AFSC’s New Hampshire State House Watch newsletter is published weekly to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more. For an email subscription, visit our main page and click on <get our newsletter>. 

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We also have a weekly radio show on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm, re-broadcast Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am.  You can listen live on WNHN, 94.7 FM in Concord, or over the internet. You can download a podcast of any of our earlier shows

State House Watch January 23

2015 Issue 3

We hope you had a good Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  The MLK Day Community Celebration in Manchester, featuring Hedrick Smith and awards to JerriAnne Boggis and D.G. Krasner, was one of the best ever.  Arnie was a speaker at the Southern NH Outreach for Black Unity breakfast in Hollis, where he talked about the recent attacks on voting rights and the growing weight of money in our electoral system.  You can read it on our website.  

The NH Rebellion’s four walks to shine a light on the threat to democracy coming from big money in the election system converged in Concord on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case.  AFSC staff participated in the walks and led five bird dog trainings for the Rebels.  

We were glad to see so many of our friends at the NH Friends Gathering last Saturday, which focused on energy and climate.   

The Legislature was relatively quiet last week, but picks up the pace of hearings starting Tuesday.  Read on for news about taxes, tenant rights, immigrants, Citizens United, voting rights, the state fossil, public assistance, and more.

With so many insults to human dignity contained in the fine print of bills being considered, NH Voices of Faith will hold a prayer vigil at 10:30 am on Tuesday, January 27 on the second floor of the Legislative Office Building.  For more information, check out their Facebook group or email Maggie Fogarty.

Last Week in the Legislature

The Senate Ways and Means Committee took up SB 1 and SB 2, both proposals to reduce business taxes.  Jeff McLynch of the NH Fiscal Policy Institute testified, “SB 1, taken in combination with its companion measure, SB 2, would ultimately and permanently reduce state revenue by $78 million on a biennial basis. Given the fiscal challenges now before New Hampshire, tax cuts of this magnitude would endanger the public services on which Granite State residents and business rely and curtail the sorts of investments critical to a brighter economic future for all.  Read the rest of Jeff’s statement here and join us Monday for the State House Watch radio show, where Jeff will be our guest.
 
Tuesday, January 27 in House Committees

FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
Committee Briefings continue with HHS (10 am), the Center for Public Policy Studies (1 pm), and the NH Retirement System (3 pm).  

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
1:45 p.m. HB 240, prohibiting law enforcement agencies from using a drone to collect evidence.

2:30 p.m. HB 287, allowing citizens to record by audio or video a traffic stop by law enforcement officers.

ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
10:00 a.m. CACR 4, relating to the right to vote. Providing that 17-year olds who will be eligible to vote in the general election be permitted to vote in the election’s primary election.

10:30 a.m. HB 328, relative to delivery of absentee ballots. This bill makes it slightly easier to submit absentee ballots.

11:15 a.m. HB 112, relative to domicile for voting purposes. This is another effort to discourage student voters by linking voter registration to motor vehicle registration.

1:15 p.m. HB 312, relative to registration of voters. This bill makes it slightly easier to register to vote by allowing use of a deed or lease as presumptive evidence of domicile.

1:30 p.m. HB 304, establishing a committee to study public access to political campaign information. The committee would look at establishing an online system of campaign finance reporting. This bill is a priority of Open Democracy.  

ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE, Room 303, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 372, relative to certain private employers under workers’ compensation. This provides an exemption for agricultural employers whose payroll is less than $10,000 a year.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 306, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 113, designating the mastodon as the official state fossil.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB
2:15 p.m. HB 219-FN, relative to the use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.  The bill prohibits the use of EBT cards in businesses primarily engaging in tattooing, branding, or body piercing; cigar shops, smoke shops, and marijuana dispensaries; all of which are lawful services in New Hampshire.
 
JUDICIARY, Room 208, LOB
1:00 p.m. HB 315, relative to termination of tenancy.  This bill provides additional grounds for termination of tenancy with 7 days notice for: a person staying on the premises who isn’t party to the lease for more than 14 consecutive days or 30 days in the course of a year; having pets in violation of the rental agreement; or failing to establish utility service in the tenant’s name.

1:45 p.m. HB 309, permitting landlords to remove tenants’ property in certain circumstances. This concerns vehicles or other property improperly stored outside that is blocking driveways or access to a dumpster.

2:30 p.m. HB 269, allowing a landlord to collect first and last month’s rent in addition to a security deposit. This would place a serious financial burden on low income tenants.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 307, LOB
10:15 a.m. HB 324, relative to membership in a union.  This bill would permit members of a union to vote to decertify the union if membership falls below 50 percent. It also permits employers to require such a vote.  Our view: employers should have no say in whether or not their employees choose to unionize.   

11:00 a.m. HB 267-FN, requiring employers to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Employers would be required to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify electronic system. This applies to public employers, their contractors, and their contractors’ contractors.  It is identical to bills from the same sponsor that were rejected in previous sessions, when it drew opposition from pro-immigrant groups, civil libertarians, unions, public sector employers, and private business associations.

1:30 p.m. HB 365, prohibiting an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.

2:30 p.m. HB 361, relative to the definition of “employee.”  This bill says that people who work at home, on the internet, for online business activities, can be denied the rights of employees regardless of their employment status.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
11:30 a.m. CACR 1, relating to taxation. Providing that a 3/5 vote is required to pass legislation imposing new or increased taxes or license fees, or to authorize the issuance of state bonds and providing that the general court shall appropriate funds for payment of interest and installments of principal of all state bonds.

1:00 p.m. HB 314, establishing a commission to study the charitable status of certain nonprofit organizations for purposes of state and local taxation.

2:00 p.m. HB 350, establishing a commission to study the impacts of the property tax on New Hampshire’s residents, businesses, municipalities, and the economy.

Tuesday, January 27 in Senate Committees

TRANSPORTATION,Room 103, LOB
1:45 p.m. SB 62, relative to drivers’ licenses for persons without a permanent address. This bill would allow people without a permanent address to apply for a license in the same manner that they are allowed to register motor vehicles.

Thursday, January 29 in Senate Committees

RULES, ENROLLED BILLS AND INTERNAL AFFAIRS, Room 100, SH
12:45 p.m. SB 48, relative to the New Hampshire commission on Native American affairs. Revises the membership of the commission and extends the repeal date of the commission from 2015 to 2020.

1:00 p.m. SB 136, relative to assessing the consequences of the Citizens United decision. Requires legislative hearings in order to assess the consequences.  This bill calls for public hearings and says the study committee “may” propose wording for a Constitutional Amendment.  For information on the impact of Citizens United, check out this article published today by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Thursday, January 29 in House Committees

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 262, relative to criteria for classification as a tier III sex offender.

11:00 a.m. HB 263, prohibiting residency restrictions on sex offenders.

LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
11:15  HB 371, relative to assessing the consequences of the Citizens United decision. Like SB 136, this requires legislative hearings to assess the impact of Citizens United.  But this one acknowledges “the necessity of an amendment to the United States Constitution that redresses the corrupting influence that money has in the electoral system due in large part to the consequences of Citizens United and other related Supreme Court decisions.”  Again we recommend the Center for Responsive Politics as a source.

Tuesday, February 2 in House Committees

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
2:30 p.m. HB 386-FN-A, reducing the rate of the business profits tax from 8.5 percent to 7 percent.

Next week on "State House Watch" radio
Jeff McLynch from the NH Fiscal Policy Institute will join Maggie and Arnie for the first half hour.  The second half hour is "White House Watch," covering the road to the White House.  Our guest will be Kevin Rutledge from the Iowa branch of AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project.  Our show airs on Monday from 5 to 6 pm and re-broadcasts on Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am.  You can listen live at 94.7 FM in the Concord area and wnhnfm.org anywhere you can get an internet signal.  You can also download podcasts of past shows.

Upcoming Events:
Tuesday, January 27 beginning at 10:30 am, NH Voices of Faith Vigil, 2nd floor of the LOB, (10:30 am to 12 noon, and 2 pm to 3:30 pm).

January 27 at 7 pm, “Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes,” a documentary about the money-drenched political system,  at the Concord Unitarian Universalist Church, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord.  Free admission.

Check out AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence webpage!  It’s got info about upcoming visits of presidential candidates, reports from our “bird dogs” on their encounters with the candidates, and blog posts that shed light on the corporate influencers that drive up military spending and put more people behind bars.

-Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty

PS - Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.  Search for “American Friends Service Committee-NH” to “like” us.  After all, we are your Friends.

AFSC’s New Hampshire "State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.  Click here for back issues.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change.  Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on WNHN-FM.  Susan Bruce helps with research.  Addy Simwerayi produces the radio show.  

"State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.

Your donations make our work possible.  Click the “DONATE NOW” button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program.  Thanks!