SESSION NOTICE

The next House session will be on Wednesday, January 8th and Thursday, January 9th.

CAUCUS NOTICE

There is currently no Republican caucus scheduled.

House Republican Leader Fuming Over Burt Removal, Double Standard by Speaker

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement after learning that House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff (D-Concord) had removed Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown) from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee.

“Rep. Burt had serious concerns about how the Fish and Game Department was being managed, and he has a right to express those views, which he did without the use of vulgarity. His removal is a convenient distraction from the fact that a member of the Speaker’s leadership team used profanity towards private and religious schools, and gets an inconsequential suspension. Frankly, this is a double standard,”  Hinch said. “Using profanity towards institutions that educate thousands of New Hampshire students is beyond the pale. For the Speaker to not apply the same standard, or a higher standard, to members of his own team shows how partisan his administration has become. The Speaker must be more worried about his reelection and backlash from the progressive wing of his caucus than he is about holding all members to equal standards.”

“The Speaker’s anti-second amendment allies are busy filing several bills for next year that will be before the Criminal Justice committee, and I’m sure they take satisfaction in silencing a strong advocate from the committee. I’ve always known John to act in good faith in committee, and it’s unfortunate that they’ve tied his committee membership to opinions unrelated to the work and policy scope of his committee.”

According to information released by the New Hampshire Department of Education, across New Hampshire, educators in more than 130 non-public schools are teaching more than 16,000 students, from pre-school to post-graduate.

Rep. Tamara Le serves as an Assistant Majority Floor Leader.

House Republican Leader Calls Rep. Le Temporary Suspension Unacceptable

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement after learning that House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff (D-Concord) had not permanently removed Rep. Tamara Le (D-North Hampton) from the House Education committee after making offensive online comments regarding private and religious schools.

Rep. Hinch first learned of the Speaker’s decision by reading an online news article, and has not received official notice of the terms of the suspension. The article states that the Speaker opted to suspend Rep. Le for a period of 3 months, with a reevaluation to occur at the end of the period.

“I was shocked to read that the Speaker chose to take this relatively meaningless step to reprimand Rep. Le. The committee will have very few meetings over the next few months, which makes most of the suspension period moot. If he didn’t intend on putting her back on the committee, he would have made this permanent. That means she’ll be back on the committee in time for major policy debates, at which time anyone representing the interests of private or religious schools before the committee will have to consider whether or not they’ll get a fair review from a State Representative who exhibited online rage towards their institutions.”

“I am reiterating my call for the Speaker to remove this member so our constituents know lawmakers, especially members of his leadership team, will be held to reasonable standards of public decorum. As a graduate of a Catholic high school, I would expect him to take personal offense to what she said. I would also like to invite the Speaker to communicate with my office so we don’t have to hear about these types of announcements by reading the news.”

Rep. Tamara Le also serves as an Assistant Majority Floor Leader.

House Republican Leader Reacts to Committee Vote on Democrats’ Carbon Tax Bill

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the party line vote in the House Science, Technology & Energy committee on HB735, relative to carbon pricing. The bill would establish a tax on carbon emissions that would gradually increase over 4 years, resulting in up to $800 million per year in costs to New Hampshire consumers, businesses, and municipalities. The committee voted 10-8 to recommend the bill ought to pass with amendment, with Republicans voting unanimously in opposition.

“Just as New Hampshire is gearing up to heat our homes, schools, and businesses this winter, Democrats have decided to move forward with their $800 million carbon tax that will hit heating fuels, in addition to gasoline and other fossil fuels, and have a wide ranging negative impact across our economy. This will cost small businesses millions, increasing the costs of goods and services, and it will definitely increase costs to state, county and municipal governments, which will have a severe impact on property taxes and other taxes. If you’re looking to croak our economy and send jobs to other parts of the country, this is the bill for you. No other state has this type of carbon tax scheme, and there’s a reason for that. It’s just wacky to think New Hampshire can afford this type of dramatic policy shift.”

Background:

Bill text available here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=815&txtFormat=pdf&v=current

If the plan were enacted, the Department of Environmental Services estimates revenue as follows: 

Calendar Year Tons of CO2 Equiv. Fee Revenue 

2020 15,000,000 $20.00 $300,000,000 

2021 15,000,000 $30.75 $461,250,000 

2022 15,000,000 $41.77 $626,550,000 

2023 15,000,000 $53.05 $795,900,000

Bills retained by committees will likely be worked on in the fall, and acted on by the House in January.

Testimony provided to the committee at the time of the public hearing suggested that the proposal would increase gas prices by 15-20 cents per gallon in year one, and 5-10 cents per year as the fee increases. In addition, home heating oil prices could rise as much as $1.22 per gallon. The fee/tax would also apply to other carbon based fuels including natural gas and propane. The bill seeks to rebate some of the revenue back to residents on a per capita basis, and some large industrial entities, but neglects to rebate anything back to small businesses, municipalities or school districts. If energy costs increased by 30-50%, it could have a severe impact on property taxes.

House Republican Leader Reacts to Democrats’ Support of Job-Killing Legislation

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the party line vote in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services committee to pass HB731-FN, relative to the minimum hourly rate. This bill as amended would set New Hampshire’s minimum wage at $13/hr, one dollar higher than SB10, which was vetoed by Governor Sununu last session.


“Apparently House Democrats haven’t learned their lesson. Any attempt at passing a job-killing minimum-wage bill will be met with fierce opposition from Republicans. Why they would take last year’s bill, and make it worse, is beyond me. New Hampshire has added over 8,000 jobs in the last year, and continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest average incomes in the country. This bill would be an unnecessary burden on our state’s small businesses and my Republican colleagues and I look forward to defeating this legislation once again. Looks like Groundhog Day will be celebrated on several days next year”

House Republicans Oppose Democrat Proposed Plastic Bag Tax

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement relative to the public hearing on amendment 2019-2820h to HB559, which has a public hearing at 1:00pm today, Tuesday, November 5th.

The amendment, sponsored by House Municipal & County Government Committee Chair Clyde Carson (D-Warner) requires businesses that distribute plastic and paper bags to customers at the checkout counter provide bags made only of recycled material, and that businesses must charge a fee of 10 cents per bag.

“I believe there are better ways to help consumers make informed decisions other than forcing stores to charge consumers ten cents per bag. This is nothing more than a heavy handed mandate to address a problem that state officials have disclosed does not exist. Many businesses already incentivize use of reusable bags by providing discounts to consumers who bring their own rather than penalizing people who don’t. It’s a slippery slope, and I can only worry that we will see a plastic bottle tax, a plastic straw tax, or a coffee cup fee next. We do not need a bag tax in New Hampshire. Republicans will oppose this every step of the way.”

House Republicans Oppose Democrat Proposed Ski Tax

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement on Monday declaring Republican opposition to legislative service request 2020-2578, a proposal that would include ski area ticket sales under the meals and rooms tax.

LSR 2020-2578, whose text is currently not available*, is sponsored by Rep. Craig Thompson (D-Harrisville), and co-sponsored by Rep. Lee Oxenham (D-Plainfield ), Jennie Gomarlo (D-Swanzey), Joe Schapiro (D- Keene), Michelle St. John (D-Hollis), Matthew Wilhelm (D-Manchester).

“Just as the snow guns are firing up on our state’s ski mountains, Democrats are launching this effort to tax one of our state’s most important industries. There has never been a tax on skiing, and this is an unprecedented attempt to single out an industry,” Hinch said. “It will be a cold, snowy day in hell before we let Democrats pass a ski tax. In fact, I believe hell will freeze over first. This is an unnecessary and egregious tax proposal that will only serve to drive tourists away from New Hampshire, and make skiing more expensive for our own residents.”

“Skiing, snowboarding and related snow sports bring in tens of millions of dollars to the New Hampshire economy each year. The industry supports hundreds of jobs and makes New Hampshire a winter destination for snow sport enthusiasts from around New England, and the Northeast United States,” Hinch included. “Next thing you know, they will propose a tax on hiking or a leaf-peeping tax.”

*Text of legislative service requests are not yet available. LSRs are the preliminary stages of proposed legislation, which are later issued a bill number.

House Republican Leader Reacts to Democrat Rep’s Vulgar Language Towards Private and Religious Schools

House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement after reviewing a Facebook post by Rep. Tamara Le (D-North Hampton), where she says, “F**k private and religious schools.” Rep. Tamara Le is a member of the House Education Committee. 

The post has since been deleted, but a screen shot can be viewed here.

“It’s more than very concerning to me that a member of the House Education committee has used this type of vile language in a public format. It’s also concerning to me that so many of her Democrat House colleagues commented on and liked the post. Private and religious schools play an important role in many New Hampshire families’ lives. Given this exhibition of online rage, I do not believe that Rep. Le can provide any fair or objective review of policies pertaining to private and religious schools as a member of the Education committee. Rep. Le should immediately apologize to every private and religious school throughout the state, as well as all the students and parents. House Speaker Shurtleff must remove her from the House Education Committee, and he should, in the strongest terms, condemn this type of behavior from her.”