The House of Representatives voted on over 200 bills, some of which were for housekeeping measures, clarifying issues, and bills of high importance to our state.
Education: HB 345 -Relative to State Board of Education rulemaking authority over home education programs. This bill wanted to remove home education rulemaking authority from the State Board of Education. HB 647 was to provide education choice for parents with special needs children. State funds that would be provided to the school district for their child would instead be placed into accounts for the parents to purchase allowable education expenses. Some constituents have emailed me that this was referring to only “private school education” and that it would only favor wealthier families. This is not the case at all. The bottom line for both these 2 bills is we need to encourage education freedom to allow all parents to choose the best public, private, charter, or home school programs for their children.
Election Law: HB116, relative to assessing the consequences of the Citizens United vs. Supreme Court decision. It called upon the New Hampshire congressional delegation to sponsor an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Both of our distinguished U.S. Senators have already formally co-sponsored a bill in the U.S. Senate calling for such a constitutional amendment, and similarly one of our distinguished U.S. Representatives has co-sponsored a companion bill in the U.S. House. This proposed bill by our state is completely unnecessary, wasteful of our limited resources, and duplicative, which is in essence the definition of “Inexpedient to Legislate”.
HB447: Relative to allocating Electoral College electors based on the national popular vote. It was felt that this bill would dilute New Hampshire’s voice in the selection of our presidential election by creating an interstate compact and allocating New Hampshire’s votes. It supports the original intent of the Electoral College, which is to ensure that small states like New Hampshire have the ability to fully participate in national elections and are not cancelled out by large states such as Texas or California. It also encourages higher voter participation, and keeps New Hampshire’s status of First in the Nation.
I want to address a few remarks made by former Representative Mario Ratzki relating to HB 238 and HB 191-L. He stated in the Salisbury Grapevine Newspaper that Representatives Anne Copp and I voted to kill HB238. He also went on to say we “would rather vote with big business then against their own districts’ interest.” Anne Copp and I have been actively engaged in sitting in on the Danbury Broadband Committee, which seeks to have service in many rural areas of their town that do not have broadband accessibility. I couldn’t agree more regarding the need of good internet access for our communities. I fully understand the need for home businesses, home schooling, selling one’s home, etc. However, allowing municipalities to have their hand in controlling broadband has been proven to be devastating around the whole country. The Madbury Bridge/Bartlett Cleland of Frisco, Texas researched this issue and found that in all cases taxpayer money was put at risk often without approval of taxpayers. One instance,in Bristol, Virginia, the citizens were left holding the bag of $124 million. Kansas City, Missouri politicians decided to invest $10.5 million with only a few hundred people signed up. Expenses quickly took over; the town had to sell it at a loss, leaving the taxpayer on the hook for the rest.
The most recent and nearby state we can relate to is in Vermont. In January, 2015 the EC Fiber was serving just 1,200 subscribers, despite a construction cost of 9 million, which is $7,500 per customer. A quote from the Madbury Bridge stated, “A city-owned telecommunications provider in Burlington, sounded like a good idea a decade ago. But as Burlington Telecom seeks to settle a $33 million dollar debt with Citibank, local taxpayers are wondering where the city’s money went”. I’m for free enterprise, and I’m for the private sector succeeding without government intervention of unnecessary mandated rules and regulations. In this instance, I believe broadband should be maintained in the private business world. Therefore, I do not feel a study committee is necessary either, as it is a waste of the taxpayer’s money and the legislator’s time.
Representative Natalie Wells