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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.”
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.
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%.
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
The Governor and Executive Council, at their meeting held on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, approved the Precept to hold a SPECIAL ELECTION for STATE REPRESENTATIVE from BELKNAP COUNTY DISTRICT NO. 3. (Laconia Wards 1-6)
Filing Period: Candidates can file with the Laconia City Clerk on Monday, October 30th or Tuesday October 31st OR candidates can file with the Secretary of State Monday, October 30th through Friday, November 3rd.
Primary: January 9, 2018
Special Election: February 27, 2018
CONCORD- House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in reaction to legislative service requests by New Hampshire House Democrats seeking to establish and/or study single payor health care plans in the state.
“This past weekend, we had an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, here in New Hampshire raising money for Democrats, and promoting his plan for socialized medicine. Meanwhile, Democrats in the state legislature are proposing legislation to study or establish single-payer health care,” said Hinch. “
“New Hampshire Democrats just need to look next door to Vermont to realize that single payer health care is not feasible. According to reports, the plan that failed there in 2014 would have required an 11.5% payroll tax on employers and a 9.5% income tax in addition to the state’s existing income tax. The fact that we’re seeing legislation to even study the issue baffles me. Vermont studied it, and rejected it because it would have bankrupted their state.”
Legislative service requests (LSRs) proposed by Democrat members of the New Hampshire House:
18-2204 establishing a commission to assess benefits and costs of a “health care for all” program for New Hampshire.
Sponsors: Richard McNamara; Knirk, Jerry; Butler, Edward; Smith, Suzanne
18-2236 establishing a commission to examine the feasibility of the New England states entering into a compact for a single payor health care program.
Sponsors: Peter Schmidt
18-2233 establishing a New Hampshire single payor health care system.
Sponsors: Peter Schmidt
Background: Text of legislative service requests are not made public until the sponsor approves the draft bill, or makes the text of the draft available prior to their approval. The sign-off deadline for House members is this Friday, October 27th.
House Majority Leader Responds to Fiscal Committee Approval of Medicaid Expansion Work Requirement Waiver Application
CONCORD- House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in response to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approving the application for a waiver on the work requirement for those participating in the expanded Medicaid program. The committee approved the waiver application by a voice vote.
“This provision protects taxpayers and provides an incentive for childless, able-bodied citizens to participate in the workforce if they are to be enrolled in the program. Our state needs workers, and this creates a pathway between program participants and our business community looking to fill jobs in this growing economy,” said Hinch.
“The budget bill that included the work requirement language passed with a bipartisan vote. It is the position of this legislature and the law of the state that we submit this waiver application, and we believe this is a reasonable personal responsibility measure.”
Background: HB517 (2017) included a provision for a work requirement for any person participating in the expanded Medicaid program in New Hampshire, and gave authority to the governor and the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to approve the application. If the waiver is not approved, the program will not been reauthorized beyond December 31, 2018. The criteria for the requirement are as follows:
Newly eligible adults who are unemployed shall be eligible to receive benefits under RSA 126-A:5 XXIV-XXV, if the commissioner finds that the individual is engaging in at least 20 hours per week upon application of benefits, 25 hours per week after receiving 12 months of benefits over the lifetime of the applicant and 30 hours per week after receiving 24 months of benefits over the lifetime of the applicant of one or a combination of the following activities:
(A) Unsubsidized employment.
(B) Subsidized private sector employment.
(C) Subsidized public sector employment.
(D) Work experience, including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector employment is not available.
(E) On-the-job training.
(F) Job search and job readiness assistance.
(G) Vocational educational training not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual.
(H) Job skills training directly related to employment.
(I) Education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency.
(J) Satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate.
CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) offered the following statement after review of the Court’s ruling on a request for preliminary injunction in the NH Democratic Party et. al v Gardner et al suit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 3.
“We’re very pleased that the Court upheld the major provisions of Senate Bill 3. This is an important first ruling in what will be an ongoing adjudication that we believe will lead to the law being upheld,” said Jasper. “Although the penalties in the law cannot be enforced at this time, the Court found no reason to delay the implementation of the other provisions of the law that provide for a more transparent and honest voter registration process.”
Concord, NH — Senator Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Senator Harold French (R-Franklin) and House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) issued the following statements:
“New Hampshire’s Bill Gardner is the nation’s longest-serving Secretary of State and one of our most regarded and well-respected public servants,” said Senator Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Chair of the Senate Election Law & Internal Affairs Committee. “As an official who is elected by the Legislature every two years, term after term he has a track record of earning support from both Republicans and Democrats and working in a bipartisan manner on a range of legislation each year.”
“I’ve had the distinct honor to work alongside Secretary Gardner to ensure and protect the integrity of our state’s elections and continue to believe he has our state, the Constitution and our citizen’s best interests at heart, regardless of party affiliation, in every well-informed decision he makes,” added Birdsell.
“Attacking the integrity of Secretary Gardner is reprehensible. He has always maintained a non-partisan stand on election related issues and should be commended for his work for New Hampshire over many years. I agree that he is one of the most respected public figures in our state who has been consistently dedicated to ensuring fairness in our elections,” said Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry).
“There is no place for these recent attacks on his role as Secretary of State and his bipartisan track record over the years speaks for itself. Secretary Gardner has always been well-revered and trusted to uphold the sanctity of our state’s elections year after year,” said Senator Harold French (R-Franklin). “I will continue to stand in support of Secretary Gardner as I have every reason to believe he will continue to protect our rights to fair elections now and in the future.”
“I’ve known Secretary Gardner for over 30 years, and I’ve never known him to be anything but an honest broker who does what he believes is right for the State of New Hampshire,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry). “He deserves better than being attacked for his public service on a presidential commission. His decades of experience and his non-partisan objectivity are an asset to the State. Any board or commission he is chosen to serve on is lucky to have him.”