REFLECTIONS FROM CONCORD
by Will Smith and David Borden
Jim Cerny, editor
Capitol dome, Concord.
As a monthly feature, our two State Representatives for New Castle and Rye (District 18) – David Borden
and Will Smith
– have volunteered to report their highlights and thoughts on the legislative process and specific bills.
The Web site
for the New Hampshire General Court is easy to navigate and is a mother lode of information, including pages for each representative's bill sponsorships and voting record, plus the text and status of bills. For convenience we provide direct links to the text of any bills mentioned in the reports below.
(For the curious, we reverse the order of presentation each month!)
Will Smith writes …
This fall, the members of the Legislature have been busy preparing bills to introduce in the 2010 Session, which begins January 6, 2010. They have also been meeting to consider bills from the last session that were retained in committees.
I am introducing 3 bills for the next session:
takes a step towards introducing tort reform into New Hampshire’s Medical Care system. It has been demonstrated that significant unnecessary costs are incurred in medicine because of unreasonable suits filed against doctors, and even more so by doctors conducting unnecessary defensive medicine to protect themselves against these suits. The bill provides standards for stating risk prior to a procedure, limits liability in emergency situations, and defines the qualifications of an expert witness who can testify in a suit against a doctor.
gives every employee the right to choose whether or not to join a union. Studies by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research have shown that job growth has been significantly higher in states that provide a “Right to Work” over those that impose “Forced-Unionism”. They have also shown that growth in personal income is also significantly higher in “Right to Work” states. In today’s economy, it is important to take steps that will assist in creating employment opportunities in our state and enhance individual freedom.
extends indefinitely the “collar” that is currently in effect on state education grants, and thus avoids the “donor town” situation facing Rye and New Castle starting in July 2010. The expiration of the current “collar” in 2010 would result in a net transfer of $1.4 million of school funds out of Rye and $.9 million out of New Castle. The bill eliminates these transfers until a more fair and reasonable state school funding arrangement can be established.
I am supporting several other bills, including HB 1661
, which would eliminate the 5% new tax on Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) that have nontransferable shares, and HB 1643
, which will require the submission of budget reduction plans as part of the budgeting process, giving the Legislature the ability to see how significant spending reductions might be made.
One controversial step was taken by the Legislative Facilities Committee which, without advance notice or input from members of the Legislature, voted on a party-line basis to ban all “dangerous weapons” from the State House complex. A previous attempt to prohibit law-abiding legislators and other citizens from carrying weapons for self-defense was soundly defeated by the Legislature in 2008. Such bans have been shown in the past to decrease the safety of citizens, as witnessed in the recent tragedies at Fort Hood and several college campuses, where lone gunmen have murdered multiple unarmed citizens.
The outcome of debate over these and other issues will set the future direction for New Hampshire. Please let your state representatives know your views.
You can always contact me at email@example.com
David Borden writes …
2010 is going to be a very tough year in Concord for a number of reasons. Revenues are off and demands for state services are up dramatically as job losses continue. Many services are jeopardized by lack of state staff to provide them. The governor is reluctant to use stimulus funds as a stop gap. He is rightly worried that we will fall off the financial cliff in three years if we become too dependent on these funds. Gas taxes are declining as roads deteriorate. The business profits taxes and a number of other fees instituted way back in the Governor Sununu years are already high and will hurt the state economy if they continue upward. That old standby, property tax, creates an enormous burden on people with fixed income and is hopelessly regressive.
My New Year's resolutions:
1. I have been working to help some of the state agencies to reduce bureaucracy in the state government and to streamline governmental processes. For example, lines in the DMV substations are much shorter with no addition of staff. With invaluable help from Senator Fuller Clark I plan to involve the legislature in this process in 2010, so that we place less of a burden on the agencies. For example we can cut the vast amount of time time that state agencies have to dedicate to rule making. Fortunately we may have found ways to pay for this effort with private funding.
2. Find ways to rationally fund the state's needs with a non regressive tax/fee structure which does not bring back the dreaded donor town system.
3. Develop a plan to reduce the vast consumption of fossil fuel in the state. For example, only 10 cents of every dollar we spend on heating oil stays in the state. 65 cents adds to our imbalance of payments by going to unfriendly places overseas. This is unconscionable and incredibly short sighted. Imagine a savings of 2 or 3 billion dollars to the state's residents if we brought our consumption in line with per capita consumption of Europeans!
4. Get the Southeast Watershed Alliance (which New Castle voted to join on December 28th) off and running so that we can protect our water resources and prepare better for natural disasters. We have twice as many rain events per year as we did in the 1940's and it will get worse.
Busy year ahead, hopefully free from partisan wrangling.
Copyright © Rye Reflections 2010. All rights reserved.