House Leaders React to Dismissal of NH Voter List Release Lawsuit

CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) and House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued statements in reaction to the dismissal of a suit brought by the ACLU and 2 elected members of the New Hampshire Legislature against New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner seeking to block the release of voter checklist information to the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper:

“From the outset, I had faith in Secretary Gardner’s interpretation of his duties, and his commitment to uphold the laws of New Hampshire, while never compromising the privacy of our citizens. This is part of what I believe is a long overdue review at the federal level, of our election systems, with the goal of increasing confidence and security. I am pleased that the data release has been cleared and our state now can play a role in the presidential commission’s efforts at improving election integrity.”

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch:

“It’s unfortunate that this lawsuit, and grandstanding by Democrats in the state legislature calling for a special session, distracted from the real concern many New Hampshire citizens have about election integrity. Rep. Shurtleff has yet to produce petition signatures requesting a special session he announced over a month ago, which demonstrates that even members of his own party quickly realized the premise for their opposition was not well founded.”

State Leaders Announce Return of $30M to Towns and Cities

For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2017

Contact:
Ben Vihstadt
benjamin.vihstadt@nh.gov
603-271-2121

Concord, NH – Today Governor Chris Sununu announced the return of $30 million to towns and cities for road improvements as a result of signing SB 38, making an appropriation to the department of transportation for local highway aid and aid for municipal bridges.

“Addressing New Hampshire’s infrastructure needs is critical to ensure safety on our roads,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “This is a key first step in rebuilding our state’s infrastructure and reducing property tax obligations for every citizen in the state. We’re sending cash back to towns so that localities can provide relief on their tax base – a home run for taxpayers. For years we have heard how the state cannot control local property taxes, but what we can do is use infrastructure grants to give our towns more financial flexibility and target key areas of need to our communities, which will revitalize New Hampshire’s aging infrastructure, and reinvigorate our local economies.”

“Modernizing our state’s roadway and bridge infrastructure is a priority for New Hampshire. Due to responsible budgeting in FY 16-17, our state produced significant surplus that has not only grown the rainy day fund, but allowed our state to return millions of taxpayer dollars to our communities,” said Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem). “Nearly $30 million will be returned to cities and towns to directly support critical infrastructure improvements that will benefit our citizens across the state.”

Speaker Shawn Jasper said of the announcement, “This year, Governor Sununu and the legislature have made it a priority to send money back to cities and towns. We are proud we can make local needs a priority. The distribution of these dollars demonstrates our commitment to improving our state’s infrastructure in each corner of our state. The health of our roads and bridges are an important investment for our communities and local economies.”

Click here for a full list town distribution amounts

House Majority Leader Reacts to Special Session Petition

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments relative to a petition for a special legislative session initiated by Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Concord). The purpose of the special session would be to modify laws relative to the ability of Secretary of State Bill Gardner to release New Hampshire voter information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

“I have a high level of respect for Secretary of State Bill Gardner and it’s unfortunate that Representative Shurtleff and others in the Democratic Party have chosen to suggest he would divulge information that is not public. Secretary Gardner has indicated that he will only provide voter data that he is legally able to provide and that is already publicly available. He has served the people of New Hampshire honorably in his position for over 40 years. He knows the law.”

“This is political grandstanding meant to make President Trump’s Commission out to be something it most assuredly is not. I’ve read the request, and the Commission respectfully asks only for what is publicly available under the laws of the state. I know of no better steward of laws and information than Secretary Gardner, and I believe him when he says sensitive data will not be included in any data release.”

“Voter lists with basic information have been available for public review for decades. They are the basis for how our political parties and candidates contact voters. If Democrats had a genuine concern about the availability of the data, they had decades to change the law. By petitioning for a special session they demonstrate their political motives and their disregard for the usual and customary legislative process.”

“Election integrity is important to me and it is important to the voters of our state. I will not support meeting in special session for this circus-like endeavor.”

Background: RSA16 provides the ability for members to petition for a special session. If the requirements for the petition are met, the Secretary of State will mail ballots to every member of the House and Senate asking, “Are you of the opinion that the general court should meet in special session?”

House Leaders’ Statements on Committee of Conference Budget Passage

CONCORD – House Republican Leaders issued statements following the affirmative vote of the State Senate and House of Representatives to send HB144 and HB517 to the governor’s desk for signature. The committee of conference report on HB144 received a 198-169 vote, and HB517 received a 212-161 vote on Thursday, after months of public input, review, and analysis by House and Senate budget writers.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson):

“This is a budget the legislature and the people of New Hampshire can be proud of. This budget provides increased resources to address the opioid crisis, mental illness, domestic violence, and includes several reforms to state government while keeping spending in check. We’ve achieved a balance that ensures our citizens will have access to the services they need while reducing the tax burden. Members of the House and Senate have worked tirelessly on this budget, which in my opinion makes sense for our state, our communities, and our constituents.” (more…)

House Leaders Applaud Committee of Conference Agreements on Budget

CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) and House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued statements following conclusion of the committee of conference negotiations on the final state budget proposal.

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack):

“Voters sent Republican majorities back to Concord to continue managing our state in a fiscally responsible manner. This budget, like our current budget, meets the needs of our state, and addresses our priorities. We achieve these goals while continuing to make New Hampshire more competitive by reducing the tax burden on our business community, and reducing electricity bills by repealing a tax on electricity consumption. We’ve already received a high level of positive feedback from House Republicans, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to pass this budget next week.”

House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson):

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Majority Leader Applauds House Passage of SB3

Today, the House passed SB3, relative to domicile for voting purposes. The bill as amended by the House eliminates the domicile loophole that allows voters to register without proving their domicile while also shifting the responsibility of proving domicile on to the voter. The bill also creates a clear process for verifying an individual’s domicile and clarifies how municipal and state officials should address questions of domicile. The bill passed the House today by a 191-162 vote.

House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement:

“I applaud the hard work of our Election Law experts in the House and Senate and am pleased to see SB3 pass the House. New Hampshire holds more local and state elections than any other state in the nation, with numerous outcomes being decided by single digit margins. SB3 will help maintain confidence in our elections by eliminating drive-by voting and removing the domicile loophole by making domicile a verifiable act.”

“SB3 holds all residents to an equal standard and makes sure that every duly qualified voter who shows up to the polls has the opportunity to vote.”

“I look forward to getting this important legislation to the Governor’s desk as quickly as possible.”