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Rep. Erica Layon: New Hampshire chooses liberty

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE Republican platform represents the values that my husband and I work hard every day to present to our three boys, both in words and action. I want to instill in my curious, thoughtful sons that fighting for what is right and standing up for those who can’t are the very essence to being human.

Not only are these the very essence of being human, but they are also the very things that can bring about change and give them the confidence to forge their own futures.

New Hampshire House Democrats say the school choice program is a threat to public education yet say nothing about students. What they also don’t say is that the school choice program levels the playing fields for children who otherwise would not have those opportunities. This program empowers families and forces the unions out of their comfort zone. Democrats talk about saving the system. Republicans talk about saving our children’s education.

House Democrats talk about how New Hampshire Republicans don’t care about life. The 24-week abortion ban proves this is a lie. In the words of our friends across the aisle, “if you follow the science” then babies born as early as 22 weeks can live and thrive. Not every child born that early — or at all — is guaranteed a healthy life, but if a woman’s health means the pregnancy must end that baby now will be delivered by C-section and given a chance at life rather than killed outright. Democrats talk about destroying life, Republicans are for preserving it.

It is my belief that individual freedom comes with informed choices that balance benefit and risk. Choices, that Democrats want to take away. As a medical device analyst, I evaluated clinical evidence, talked with leading doctors and researchers, and sat in on FDA approvals. By giving the FDA the job of deciding what is safe, we have missed the mark. According to a Yale study, a third of drugs approved from 2001 to 2010 had major safety risks after approval that required black-box warnings. And life-changing therapies were denied because the FDA — not the patient — decided how much risk was okay.

Republicans spoke out against the federal overreach of President Joe Biden’s door-to-door vaccination campaign, citing that our citizens are smart enough to make their own healthcare choices. Anyone who wants a vaccine can choose to, and the resources have been made available to them. Those who view the risk as too high or currently unknown are supported by science and should be supported by Republicans. Democrats are working hard at taking away your freedom of choice, Republicans are working hard to protect it.

I want my sons to live in a world where they understand that the biggest minority is the individual and that every day Democrats are working hard to minimize the individual and meld them into a collective society. A society that does not respect you, your own choices, or your own property.

In New Hampshire, it has always been the individual who stood up for what is right and led the way to liberty. General John Stark would agree. “Live Free or Die: Death is not the worst of evils” is a resolve to preserve our freedoms even in the face of lethal threats, and I’m proud Republicans voted to cherish our motto.

Finally, Democrats are working overtime to pit neighbor against neighbor by pushing a victim mentality that some people are less capable than others based on their race. My boys know that breaking the quarterback’s arm doesn’t make the team more equal, it hurts the whole team. The Democrat’s worship of victimhood only does harm to the very people they claim to protect. I don’t want my sons living in a world where it is taught that one race is inherently racist.

Pointing fingers and casting blame is not the answer nor should it be the discussion. The discussion should always be about inclusion and being a kind, generous human who respects life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. That’s what the Republican budget stands for, and that’s what we should all be fighting for — liberty, so that we might pass it on to the next generation.

Chairman Vose Comments on Signing of HB 315 and SB 91

DERRY, NH- Representative Michael Vose (R-Epping), Chairman of the Science, Technology and Energy committee, commented today on the Governor’s signing of two energy bills. HB relative to the aggregation of electric customers and municipal host customer generators serving political subdivisions and SB91, adopting omnibus legislation on renewable energy and utilities.

“These bills show that you can move forward with energy innovation without taking undue risks or driving up the cost of electricity. HB315 will allow counties, towns, and groups to gather together to purchase electricity from a variety of sources, not just their local utility. It further provides a way for these community aggregations to manage power in a way that might not be suitable or cost effective for the wider grid.

“As amended by the Senate, this bill also creates a new way for municipalities to share the output of a renewable energy system with any town-owned property and receive above-market-rate credits for that power via net metering. This municipal group hosting can save taxpayers money. And with additional protections provided in SB91, cost shifting to other utility customers will be minimized.

“Together, these bills provide a strong new framework on which to build the energy systems we’ll need in the future.”

ALLIEGRO: Bi•ol•o•gy (bī-ŏl′ə-jē). The science of life and living organisms.

I am a biologist.  To be specific, I am a molecular biologist who studied aspects of reproductive and developmental biology for decades.  I concluded my research career as a Senior Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole with a joint appointment at Brown University as a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.  Along the way I did research and taught thousands of medical and college students at LSU Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Tulane, Brown, and Duke Universities, and a smattering of practicing physicians at various hospitals.  I am writing today about biology, the science of Life.  

There is an expression my neuroscientist friends liked to use — you’ve probably heard it before in a different context:  “Use it or lose it”.  In developmental neuroscience, it refers to how neurons (nerve cells) find and form connections with each other and their respective target tissues during embryogenesis.  Developing neurons send out tiny projections from their cell bodies, like fingers on a hand, in search of their proper neural connections.  When these projections contact other cells,  a “decision” is made at the molecular level.  If the connection is wrong, no nervous impulses are transmitted and the connection fails.  Hence the maxim, “use it or lose it”.

If the connection is right, impulses are sent, the connection stabilizes, and that part of the nervous pathway is functional.  If it’s a motor pathway connected to muscle, the developing organism can do things such as moving an arm or a leg.  If it’s a sensory pathway, it means the embryo can sense environmental stimulation such as heat, pressure, and pain.

In humans, pain pathways come from the system periphery (e.g. fingers, skin and other organs) and send impulses to the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain).  In the central nervous system, impulses are processed in a structure called the hypothalamus and relayed to the brain cortex where pain is recognized.  Neural connections between the periphery, hypothalamus, and cortex are formed late in the second trimester in developing humans.  Fetal surgeons are aware of this fact and others — it’s the reason they administer pain medication before performing an operation.  Without pain care, these pre-borns demonstrate the classic responses to pain:  they grimace and recoil at the touch of a sharp instrument, stress hormone levels shoot upwards, and blood is shunted to the body core. 

What all of this means is that a late second-trimester human baby can feel and recognize the pain of its limbs being torn from its body, the pain of its organs being stretched and crushed by suction, the pain of being ripped from the womb.  It seems one thing a 24 week developing human baby cannot do is scream in agony.  If it could, there would be even less opposition to banning late-term abortion.  Even then, I suspect some would turn a blind eye to this terrible reality.  The naysayers would undoubtedly include those who otherwise chide us to “follow the science”. I do.  I have.  I always will follow the science.  And I am grateful to be part of a New Hampshire Legislature that ended the cruel slaughter of late-term abortion.

Berry: Why I voted for education freedom

FORMER state Sen. Jon Morgan ran an op-ed in this paper Aug. 9 about how the legislature’s recent achievement for education choice is somehow bad for public schools in New Hampshire, citing data from a far-left think tank.

Predictably, it was filled with half-truths and left out key aspects of the law that should be addressed and pointed out.

I am the product of both public and private schooling. My parents pulled me out of public school in the sixth grade when the public school system was not serving my needs. They made the tough financial decision to put me into private school because they knew I needed an education that worked for me. What they could not have foreseen was that my father (the sole income earner) would lose his job shortly thereafter. Soon after I was enrolled in my new school my family had no income and my dad, who had worked in telecom his whole career, was unable to find a new job as that industry had collapsed.

These were not good times, but my parents decided that my education was worth the cost and they did what they had to do. Mom went back to work for the first time in nine years as a temp staffer and they both went to night college so they could reenter the workforce full time. To pay for my schooling they pulled tuition out of their retirement fund, which was a big decision given that my dad was 55 at the time and nearing retirement. I remember tense arguments about money and how they were going to afford expenses such as the mortgage, health care and my education. Texas, where I am from, did not have a program like New Hampshire now has, so it was up to them to pay for everything. (God help you if you left a light on in a room after leaving it.)

Flash forward and now I am a state representative in New Hampshire for the south side of Manchester and the town of Litchfield. I live in a working class neighborhood with families much like mine growing up. I voted for New Hampshire’s educational freedom program for them, so that kids in my neighborhood whose parents face tough choices like mine did have as many options as possible and can do what is best for their children. I will always put children and parents first.

This is why I find Mr. Morgan’s op-ed so offensive. He lives on an expensive property in Brentwood and the elementary school he is zoned for has a rating of 8 out of 10 according to GreatSchools.org. The families in my neighborhood average property values are less than half of his and are zoned for an elementary school with a rating of 2 out of 10. I am happy for Mr. Morgan’s success in life and Brentwood is a wonderful town. He grew up in Manchester and has succeeded in both business and politics. But I find it disingenuous when he writes to denigrate a program that he likely doesn’t qualify for.

The Legislature put income limits on the education savings account program equivalent to three times the poverty limit, which is roughly $80,000 for a family of four. Furthermore, the money the state gives to the family is not being “taken” from public schools. The money the state apportions to help fund public schools is directly tied to that school’s enrollment. More plainly, the money has always been tied to the child. All the Legislature did was say that the money will continue to follow the child throughout the child’s education, regardless of where they go. Saying this “defunds” schools is like saying that when someone graduates high school that school is defunded. It’s a fallacy.

From my bedroom window I can look across the Merrimack River to Bedford, one of the wealthiest towns in the state with excellent public schools. I find it incredible that people like Mr. Morgan think kids in my neighborhood should be forced to go to subpar schools while across the river kids from wealthier families have access to some of the best education in the state and many have the means to provide for alternatives if they so choose. When I voted for Educational Freedom Accounts, I voted to make sure that the river is nothing more than a town line and that every child in New Hampshire has a shot at a great education regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make.

Rice: Empowering NH Families

This year, House Republicans worked hard to give local control back to the municipalities and more importantly, to the families and businesses within these communities. In a delicate balancing act, local control has always been tied to limited interference at the State level, and it seems that balance is starting to tip. More constituents are reaching out asking for constitutional protection against the COVID-19 mandates that have been disruptive to everyday activities. 

At this pivotal moment, NH families and school boards are at a crossroads – weeks before the 2021-2022 school year begins. The very center of this conversation is mask mandates. Many school boards are in discussion with their communities asking for parental input while others are not – leaving parents feeling isolated and upset that they are not being heard, or that their opinions about their own children do not matter. 

House Republicans know change is most effective on the local level, which is why we provided parents with a choice – school choice. With this in mind, House Republicans have implemented many policies that will empower parents to pick the educational solution that best fits their family. 

For example, Education Freedom Accounts allow parents to invest money into their child’s education if their local school district is not getting the job done, allowing lower income families the option to move their children to private schools, charter schools, or even homeschooling. This move assures that if one zip code’s administration refuses to listen to parents, people have options. Furthermore, the highly successful Education Tax Credit program has provided a number of students the chance to pursue an education that best suits their needs. This is done by providing scholarships to students currently struggling in their public school and allows them to seek the opportunities that will help them succeed in the future. 

Finally, we continued our commitment to our state’s public charter schools by providing them over $1 million in lease aid over the next two years and nearly doubling the maximum aid amount that each school can receive. Public charter schools provide thousands of students with unique educational opportunities that may not be available otherwise. It is critical that we continue funding these important organizations and continue to foster an education system that allows each student to thrive. 

House Republicans stand with Granite State families and understand that there is no magic “one size fits all” solution to education. The current environment that we are in is no exception. While some families prefer a more careful approach to placing their child back in the classroom, others want to move forward full steam ahead. The most important part of this decision should be the parents. By empowering parents to make this choice for themselves, we ensure that if there is a disagreement about reopening plans or mandates, parents have the freedom and liberty to take their children elsewhere to learn and have educational opportunities. As a parent, I urge all New Hampshire families to make the decisions for their children that best fit their comfort level, and to all students of the Granite State, work and study hard, and never forget the power of a proper education.

LANZARA: Budget benefits Nashua

Every vote I’ve taken in the State House I have been determined to put the people of Nashua first. With my recent vote on the state budget, I’m confident that I did just that.

The Republican budget is spending nearly $400 million to mitigate property taxes, with a $100 million cut directly to the statewide property tax.

We’re going to spend $83 million on road and bridge construction across the Granite State. We invested $30 million in school districts for school building aid. Through an increase in the Meals and Rooms tax revenue distribution, we’re sending $50 million more to cities and towns which will allow communities to target key areas of need.

We’re downshifting cash, not costs, to municipalities to create opportunity. Nashua should be thrilled about that, and I’m proud of my vote that made it possible.

Republican Legislation to Level the Playing Field for Families Seeking an IEP

CONCORD – Education Committee Vice-Chairman Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), the prime sponsor of HB581, relative to the burden of proof in special education hearings and establishing

a committee to study special education IEP and dispute resolution processes released the following statement after Governor Chris Sununu signed this legislation into law:
“I want to thank Governor Sununu for signing this important legislation and all of my colleagues in the House and Senate for helping to make this bill a reality. Every student deserves access to a quality education that best suits their needs, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that children with disabilities have that same opportunity,” said Cordelli. “HB581 levels the playing field for families challenging their child’s proposed IEP service plan from the school district. Prior to this legislation, parents attempting to ensure their child’s needs were met had to spend thousands of dollars to challenge a plan without the significant resources afforded to the school district. This bill places the burden of proof on the district and promotes fairness for New Hampshire’s families.”

Doucette: A tale from Democrats, NH deserve better

WHAT SHOULD be a time to celebrate the most fiscally conservative budget to ever pass through the New Hampshire House, I find myself disappointed to have to call out misleading if not blatant lies put out by House Democrats. It is no surprise that my Democratic counterparts tried to justify their policy failures by taking credit for things that they had no part in. To lead constituents on by falsely stating they advocated for small business, New Hampshire families and consumers in their lackluster budget is disheartening. The voters deserve better and they deserve to know exactly what their representatives have been up to this past legislative session.

Despite arrogant claims from Democrats that New Hampshire voters can thank them for a low unemployment rate, business tax cuts, adequate funding for education and mental health, this past year proved otherwise.

Coming out of this public health crisis, New Hampshire saw a desperate need for more education options that fit the needs of families. What did the Democrats do? Instead of helping these families, they advocated for the unions and used their network to advance their own radical agenda of indoctrination. They used the same old bullying tactics and backed families into a corner with no relief. They made everyday people feel like the enemy.

Not only were education needs not met with public schools closed with no options for parents, the mental-health issue crept into our school-age children. It crept into the lives of our veterans and those who could not afford mental health services. Instead of so-called relief, Democrats took the time to bash Republicans without offering sound solutions.

Another issue they claim credit for is helping to close loopholes in tax cuts for big businesses like Netflix and Amazon. Ironically, it was these big businesses that profited the most from phasing out small businesses run by average, hardworking families.

The New Hampshire left boasts about low unemployment and helping people get back to work. Someone should remind them that job creation is not the same as people finally getting back to work after not working for the better part of a year. It seems our friends across the aisle forget how resilient people of the Granite State are, and how it is through liberty and rugged individualism that everyone was able to come out of this and move forward. They did this while hiding in their own homes, disrupting committee meetings, keeping us out of the State House and stacking public testimony with out-of-state lobbyists with no vested interest in what happens in our home state. Democrats forgot about you, the voter.

Republicans did not forget our promise to the people of New Hampshire to cut business taxes, provide financial relief for families, fund much needed infrastructure programs and clean water projects, protect children and the unborn, small businesses and the New Hampshire Advantage.

The Republican budget also funded improved mental health services in the form of a mobile psychiatric unit and facility. While Democrats spent the better part of the past year mudslinging and shirking their responsibility to the taxpayers, Republicans rolled up their sleeves and got to work — and we completed our mission despite our colleagues’ inability to see past themselves.

This Republican budget not only answered the immediate needs of financial security — it also addressed much more pressing issues like executive orders and individual liberty — liberty that the radical left has been working to erode and what Republicans have been working to uphold.

As legislators, we work for the people and advocate on their behalf for a better, truly tax-free, business and family-friendly state. I can’t say the same is true for our Democratic friends. New Hampshire deserves better. We are sick of the regurgitated talking points of Democratic robots and their federal overlords. Vote for a better future for NH and its citizens — vote Republican.

Merner: Looking out For Veterans

Granite Staters from all walks of life will benefit from the Republican budget passed last month and I am proud to say that New Hampshire’s Veterans will be amongst that long list. No group of individuals displays the same level of commitment to our nation and its principles than members of our armed services. When the call of duty arose, they stood to protect, defend, and make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We as a country can never truly repay their sacrifices and devotion, but we can ensure they receive the quality services that they deserve. The Republican budget does that by giving support to veterans mental health.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on mental health as millions grappled with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Unfortunately, this disproportionately impacted our veterans community who experience mental illness and suicide rates significantly higher than the general population. No one should have to feel the loneliness experienced by many that were isolated during the pandemic, let alone our veterans. The soldiers’ creed says “I will never leave a fallen comrade”, we as legislators must honor that commitment to the ones still here and in need of our help. The Republican budget honors this and makes a significant investment in supporting veterans experiencing the effects of social isolation by appropriating $1.5 million to the Veterans Administration for expanded mental health care access. The people that defend our freedoms should never feel alone in their most urgent time of need.

Thomas: New Hampshire GOP delivered on promises to lower taxes

Part of my campaign pledge last election was to lower taxes and expand our New Hampshire advantage. This was a major theme throughout the state, and judging by the voters who put us back into the majority, I believe they also wanted that and more.

I’m pleased to report we’ve done just that.

We lowered taxes. We increased thresholds to exempt an additional 30,000 Granite State small businesses from even filing state taxes.

We reduced employer taxes and the rooms and meals tax. And, as a result of the Republican budget we passed, we are eliminating New Hampshire’s interest and dividends tax – our only form of an income tax – over the next five years.

There’s a lot of misinformation and plain lies circulating on TV and online about our Republican budget.

We passed a balanced, appropriate budget for New Hampshire that lives up to our promises and delivers on our campaign pledges. While so many states are increasing taxes and spending more, New Hampshire is cutting taxes and spending less.

We’re going to see the positive impacts of our 2021-22 Republican budget for years to come.

It’s a privilege to serve my neighbors in the Statehouse, and I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish.

I hope your readers don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns they may have.