State House Watch From the American Friends Service Committee

We’ll begin posting these updates as we receive them, for everyone’s reference.  People at the office of the American Friends Service Committee in Concord work tirelessy with Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty to put out these comprehensive summaries of what’s happening at the state house.

State House Watch April 10
2015 Is
sue 13

There’s a bit of a lull at the State House right now.  House committees are working on Senate bills that have crossed over, and Senate committees are working on bills that passed the House.  The big one is the budget, now in the care of the Senate Finance Committee, which will meet next week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The capital budget is being examined by the Senate Capital Budget Committee, which begins meetings with state agencies on Wednesday.

Funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment is a topic getting lots of attention because the House budgeted insufficient funds.  Find out more about this issue on “State House Watch Radio” next week.

During this lull, why not take a few minutes to give us your feedback on State House Watch? We’d love to hear from you. Just hit and tell us how we’re doing .

Updates from Last Week – Voting Rights and Citizens United

HB 112, the House bill attempting to tie voting domicile to motor vehicle licensing and registration was tabled and sent to the NH Supreme Court for its opinion. Yesterday the Court responded with a “no opinion” opinion, due to a pending case filed by the NH ACLU.  Oral arguments will be heard on April 22.

SB 179, which includes the same dubious provisions as HB 112, but which also includes further restrictions on the right to vote, came before the House Election Law Committee on Tuesday.  This bill restricts voting to people who have been in residence for at least 30 days prior to an election, and measures residency by economic factors like property ownership, business pursuits, employment, and motor vehicle registration.  Opponents argued persuasively (to us, at least) that this provision is unconstitutional.  Support for it is now the subject of an online petition sponsored by the Republican Party.  We expect the Election Law Committee to ask for an advisory opinion on this one, too.  We will keep you updated on these attempts at stifling voter participation in our state.

The House Legislative Administration Committee held a public hearing on SB 136, establishing a committee to review constitutional amendments pending in Congress regarding the Citizens United decision and related cases. The bill currently recognizes the need for such an amendment. Please contact members of the committee to urge them to pass this bill as written.

Next Week in the House

The House will be in session on April 15 at 10 AM.

Consent Calendar

SB 265, establishing the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) savings account. Comes out of a committee with a 19-0 recommendation of OTP (Ought to Pass).

Regular Calendar

SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities. Committee recommends OTP 16-0.

SB 48, relative to the NH Commission on Native American Affairs. This bill extends the life of the commission to the year 2020. The committee recommends OTP on a vote of 11-3.

Coming up in House Committees

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB
10:00 AM – Full committee work session on SB 113, the two-casino bill, which was considered in a public hearing on Tuesday.  Casino Free NH and the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling will sponsor a legislative lunch St. Paul’s Church on
Wednesday, April 15 during the session lunch break. There will be a brief program and the opportunity to have questions answered.

Coming Up in Senate Committees

The Senate will not be in session next week.

In the Finance Committee

Work on the budget continues in the Senate Finance Committee, which will hear more agency presentations next week.  These meetings do not include opportunities for public comment, but like all official proceedings, they are open for members of the public to observe.  We have heard that the committee will hold an actual public hearing on May 5 starting at 3 PM.  We’ll have more details next week.  These are the scheduled sessions for the coming week.  Look at the Senate Calendar for additional information about which agencies are presenting on which day.

Senate Finance, Room 103 SH (State House)

  • Monday, April 13, starting at 10 am.
  • Tuesday, April 14, starting at 3 pm.
  • Wednesday, April 15, starting at 9 am – Department of Corrections is at 10:30 AM, followed by the University System at 11:30 AM.
  • Friday, April 17, starting at 11 am.

NH Voices of Faith vigils will be held each day, starting 15 minutes prior to the start of each hearing.  Contact Maggie to sign up for a shift, and visit the group’s Facebook page to stay informed.

In the Capital Budget Committee

The capital budget (or HB 25) is the portion of the state budget that deals with spending for big projects financed by borrowed money rather than general funds appropriations.  Agency presentations on the capital budget will begin on Wednesday and continue Thursday and Friday.  This biennium the budget adopted by the House includes funds for a new women’s prison, which is turning out to be more expensive than the amount allocated two years ago.  Chris Dornin from Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform says, “For the original $40 million outlay, the state could have built a smaller women’s prison and an array of halfway houses and sober houses.”  We are also hoping that money for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund makes a reappearance after being left out of the House budget.  Additional units of affordable housing are critical for efforts to end homelessness.

Public Hearings in the Senate Next Week

Monday, April 14

Commerce, Room 100 SH
1:30 PM – HB 411, prohibiting the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities.  The Senate has already passed SB 47, a similar bill.

Thursday, April 16

Rules, Enrolled Bills and Internal Affairs, Room 101, LOB
9:00 AM  HB 423, designating the bobcat as the New Hampshire state wildcat. There’s been some controversy over the number of state symbols this year, especially following the House’s rude rejection of  HB 373, the bill to designate the red-tailed hawk as the state raptor. Senator Jeff Woodburn said that he will propose that the red-tailed hawk measure as an amendment to HB 423.  Rumors are that the proposal naming the mastodon as the official state fossil might reappear as well.

One more State House event we noted:  The NH chapter of the National Association of Massage Therapists will offer free chair massages to members of the General Court and staff on Tuesday, April 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in room 212, LOB.

Events Coming Up

William Hartung Speaking Tour – William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington DC, completes his speaking tour, “Profits of War: The Military-Industrial Complex and the High Price of Defense,” with events tonight in Canterbury and Saturday morning in Manchester.  Hartung is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.  The events are organized by AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence Project and co-sponsored by NH Peace Action and NH Citizens Alliance.  For more information, contact Eric Zulaksi or look at our web page.

Lawrence Wilkerson Speaking Tour – Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and an outspoken critic of US military and foreign policies, will speak at events in Durham, Portsmouth, Nashua, and Plymouth, including keynoting the conference on building a culture of peace and nonviolence (see below).  His other public events will be:

  • Thursday, April 16, Durham, UNH Memorial Union Building Entertainment Center, 4 pm, co-sponsored by UNH Peace and Justice League.  Details here.
  • Thursday, April 16, Portsmouth Public Library, 6:30 PM, co-sponsored by Portsmouth Public Library and NH World Affairs Council.  Details here.
  • Friday, April 17, Concord, Tad’s Place, Heritage Heights, 190 East Side Drive, 10 AM.  Details here.
  • Friday, April 17, Nashua Unitarian Universalist Church, 6 PM.  Details here.

On Thursday, April 16, Col. Wilkerson will be a guest on “The Exchange” on NHPR from 9 to 10 AM, and on “The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen” on WNHN-LP from 12:30 to 1 PM.

Sunday, April 12

Hanging on for a Living Wage – A Forum – 1:30 PM at South Church in Portsmouth, 292 State Street.  Panelists include:  Rep. Jackie Cilley, Rep. Deanne Rykerson (Maine), Senators Martha Fuller Clark and David Watters. RSVP here.

Wednesday, April 15

Tax Day –  Join AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project, NH Peace Action, and NH Citizens Alliance as we remind our fellow Granite Staters that we have a say in where our money goes.  Click here to get materials you can distribute at your local post office. At 3 pm, we will be gathering in front of Senator Ayotte’s office in Nashua. Click here if you can join us.

Thursday, April 16

Arnie will speak about the Governing Under the Influence project on AFSC’s “Spirited Action” conference call.  “Spirited Action” is a monthly conversation about the work of AFSC and how Quakers can be involved in evolving movements for social change. These monthly calls are an opportunity to learn from AFSC staff about specific focus issues and campaigns, and hear ideas of how to get involved. Each one is also an opportunity to speak with other Quakers from the around the country about strategies for how to engage in collective social change work.  If you’d like to participate, get more information here.

Saturday, April 18

The 7th Annual Building a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence Conference will take place from 9:30 AM to 3 PM at Boyd Science Center, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH. This year’s focus is Overcoming Money in Politics.  Workshops include bird dog training; money in politics; prisons, profits, and politics; global warming; the Trans Pacific Partnership; and GMOs. Keynote speaker is Lawrence Wilkerson.  This is free and open to the public. Bring your own lunch

Please register here or on Facebook. Call NH Peace Action at (603) 228-0559 for additional details.

This conference is sponsored by: NH Peace Action, Plymouth State University Peace & Social Justice Studies Council, PSU Office of Environment Sustainability, American Friends Service Committee-NH Program, League of Conservation Voters, Coalition for Open Democracy, People for the American Way, and Stamp Stampede.

Friday, May 1

Rally for Immigrants and Workers Rights – This year’s rally will be at Market Square in Portsmouth at 5 PM.  Information here.

NHCA Community Conversations on NH Budget – NH Citizens Alliance is holding discussions with Jeff McLynch of the NH Fiscal Policy Institute to help us understand the state budget debate.  Each event will feature a presentation, followed by questions and comments. Light refreshments will be provided. These gatherings will last from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Please be sure to record your selection time and location.  Sign up here.

•    Nashua – Monday April 13 at 5:30 PM – Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, 2 Quincy Street. Use parking lot door #2.
•    Plymouth – Tuesday April 21 at 5:30 PM – Pease Public Library, 1 Russell Street, Community Room.
•    Manchester – Monday April 27 at 5:30 PM – Manchester City Library, 405 Pine Street, Winchell Room.
•    Keene – Tuesday April 28 at 5:30 PM – Keene Public Library, 60 Winter Street.
•    Franklin – Tuesday May 12 at 5:30 PM – Franklin Public Library, 310 Central Street.

Next week on “State House Watch/White House Watch” Radio

Our first guest next week will be Kate Frey from New Futures, the group leading efforts to secure adequate funds for substance abuse treatment and prevention.  On the “White House Watch” segment of the show we will have Steve Duprey, who heads presidential debate planning for the Republican Party.  The show airs on Monday from 5 to 6 pm and re-broadcasts on Tuesday from 8 to 9 am on WNHN-LP.  You can listen live at 94.7 FM in the Concord area and on wnhnfm.org anywhere and anytime you can get an internet signal.  You can also download podcasts of past shows, including last week’s with Erin Polley from Indiana AFSC and Senator Andrew Hosmer.

Governing Under the Influence

In the past week Arnie posted an article about the candidates’ responses — or lack thereof — to questions about a quota for immigrant detention written into the federal budget.  He wrote another about a lecture given by Martin Gilens comparing the poltical influence of ordinary people to that of wealthy people and influential interest groups.  Next week will be a busy one for candidates, so check out the calendar and let Olivia know which ones you can attend and ask questions about the excessive influence of corporations.

-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 and writing.  Addy Simwerayi produces the radio show.  We also thank Judy Elliott for help with proofreading.

“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!

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