Mario Ratzki Reports from Concord: December 2014

By Mario Ratzki, NH Representative

It may seem a lifetime ago, but the 2014 election was just over a month ago. I want to thank all who participated, and especially those who voted to re-elect me to represent our three beautiful towns of Andover, Salisbury, and Danbury. My buddy, David Karrick, also got the nod, as did Senator Andrew Hosmer after a vote recount.

The results in New Hampshire saw Maggie Hassan re-elected as governor, Jeanne Shaheen as US senator, Annie Kuster as Congresswoman, and Frank Guinta elected as Congressman, having defeated Carol Shea-Porter. The New Hampshire Senate is now 14 to 10 in favor of Republicans, while the House has a 239 to 160 (plus one independent/Democrat) Republican majority. The Executive Council switched to Republican control as well, 3 to 2.

The Democratic caucus unanimously elected Steve Shurtleff of Penacook as speaker, while the Republican caucus elected Bill O'Brien in a 116 to 112 vote against Gene Chandler. The entire House elected the 2015-2016 speaker on December 3. In a stunning turn of events, former speaker Bill O’Brien failed in his attempt to regain the top post, and Shawn Jasper (R) was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives instead.

While the Republicans will control the House and the Senate, they will not have the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn the Governor's vetoes. This simple fact would argue for compromise and bipartisan legislation. We will have to wait and see.

Given the future composition of the legislature, I gave up on a bill to establish a four-year term for governor, the bill having zero chance of being approved. I did introduce a new privacy bill which would forbid Internet and other providers from sharing one's content history with third parties.

I was told by Ms Asplund-Walsh, county commissioner, that the county budget will see a zero-percent increase for 2015, $500,000 below last year's budget.

I also want to congratulate the New Hampshire Department of Transportation for a job well done on the Green Crow bridge, as well as the partial repaving of Highway 127 in Salisbury. The final repaving will occur in the spring of 2015.

Signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act has already started at HealthCare.gov amid reports that premiums have fallen by about 15% since last year due to increased competition from multiple providers. It may pay to re-examine one's policy rather than simply continue with a previous insurance policy.

On a personal note, I was happy to be the lucky winner of a 12-gauge Browning shotgun at the Andover Fish and Game raffle in East Andover. Watch out, squirrels and woodchucks! Stay away from my barn!

I am always available at 735-5440 or at MarioRatzki@nullgmail.com. I guarantee full discretion for my help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.