- Part one – includes disclosures and background
- Part two
- Part three
- Part four
- Part five – updates to disclosures
The House Legislative Administration Committee held its executive session on Mar. 29th. Some of the emergency powers bills were also on the docket. HCR 2 was the last bit of business.
The committee voted to retain HCR 2 and some other emergency powers bills in committee over the summer for further work and reconsideration in next year’s session. According to those that supported retaining the emergency powers bills, those bills need work. The reason for retaining HCR 2 in committee is that with the changes to the budget related to the state of emergency, there are better ways of dealing with the state of emergency.
Union Leader coverage of the budget.
The Governor thinks the budget is “off the rails”.
Representative Leah Cushman wants mask enforcers to be a little less zealous.
An opinion writer agrees with President Biden in that neanderthal thinking is the only reason anyone opposes wearing masks or wants to rein in governors’ emergency powers.
Anti-mask protester flies a drone over Governor Sununu’s property.
According to this article, HB 187 received another amendment. If I understand the story correctly, the full Legislature, instead of a special committee, must vote to rescind an emergency order of the Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner.
The Governor had a meeting with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. At the meeting, he stated the mask mandate will likely end in the next few weeks.
Upcoming House Sesssion
The House will have a three day voting session starting on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021.
Among the huge number of bills the House will vote on, there are some related to the State of Emergency. Here are a few of the bills and their recommendations.
- HB 187 – This bill has an Ought to Pass as Amended (OTP/A) recommendation.
- HB 433 – This bill has an Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) recommendation. The committee’s reason for the recommendation is there are other better bills which rewrite the emergency powers laws.
- HB 220 – The original bill updates the state’s communicable disease law so that no state resident will be subject to a medical procedure without that person’s consent. My understanding of the current law is that the government may force medical procedures on people when a communicable disease is spreading. The bill has an OTP/A recommendation. The amendment waters down the bill quite a bit.
- HB 417 – This another bill updating the state of emergency laws. The majority of the committee recommends it passes, the minority recommends it does not pass.
- HB 402 – This bill restricts the government’s ability to take property during an emergency. A majority of the committee gives the bill a OTP/A recommendation, the rest of the committee gives it an ITL recommendation.
- HB 439 – This bill repeals the part of state law which municipalities have claimed is the source of their authority to pass mask ordinances. The committee majority gave the bill an Ought to Pass (OTP) recommendation, the rest of the committee gives the bill an ITL recommendation.
- HB 221 – This bill makes the state’s vaccine registry an opt-in program, instead of an opt-out program. A majority of the committee gave the bill an ITL recommendation since they think there is nothing wrong with how it works currently. A minority of the committee gave the bill an OTP recommendation since the bill would bring the way the vaccine registry works into line with the state constitution’s privacy protections.
- HB 506 – This bill updates the state’s public accommodations law to prevent discrimination against people that refuse medical treatments such as vaccines. The majority of the committee gives the bill an ITL recommendation, the minority gives the bill an OTP recommendation.
While going through the House’s calendar documents, I saw a bill not related to the state of emergency which I think might be interesting to you. Here is the committee report to the House about this bill:
HB 183, prohibiting municipalities from requiring a license for a lemonade stand operated by a person under the age of 18. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. Rep. Tony Piemonte for the Majority of Municipal and County Government. While RSA 31:102-a does give cities and towns the right to license and regulate hawkers and peddlers, the majority of the committee does not find any need for the state of NH to grant to a local government the authority to control and regulate a child’s lemonade stand. New Hampshire is a Dillon’s rule state and thus NH defines what powers it will grant to local government. HB183 clearly states that a city or town MAY NOT claim that the RSA gives them the authority to demand licensing and regulations from some kids setting up a lemonade stand on their front lawn. The committee amendment simply changes ‘a lemonade stand’ to ‘a soft drink stand.’ The purpose of the committee amendment is to allow children to sell a more varied group of drinks. Vote 10-9. Rep. Marjorie Porter for the Minority of Municipal and County Government. Although well-intentioned, the minority finds this bill unnecessary. There are no instances in New Hampshire where a town has closed down a child’s front-yard lemonade stand for lack of a license. In addition, there may be unintended consequences if it were to pass. What would then prevent a nefarious adult, wishing to avoid paying a license fee, from hiring a 17 year-old to operate his lemonade booth at the town fair? The bill prohibits a municipality from regulating a child’s lemonade stand. If a child were to set up a stand in a dangerous spot, would the police or other town official then be prohibited from moving it? And finally, why only lemonade? What about bake sales? Things are working fine the way they are. The minority sees no reason for the government to interfere.
I’ll write more next week.