House Republican Leader Comments Defeat of Gun Background Check Bill

For Immediate Release

February 12, 2014

Contact: 603-271-3665

 

House Republican Leader Comments Outcome of Gun Background Check Bill

 

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) today offered the following comments relative to the House vote on HB 1589, a bill that would have placed excessive restrictions on the private sale and transfer of firearms. The bill was defeated 242-118.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“New Hampshire ranks among the safest states in America. The vast majority of gun owners in New Hampshire are honest, law abiding citizens. The original bill was an unnecessary attempt to solve a non-existent problem in our state and could have made criminals out of responsible gun owners.”

“A bipartisan majority of the House believed this bill was not necessary. By killing the bill, we have avoided what would have been an excessive government overreach and restriction of 2nd Amendment rights.”

“Nothing in the bill alleviated the concern that guns sales or loans to family members would not be subject to background checks, which is an unnecessary intrusion into the rights of law abiding citizens.”

RELEASE: House Republican Leader Comments on Unanimous Consent Objection

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler today offered the statement below, relative a recent House member’s objection to what is usually a common courtesy the House extends to members. The process known as Unanimous Consent is allowed by House rules and allows members who wish to address the body outside of debate on bills to do so. Unanimous consent is an accepted practice in accordance with Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure (Sec. 537, 2010 edition), by which the House operates.

Background:

At the end of the January 22nd House Session, Rep. Warren Groen (R-Rochester) asked for unanimous consent of the House for the purpose of speaking about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Rep. Candace Bouchard (D-Concord) objected to allowing Rep. Groen to speak, making the motion not unanimous. At the time, Rep. Gary Richardson (D-Hopkinton) was presiding. He ruled that due to the single objection, he would not allow the member to speak. Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure allows the presiding officer to make such a ruling or allow the full body to vote on the matter. Rep. Richardson chose not to let the body vote.

During the morning of the House session today, January 29th, members attempted to resolve the matter.  As of the time of this release, the matter remains unresolved and Rep. Groen has not been able to speak.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett):

“Every House member should have the opportunity to be heard. Part of being in the Legislature involves hearing from people of differing viewpoints. Members who object to the subject matter of a certain unanimous consent request have the option of leaving the room. Unanimous consent has always been a courtesy members have extended to others, regardless of subject matter or party label. This situation sets a bad precedent and it’s unfair. Rep. Groen  deserves the same amount of courtesy other members have received.”

House Republican Leader Comments on House Democrats’ Surprise Medicaid Expansion Amendment

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler offered the following statement in reaction to the op-ed by House Speaker Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) published over the weekend. In the op-ed the Speaker indicated that House Democrats would offer an amendment to a retained 2013 bill that would include Medicaid Expansion legislation. Language of the amendment has not been released.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“House Democrats have again chosen to ram this significant policy change through with little or no debate. This is one of, if not the largest expansion of a government entitlement program the New Hampshire legislature has ever faced. Attaching such an expansive piece of legislation to an unrelated bill is not the right way to approach any issue, much less something of this scale. On Wednesday, the House will be asked to vote on an amendment we haven’t even seen or been able to review. There will be no public hearing or opportunity for public input. It’s unfair to our Representatives and to our constituents. This is not how we should do things in New Hampshire.”

“Why this surprise amendment is even necessary is beyond me. Democrats will have a bill in the 2014 session that will address the same issue, and we will have an opportunity to thoroughly debate the merits of the policy. We see enough of this type of politics from Washington and we don’t need it here in New Hampshire. New Hampshire citizens deserve better.”

“There are many issues and questions still unanswered regarding Medicaid expansion. One recent study showed that in Oregon emergency room use by those covered under expanded Medicaid increased by 40%; exactly the opposite of what we have been told would be a reduction in these types of uses. This is just one example of why New Hampshire should take the time to have a thorough debate on this evolving issue so we can come up with the right answer for New Hampshire.”

House Republican Leader Comments on Budget Surplus

CONCORD – New Hampshire House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) released the following statement in response to the New Hampshire General and Education Trust Fund Surplus Statement that announced a $72 million surplus from fiscal year 2013, part of the budget passed by the Republican legislative majority in 2011.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“The budget passed in 2011 was based on realistic revenue estimates and sound fiscal management through spending and tax reforms that helped keep New Hampshire on solid footing through tough economic times. As a result, the original projected deficit of $800 million turned into a surplus of $72 million. Thankfully, the budget that was passed this year mirrors those important provisions, including no new taxes and fees, which Republicans fought for throughout the budget process.”

“With the good news of $15 million more than was originally projected in June, I urge caution. We must not rush into spending this money and show the same fiscal responsibility we have in the past. These surplus funds should be set aside for future emergencies, and not spent on the unnecessary expansion of government.”

House Republican Leader Statement on the Passing of Councilor Ray Burton

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) released the following statement on the passing of Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett):

“The passing of Councilor Ray Burton is a tremendous loss to the people of the North Country and to the entire Granite State, which he deeply loved. Having worked with Ray for many years, I know first hand his unwavering dedication to the people of his district and New Hampshire, which are better places because of his service. Ray exemplified what a politician should be and truly put the people he represented above politics. A hole has been left in the North Country that can never truly be filled. Ray is one who is simply irreplaceable, and he will be profoundly missed by all.”

Republican Leaders Surprised at State Exchange Flip Flop in Medicaid Expansion Bill

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and Assistant House Republican Leader and Ranking Republican on the House Commerce Committee, John Hunt (R-Rindge) released statements relative to provisions in Special Session House Bill 1 (Section 8)  that repeal the prohibition of and establishes a New Hampshire Health Benefit Marketplace.

Background:

On October 22, the House Commerce Committee voted unanimously (20-0) to recommend killing HB544, a bill that repealed the prohibition on a state based marketplace and advocated state agencies, “plan for, participate in, contract with any private entity regarding, and interact with the federal government with respect to, the creation of a health benefit exchange for New Hampshire.”

After the vote, Committee Chair Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location) said of a state based exchange, “This just isn’t the right time to pursue it.”

Just one day prior to the Commerce Committee vote to kill the bill repealing the prohibition, Governor Hassan’s spokesperson called for the repeal of the prohibition.

In 2012, HB1297, establishing the prohibition of  a state health care exchange, was passed both the House and Senate via voice votes and was signed by Governor John Lynch.

Assistant Republican Leader John Hunt (R-Rindge):

“In just over 2 weeks, we’ve seen Democrats in Concord unable to make up their minds on this issue in pretty dramatic fashion. First House Democrats split with Governor Hassan and roundly reject a bill that would have allowed for a state insurance marketplace, saying it wasn’t necessary. Just 15 days later, Democrats unveil a flagship piece of legislation that, in part, does just that.”

“On the House floor on Thursday, I voiced my concern that this special session bill is not only being rushed through the legislative process, but also that the process has been less than transparent. Any piece of legislation having to do with insurance markets traditionally would go to the House Commerce committee prior to going to House Finance. Had this bill been introduced during the regular session, it would receive a full and proper vetting by all the proper committees, including the Commerce committee, that already rejected this concept. I hope my colleagues on Finance follow our bi-partisan example and delete this provision from the bill.”

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett):

“This is another example of why Republicans were justified in unanimously rejecting the introduction of the Special Session bill on Thursday, prior to being able to read the bill. We were lead to believe the bill would mirror the Medicaid Expansion Commission’s recommendation. Now that we’ve read the bill, we keep identifying things in it that were never part of the commission’s report. Not only was this not part of the report, the concept was unanimously rejected by a House committee just over 2 weeks ago. This entire process looks like something we’d see out of the dysfunction of Washington, D.C.”