Another deadline has been met and another state budget has been passed. The final session of the year for the NH House was jam packed with theater, debate, obstructionism, and oratory that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The job of the House was to vote on whether or not to adopt the reports from the various Committees of Conference (CoC).
All three budgets were passed, HB 1 – the main budget, HB 2 – the budget trailer, and SB 25 – the capital budget. All passed by wide margins, with a modicum of posturing. The best comic relief of the day came when former Speaker William O’Brien made a floor speech claiming that the budget they’d just passed was the result of his hard work – his legacy. It was, he said, “An O’Brien budget.” The former speaker refused a committee assignment this year. Apparently after being the king, he was reluctant to mix it up with the peasants on a committee. That means he did nothing all year but vote on session days, and hold press conferences. The hardest work he did all year was during the final session when he asked for 2 roll call votes. After his delusional speech, someone moved that his remarks be put in the permanent record. It was roundly voted down. It is fascinating to watch someone walk through the world unencumbered by fact or logic; yet so egotistical as to think that running for Congress should be his next move.
HB 242, a bill dealing with child safety restraints was hotly contested. The Liberty crowd hated this one. How dare anyone tell them how to take care of their children? Nothing says freedumb like dead kids in a car accident.
HB 573, the watered down compromise version of the original therapeutic cannabis bill passed on a division vote of 284-66. The bill is a disappointment to all advocates for medical marijuana, but the hope is that this will be a step toward better policy.
HB 595, the voter ID bill compromise also passed, after a lot of posturing from the Liberty crowd. In the compromise, current NH student ID is deemed an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes. The (unfunded) mandate for cameras and scanners is kicked down the road till 2015, just in time to gum up the first in the nation primary. One legislator told me all about the need to safeguard our elections, because of all the voter fraud he’s seen. None of it ever seemed to be caught on camera, video, or reported to the police. I asked him if he really believed that our elections are highjacked by busloads of people from Massachusetts, he said yes. I asked how (if that were the case) he explains the Senate? Or why the Democrats don’t run everything always, he had no answer.
Everything passed. It was a long, hot day in the House, and toward the end, tempers were a little frayed over the continual calls for roll call votes. Many seemed to think that 14 of ‘em were plenty.
We have a budget, but it doesn’t increase revenue. A story in yesterday’s Concord Monitor warns that the widening of I-93 will run out of funding by 2015. There’s no money to continue. There’s no money to fix our roads and bridges. There are still 3 bridges around the state that can’t be used at all. Some funds have been restored to our university system and our community colleges, but NH still needs to make the decision to invest in the future, instead of clinging to the failed policies of the past.
On June 18, the traveling bus tour of Mayors Against Illegal Guns came to Concord. Local gun safety advocates procured a permit to have a peaceful memorial vigil on the State House Plaza. The names of the 6000+ who have been killed by guns since the Sandy Hook school massacre were going to be read throughout the day. This event horrified the NH NRA group, who sent out emails to inflame their followers. A Facebook event page was created, and a number of the Libertea faction of the state legislature signed on as being quite excited to stage a counter-protest to this peaceful memorial vigil. Disgraced former NHGOP chair Jack Kimball was hard at work ginning up the basest of the GOP base. They were successful.
When I arrived at the event at 5 pm, the peaceful, unarmed citizens who were conducting a solemn memorial were surrounded by about 60 armed thugs who were screaming anti-Semitic slurs, racist slurs, anti-woman slurs, and bellowing into a bullhorn. They were threatening people. One bellicose thug threatened me, because I had a camera and I was taking crowd shots. He later tore a sign out of another woman’s hands and went for her camera. Another decided that the best way to illustrate responsible gun ownership was to get right up in the face of John Cantin, as he spoke about his daughter’s murder in 2009. Daniel Musso heckled and harassed John Cantin. He was eventually led off by the police, fought with them, and was tased.
WMUR presented a very slanted story that night on the news, a story that has come to be accepted as the truth. I was there at the same time the WMUR reporter was. He did an interview with Jack Kimball, he spoke to some of the gun thugs, but he never spoke to anyone outside of the gun nut crowd. The story was edited into being one lone heckler who was brutalized by the police. What they don’t tell you is what the police walked into – an armed gang of bullies spoiling for a fight. It was very nearly a riot. The only NH traditional media that reported the truth was the Concord Monitor. Everyone else has worked hard to turn the story into ANYTHING other than a gang of out of control, armed bullies attacking unarmed NH citizens.
After seeing all this, I can only conclude that these angry men oppose background checks because they would be unable pass them. Also: this is why we call them “gun nuts.” The guy who threatened me was furious at the idea of his picture being taken. I also conclude (as usual) that the default setting for most NH media is GOP. The slanted WMUR report created a lie that was then picked up by media all over the world. NH residents deserve to get the real story, not coverage that’s been sanitized for GOP protection.
“Republicans want to deregulate everything except voting and vaginas.” susanthe, via Twitter.
© 2013 sbruce Published as a biweekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.