House Passes Constitutional Carry

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following statement relative to passage of SB12, repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. “Republicans were proud to lead the fight for the passage of this important and long overdue bill. Law abiding gun owners deserve that their rights be fully upheld and this bill reverses current law creating unnecessary barriers. We look forward to having Governor Sununu sign this bill and for New Hampshire to join our neighbors, Maine and Vermont, as a Constitutional Carry state.”

House Leaders’ Statements on Governor Sununu’s Inaugural Remarks

CONCORD – New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) and House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statements following the swearing in and inaugural remarks of Governor Chris Sununu.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper

“The House and the Governor have shared priorities, and we look forward to working in a collaborative manner with him to produce real solutions that will make New Hampshire an even better place.  Strengthening our economy, finding innovative solutions to improve education, lowering energy costs, and advancing our efforts to end the substance abuse crisis will be front and center. Having a unified state government will allow us to demonstrate how responsive government works, and put aside the damaging partisan posturing we experienced over the last two years.”

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch

“Governor Sununu’s leadership in the corner office will be refreshing to Republicans in the legislature, and we’re excited to begin our work on these major initiatives. For the first time in 14 years, Republicans in the legislature have an ally in the Governor’s office, and our positive legislative agenda for New Hampshire will be met with a signature pen rather than a veto pen.”

Speaker Jasper Announces Leadership Team

Concord—In announcing his leadership team for the upcoming biennium today, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper has called upon a number of veteran legislators as well as several lawmakers who will be serving in a leadership role for the first time.

“I am proud to be working with a team of leaders that represent a diverse and talented cross section of the House.” said the speaker. “We were successful in driving our agenda last session by working together.  The people of New Hampshire responded by electing Republicans to once again to serve as the majority party in the House. They have given us another opportunity to lead, and the team that I have put together will develop an agenda from the ground up through an exchange of ideas from within our caucus.  Over the next two years we will continue working together to deal with critical issues that are of importance to the future of our state,” added Speaker Jasper.

Former Speaker Gene Chandler (r-Bartlett), entering his 18th term, will serve once again as Deputy Speaker.  Veteran legislator Sherman Packard (r-Londonderry), a former Republican leader, committee chair and veteran of 13 terms, will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore under Jasper.  Rep. Dick Hinch (r-Merrimack), entering his fifth term,  returns as the Majority Leader of the Republican Caucus.  His deputy majority leader will be Rep. John Graham (r-Bedford) who is returning for his 8TH term.  Serving as assistant majority leaders will be Reps. Larry Gagne (r-Manchester), Mike McCarthy (r-Nashua), David Danielson (r-Bedford) , Michael Vose (r-Epping), and Fred Doucette (r-Salem).

Rep. Kathleen Hoelzel (r- Raymond) will return as the Majority Whip.  Rep. Bill Ohm (r-Nashua) will assist  Rep. Hoelzel as her Deputy Whip.  Serving as Assistant Majority Whips will be Reps. Claire Rouillard (r-Goffstown), Debra DeSimone (r-Atkinson), Terry Wolf (r-Bedford), and Carolyn  Matthews (r-Raymond)

The Finance Committee, instrumental in forming the next biennial budget, will be chaired once again by Rep. Neal Kurk (r-Weare), who is entering his 16th term as a member of the House. Each of the three committee divisions  will be chaired by members with a strong background in finance. Lynne Ober (r-Hudson), entering her 7th term in the House, will serve as vice chair for the Finance committee and will also preside as the chair of Division I.  Rep. J. Tracy Emerick (r-Hampton) will serve as vice chair for Division I. The Division II chair will be Rep. Karen Umberger (r-Kearsarge).  She will be assisted by Vice Chair Ken Weyler (r-Kingston).  Heading up Division III of House Finance will be Rep. Frank Byron (r-Litchfield). Serving as his vice chair will be Rep. Betsy McKinney, who is beginning her 17th term.

The Ways and Means Committee, which considers and reports all bills and resolutions relating to raising money, will be chaired once again by Rep. Norman Major (r-Plaistow), entering his 11th term in the House. Rep. Patrick Abrami (r-Stratham) will return as the committee vice chair.

Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the remaining standing committees are as follows: (more…)

House Majority Leader Statement on NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement relative to the announcement that Jennifer Horn would not seek another term as Republican Party Chairman.

“I want to thank Jennifer Horn for her hard work and ongoing commitment to the Republican Party in New Hampshire.  Since becoming party chair in 2013 she has worked tirelessly in support of our Republican principles. Under her leadership as chair during the last election cycle we witnessed the election of a Republican governor for the first time in twelve years as well as Republican control of the House and Senate. We wish her well in any future endeavor.”

House Majority Leader Appalled by Spike in State Agency Budget Requests

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) today issued the following statement following reports that state agency heads have submitted budget requests for fiscal years 2018-19 totaling over $12.6 billion, roughly $1.4 billion or 12.5% more than authorized in the current operating budget.

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack):

“One way to show leadership in an executive role is to ensure your department heads know how to live within their means. In the context of state government, this means showing taxpayers that your team of appointees respects, cherishes, and will be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

“What we have here shows our state government’s inability to be mindful of the sensitive state our economy continues to be in. Our economy is growing, but that doesn’t mean our citizens are all getting a 12.5% raise – neither should state government. Over the last year we heard Governor Hassan voice her concerns over state tax revenue, saying that tax cuts would blow a large whole in future budgets. Yet, in the blink of an eye, agencies she oversees are coming back with explosive growth in their spending proposals. It seems disingenuous.”

“I ask the Governor to order her agencies to produce level-funded budget requests or at least something in the realm of reasonableness. This is no time for agencies to submit their biggest wish list to Santa. We have a solemn duty to manage taxpayer dollars in a respectful manner. To ask for anything more than level funding or modest increases at this time shows disregard for the taxpayers of New Hampshire. The Governor would have us believe she has special leadership qualities, now is the time to demonstrate those qualities and get a handle on this debacle.”

House Majority Leader Comments on Delayed Drug Crisis Resource Deployment

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement after reviewing information suggesting that money appropriated to the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol, Drug Abuse has yet to be spent. Rep. Hinch served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic, which reviewed legislation in late 2015 pertaining to the drug crisis, including increased funding for the Commission.

“Less than one year ago, I served on the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic. We heard heart wrenching stories about addiction and the dire need for increased access to recovery services. Despite the urgency with which the legislature acted, we now learn that over half of a $3 million appropriation to the Commission is still sitting on the sidelines. The Commission is made up of great people, and I know that we’re all working towards the same goal. But the public demands accountability from their government, and they’ll want to know why money the legislature expedited to this cause has not been put to use given the continued severity of the crisis our state is facing. This is yet another delay for resources and services our communities desperately needs. Governor Hassan needs to get a handle on where drug crisis dollars are going or not going.”