House Speaker Applauds Governor’s Blocking of Toll Increase

New Hampshire House Speaker Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) issued a statement following the announcement that Governor Sununu will not allow consideration of a toll increase.

“I applaud the Governor’s leadership on this issue, and agree with his decision that now is not the time to ask our motorists  to pay more at the tolls. This process has been rushed, and we need more time to evaluate what projects need to be done and what projects can be done with existing resources. The legislature will play an important role in our future planning as we review the 10 year highway plan. We look forward to receiving the Governor’s plan and working with him to make sure we are living within our means before anyone proposes to ask drivers in New Hampshire for more of their money.”

Speaker Chandler Announces Additions to Leadership Team for 2018 Session

CONCORD – Today Speaker Gene G. Chandler (R-Bartlett) announced additional members of his leadership team, and the formation of the Policy Advisory Committee.

“When I ran to be elected speaker, I promised to retain the current leadership, including current chairs and vice chairs, and I have done that. I also promised to add to that leadership and bring more members into the fold. Today I am happy to announce those additions from a diverse and talented cross section of our party to improve the lives of the people of New Hampshire,” said Speaker Chandler.

“The message coming out of the caucus and election in November was one of unity,” he continued. “I believe that in order to have a productive and successful legislative session, we must be unified in order to prove to our constituents that we deserve their vote next November. We have a tall order ahead of us, but I believe with these members on our team, we can meet the challenge.”

Former Speaker Pro-Tempore Sherm Packard (R-Hudson), in his 14th term, will serve as Deputy Speaker. Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown), in her 2nd term, will serve as Speaker Pro-Tempore, as well as continue to serve as Chair of Election Law.

Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), Rep. Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford), and Rep. Victoria Sullivan (R-Manchester) will serve as Assistant Majority Leaders.

Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) and Rep. Greg Hill (R-Northfield) will serve as Assistant Majority Whips.

Rep. Andrew Renzullo (R-Hudson) will serve as Floor Leader.

Speaker Chandler will also be stepping down from his role as Chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Highways. He has appointed Rep. Mark McConkey (R-Freedom) to serve as chairman and Rep. David Milz (R-Derry) to serve as vice chairman.

In addition to these appointments, Speaker Chandler has announced the formation of the Policy Advisory Committee, chaired by Rep. Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford). Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) will serve the committee as vice chair. This committee will be meeting on a weekly basis to review upcoming legislation, hearings, review bills on the calendar, amendments, and give their input on various issues. The members of this committee are:

Rep. Lino Avellani (R-Sanbornville)
Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown)
Rep. John Graham (R-Bedford)
Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown)
Rep, Mary Griffin (R- Windham)
Rep. Peter Hansen (R-Amherst)
Rep. Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack)
Rep. Kathleen Hoelzel (R-Raymond)
Rep. Phyllis Katsakiores (R-Derry)
Rep. Frank McCarthy (R-Conway)
Rep. Bill Ohm (R-Nashua)
Rep. Sherm Packard (R-Londonderry)
Rep. Andrew Renzullo (R-Hudson)

Background: These members will be additions to the leadership team in place from the 2017 legislative session.
Majority Leader Rep. Dick Hinch (R- Merrimack)
Deputy Majority Leader Rep. John Graham (R-Bedford)
Majority Whip Rep. Kathleen Hoelzel (R-Raymond)
Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Bill Ohm (R-Nashua)
Assistant Majority Leaders Rep. Michael McCarthy (R-Nashua), Rep. Larry Gagne (R-Manchester), Rep. Michael Vose (R-Epping), Rep. David Danielson (R-Bedford)
Assistant Majority Whips Rep. Claire Rouillard (R-Goffstown), Rep. Terry Wolf (R-Bedford), Rep. Carolyn Matthews (R-Raymond), Rep. Debra DeSimone (R-Atkinson)

Chandler Statement on Speaker Election

Newly elected New Hampshire House Speaker Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) issued a statement following the election for Speaker during today’s House session. Chandler won a majority of votes cast by House members.

“It’s an honor to have earned the support of my colleagues in the House for this job. We have a lot of important work ahead of us in the coming term. My goals are simple. I will work with all members of the House to formulate responsible, common sense public policy that will improve the lives of the people of New Hampshire. I will work with all members of the Democrat and Republican caucus who share this goal. I will do my best to promote unity within our party, and prove to our constituents that we deserve their vote next November. We have a tall order ahead of us, and I am excited to meet this challenge.”

Chandler first held the office of Speaker from 2000-2004. Most recently, Chandler had served as Deputy Speaker since December 2014 under the Speakership of Shawn Jasper. He served as House Republican (minority) Leader during the 2013-2014 term, and has held several other leadership posts, including Chairman of the House Public Works & Highways committee over the course of his 18 term tenure in the New Hampshire House.

House Majority Leader Applauds Hiring of Fitch to Election Law Post

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following a report that Orville “Bud” Fitch has been tapped by Secretary of State Bill Gardner to fill a newly created position within the Department of State that will review and investigate election integrity issues in New Hampshire.

“There is no one more qualified for this role,” said Hinch. “Bud is brilliant, fair, and well respected in the legal and government communities in New Hampshire. His knowledge of our state’s election laws and his deep connections with municipal and election officials will help assure us all that these investigations are in highly capable hands.”

“Election integrity is vital to our democracy and we have a good amount of data to suggest we need to do a better job making sure our elections are fair and clean. We passed legislation and approved funding to enhance our state’s ability to look into these matters, and Secretary Gardner has met our high expectations by seeking out Bud’s talents to carry out this mission.”

Background:

HB 552, sponsored by Deputy House Majority Whip Bill Ohm (R-Nashua), requires the secretary of state to conduct an inquiry regarding a letter of identity verification or driver’s obligation if the letter is returned as undeliverable or if the recipient fails to respond.  This bill also requires the secretary of state to investigate matches resulting from interstate comparisons of voter information. The bill was signed by Governor Sununu on July 10, 2017. The state budget established a new investigator position to enforce election laws within the Department of State.

In September of this year, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) received a response to an inquiry of the NH Department of State and Department Safety.The inquiry, sent August 16, 2017, sought statistical information on the efforts of both departments to match voter checklist information with records of the Department of Safety. Speaker Jasper sought the information to benefit the legislature in its assessment of the effectiveness of our current election laws as well as future legislation that could improve our voter registration and verification processes. Among the information provided by the departments are the following statistics:

  • 6540 individuals registered to vote on November 8th, 2016 using an out-of-state driver’s license.
  • As of August 30th, 2017, only 1014 (15.5%) of those voters had been issued a New Hampshire driver’s license.
  • As of August 31, 2017, of the remaining 5526 individuals, only 3.3% had registered a motor vehicle in New Hampshire.
  • As of August 31, 2017, 5313 (81.2%) of the individuals who used an out-of-state driver’s license had neither held a New Hampshire driver’s license nor had registered a vehicle in New Hampshire.
  • 196 names on the checklist are being investigated as possibly having voted in New Hampshire and one other state.

House Majority Leader Reacts to State Revenue Report

CONCORD- House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the state revenue report published Thursday, in which stated the following:

“Business Taxes for October totaled $25.7 million, which were $0.9 million (3.6%) above plan and $8.1 million (46.0%) above prior year. YTD business taxes totaled $174.4 million, which were $6.1 million (3.6%) above plan and $5.5 million (3.3%) above prior year.” ~ State Of New Hampshire Monthly Revenue Focus

“Our state’s economy continues to perform well thanks in part to responsible governing, and business tax relief passed by the Republican legislature in our last budget,” said Hinch. “We need to compete with neighboring states to grow and diversify our economy in all corners of New Hampshire. To Republicans, reforming our tax policy was the logical thing to do. We have additional tax relief coming, as a result of the budget we passed this year, and we believe this will contribute to our economy’s long term wellbeing.”

Background: House bill 517, the budget trailer bill passed in June, reduces the rates of the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax in 2019 and in 2021. The BPT rate will drop from 7.9% to 7.5% and the BET rate will lower from .675% to .5%.

House Majority Leader Congratulates Republican Caucus on Breadth, Depth of 2018 Policy Proposals

CONCORD – House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the a statement following the close of the House of Representatives bill sign-off period, which ended Friday, October 27th.

“Republicans in the House have put forward a broad array of proposals touching on several major policy areas including the opioid crisis, clean drinking water, energy, education, and regulation reform. Our policy committees are ready to get to work, and we’re looking forward to working on these bills in the coming year. We’re proud of the work we did in 2017, including passing a fiscally responsible state budget. The second year of the term sets the tone for the upcoming election, and we believe we’re building a solid resume for the voters to review,” said Hinch.

“Democrats, on the other hand, appear to be focused on bigger government and unsustainable spending. Last week, we criticized Democrats for proposing single-payer health care, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re seeing bills attacking school choice and second amendment rights from their members, too. That’s not the direction we believe the state should be heading in.”

Background: During a window beginning on September 6th and ending September 22nd, House members had the opportunity to file legislative service requests, also known as LSRs, which are bill requests under development. The sign-off period after requests are filed allows time for legislators to develop their bills, find co-sponsors, and review drafts, before giving it their final approval for introduction. Legislators also have the option of withdrawing their requests, or not signing off on drafts, in which case the bill(s) would not move forward. The list of LSRs can be found here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/lsr_search/LSR_Results.aspx