THE NEW HAMPSHIRE legislature has a proud tradition that every bill introduced receives a public hearing and gets an up or down vote by the full House. Every member elected has the right to file any legislation they believe may benefit our state, whether it is on behalf of a constituent, an idea of their own, or legislation they have seen work elsewhere.
However, with that tradition comes a trade-off. The state elects 400 House members, and not every idea submitted benefits Granite Staters or our state. I think I can speak for both parties when I say that members on each side are guilty of submitting unorthodox ideas that don’t have a chance at passing. There seems to be a significant difference between the two, though: Republicans know when to say, “this goes too far” and are willing to break with others in their party for the good of the state. The other side sees these fringe ideas that may be detrimental to the state but says, “we command you to support the party.”
Seventy-one percent of Granite Staters support Education Freedom Accounts. We can expect to see the Democratic members line up in support of the entire slate of bills aimed to chip away at this wildly successful program. House Republicans are proud of the fact we were able to get that cornerstone piece of legislation signed into law this past summer. EFAs are meant to provide students with the best education that fits their needs.
The fear-mongering that we have heard from the other side claims that these EFAs will raise property taxes. That is false. The average cost of a student in New Hampshire is about $19,500, and an Education Freedom Account is about $4,000. This program would actually cost taxpayers less. I would think we should all agree that the real goal is having each child in our state succeed in their studies, regardless of how or where they are educated, and that is not measured by how much taxpayer dollars you can throw into a bottomless pit.
House Democrats would like to strip you of your Second Amendment rights. That is nothing new. What is new is that this year’s scheme is taking away one right at the expense of another. Rep. David Meuse in particular wants to prohibit the display of a deadly weapon at parades, funerals, picket lines, marches, rallies or any demonstration. He claims he is protecting your right to free speech. I ask, what makes one right more important than the next?
Yes, the right to free speech should absolutely be protected, but all rights should be protected. No citizen of the United States should ever have to decide which of their freedoms is more important to them. I’m sure once that bill hits the House floor, all House Democrats will vote to pass it.
While House Democrats are busy this year attempting to strip you of your basic rights, or parents’ rights over how to raise their children, they will also be busy trying to extend the rights of people who are in our country, and state, illegally. Rep. George Sykes has multiple bills this year to permit non-resident aliens living in New Hampshire to obtain driver’s licenses. Even if they are in our state on a temporary basis, there would be an extensive list of documentation they could provide to obtain a license, including allowing an expired alien registration card as valid documentation. Another bill would prohibit the information from being shared with federal immigration enforcement, the consequences of which could be dire.
By the way, do you really think this group of people who obtain shiny new drivers’ licenses, or REAL IDs, won’t use it to illegally vote in our elections? There would be nothing to stop them as these documents wouldn’t look any different than a legal resident’s.
In a Jan. 30 op-ed that ran in the Union Leader, Democrat shill Kathy Sullivan said, while referring to Republicans, that “disloyalty to our country is kind of a big deal.” I agree, but I would urge Sullivan to look at her own party before throwing around such an inflammatory accusation. I view suppressing the rights of residents while expanding those of non-citizens as monumentally disloyal to our country.
In the 2021 session, Republican lawmakers knew when to stick together, and it was to deliver real results for Granite Staters. We passed a balanced budget that cut taxes for all New Hampshire residents. We lowered business taxes, lowered property taxes, sent more than $100 million back to cities and towns, all while funding state government.
Our friends on the other side of the aisle would have had you believe the sky was falling, but in reality, this year, House Democratic leaders are sponsoring bills to dismantle the New Hampshire Advantage.
We worked hard over the last year putting our state back on the right track, and House Republicans are looking ahead to advance our accomplishments and allow Granite Staters to truly live free… without seceding from the United States.
Republican Rep. Jason Osborne is majority leader of the N.H. House of Representatives. He represents Rockingham District 4, which includes the towns of Chester, Sandown and Auburn, where he lives.