All in One House Session - 331 Billls
Happy Weekend, Bedford!
After three very long days at the Sportsplex in a restless crowd and on a folding chair, I am more than happy to greet this beautiful day.
It's hard to know how to summarize a House session that had us consider 331 bills and included a warning to those Reps. playing soccer in the back of the complex to knock it off, an apology from the Speaker for calling a Representative a b**ch that got picked up on a live microphone, and members of both parties losing their cool and yelling about comments made by the other.
The first day we dealt with the budget. The Governor had submitted both his original request and an ask for an additional $70 million in services, due to state revenues coming in much higher than anticipated. Instead, Finance cut $50 million more from Health and Human Services, refused to fund the process of bringing back 38 developmentally disabled NH residents from where they are being boarded in FL, took $100 million of the Statewide Education Property Tax dollars (in lieu of providing targeted state aid to our neediest communities), and jeopardized smoking cessation programs, aid to homeless youth, women's health care, wastewater treatment efforts, and dental benefits for those who are at or below the poverty level.
Included in the budget bills (HB 1 and HB 2) were measures that would curb the Governor's authority during a state of emergency and one that would prohibit the discussion of racism, sexism, or other divisive concepts in our schools. HB 1 passed 200-178 and HB 2 was 200-181, so they are moving forward.
Governor Sununu has described the House Budget as "off the rails," so it is pretty clear that he does not support it in its entirety. Let's hope the Senate is able to iron out some of the most prominent wrinkles before it gets to his desk.
Thursday and Friday the House considered non-budget bills, though the process was no less angst filled than the day before. All of the Constitutional Amendments that were proposed failed, largely due to the fact that they require a 3/5s majority to pass.
CACR 1: Prohibiting an Income Tax from ever being enacted CACR 2: Prohibiting a Sales Tax from ever being enacted CACR 3: Allowing public dollars to be used for religious schools CACR 4: Instituting an independent commission to redistrict, following a census CACR 5: Died in committee CACR 6: Raising the retirement age of judges CACR 7: Died in committee CACR 8: Prohibiting laws to regulate firearms CACR 9: Placing a 2% tax cap on all communities
Among individual bills that passed with bipartisan support were those dealing with collective bargaining, tougher penalties for drunk driving and invasions of privacy, holding polluters accountable for remediation costs, extending the statute of limitations for PFOA and PFA civil cases, allowing individuals to order medical testing on their own, and requiring landfills to be located at least 2 miles away from state parks.
Those of you who know me know that I am an eternal optimist. I see the good in most people and hunt for the silver lining in all adversity. I am, gratefully, hard wired this way. But, these three days were a real trial.
I heard a colleague remind another that every time she thought about somebody across the aisle as being "crazy," she should try to remember that somebody over there was probably thinking that one of us was crazy, too. That's good advice.
The jeering, the mocking, the interrupting and cat calls, the disregard for tradition and the apparent lack of understanding of the importance of restraint and decorum are all in the rear view mirror, now. I am happy to be home. The House now awaits the bills crossing over from the Senate this week, as the Senate receives ours.
I must say that the sunshine and warmth of this week inspires me to look forward with hope. As the days are brighter and things start to grow again, may we all experience the renewal of Spring.
I had a conversation with my four year old granddaughter today about seeing her again in June. When I mentioned that I hadn't ACTUALLY seen her since she was 2, she asked, "Are you sure I wasn't 3, Nana? I haven't been 2 for a REALLY long time!"
Oh, how I know THAT, Hazel. Nearly half of her life must seem like forever! It certainly has to me...
We're celebrating the gift and the blessings of good health and the vaccine here on Privet Hedge Lane. Putting our priorities in the right order. Keeping it real.
These two photos were taken at this week's session. One gives you a sense of how vast the space is that attempts to contain us. The other is a reminder that no matter how dark the night, there are always super heroes among us.
Best to All! sm