Legislative Action Alert

A message from Jackie Cilley.
~The Strafford County Democratic Committee

Another week, another round of assaults on students, women, working families, the environment, you name it and it is on the docket. It is an almost Herculean task to highlight the innumerable pieces of legislation that will damage our New Hampshire way of life and our standard of living. So, I hope that you will bear with me as I attempt to shine a spotlight on some of the most important pieces of legislation that will be taken up in committees this week.

For a full list of all of the bills that will be heard in both House and Senate committees, please go to the end of this overly lengthy e-mail. I have highlighted in yellow those things that appear to affect the greatest number of citizens and are the most damaging. However, you may find more that concern you and you may even find some that you want to support (though the truth be told, there appears to be precious few of those these days). If you would like more information on any of the legislation that you see in the list, you may want to go to the General Court website to read the bill itself. If you would like more information after having read the legislation, please feel free to contact me and I will either offer some information about it or put you in contact with someone more expert on a specific topic. Also, if you need help contacting any of the committee members or your own legislators, I will be happy to assist.

I would also encourage you to go to each of the calendars (the links to which I provide below) in order to see the bills on the floors of each chamber this week.

Most Important Bills This Week:

On Thursday, February 17 at 10:30 a.m. in Representative's Hall the House Judiciary will take up three bills related to marriage equality. These include HB 437, HB 443 and HB 569. Each of these bills seeks to strip a right that our gay and lesbian friends, family members and neighbors have been given. As the UNH/Survey Center poll of last week clearly demonstrated the overwhelming majority of our citizens believe that these rights should not be repealed (64% say leave the law alone). This is not the New Hampshire way, yet idealogues on the Judiciary Committee and among the new legislators are pressing forward regardless.

The words of Rep. Lenette Peterson, a member of the House Judiciary, should strike fear in the hearts of any citizen. When she was asked why she supported repeal of marriage equality (which she indicated that she did in response to a constituent's request that she oppose such efforts) her response was as follows: "...no where in the NH Constitution is the word marriage, it is not a Constitutional Right. There is a definition of what marriage is in the Bible. I suggest you read your Constitution and you will see what rights you have."

You don't have to be a supporter of marriage equality to see just how dangerous this thinking is. At the risk of sounding alarmist, I don't think it is a leap to suggest that this kind of governance is what leads to theocracies. I don't want to be ruled by someone else's Bible or their interpretation of the Bible and I sure don't want my children and grandchildren subjected to this.

Please do everything that you can to attend the hearing on Thursday, February 17 in Representative's Hall and to register your opposition to these bills. It is vitally important for as many citizens as possible to be there, not only to have their voices heard, but to hear the voices of these legislators in their own words. If you are able to make the hearings, I would appreciate your letting me know so that we can get an estimate of the number of folks attending as well as assist in carpooling effots.

There are a number of troublesome environmental bills that will either be heard or voted out of Committee this week. Chief among these is the repeal of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. While costing the average ratepayer a mere 34 centers per month, this bill has lead to the generation of approximately $28 million that has been put to use on energy conservation projects for businesses and residents as well as the creation of dozens of jobs in the state of New Hampshire. The bottom line story on RGGI is that our citizens will pay more for the energy costs even if we opt out and repeal will lead to the loss of millions of dollars and numerous jobs. Please contact the members of the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee and ask them to vote against HB 519-FN.

On Thursday, February 17 the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee will hear HB 470-FN that will repeal the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. On the same day, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources will hear two bills, SB 124 and SB 154, that would each reduce the requirements of the CSPA (SB 154 suggests the most sweeping changes). The Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act was originally enacted in 1991. The legislature at that time, and in every year since, viewed the protection of the environmental integrity as well as the economic value of our bodies of water in NH as sufficiently important to warrant restricting to a greater or lesser degree the management of shoreland property. The repeal of this law would undoubtedly result in the degredation of our water bodies. Please contact the members of the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee to ask that they oppose the repeal of CSPA.

There are also a number of bills that will mandate that New Hampshire opt out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act as well as one in the NH Senate that will mandate that the NH Attorney General join the lawsuit of several other states (SB 148 that will be heard along with other Senate bills opting out of the law on Tuesday, February 22). Perhaps the most effective steps that you can take to support the new federal healthcare law is to contact your own legislators and senator and ask that s/he oppose any attempts to mandate that New Hampshire opt out. Let them know that seniors are already benefitting from this law that closes the donut hole, that students up to age 26 are now covered by their parents insurance and that insurance companies can no longer drop someone's coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

I apologize for the length of this, but there are so many pieces of potentially harmful legislation being voted on currently that I thought you might want to know about them. Let me know if you think these are helpful and if there is any other way that I and others can assist in keeping you informed and involved.

Thank you for all that you do.

Jackie Cilley

For the complete House calendar go to: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/caljourns/calendars/2011/houcal2011_13.html