What is the League working on this year? How has the League testified on specific bills? What has the LWVNH accomplished in the recent past? Tips for effective citizen advocacy.
The House Ways & Means Committee has scheduled a hearing for SB 113 on Tuesday, April 7 at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 202-204 of the Legislative Office Building. It is important that we have as many people as we can show up for this. It will be important to sign in opposition (not necessary that you present testimony, just sign in as "opposed." This call comes from the coalition against using expanded gambling to raise revenue (Casino Free NH)of which we are a member organization. They ask that we please make every effort to attend.
This committee passed the Keno bill earlier this year, but it was retained by the House. It will be helpful to hear the arguments for the 2 casinos and questions asked. As has been the case for so many years, funding government services, whether it is to comply with court decisions or to pay for road and bridge repairs, League has believed that counting on expanded gambling is unreliable - especially now as more casinos are proposed in MA and ME and others are closing in NJ! CT has already subsidized their casinos from the general fund and believes this will continue.
The coalition plans a luncheon for representatives in April with a speaker from CT who has experienced the ups and downs there personally. We need to encourage all Reps to take advantage of the opportunity to hear his description of what he observed.
SB 4 bill would strictly define "domicile" for voting purposes in a way that would disenfranchise some groups of voters. Read the testimony delivered March 10, 2015, by the League of Women Voters NH to Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee in opposition to this bill. Update: bill will be voted on in the Senate 3/26/15.
Senate Ways & Means--Gambling "SB113"http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/SB0113.pdf> League presented testimony in opposition to casino gambling Feb. 17, 2015. The League's testimony was referenced in this Union Leader article of Feb. 17 Senate passed this as amended March 12.
Constitutional Amendment Bill CACR 10 would put on the Nov. 2016 ballot the proposed NH constitutional amendment to make the term for Governor of NH a 4-year term. This is a position long held by LWVNH. League will give testimony at the Feb. 19, 2015 hearing.Voted Inexpedient to Legislate 3/11/15. It will not be on the ballot in November 2016
Election Law: Feb. 12, 2015 SB207 would eliminate the requirement that moderators take photos of voters who don't present acceptable photo ID on election day. This requirement is slated to go into effect later in 2015. 3/12/15 update: The senate voted to kill this bill today. The League opposes taking the photos and therefore supported the bill to eliminate the requirement, so we are disappointed. Read our testimony for the full explanation. A League board member who is also a town moderator also submitted this testimony.
Election Law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 659-FN would allow the use of absentee ballots by those who don't currently fit the strict restrictions of religious, medical, or out of town excuse (such as the busy parent who works til 5, picks up the kids at soccer, has to cook dinner, and just can't get to the polls). League testimony supports this bill. Feb. 17 committee voted to retain this bill (for further study perhaps).
Election law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 627 would eliminate election day (aka "same day") voter registration and enact provisions of the National Voter Registration Act. It would also create a provisional ballot, which is unconstitutional in NH. Read the League's testimony in opposition to this bill. March 4, House voted Inexpedient to Legislate.
Election law: Feb. 5, 2015 HB 620 would authorize the state to participate in an interstate database. The reality is that the program identified in the statute is flawed. League will submit written testimony urging a vote of Inexpedient to Legislate. March 4, House voted Inexpedient to Legislate.
Science,Technology & Energy Feb. 4, 2015 HB 208 was heard in committee Feb.4, 2015. The League testified in opposition to the bill which seeks to repeal the NH Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program. We urged the committee to vote Inexpedient to Legislate. Feb. 13 update: This bill was amended to eliminate the part about repealing RGGI but kept the part that would return the money from greenhouse credits to ratepayers rather than the current situation, which returns money to municipalities to improve energy efficiency in public buildings.House voted to pass as amended Feb. 18, will go to Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee for a hearing.
Election Law: Feb. 2, 2015 League testimony was submitted regarding the amended HB 112. The League opposes this badly crafted wording that attempts to define "domicile" for voting purposes in a number of ways that appear to be unconstitutional or intended to disenfranchise various groups . The text of the amendment entirely replaced the simple original wording of the bill, which was heard on Jan. 28. Click here to read the amended wording. The House tabled this bill, has requested an opinion from state court justices.
Finance: Feb. 2, 2015 League testimony was submitted electronically in support of HB 634, a bill related to interest, dividends, and capital gains that would increase exemptions to low and middle income families but raise capital gains taxes on those who can most afford it. The League's testimony offers moral support for the bill based on our position to adequately fund the state's obligations and our criticism of regressive taxation. Update: This bill was retained in committee on Feb. 10 at their executive session.
Election Law: Jan. 20, 2015 League testimony was given in opposition to HB 127, which would allow ballot clerks to recognize voters without IDs. League opposition stems from the discriminatory recognition of some voters and not others, and from the use of ballot clerks, who are appointed by parties, not elected, and thus not accountable to the voters.House voted Inexpedient to Legislate on March 4.
Voter ID requirements were passed in June 2012, revised in spring 2013. The League honors its commitment to voter service and education by publicizing the voter ID requirements (please visit our Elections page).
We were also co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit opposing the voter registration requirement to register a car in NH. That case was settled with a permanent injunction against the restrictive requirement in July 2014. It will be appealed by the state sometime in 2015. In Feb. 2015 it came to the attention of the League and the American Civil Liberties Union of NH that the Secretary of State was sending a letter to voters who used an affidavit to prove domicile in the November election that seems to be in violation of the court order. See the ACLUNH press release on the matter
Expanded Gambling The League continues to oppose gambling expansion. The coalition against expansion of gambling in NH is reorganized under the name Casino Free NH (see the website and facebook page: http://casinofreenh.org/ <https://www.facebook.com/CasinoFreeNH>
Incarceration The League is tracking legislation related to our study of women incarcerated in NH. We attended bi-monthly meetings of the Interagency Council on Women Incarcerated in NH until that body was disbanded in late 2014. We also observe meetings of the committee recently established to study the availability of services in the community to offenders released on parole. A board member regularly attends meetings of the Interbranch Criminal and Juvenile Justice Council. Another board member was appointed by Gov. Hassan to the Citizens Advisory Board of the NH Correctional Facility for Women on Feb. 5, 2015 (3 year term).
New Hampshire Prison Privatization The League opposed the large-scale privatization of prisons in NH for which bids were being evaluated (fall 2012). We attended coalition meetings opposed to privatization. We urged members to contact the Governor and their Executive Councilors to express opposition to privately run prisons. Happily, the privatization issue has been put to rest for now (spring 2013), and a new women's prison was approved in the capital budget. The League is keeping a close eye on plans for the new prison as they are developed. We attended the ground breaking on August 18, 2014. League board members are available to speak to groups in the community interested in learning more about incarceration, alternatives to incarceration, and privatization of prisons.
Alternative Sentencing Members of the League's study committee on incarceration testified in support of establishing more drug courts (alternative courts) in NH. That legislation passed (spring 2012) and we urge the counties to establish drug courts, which are both more successful than incarceration in solving addiction problems in the long run and save money over incarceration costs for drug offenses. We are also heartened by the increase in mental health courts in several NH counties.
Redistricting League board member Nancy Marashio is part of the LWVUS task force studying redistricting in preparation for the required redistricting following the 2020 census. LWVNH have testified in favor of having an appointed redistricting commission in NH (currently the legislature does this) and we advocate for greater openness in the redistricting process.
Trevor Potter is a lawyer, former commissioner (1991+1995) and chairman (1994) of the United States Federal Election Commission. He is the founder, President, and General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization which works in the areas of campaign finance and elections, political communication and government ethics. His government experience also includes service as assistant general counsel of the United States Federal Communications Commission (1984-1985) and attorney with the United States Department of Justice (1982-1984).
He is also notable for appearing on the television program The Colbert Report, where he discussed political action committees, and the founding and progress of Colbert Super PAC. Potter explained to Colbert's audience the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision made by the United States Supreme Court that allowed the creation of "Super PACs", and was the lawyer behind the creation and functioning of Stephen Colbert's PAC, "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow". You can hear his talk via YouTube by clicking on this link: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZHasnxft6o&feature=youtu.be>
New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Learn more at: http://nodeathpenaltynh.org/
New Hampshire Prison Watch Learn more at: http://www.nhprisonwatch.org
Granite State Priorities (formerly The Granite State Fair Tax Coalition) P.O. Box 3431 Concord NH 03302 603-986-7696. Learn more at: http://gspriorities.org/ View this YouTube video of Mark Fernald's March 2014 talk on NH's tax structure. Fernald is a board member of GSP.