The opinions expressed are those of the writer. InDepthNH.org takes no position on politics, but welcomes diverse opinions. email firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSAGE FROM THE REPUBLICAN LEADER
By House GOP Leader Dick Hinch
Republicans & Friends Across New Hampshire,
The House will not be in session next week. The next session will be at the call of the chair but for planning purposes, Thursday, April 4th is a deadline day, and we most likely will be meeting that day.
The House had two full days of session this week, and luckily we finished all business earlier than anticipated. Unfortunately for Granite Staters, House Democrats used their majority to pass ridiculous legislation. We started the day by taking up HB 558-FN, restricting the distribution of plastic straws and HB 560-FN, relative to single-use carryout bags. With all the important issues facing our state, i’m surprised that Democrats have focused their efforts on restricting straw use. If that wasn’t bad enough, they decided to make their ban more strict than even California.
House Democrats then passed HB 397-FN, relative to drivers’ licenses for New Hampshire residents who do not possess a social security card. In other words, this bill would allow illegal immigrants to receive a driver’s license in our state. If this were to become law, it could make it easier for them to participate in several other things, like voting in our elections. Even the New Hampshire DMV staunchly opposed the bill, citing the difficulty in authenticating foreign documents and the increased likelihood of fraud. Despite all the potential negative impacts, only five Democrats voted against it.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s session, the Democrat House Majority Leader decided to use time typically reserved for giving memorial speeches and recounting significant historical events to give a condescending speech impugning the motives of our colleagues. It’s become increasingly clear over the course of this session that he is a rogue partisan extremist. Even 49 of his own Democratic colleagues voted with Republicans to table further divisive comments. I decided to take the unfortunate, but necessary step of calling on Speaker Shurtleff to replace Representative Ley as his Majority Leader. We’ll see if he acts in the best interest of the House. For more information, read our press release below.
All the best,
Dick Hinch, House Republican Leader
CONCORD — The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would enable illegal immigrants brought to New Hampshire as children to get a New Hampshire driver’s license without a Social Security number.
The vote on HB 397 was 204-137, mostly along party lines, with five Democrats opposed.
A Republican-sponsored bill that would require the state to post citizenship information on a drivers’ license or state-issued ID failed, 121-220, with 13 Republicans opposed and one Democrat in favor.
“We are being asked to provide drivers licenses to illegal aliens — a group of people who have broken federal laws by either entering the country illegally or staying past their visas,” said Rep. Sherm Packard, R-Londonderry.
“This same group of people have admittedly broken New Hampshire law every day by driving without a license and have admitted to doing so for years. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the safety of our roads. Documents sold on a street corner in Mexico could be used to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license. We should not be rewarding people who break our laws.”
Rep. Casey Conley, D-Dover, pointed out that 10 states and the District of Columbia already have laws like the one being suggested, which could affect an estimated 15,000 so-called “Dreamers” in New Hampshire.
“A New Hampshire drivers’ license proves only who someone is, where they live and that they are permitted to drive in our state,” he said.
“This bill will improve safety, reduce the number of uninsured motorists, and provide the same privacy protections that all other New Hampshire motorists enjoy. Undocumented people who live in our state may have come here at a young age through no fault of their own.”
House Minority Leader Richard Hinch, R-Merrimack, said the bill could have serious consequences if it becomes law.
“With New Hampshire’s current laws, allowing illegal immigrants to receive a valid Drivers’ License could make it easier for them to participate in several other things, like vote in our elections,” he said.
“If this bill becomes law, we may allow thousands of undocumented immigrants to take advantage of other rights and services that should be exclusive to lawful citizens.”
A bill to allow residents who identify as neither male nor female to opt for an X as gender identification on the drivers’ license passed in a voice vote.
“This bill allows non-binary residents an equal measure of dignity,” said Rep. Cecilia Rich, D-Somersworth.
“This bill is continued support of the transgender protections signed into law last year.”
The bills will still have to clear the Senate and be signed by Gov. Chris Sununu to become law.
Republican Leader Hinch to Speaker Shurtleff: Rep. Ley Should Go
Ley has proven himself to be a rogue partisan extremist, and has demonstrated
that he is not fit to serve in a leadership role in this body. His divisive
comments yesterday showed that he is more interested in fanning
the flames of discontent in the House, than resolving concerns in a
professional and respectful manner. In my 4 years as a member of the majority
leadership team, we would have never resorted to making a public spectacle of
this sort on the House floor. We always extended courtesy to our friends in the
minority to work out our differences with dignity and honor rather than impugn
our colleagues’ motives before the House. It’s become clear to me that Speaker
Shurtleff has lost control of his majority leader, and should terminate
Representative Ley’s role as a member of leadership. There’s a very big
difference between civil discourse, and rising before your peers to make a
condescending speech. It’s time for Speaker Shurtleff to lead by example.”
“Just a few short months ago, as he was accepting the nomination for Speaker, Speaker Shurtleff reflected on what he learned from one of his many listed Republican mentors, ‘…his demeanor as speaker had a lasting impact on me, and the message that it’s so important to put partisanship aside to work for the common good of the people.’ Mr. Speaker, I ask that you follow that advice that had a ‘lasting impact’ on you and put partisanship aside for the good of the House and the good of our citizens that we work hard for everyday. It’s time for Representative Ley to go, and time for the Speaker to install someone who embodies the spirit of how the Speaker said he would run this House.”
“There were 49 Democrats that joined with Republicans to table further comment from Rep. Ley. I would like to personally thank them in recognizing that divisive comments have no place at the rostrum during unanimous consent, and voting to end his rantings.”
Background: Unanimous consent is traditionally a time when the House allows remarks from members not specific to legislation. It is often used to memorialize colleagues, celebrate holidays or historical events, and allows members to apologize if they went afoul of House traditions. Appropriately titled, unanimous consent requires no objection from any member of the House. If a member withdraws their consent, remarks can be stalled. Only a few occasions in the last 10 years has unanimous consent been halted due to objection.
House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote
Allowing Licensure of Illegal Immigrants
CONCORD – House
Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the New
Hampshire House vote to pass HB397, relative to drivers’ licenses for New
Hampshire residents who do not possess a social security card.
“Democrats in New Hampshire are totally out of touch with our state. HB397 would allow illegal immigrants to obtain a Driver’s License using an expired alien registration card and a foreign passport in lieu of a social security card,” said Hinch. “We should not be rewarding people in our state illegally while millions of people around the world are waiting to come lawfully. It’s unfair.”
“The consequences of this bill could be serious. With New Hampshire’s current laws, allowing illegal immigrants to receive a valid Drivers’ License could make it easier for them to participate in several other things, like vote in our elections. If this bill becomes law, we may allow thousands of undocumented immigrants to take advantage of other rights and services that should be exclusive to lawful citizens.”
House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on Bill to Restrict Plastic Straws
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following the New Hampshire House vote to pass HB558, restricting the distribution of plastic straws. The bill would require every food service business to only provide a plastic straw when explicitly asked for by the customer.
“House Democrats just passed a more stringent ban on plastic straws than California. Even California recognizes that plastic straws have a place in society, and they chose to only apply their prohibition to full-service restaurants. If this bill becomes law, and you’re driving away from receiving your drive thru milkshake or iced coffee realizing you forgot to ask for a straw, just remember that even your friends in California have more straw freedom than you do here in the Live Free or Die state.”
House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on Plastic Bag Tax Bill
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following the New Hampshire House vote to pass HB560, relative to single-use carryout bags.. The bill would require every store or food service business to “provide reusable plastic or recycled paper bags to customers for no less than 10 cents.”
“Businesses and consumers can currently choose to provide or use reusable or biodegradable options on their own. House Democrats aren’t satisfied with asking consumers to make better choices, they want to force businesses to provide you with a certain kind of bag, and charge you for it. The number of regulations, mandates, taxes, and fees that House Democrats are proposing and passing this year is just astounding, and this 10 cent bag tax is just another example.”
House Republican Leader Reacts to House Vote on Democrats’ Anti-Gun Legislation
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the New Hampshire House vote to pass HB109, requiring background checks for commercial firearms sales and HB514, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm.
“New Hampshire is ranked as one of the safest states in America. The vast majority of gun owners in New Hampshire are honest, law abiding citizens. These bills are an unnecessary attempt to solve a problem that, quite frankly, doesn’t exist in our state and has the potential to make criminals out of responsible gun owners,” Hinch said.
“These bills are not necessary, are an excessive government overreach, and a severe restriction of 2nd Amendment rights. The provisions in these bills do nothing to alleviate the concerns of the proponents and just cause more red tape and are intrusive to the rights of law abiding citizens.”
House Republican Leader Worried Democrats Will
Cut Revitalization Projects From Governor’s Budget
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the press conference held today where Governor Sununu and local and state leaders spoke in support of the Capital Infrastructure Revitalization Fund as part of his FY 2020—2021 Budget.
“The governor has it right. One time revenue should be designated to one time appropriations, and sending money back to towns, and specific projects within state agencies helps offset local and state costs. He’s identified real needs in communities, and departments, and he’s doing it the right way. Democrats might see the dollar signs, and might be realizing that with all of the appropriations bills they’ve already passed, plus all the budget promises they’ve made, they might have to cut these projects to fund their big government dreams. They’ve maxed out on raising taxes and fees (I hope), so they have to get more money from somewhere, and unfortunately, this is an easy target.
The Democratic majority in the House on Tuesday passed bills regulating the use of plastic bags and straws, while requiring gender-neutral changing stations for infants and disabled adults in certain public buildings — bills attacked by Republicans as needless government intervention.
HB 558, restricting the use of plastic straws, passed 196-146, with only one Republican joining Democrats in favor of the bill, Rep. David Danielson, R-Bedford.
“Plastic straws cannot be recycled, are harmful to wildlife and are one of the ubiquitous litter problems in our waterways,” according to Rep. Christy Bartlett, D-Merrimack.
The bill prohibits any food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw unless requested, with an exemption for health care facilities.
Businesses could offer straws made from paper, pasta, sugar cane, wood or bamboo.
“Even California recognizes that plastic straws have a place in society, and they chose to only apply their prohibition to full-service restaurants,” said Minority Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack.
“If this bill becomes law, and you’re driving away from receiving your drive-thru milkshake or iced coffee realizing you forgot to ask for a straw, just remember that even your friends in California have more straw freedom than you do here in the Live Free or Die state.”
A bill to restrict the use of single-use carryout bags, HB 560, passed 201-145, with one Republican vote, Arthur Barnes, R-Salem.
The bill forbids any food service business or store with more than 1,000-square feet of retail space from providing a single-use plastic carryout bag to a customer, except to use up the bags they still have on hand.
Businesses would be allowed to sell reusable plastic or recycled paper bags for 10 cents each.
“In 30 years, there will be more plastic, ton for ton, than fish in the ocean, and bits of plastic in the fish we buy,” said Rep. Joyce Weston, D-Plymouth.
Rep. John Hunt, R-Rindge, argued that the issue should instead be sent to a study committee.
“This bill is a fast-track attempt to move New Hampshire from having no laws governing the use of plastic bags to adopting far-reaching legislation,” he said. “The minority agrees that something should be done, but we need to proceed cautiously to identify any unintended consequences.”
HB 520, requiring public accommodations built after Jan. 1, 2021, to install at least one diaper changing station accessible to both men and women, passed 206-142. The bill also requires a similar installation for any public buildings being renovated at a cost greater than $50,000.
“The committee heard testimony from new and young fathers who believe that this accommodation is long overdue,” according to Rep. Edward Butler, D-Hart’s Location.
Republicans argued against the mandate.
“This is a great idea, but I don’t agree with mandating businesses to do it,” said Rep. Kimberly Rice, R-Hudson.
A related bill, HB 628, requires gender-neutral changing stations for adults who have a physical disability at all new public buildings with foot traffic of more than 1,500 people a day or more than 40,000 square feet.
Rep. Constance Van Houten, D-Manchester, described how for 14 years she has taken care of an elderly parent, “changing her on dirty floors of public restrooms.”
“That has instilled in me an appreciation of the need for universal changing stations to preserve the dignity of both caregiver and the disabled person,” she said.
Hunt said this type of changing station with an automated lift does not currently exist anywhere in the state, and requiring them will be an expensive mandate.
“In addition, there is some question about whether it is appropriate to have these lifts installed without ensuring there is someone present who knows how to operate them,” he said.
Citing examples of ridiculous bills being advanced by New Hampshire Democratic lawmakers this session is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. But shooting may be a trigger word that they will soon attempt to outlaw, so we will steer clear of it.
What Granite Staters should not steer away from is the attempt by Democrats to add us to the list of states that give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. California, for one, now has more than one million illegals with drivers’ licenses.
Such moves make worthless the claim that supporters really oppose illegal immigration. They encourage it.
A driver’s license is an E-ZPass to all manner of privileges and opportunities to which illegals are not entitled. One of those is voting.
Is it mere coincidence that this proposal comes along as efforts are underway to make voter registration automatic when one gets a New Hampshire license?
Democrats here already oppose the notion that to vote here you must prove you live in New Hampshire. Perhaps they would be willing to trade? They will block non-resident college kids from swaying elections in Durham, etc., if illegal residents can vote in Manchester and Nashua?
A proponent of the bill, which the House passed this week, said it would “improve safety, reduce the number of uninsured motorists, and provide the same privacy protections that all other New Hampshire motorists enjoy.”
We would like to see proof of the first two claims.
As for the third, citizenship and legal status are what should provide privacy protection, not partisan politics.
2019 HOUSE DEADLINES
March 28, 2019, noon Last day to report House Bills, except budget bills, Last
day to report list of retained HBs
Thursday, April 4, 2019 Last day to report budget bills, Last day to act on House Bills, except budget bills
Thursday, April 11, 2019 BUDGET CROSSOVER – Last day to act on budget bills
Thursday, May 2, 2019, noon Last day to report Senate Bills going to a second committee
Thursday, May 9, 2019 Last day to act on SBs going to a second committee
Thursday, May 30, 2019, noon Last day to report all remaining SBs, Last day to report list of retained SBs
Thursday, June 6, 2019 Last day to act on SBs
Thursday, June 13, 2019 Last day to form Committees of Conference
Thursday, June 20, 2019 Last day to sign Committee of Conference reports (4:00 p.m.)
Thursday, June 27, 2019 Last day to act on Committee of Conference reports
NH HOUSE STATS