The 2012 session of the House kicked off in earnest just a few days into the new year with a calendar so full of bills, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I’ll start by recapping some of the more recent votes you may have read about in the news.
I voted in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment (CACR13) which, if adopted, will prohibit the implementation of an income tax. The measure passed the House with more than the required 3/5 majority. I now goes to the senate, and if passed will appear before the voters on Election Day, when it will need to approved by 2/3 of the voters in the state.
It’s a high hurdle to clear, as it should be, but there are quite a few of us who believe this amendment is needed to preserve our state’s local control system of government to keep as much power as possible in the hands of the individual, and not in a larger, more powerful centralized state government.
Other votes garnering a bit of press attention (note: the boring bills in which we do things like make it easier or more convenient for small businesses to report earnings and file taxes rarely make the 6:00 news) include the recent override of Governor Lynch’s veto of HB542, a bill allowing parents to choose to not have their children exposed to subject matter they deem objectionable.
Also, we passed HB334 a bill that would have the rules and restrictions for the carrying of lawfully concealed weapons on “property owned, in whole or in part, by the state, or an agency, political subdivision, committee, or other governmental unit thereof.” This bill became known by some as “Campus Carry”, as it would take the authority to ban the lawful carrying of concealed weapons out of the hands of the state university system and place it with the legislature.
The arguments made against this bill were quite similar in nature to the arguments made against the HB542 veto override. They were all based on the assumption that adults overwhelmingly cannot be trusted to act in a responsible manner.
“Override that veto and we’ll have parents pulling their kids out of class, because they find math and physics offensive or objectionable.” “We’ll have 20 parents pulling 20 kids out of a classroom, forcing the school to teach them 20 different topics at the same time.”
Or…”Pass this bill and students will get into gunfights over simple grading disputes!” “Drunks will be blowing people away in dormitories over complaints of loud music!”
I reject these fantastical doomsday predictions and believe that an overwhelming majority of adults among us can and do conduct themselves in a responsible fashion. As I’ve stated on many occasion, I reject the notion of restricting the rights and liberties of the many, based on the misdeeds of a minuscule few.
Also passed this month was HB 217, which would include “unborn child” in the definition of “another for the purpose of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. This expands existing law to allow for stiffer penalties for someone who murders both a woman and her unborn child.
Some oppose this bill on pro-choice vs. pro-life grounds. I see this bill as being very respectful of the choice the woman made to carry her baby to term. If the woman is assaulted, resulting in the death of her unborn child, how can we tell her that her child’s killer will not be brought to justice for taking her child’s life. To do so would be to undo her choice, as if to say “Sorry, your choice doesn’t count here.”
The downside of the bill is that it only covers those unborn children at 24 or more weeks gestation. Speaking from personal experience and knowing how long and hard my wife and I tried, and ultimately succeeded, to have children, if, God forbid, someone were to have murdered or negligently caused the deaths of my unborn daughters, I would want that person to face justice for his crime, regardless of whether my daughters were at 24 weeks gestation or 24 hours.
And, of course, there’s gay marriage news. I’ve received several phone messages and spoken to quite a few people about the upcoming vote on a bill that would repeal New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law. This remains a heated topic, but my position, which I have previously made quite clear, remains unchanged. I will continue to fight for the rights of ALL New Hampshire residents to enter freely into the contract of marriage with the state. The flag on the wall of my garage says “Don’t Tread On Me”, not “Don’t Tread On Me. Tread On My Neighbors Instead”.
If anyone wants a more detailed explanation of my position and beliefs on this topic, they can read it on my old campaign website which is still on line. (http://www.bruceforstaterep.com/marriage.htm)
I’ll have more to say next month, I’m sure, as the fireworks are just beginning. Never a dull moment under the golden dome. OK, maybe a few. Right now, I’m going to get myself ready for some football conference championship games this weekend. Go Patriots! All the way to Indianapolis!