Louise Andrus’s View from Concord – May

By Louise Andrus

Happy May. The black flies are out, the frogs are peeping, and it is time to go fishing!

As you know Memorial Day will be observed at the end of May. It is time to reflect and honor on this day (and every day of the year) the men and women who gave their lives for each of us to be free.

There are many bills that are brought up in each House Session. Some bills are easy to review and vote on, and some are very controversial with much debate from both sides before a vote.  One of the bills recently passed by voice vote which I was in favor of was HB 1666 relative to income reporting requirements for lobbyists. This bill was passed in the House in February and referred to Finance. The bill came back from Finance with a recommendation of Ought to Pass by vote of 23-0. This bill requires lobbyists to identify clients and income received from lobbying activity. This bill also authorized the Secretary of State to enforce the law. This bill is now onto the Senate.

Another bill, HB 1212 relative to eligibility for free school meals was complicated and had strong debates. In February 2024, the House, with several different motions being brought to the House floor and defeated, finally passed the bill with a vote of 193-175. Because this bill involved monies, it was referred to Finance for a recommendation. It came back to the House floor with a Committee Recommendation of 13-11 that this was “inexpedient to legislate.”  

When the bill came to the floor, a motion was made to “table.” The vote to table passed 192-191. NH taxpayers would be asked to pay $50 to $75 million or more a year for this program. This bill was an unfunded mandate, which is against the NH Constitution (Art.] 28-a. [Mandated Programs.] The state shall not mandate or assign any new, expanded or modified programs or responsibilities to any political subdivision in such a way as to necessitate additional local expenditures by the political subdivision unless such programs or responsibilities are fully funded by the state or unless such programs or responsibilities are approved for funding by a vote of the local legislative body of the political subdivision.  

I was not willing to add a burden to the taxpayers, and I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Therefore, I voted to table the bill.

Everyone, have a happy month of May.  If I can be of help I can be reached at 603-648-2510 ; 406 Raccoon Hill Rd., Salisbury or  louise.andrus@nullleg.state.nh.us.