteran should not have to ask the chief of police for permission to carry a weapon.

Stephen Stepanek: It is not a permit it is a license. You cannot refuse me. I should not have to pay a fee, its a TAX.

Keith Mistaretto of Durham: "I have rights! Guaranteed to me by the NH Constitution!"

Sgt. Jason Austin: "I have sworn to DEFEND the Constitution!"

And so on. I did learn some things at this hearing. The new Free Stater style branding for "concealed carry" is CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY. I learned that every NH gun owner is a Constitutional scholar.
I  also learned that some gun nuts  Constitutional scholars think that speaking rudely to the committee  will work in their favor, and that we shouldn't need permission to carry guns.


NH House Bill 573 - Medical Marijuana

NH House Bill 573 had a public hearing yesterday before the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee. 

This is the 4th medical marijuana bill to go before this committee. They've passed all of the others. The stumbling block to passing a medical marijuana bill in the past was Governor Lynch, who was opposed to it, and (rumor has it) that opposition was based on information he received from his wife, Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician. Governor Lynch was not a bold policy making governor, and going up against federal drug policy had little allure for him. 

Every other state in New England has legalized medical marijuana. 

I've testified on behalf of past bills. My husband, the late David Emerson died of multiple myeloma; cancer of the bone marrow and blood plasma. The disease made David's bones so breakable that eventually he could break a rib just breathing. Right after Christmas in 2008, David was having serious neck pain, and wound up in the ER one night. It was a busy night - Christmas holiday in a resort area - and until the XRays came back, no one paid us much attention. The XRays brought a team of 3 people with a backboard screaming for him to lay down, NOW. They strapped him in, immobilized  him, and sent him to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The bones in his cervical spine had deteriorated to the point where his head was in danger of falling off his neck. If it had, he would have been paralyzed. He had neurosurgery at Maine Med. A titanium infrastructure was fused to the remaining bones in his neck, and he was stitched up like Frankenstein. His head was going to stay firmly attached, but he was never going to be able to move it again. He also had to have a three week course of radiation to protect the remaining bone that the titanium was attached to. The radiation was aimed at his neck, and had the side effect of making everything he ate or drank taste like sheet metal. 

He badly needed to be able to drink and eat in order to get through the radiation and fully recover from the surgery, but he couldn't muster up any will to do it. Finally, a friend came by with a joint, which stimulated his appetite to the point where he could get past the taste long enough to eat and drink. 

David wasn't a criminal. He was a beloved member of the community; a respected historian, genealogist, and librarian. In the 10 years that I knew him, I seldom saw him drink. Once I saw him have 2 glasses of wine at a dinner party. That was the most I ever saw him ingest in a single setting. He wasn't someone who had any interest in getting a buzz on. Cancer made him a criminal. 

At least that's what the law would have us believe. I don't believe that for a second. That's why I go to these hearings.

It was the same old arguments. Law enforcement was there to oppose the bill. One cop went as far as to say that medical marijuana would make NH a mecca for drug users. Some mecca. Every other state in New England already has medical marijuana in place. The War On Drugs gives a lot of money to police departments around the nation, money they use to buy all kinds of fun toys. They want to keep those dollars coming in. 

Dr. Seddon Savage, a pain specialist spoke at length against the bill. She dismisses cannabis as "an herb" that is not a medicine, while ignoring the fact that it IS classified as a drug - and is part of the war on drugs. Savage spoke admiringly of synthetic cannabinoid drugs that are currently available in medical trials. She likes pharmaceuticals, which isn't surprising. Big Pharma courts doctors and gives them all kinds of free stuff. Rather incongruously, as she disparaged the "herb" she also made a case for its addictive properties. Savage did say that many people don't have access to comprehensive medical care. Undoubtedly her pain center is costly, and only covered by good insurance. Those folks who have lesser or no insurance are doomed to just be in pain, apparently. 

Tim Rourke from the Governor's Commission on Substance Abuse told us the horrible story about his baby being diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 15 months. His son was treated at Dana Farber in Boston, and NOT sent to an opium den. Yup, that's what he said. Up till the point where he got all prissy, his testimony was pretty good. He's seen terrible pain, so HE KNOWS. I sincerely hope his level of anti-pot prissiness is never tested by a sick and suffering adult family member. 

Representative Donald Wright from Tuftonboro spoke about his wife, who has Stage 4 breast cancer. She's involved in a clinical trial at Dana Farber, but her position in the trial was jeopardized when she began steadily losing weight because she was frequently nauseous and unable to eat. A nurse suggested marijuana. She smokes small amounts of marijuana, to help eat, and her weight has stabilized. She's still on the clinical trial. She's still ALIVE. 

What breaks my heart about these hearings is that those in opposition downplay the pain and suffering, and play up the notion that people of criminals and addicts. I defy anyone in opposition to medical marijuana to sit with the person they love most in the world, while they're in terrible pain or suffering from prescribed drug or treatment side effects and tell me that they wouldn't do anything, anything to stop the pain and suffering of that person. If you love someone you would do anything for them. 

The most painful testimony came from Clayton Holton. Clayton has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy that has a wasting syndrome as part of it. He weighs 66 lbs now. He's been going to these hearings for years. He said his condition is getting worse, and he probably won't make it to another hearing. His time here is ending. The opiate drugs numb the pain, but when you take them, you have to lie down. That's not quality of life - it's ruining the time he has left. Oxycontin started making him very sick. Marijuana allows him to  have some quality of life, and when he started using it, he gained weight. He said it may have given him another year of life. Clayton said, "I need you to understand what it is to suffer, and that you can help." 

Damn right I cried. I'm crying again writing about it. I lived this with my person. The arguments are all bullshit. Don't talk to me about marijuana addiction while you're handing out prescriptions for Oxycontin. 

Maine has had medical marijuana longer than any other New England state. There has been no jump in marijuana use since their law took effect. Sick people aren't down at the schoolyard selling their stash to kids. 

As I've said before - we treat our sick and dying pets better than we do our sick and dying people. 

The representatives serving on the committee were mostly receptive and kind. They asked good questions. Most of them seemed fair minded. Representative Martel was the only one who stood out to me as being less than fair minded, when he asked a question of law enforcement guaranteed to get a very dramatic answer. Representative LeBrun refrained from bringing up "voluntary euthanasia."

At least this time around we have a new governor, and Governor Hassan has indicated in the past that she would be likely to sign a medical marijuana bill into law. I'll keep you posted.

New Hampshire's Energy Needs

The current attempt at turning NH into a so-called Right to Work state has officially been defeated. If you are thinking to yourself, “haven’t we been hearing about this for years?” the answer is yes. Arnie Alpert of the NH American Friends Service Committee told me that their organizational records show that someone from NH AFSC has testified against RTW every time it’s come up since 1979. Some folks can’t take no for an answer it seems, even when no has been the answer for over 30 years. It's a remarkable waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

The Merrimack Patch had a story about the annual death of RTW. In their story, our own Rep. Gene Chandler was quoted as saying: (in part)

“In fact, the 2010 U.S. Census reported that almost 16% of New Hampshire’s young adults have left the state over the past 10 years. We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren graduating college to make New Hampshire a competitive place to work again.”

No business has ever refused to locate in NH because 10% of the workforce is unionized. No business has ever left NH because 10% of the workforce is unionized. NH’s young adults are leaving the state because they can’t afford to go to college here. NH ranks 50th in the nation on state spending on the university system – and the last legislature’s budget (a budget Gene relentlessly shilled for in newspapers around the state) cut the 50th in the nation funding level in half. NH will never be a competitive place to work until we do something about our crumbling infrastructure, inadequate telecommunications, and outrageous health insurance costs. New Hampshire’s revenue adverse tax structure ensures none of these things will be dealt with. Pretending that it has something to do with unions is pure, unadulterated baloney – and it’s baloney that police, firefighters, and teachers should be paying attention to at election time. The message is clear:  he has no respect for you or the work you do. These days Rep. Chandler seems intent on morphing into a slightly more likable version of O’Brien in a desperate attempt to get the speakership back. 

This week brought the public hearing on HB 580, a bill calling for a moratorium on wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects. This bill had 7 representatives and 1 senator sponsoring. There were 2 reps from Grafton, one from Coos, and two from Carroll County. One of the Carroll County sponsors is Rep. Chandler. 

At the risk of exploding heads, (including his) in this instance, I agree with Rep. Chandler. NH’s energy policy was last updated in 2002. Last week I attended a hearing on HB 465, a bill that is aimed at repealing part of NH’s “Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy” law, a law that was passed in 1955, when we thought we’d have atomic powered toasters. It’s a bill that reeks of cheerleading for what is now the nuclear industry, a law that the nuclear industry cited as a reason to extend the license at Seabrook Station, despite the fact that the concrete is falling apart, and the plant is leaking tritium. It’s clear that the time has come to do a big, serious, rewrite of NH’s energy policy. 

This proposed moratorium is partly a result of the ongoing fight about the Northern Pass Project. I was not surprised to hear a man representing the Nashua and Manchester Chambers of Commerce speaking against the bill. Northern Pass won’t be going through either city. Those of us who live in the North Country are all too familiar with the reality that the southern part of the state regards us as a dumping ground for projects that they don’t want in their back yards. It’s an interesting philosophy, given that tourism is NH’s second largest industry. Whenever anyone is asked what their favorite spot in NH is, it’s always the seacoast, the lakes region, or the mountains. I never seem to hear tourists say, “Boy, I can’t wait to see Nashua!” 

There was a great deal of good testimony in support of the bill. Rep. Rebecca Brown from Sugar Hill said that NH should take time to update the energy policy and not be rushed, a sentiment that was echoed by others who spoke. NH does have a tendency to act in haste and repent at leisure. We fly by the seat of our pants and pay the pound of cure over the ounce of prevention at every opportunity. We don’t plan the future; we let outside forces do it to us. At this hearing I learned that there are five hydro dams on the Connecticut River. NH doesn’t own any of them. TransCanada owns three of the five. There’s something wrong with that picture. 

Dave Dobbins of Gilford testified that he was concerned about the impact of large energy projects on our small state. He said there is a danger to our state and our quality of life if we allow energy corporations to make our decisions for us. The lack of a comprehensive energy plan leaves us at constant risk. 

Mr. Dobbins is right. In NH we’re always reacting. We’re never initiating. That’s why I find myself in the novel position of being on the same side of a piece of legislation as Representative Chandler. The moratorium should not be forever, but it should last long enough to come up with a comprehensive energy plan that will take our state into the future – a future we choose, not one that is foisted on us by out of state corporations who plunder and run.  

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Alan Lakein

© sbruce 2013

This was published as an op-ed in the February 22, 2013 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reasons to DRED this Nominee

Jeffrey Rose has been nominated by Governor Hassan to head up NH's Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED - worst acronym, ever). 

From yesterday's Union Leader:

The nomination of Jeffrey Rose, director of public affairs at BAE Electronic Systems in Nashua, to become commissioner of DRED is being opposed by Responsible Energy Action, a citizen group opposed to the Northern Pass.
In testimony filed with the council, the group claims that Rose has "consistently and publicly stated his strong, unequivocal support for the Northern Pass."

Rose was on the BOD of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, a group that supports the Northern Pass project. The transmission lines won't be going through Nashua. Rose was still listed on the Nashua Chamber website as being on the BOD, and they say that his term ended in 2010 long before the Chamber came out in favor of the project, in 2012. Apparently they just haven't had time to update their website.


In their testimony, the Northern Pass opponents acknowledge that Rose may not be officially on the board, but say he is still associated with its position.
"Only a few weeks ago, Rose promoted the high transmission line power initiative during a Nashua chamber breakfast for legislators," they wrote. "Mr. Rose cannot undo the reality or the public perception of his prior unambiguous support for Northern Pass."

This is a big conflict of interest - and should disqualify Mr. Rose without further discussion.

What is Governor Hassan thinking? If Rose is confirmed, and the project IS approved, there are going to be hard feelings and ugly accusations that will take years to recover from. More proof that the folks in Concord don't give a damn about the north country.

But wait - there's more:

Jeffrey Rose has been working at BAE Systems since 2004, as their Director of Public Affairs. That means that he's been polishing the image of a weapons manufacturer/military contractor. BAE wouldn't exist without defense contracts.

Before that, Mr. Rose worked as a staffer for: former NH Senator Bob Smith, former NH Senator John E. Sununu, and former Congressman Jeb Bradley. All of them far right-wing Republican warmongers.

It is impossible to believe that in this state there isn't anyone else with better qualifications to head up DRED.   Mr. Rose has been involved with the Nashua Chamber and the BIA - but certainly has no personal experience with small business. He's been sucking off the government teat for years.

He's been active as a DC lobbyist for BAE - and may very well have ambitions for higher office. Why in the world Governor Hassan would choose to give this guy a leg up, with an assist from the NH Democrats is a mystery. This is eerily reminiscent of Governor Lynch giving Kelly Ayotte a second term as NH AG. We all remember how well that turned out.

The Executive Council is having a public hearing tomorrow in Concord, which means a vote will be coming soon. Please contact your Executive Council member and voice your opposition to this nominee and urge them to vote against his confirmation. I hear that Executive Councilor Ray Burton thinks Rose is okay - so if you're in Ray's district, he needs to hear from you, ASAP.

Contact information here: NH Executive Council

The public hearing is at 5:30 pm on Thursday in the Executive Council chambers at the NH State House.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Failing Biology in the Alabama State House

You just can't make this stuff up. Every state seems to have at least one, and they all seem to be Republicans. From the Montgomery Advertiser:

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to take up abortion legislation Tuesday that supporters claim will protect patients in clinics and opponents claim will close down abortion providers. 
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Pelham, would require physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals; require clinics to follow ambulatory clinic building codes and make it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to dispense abortion-inducing medications. 
McClurkin and other supporters of the bill, known as HB 57, argue that the nature of abortion should require strict regulations, and claim that abortion clinics have a higher rate of regulatory violations than any other providers. 
“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin said in an interview Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.”

No word on how a woman can continue to live after the removal of the largest organ in her body. Or how men, boys, and non-pregnant women and girls all manage to keep drawing breath in the absence of that large organ.

No word on how Mary Sue got 2 college degrees without ever taking a biology class.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We Didn't Send You to Congress to be a Blue Dog, Annie

On Friday, Howie Klein had this at Down With Tyranny:

Last week 5 or 6 progressive freshmen called me to warned me that lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy (D-FL) was working all the freshmen for some idiotic statement of "bipartisanship" he had concotted. I mentioned it Thursday and it was made public this morning, much to the delight, no doubt, of Beltway Media Broderists.
Almost no Democrats signed his pathetic, badly crafted letter-- but lots of Republicans did. So disappointing to see Ann Kuster (D-NH) lending her good name to this foolhardy initiative. Most of the rest of the Democrats who signed are typical untrustworthy hacks-- or worse. The only Blue Dog freshman, Pete Gallego (TX) couldn't wait to jump on board. And the only "Democrat" who has a ZERO ProgressivePunch score on crucial votes this session, corporate shill Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), was right on top of it. (Kirkpatrick, unlike over 100 Republicans voted with Boehner on every single crucial roll call this year, a breathtaking record of achievement.)

 Digby also picked up the story, and included highlights of the  Blue Dog letter, and this:

I can't tell you how it hurts me to see Ann Kuster join that group of right wing weirdos. In fact, it's a pretty big betrayal of the progressive movement that supported who through very tough races. But I'm going to guess that the Villagers will be thrilled to frequently feature all these people as the only grown-ups in the room and laud them for "standing up" to the so-called extremists. Of course, the only "extremists" they are standing up to are progressives who don't believe that we should "reform" Social Security and Medicare by cutting benefits or enact tax reform in order to lower rates. Or any of the rest of the drivel in that letter. 

Digby nails it. This is a huge betrayal of all of the supporters who worked so hard AND gave so much money to Kuster's campaign. No one expected they'd be sending a progressive to Washington only to have her jump into bed with Blue Dogs.

Sadly for us all, it gets worse. Today Annie had a piece in the Sunday Nashua Telegraph, warning us of the dangers of the sequester.

A recent study from George Mason University projected that almost half of all job losses stemming from sequestration would come from small businesses, the engine of growth and job creation in our economy. That same study put the potential job losses here in New Hampshire at more than 6,300. 


Cuts to defense spending also would compromise the strength of our military and threaten jobs at the Pease Air National Guard Base, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and defense suppliers throughout New Hampshire. 
Let’s be perfectly clear: We need to cut spending and get our fiscal house in order. But any approach to deficit reduction that fails to distinguish between wasteful spending we can’t afford to keep and critical investments we can’t afford to cut would undermine our economy and security. 
Fortunately, there’s a better way forward. Rather than blindly slicing across the board, both parties can work together on a balanced, long-term plan that would not only avoid the sequester, but also responsibly reduce the deficit, spur job creation and protect investments in the middle class.

George Mason University is heavily funded by the Koch Brothers. The university houses the Mercatus Center, which is where the bulk of those Koch dollars go. Mercatus is a libertarian economic think tank. Mercatus has ties to NH in the form of Affiliated Scholar Jason Sorens. Jason Sorens is the founder of the Free State Project, the group of libertarians moving to NH to take over and dismantle our state government. Any economic study coming out of GMU is making Atlas stop shrugging and do a happy dance.

We cannot cut our way to prosperity. The foundation of the US economy is consumer spending. The only way to turn it around is to get the millions of people who are still unemployed and those who are underemployed back to work. Then we should talk about controlling deficits.

That  Ann Kuster has chosen to ally herself with those whose idea of "balanced, long term plans" includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is deeply disturbing.

The middle class is an endangered species. I don't see anything in Kuster's commentary that will do a single thing to turn that around, or get anyone back to work. It's just more of the same. Cutting the safety net will do nothing to create jobs - it's just a recipe for creating a lot more human misery down here on the ground.

Kuster would do well to remember why Paul Hodes lost his last election. When voters are faced with a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who sounds like one, they always pick the real thing.

We didn't send you to Congress to be a Blue Dog, Annie.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

NH Rep. Suggests "Voluntary Euthanasia"

There he  is, with a Santorum sign. I wonder what Santorum would make of this?

William Tucker at Miscellany Blue had this bit of ugliness:

Reports are circulating that state House Rep. Donald LeBrun (R-Nashua) publicly suggested people with disabilities should consider “voluntary euthanasia.”

 Representative LeBrun sits on the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee.

Donald LeBrun was first elected to the NH House in 2008. He's been a supporter of some mean-spirited and odious bills in the past and present. Like this one - a bill requiring mandatory drug testing of NH food stamp recipients. This would have cost the state millions, while saving us exactly zero dollars. My blog comments got the GOP all worked up.  Kevin Smith of the allegedly pro-family, pro-life Cornerstone Policy Research Center clutched his pearls:

Today, I call on the leaders in New Hampshire’s ‘progressive’ movement to denounce Blue Hampshire’s use of such inflammatory rhetoric and pledge to no longer use the site should such discourse continue to be permitted.”
Yet Smith never addressed the bill itself - a bill that would have potentially taken food out of the mouths of children. Apparently starving children are nothing in comparison to "inflammatory rhetoric."

This year, LeBrun is the lead sponsor of HB 121, a bill requiring drug testing for applicants to TANF. (Temporary Aid to Needy Families.)  Rep. LeBrun seems to have a  fixation on forcing poor people to pee into cups.

In March of 2011, 90 year old GOP freshman legislator Martin Harty was forced to resign after telling a constituent that it was too bad that we couldn't send folks with disabilities to Siberia so they could freeze to death. The outcry against Harty's remarks was instantaneous and it was loud.

That's why I'm wondering why LeBrun's commentary is getting the silent treatment. Certainly no condemnations from the allegedly pro-life Cornerstone Policy Research Center on LeBrun's very ANTI-life comment. Nothing from any of the NH pro-life organizations. Nothing from the NH GOP.

Where's Kevin Smith to decry LeBrun's "inflammatory rhetoric?"

This is exactly the kind of hypocrisy I expect from the fauxlifers and the GOP.

BUT - the silence is also deafening from the Democrats. Nothing from the House leadership. Nothing from the Democrats who serve on LeBrun's committee.  And nothing from the NHDP.

Do people with disabilities matter so little to our elected officials that they're willing to ignore this statement?

At the very least, LeBrun should be called upon to explain himself.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Testimony In Support of HB 465

Today I testified before the NH House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee,  in support of HB 465 - a bill that would repeal RSA: 162 B (1). This section of the law is atomic cheerleading. Time to move into the future. This is the written testimony I submitted to the committee: 

The Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy law (RSA: 162 B) was passed in 1955, just a few months before I was born.

The US learned we could harness the atom for bomb making during WWII. During the 1950’s the potential for what was then called the “peaceful atom” was all the rage. The atom was the way of the future; we were going to have atomic powered everything, even toasters.

As you know, it didn’t quite work out that way. It turned out that atomic energy was fraught with hazards. The waste is carcinogenic, and can be deadly for hundreds of thousands of years. The uranium mining process alone is a filthy business, polluting land and groundwater on mostly indigenous owned lands. We’ve never found a solution for the waste.

As the years have gone by, we’ve seen accidents at nuclear plants. Our neighboring state of Vermont has an old nuclear plant that has had fires, a collapsed cooling tower, and a number of leaks of radioactive materials. Our very own Seabrook Station has a problem with disintegrating concrete. There has also been at least one leak of radioactive tritium there.

The nuclear industry is based on a big lie: that nuclear power is safe. One need only look to the free market to see that borne out. The free market does not support nuclear power. In order to build plants, the industry relies on taxpayer-subsidized loans. Taxpayers subsidize the insurance for the plants, since no private company will insure a nuclear plant. Ratepayers (who are also taxpayers) pay for the outrageous cost of this power, and then pay again for the closing and decommissioning of the plant. A nuclear power plant is taxpayer subsidized from cradle to grave. To put it another way, it is socialized risk and privatized profit. Meanwhile the deadly waste is stored on site. Since all containers disintegrate eventually, this waste cannot be safely stored for indefinite periods of time. There is only one solution, and that is not to create any more waste.

Chernobyl. Fukushima. An accident at a nuclear plant imperils us all, imperils our planet. As the climate continues to change, the plants built in coastal areas are a danger with rising ocean levels. The big snowstorm last week shut the Pilgrim plant in Massachusetts down. It’s only a matter of time until that becomes a problem here in NH. We need to think carefully about the future, and act accordingly.

The Peaceful Atom is a relic of the 1950’s. It was an exciting new idea at the time, but now it’s a clunky old leaky behemoth. Those of you who are old enough remember that doctors told patients that smoking cigarettes was good for you back then. We know better now. Just as we know better about nuclear power.

The future is in clean, renewable energy sources. Countries all over the world are embracing that future, including countries that have been in thrall to the nuclear industry for decades.

It’s time to start moving into the future. I urge you to support HB 465, and repeal the clunky old atomic energy law. It’s enough that we’ll be storing radioactive waste for centuries here. This old law enables the dishonest profiteers of the nuclear industry to make an argument for extending the license of a nuclear plant that is already disintegrating. The state of New Hampshire should decide what the energy future of our state looks like, not greedy corporations who plunder and move on.

February 14, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Obstruction and Sabotage

The NH legislature is plowing through the 800+ bills that have been filed by our current crop of legislators. Some committees wind up with a disproportionate share of bills, just by virtue of committee. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs is going to get more bills than Fish and Game and Marine Resources. Those same committees that get more bills are also going to get more nuisance bills – bills filed so that the minority party can make a “statement.” 

The biggest statement of all was the return of right to work, this time titled the Franklin Partin Right to Work Act. Former Speaker Bill O’Brien, who seems determined to have this same losing fight every year, sponsored this bill. He couldn’t get a RTW bill passed when he had a GOP majority, so one wonders why he’s making the effort now. A cynical person might surmise that it guarantees that the RTW fat cats will fund his next campaign, and that he’ll ask for a roll call vote on this, to target Republicans who dare vote against his wishes, so that he and his out of state RTW buddies can target them in 2014. 

Representatives O’Brien, Baldasaro, Warden, Boehm, Cebrowksi, Kappler, and Comerford sponsored this year’s RTW bill. All are Republicans. Two are Free Staters. 

O’Brien testified that NH can either join the rest of the RTW states and enjoy the benefits, or be doomed to be part of the forced union Northeastern states. Even government workers are leaving the unions, he opined. He did not, of course, point out the reason for that – that government workers are losing their jobs. NH is going to become an economic backwater because 7% of the workers are unionized in our state. Young people are leaving in droves, because jobs aren’t being created. O’Brien was asked if young people are leaving because of high tuition rates, but said he’d seen no data on that. 

It’s well documented that workers in RTW states earn, on average, $1500 a year less than those in non-RTW states. When questioned about that, O’Brien said that the new jobs being created in RTW states look like low wage jobs but they really aren’t. Rep. Leon Rideout of Lancaster wanted us to know that the cost of living is lower in RTW states. He seemed to think that that would happen in NH if NH became a RTW state. The sad news for Rep. Rideout is that we’d still have some of the highest electricity costs in the nation (thank you Papa Sununu) and we’d still have heating oil costs. We’d also still have some of the highest property taxes in the country. The magic RTW unicorn isn’t going to solve any of those problems. 

NH has a tiny union presence, and no company has ever refused to come here because of it. There was no one from a private company at that hearing to testify in favor of it. It was, however, a hearing that lasted 2.5 hours of the committee’s time.

O’Brien refused a committee assignment. This means that while every other representative is serving on a committee wading through stacks of bills, O’Brien has nothing to do but enjoy himself as he watches his fellow legislators waste hours of their time on nuisance bills that he has filed. 

That became apparent when I watched him smirking in the back of the House chamber, during the hearing on HB271, a bill to stop the state from accepting federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. Just the day before this hearing, Tea Party Governor John Kasich announced he was accepting the federal monies for Ohio. Hundreds of people attended the hearing in Representatives Hall. No more than a dozen of them testified in favor of the bill – and many who did were the same folks who testified in favor of RTW the week before. The vast majority of folks who attended the hearing were there to speak on behalf of the people in our state who have no health insurance. It was essentially an ideological hearing: the compassionate vs. the compassionless. The hearing took up hours of committee time, as well as the time of the concerned citizens and professionals who came to testify. The man without a committee was unconcerned. In fact, he seemed pleased. 

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard HB502 and 503. The lead sponsor for both of these bills was Rep. Dan Itse, who filed similar bills last year. In fact, Itse is not at all afraid to waste committee member’s time and taxpayer dollars on filing the same bills over and over again. He does it every year. 

Both of these bills would impact NH domestic violence laws, which are some of the strongest in the country. HB502 would prohibit a law enforcement officer from arresting an abuser unless the officer witnesses the abuse, or the victim goes to court to file a criminal complaint. HB 503 would prohibit a law enforcement officer from arresting an abuser unless the victim files, or has previously filed, a criminal complaint. Even if the officer witnesses the abuse, they cannot make an arrest. It removes law enforcement’s ability to arrest for a violation of a stalking or domestic violence protective order UNTIL the victim has filed a criminal complaint with the court. And as we all know, courts are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

There was excellent opposition testimony from organizations including the NH Chiefs of Police Association, the NH AG’s office, the NH Dept. of Safety, and the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. 

As for the bill’s sponsor? Itse could not offer any coherent or convincing testimony for changing the laws, but that wasn’t really the point. 

Last session, O’Brien formed the infamous House Redress of Grievances Committee. This committee was a place for everyone unhappy about their experiences in the NH judicial system to go. It was a place for legislators who fancy themselves lawyers and judges to behave thusly. The committee became a forum mostly for angry men who were unhappy with their divorces and their custody arrangements. They are often MRA’s: Men’s Rights Activists – men who blame the feminists because their wives left them. The Redress of Grievances Committee was disbanded at the beginning of the current legislative session. 

Itse and co-sponsor Rep. Al Baldasaro (with an assist from Rep. Jeffrey Oligny) brought in some of their angry men (one an ex-cop engaging in some ill-concealed carry) from the Redress of Grievances Committee to air their dirty laundry in front of the committee. They were sad stories. They were also one sided. And none of them had any relevance to the bills. If I were on that committee I’d be furious that Itse had wasted hours of my time with this sideshow. It was also a huge time drain on all of the very qualified professionals who came to testify in opposition to the bills. These are same bills that didn’t pass last session with a GOP majority. 

Filing the same bills over and over, knowing they won’t pass, in an effort to gum up the works is a form of sabotage.

© sbruce 2013
Published as an op-ed in the February 8, 2013 issue of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

House Hearings on HB502/503 Domestic Violence Law Changes

February 5, 2013 – HB502 and HB503
Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Hearing

HB502 – An Act relative to protection of persons from domestic violence.
Sponsors: Representatives Itse, Comerford, Ulery, and Weyler.

Note: No women sponsored this bill.

A summation of both bills from the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence:

HB 502 would prohibit a law enforcement officer from arresting an abuser unless the officer witnesses the abuse or the victim goes to court to file a criminal complaint against the abuser. In addition this bill would change NH’s “presumptive arrest” policy that states that officers should arrest an abuser in cases where he/she has probable cause to believe that a person has committed abuse.
 HB503: Would prohibit a law enforcement officer from arresting an abuser unless the victim files, or has previously filed, a criminal complaint. In this case, even if the officer has witnessed the abuse they cannot make an arrest. In addition, it takes away law enforcement’s ability to arrest for a violation of a stalking or domestic violence protective order until the victim has filed a criminal complaint with the court. And finally, it would repeal the current directive to officers to “use all means within reason to prevent further abuse” UNLESS the officer has been notified that the victim has filed a criminal complaint. This includes the directive to remove deadly weapons from the possession of the alleged abuser, to trainsport the victim and their children to a safe place, and to give them notice of the rights and remedies available to them under the law.

Lead sponsor, Rep. Dan Itse testified that he introduced this bill to comply with the NH Constitution. (We will come back to this) He also said that 502 and 503 were supposed to be one bill, but legislative services “didn’t get it quite right.”

Noted Constitutional scholar Itse tells us that according to the NH Constitution, in order to make an arrest, there has to be an “oath or an affirmation.” (Itse liked that particular phrase, and repeated it as often as he could, during his testimony.)

Directly from my notes: “For a Constitutional scholar, Itse is not an eloquent or even comprehensible speaker.”

HB502 changes the wording  of the law: “When the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the persons are committing or have committed abuse against each other, the officer need not arrest both persons, but should arrest the person the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. He wants to change should to may. Why? Because he’s talked to many police officers who felt they made wrong arrests because they HAD to, because of the wording of the law.

He also referenced the Committee for the Redress of Grievances, and noted that in family disputes an accusation of domestic violence is often made, but there is no evidence.

Next we heard from co-sponsor Rep. Al Baldasaro:

“I’ve been a big fighter for domestic violence in the six years I’ve been up here.”

“They play to the police to get the upper hand in a divorce.”

“We all support and protect domestic violence.”

Al sez people were arrested on hearsay! There should have been some criminal document filed, especially “if nobody seen it.”

Elizabeth Woodcock, Assistant NH AG – opposes the bill

(I said we’d be revisiting the issue Itse raised of complying with the constitution:)

Attorney Woodcock testified that in Article 19 of the NH Constitution the warrant requirement is for searching someone’s house, NOT making an arrest, which police have always had the authority to do. 

Take that, Noted Constitutional Scholar.

Woodcock went on to say that this bill would change and weaken our strong domestic violence laws and threaten the safety of everyone who lives in the house.

In questioning by the committee, Woodcock was asked about line five of the bill, which reads, “Or if a criminal complaint has been filed.” Woodcock answered, “I don’t know what that means.” Committee member Rep. Steve Vallaincourt said, “I don’t know what that means. I’m not a lawyer, but I see you don’t, either.”

A former police officer (who was doing a poor job of concealed carry) testified that part of the problem with domestic violence complaints is that they are a weapon. He told a long story about a cheating wife who was fooling around with a cop, who gave her a gun to protect herself, and lots of corrupt other cops, judges, etc. He was falsely accused and arrested for domestic violence and lost custody of his kids. Everyone  involved in this story is a corrupt liar and out to get him.

Rep. Richardson from the committee: Can you explain how this bill changes that?

ExCop could not. (Because it does not.)

Rep. Richardson: I can’t see how this bill would change your situation, the situation you described.

Again, ExCop had no good answer for this – because it wouldn’t change anything. Finally he’s angry enough to stop being careful with his pronouns, and tells us that it’s the man who gets the short stick in these situations.

Sandra Matheson, Director of the State Office of Victim/Witness Awareness brought copies for the committee of the 2012 Domestic Violence Report for the state of NH, which looks at fatalities for the last decade.
Quick Stats:

50% of the homicides in NH are the result of domestic violence.
92% of the murder/suicides are the result of domestic violence.
Women are victims in these murders 62% of the time, unless it is a partner homicide. In that case, women are the victims 86% of the time.

Ms. Matheson: “When victims are not assured safety, lethality can be the result.”

Committee Questions:

Rep. Warden: Of those homicides, how many had previous arrests for DV?
Matheson: Not that many, but 40% had a history of DV incidents.

MRA (name changed for privacy) “I’ve been arrested for DV a couple of times on false charges. He was convicted of DV, and lost his house and kids in a divorce. He was arrested again for DV in 2011, on probable cause, but there was no signed affedavit. He had a lot of paper with him, and cited the group Save Services as a source of REAL statistics.

SAVE is one of the many sites devoted to attempting to prove gender parity in the case of DV. Some sites actually “prove” that men are more often abused than women. These are sites frequented by Men’s Rights Activists, who blame feminism for their not being able to slap their wives around any more.   

He aired his whole story, a story that was heard by the Committee for the Redress of Grievances last session.

Finally he got to the bill, and joined the debate over should vs. may. He’s on the may side. States do not prosecute people for giving false evidence. He lost his kids, his house, and everything because of false accusations.

Retired Police Chief Timothy Russell  continues to teach DV law at the police academy. He stated that the issue of determining who the primary physical aggressor is not that difficult. He went on to give a thorough treatise on how the law works, what the wording means, and how the wording applies.

Rep. Ginsberg – concerned by all the stories of  arrests made on the basis of false accusations.

Chief – this happens very, very infrequently.

Chief: Our domestic violence laws are some of the best in the country. Our system is not broken, and there is no need to fix it.

Patricia LaFrance: Hillsborough County Attorney

We prosecute people who make false reports.

Sgt. Jill Rockey of the Major Crimes Unit:

40-60% of abusers also batter children.  Contrary to testimony, the incidence of false reports is very, very small. As for should v. may, police do not make arrests every time as it stands. No need to change.

Chris Casko: NH Dept of Safety:
Opposes bill, will compromise victim safety.

On to HB503

Lead sponsor Rep. Itse says it is the flip side of HB 502. After a little more incoherent rambling, the committee chose to ask him no questions.

Chris Casko: again in opposition.

MRA:  Supports 503. “It all comes down to false allegations.” His voice is shaking he’s so upset. He’s heard attorneys and police officers minimize false allegations. They give out restraining orders like candy, mostly for false accusations. He then went on at length about  a number of national cases.

“The incentives to make a false allegation are huge – all they care about is the money.”

Committee Chair asks him, “Were you ever convicted of DV?”

The answer is yes. But it’s not his fault because he pleaded nolo on the advice of his lawyer. All of his friends, family, and the people in his church know his story, but none of them would come and testify even though he asked them all.

HIS statistics are accredited (the ones from SAVE) but the chief and all those lawywers didn’t bring statistics. (Unless you count the big report on a decade of DV in NH….but who is counting?)


Also – none of his testimony addressed the bill.

Elizabeth Woodcock, Assist. AG – in opposition:

Line #5 removes probable cause. This is a very serious change in the law.

She went on to give us all a lesson in nolo contendere and personal responsibility.

Tammy (name changed to protect the individual) passed the committee a picture of her stepson, and wept as she told them all about him, and how her husband has been falsely accused of physical and sexual abuse. He’s suffered, he has lawyer fees, he can’t get work. The husband was not present.

Tammy’s testimony never addressed the actual bill.

After 2 hours of this, I went out into the hallway for some fresh air. Soon after, the angry ex-cop, his female companion, MRA and his female companion, and Tammy all came out into the hall, where Rep. Jeffrey Oligny was waiting for them. He hugged Tammy and told them all what a great job they’d done. These folks were straight from the disbanded Committee for the Redress of Grievances, brought in to create some emotional chaos. Not one of them presented any testimony that was actually relevant to the bill. It as all just a sideshow – Itse and Co. thumbing their collective noses at their fellow legislators and all of the professionals who took time to be there to offer up serious testimony against these nuisance bills.

HB271 - Hearing on Bill to Prevent Expanded Medicaid

HB 271: An Act Stating that NH will Not Accept Expanded Medicaid
Sponsors: Rep. William O’Brien and Rep. Timothy Comerford.

Hearing on February 5, 2013, 10 am in Rep’s Hall at the NH State House. 

I confess. I was running a little late, and parking was a problem. By the time I parked in the mansion district and hoofed it to the hearing, I missed most of O’Brien’s testimony.

I did hear him speak of NH’s “addiction” to Medicaid. Where was Obie when Judd Gregg was filling NH’s budget gaps with Mediscam dollars? Oh, the irony! O’Brien thinks that people will stay poor on purpose, to keep Medicaid. And why wouldn’t they? Poverty is SUCH big fun!!

Next was Rep. Comerford, who tells us that Medicaid isn’t very good coverage as it is. Tell that to the folks who have NO coverage, Timothy.

Representative Hunt testified in support of the House minority, in support of the bill. He’s somehow turned getting expanded Medicaid money into a budget cut, and tells us that we should NOT cut the budget now, we should wait until the economy turns around. He also claims that the people who would be eligible for expanded Medicaid would be picked up by the private insurers through the exchanges. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to him that if you are a low wage worker and can’t afford private insurance, the exchange system isn’t going to make a lot of difference.

Meanwhile, O’Brien is standing alone in the back of the room, smiling. Happy to be tying up a committee and hundreds of people.

Sonia Prince of Nashua: “I don’t want this bill to pass because I have compassion.”

Pam Ian (not sure about spelling) from Concord supports the bill because back in the olden days people used to pay for health care out of their own pockets. She blames Medicare and Medicaid for the increase in health care costs. Our choices have been taken away from us by gummint regulations. We need FREEDOM. We should be able to buy plans that are tailor made for our needs.

Mike Lessard from Dover spoke in opposition to the bill. He’s a blue-collar worker who was clearly nervous, but he was pretty great as an advocate for low wage workers and on behalf of his brother who has some disabilities.

Will Thomas of the NH Veterans for Peace pointed out that this would be a good thing for NH veterans. He also said: “We are judged by how we treat the least among us.”

Pam Lessard, a teacher, and Mike’s mom spoke in opposition. She referenced low wage workers and their inability to afford health care. She said, “Health reaches into every aspect of a person’s life.”

Jane Lang testified that at the age of 63 she was left without a job and without health insurance. Last year she was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, and needed surgery right away. She had to apply for Medicaid; a process that she was told would take 3-6 months. She is in favor of expanded Medicaid, so that people will get routine health care, and problems will be diagnosed earlier.

Steve Ahnen, President of NH Hospital Association:
People turn to hospital emergency rooms because they have no place to go. This program will cover a great many of those folks. Uncompensated care is a crisis for NH hospitals, we can’t sustain it.

Barbara, nurse from Derry: Must we in NH continue the race to the bottom?

Ellen Feinberg of the NH Children’s Alliance:
Children of low wage workers can get CHIP or Medicaid, but their parents cannot. Research shows that healthy parents take better care of their children. Early and consistent health screenings benefit children and the people of our state.  

Allison Comeau Nason – triage nurse, night shift:
Sees patients with conditions that have gone on for days or weeks, but sometimes even months and years because of lack of insurance. She spoke of a young mother who was diagnosed with cervical cancer, who didn’t get care because she had to pay the rent. We need to make health care more available to the people of our state.

There were few present in support of this bill, and many who were opposed. It really comes down to this: the compassionate vs. the compassionless. At this hearing, the compassionate were in the majority.