Here is the camel - or is it zebra - made by committee:

[Art.] 5-c [Public Education]. In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity.  In furtherance thereof, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability and to determine the amount of, and the methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education. [italics mine]

Have at it!

Here is the camel - or is it zebra - made by committee:

[Art.] 5-c [Public Education]. In fulfillment of the provisions with respect to education set forth in Part II, Article 83, the legislature shall have the responsibility to maintain a system of public elementary and secondary education and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity.  In furtherance thereof, the Legislature shall have the full power and authority to make reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education and standards of accountability and to determine the amount of, and the methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education. [italics mine]

Have at it!

Every time I think the Republicans in the legislature can't possibly think of anything new to do to outrage us, they manage to come up with something.  In today's version of Planet O'Brien, John Distaso reports in the UL online that Rep. John Hikel, R-Goffstown, candidate for the state senate, repeatedly and loudly called Pamela Manney, former GOP vice chair, a "pole dancer" at a local Republican picnic.

"I'm just totally mortified," Manney told the Granite Status. "I was never a pole dancer or a stripper. And he said it two more times and the more he said it, the more he advanced toward me.

"I thought we were friends," Manney said of Hikel. She said she worked on behalf of Hikel's campaigns for the House in the past but is supporting Greazzo in the current Senate primary.

I don't think I can add anything to this, other than: seriously? He called her a pole dancer? Are you kidding me? And they say there isn't a war on women?

I wrote an op ed in the Union leader today about why the proposed moratorium on refugees is wrong. It asks why a moratorium on 400-500 refugees each year, when: According to a 2008 report by the University of New Hampshire, about 78,000 people moved from the metropolitan Boston area into New Hampshire from 2001 to 2006, and no one is calling for a moratorium on people from Massachusetts. Some will argue that all those immigrants from Massachusetts don't require costly services, but I would beg to differ; an influx of 78,000 puts a strain on schools, roads and municipal services. Hasn't anyone noticed the construction work on I-93 lately? And what about the Free Staters? When they announced their plan to move 20,000 people into New Hampshire to take over state and local government, then Gov. Craig Benson welcomed them warmly. It was a little surprising, since just a couple of years earlier their guru, Jason Sorens, wrote that the Free State project was the means to the end of having a state secede from the United States. Seceding from the United States would cause a much bigger problem, and a lot more inconvenience, for the rest of us living in the Granite State than welcoming 400 or 500 refugees into our state each year.
This idea of a moratorium on refugees has been percolating around here for about a year now, and I do hope the state senate sends the idea packing. There are a lot of Americans who are here today because their ancestors were refugees from war, poverty or persecution, and these folks moving into our state from Iraq or Bhutan are here for the same reasons. You can read the whole op ed here; it always is entertaining to read the comments.
The NH Attorney General announced today that his office is suing the Bass Victory Committee for push polling violations. This is not the run of the mill push polling violation where a polling company doing message testing did not understand the NH push polling disclosure requirements. In this case, the Bass campaign knew and tried to hide its involvement.  In September, 2010, the Tarrance Group was hired to do a poll. The original scrpt said, at the end, paid for by the Bass Victory Committee.  Bass's campaign manager e mailed the company and asked that they change the disclosure to say paid for by the NRCC:

Could we change the disclaimer at the end to NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] since they are paying for half of it? I'd rather have any issues about 'push polling' be blamed on them (sorry Brock), rather than us - especially with the date rape drug question in there.

That isn't the worst part, although trying to hide their responsibility is pretty bad.
According to the lawsuit, after receiving a complaint aboiut the poll and starting its investigation, the AG issued a subpoena for correspondence between the campaign and the Tarrance Group.  The Bass committee, through legal counsel, said there was none.The AG withdrew its subpoena.

But the plot thickens, as after further investigation, the AG issued a second subpoena to "verify the accuracy of prior representations". 500 pages of e mails were then produced (!) one of which was the e mail telling Tarrance to change the disclosure to leave out the reference to the Bass committee as paying for the ad.


Suit has been filed, and the AG is looking for a penalty of $1,000 per each of the 400 calls (would be interesting to know how the AG discovered that it would be a good idea to issue that second subpoena).

This is bad - failing to disclose the Bass campaign was involved in the calls was a deliberate effort to sidestep the law, and not truthfully responding to the first subpoena was an effort to cover up the violation.  

The House will be voting again this week on HB 1659, the "Doctors Must Lie To Their Patients" bill.  This is the bill that requires a 24 hour waiting period before a woman first sees a doctor about an abortion and the procedure itself. The bill instructs doctors to provide women with a specific list of information, including false informaion regarding a discredited theory that early termination is linked to breast cancer. In its original form, doctors were subject to felony convictions for not following the law. The Criminal Justice committee is now recommending that the felony provisions be removed, but, in Bill O'Brien's House, it is very likely that an effort will be made to put them back in. Also, the statute subjects a doctor to professional disciplanary action - i.e, loss of license - and malpractice suits.

But even if the felony provisions come out, it is still a very bad bill. Why is the state taking steps to tell a doctor what medical information he must provide to a patient? Also, the bill requires all this information to be put up on a state web site. So, the State of NH will be publishing and distributing false information.  
Doctors also are required to provide the state with a report on each procedure, including the name of the doctor, as well as post procedure examinations of the fetus and tissue removed. The informartion regarding the doctor is supposed to be non public, but, it is submitted to HHS and the Board of Medicine.

Failure to keep the records or supply the information required by the statute subjects the doctor to loss of license. Failure to perfomr the post procedure examinations is a misdemeanor (which can result in jail time), and results in automatic suspension of the doctor's license for six months, with a one year supsension for a second offense, and revocation for a third. The point of all tsis is not statistacal analysis, but to stop doctors from performing abortions.

189 Republicans voted for this bill, including so called Free Staters who don't want governmnet interference except when they do. 151 Democrats and Republicans voted against it. Hopefully, now that more legislators know what the bill does, and how it legislaties that both doctors and the State of New Hampshire provide false information to women, and imposes new obligations on doctors under threat of misdemeanor or loss of license, they will defeat this bill.  

According to a tweet from Josh Rogers at NHPR, Ovide Lamontagen is saying he "only" will support the Northern Pass if New Hampshire has a right of first refusal on the power going into the grid.

New Hampshire does not need the energy from the Northern Pass, so having a right of first refusal means nothing. Ovide should just admit he is for the Northern Pass, and stop playing games.  

Northern Pass will leave a permanent scar of transmission towers across the New Hampshire landscape from the border with Canada to Deerfield, all for the benefit of private corporate interests. Northeast Utilities and PSNH have tried to bully this project through. First they threatened landowners with eminent domain. Then they tried to get the Attorney General to stop the sale of land by the Balsams to the Forest Society. They refuse to look at the smart alternatives, such as putting lines underground along the highway system.

Northern Pass is not interested in the best interests of the State of NH. Ovide can't have it both ways. He either supports permanently scarring NH for private corporate profit, or he supports the people of New Hampshire.

It looks like Bill O'Brien and his majoirty leader, DJ Bettencourt, may be losing their grip on the legislature.

According to tweets from the Concord Monitor, O'Brien was booed by House members when he said he would not postpone a bill on Right To Work today. The reason for the postponement? Rep. Quandt, who is recovering from surgery, had asked for the vote to be postponed until next week so he could speak against it. Really? O'Brien would not give a fellow rep the courtesy of postponing the vote due to a medical issue? Oh, right, this is O'Brien we are speaking about. Defying O'Brien, the House voted 300-41 to postpone.

This may explain why he was so grumpy later in the day when the House took up the amendment to HB1546, to allow discrimination against women's health care - being booed by your members, and then losing a vote involving RTW will do that to a guy.
When applause broke out following Rep. DeStefano's remarks opposing the amendment, O'Brien pounded the gavel and threatened to clear the gallery. He did it again when there some scattered boos; after that, the gallery engaged in a lot of hand waving to indicate support, and thumbs down to indicate opposition. The Speaker glared; I think he was hoping for an excuse to clear the gallery.

The amendment passed, 187-152, and the full bill passed 196-150. These were not veto proof votes. This was an issue on which O'Brien said, leadership opposed the current law. Yet he and Bettenourt were unable to cobble the Republican votes together to produce a veto proof majority.

Last year, O'Brien and Bettecourt successfully intimidated Republican legislators; this year, their grip is slipping. Yes, both the amendment and the bill passed, but their failure to reach 200, and the 300 vote on the postponement of RTW, were telling rebukes to leadership.  

There is a special election for NH House next Tuesday, in Manchester's Ward 3.  Peter Sullivan is the Democratic candidate, running against a Tea Stater. It is very important that we win this race; this is the seat vacated by Mike Brunelle when he moved to Pennsylvania.  So, it has a lot of recent history, as Bill O'Brien and DJ Bettencourt wanted to expel Mike.

Peter has served in the House before; he was an original Obama supporter, is a very hard worker, and will be a great rep. If you live on Ward 3, please vote. If you know anyone in Ward 3, ask them to vote.  

Than you!


Another bill making its way through the legislature this session is HB1560, which has the innoucous title, "The Interstate Health Care Compact". This bill would have state law supersede federal law regarding health care within the state. This may sound like "just" another effort to do away with health care reform, but it goes deeper than that. This bill would require the federal government to block grant all federal dollars for health care to the states, excluding military, VA and Native American health care.  Medicare and all other federal health care programs would be eliminated, turned over to the states.

In addition, it would establish a new bureaucracy run by the states: an "Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission", with two members from each state, with the authority to "study" issues of health care regulation, and make recommendations to the states. So, each state will have to establish a new bureacracy to handle the health care programs, and then we also will have to pay for a new non-federal, but multi-state bureaucracy.
But wait - there's more!  
If adopted, each state will have the authority to suspend the operation of any federal laws or regulations conflicting with the laws of the state.  

I don't know about you, but after watching this legislature in action, I don't want Bill O'Brien and his cabal making decisions about health care or for anyone.  And ending Medicare? Are you kidding me? Replacing one federal bureacuracy with 50 state bureacuracies and a non-federal but still multi-state bureaucracy? You can't make the case with a straight face that Medicare and other health care programs will be run more efficiently with 51 new bureacracies.

But this bill is not being sponsored by Dan Itse or Jerry Bergevin or some of the other way out there fringe. It is sponsored by House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt and Senator Chuck Morse, so it needs to be take seriously. This bill is part of a nationwide effort; the plan is to get this bill enacted in a number of states, and then have congress pass it. It is a serious effort to end Medicare and have the states take over all health care spending.

It is up for a hearing before the O'Brien created "House Constitutional Review and Statutory Recommendation Committee" tomorrw at 10:00 a.m.  


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