Still on hold

Update: Governor Hassan signed SB 319 into law on June 10, 2014.

I should just cut & paste this sentence for use in every post on every form of media: at this writing, there’s still no official word about the fate of New Hampshire’s buffer zone bill.

There have been more than five business days since its May 28th enrollment, the last public step before going to Governor Hassan’s desk. For an ordinary bill, that would mean becoming law without her signature. Not this one, apparently.

Readers of a certain age will remember with me the old Saturday Night Live sketches, making fun of the protracted news coverage about the failing health of Spain’s longtime strongman. “Breaking news: Generalissimo Franco is still critically dead,” began every update.

And SB 319 is still critically up in the air. When I wrote “Super Secret Stuff” a few days ago, I was closer to the mark than I thought.

An attorney not employed with the state suggested to me the other day that the executive branch might have put a quiet hold on the bill, pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Massachusetts law. That is pure speculation, and I have no confirmation, but it comes from someone whose experience exceeds my own.

If the attorney is correct, I can’t help but think that it would have been nice for the Attorney General’s office to speak up about that during the public hearings. It’s common for someone from the AG’s office to appear before legislative committees, not to tell them what to do, but to advise the committee of the view from the state’s chief law enforcement office. On this one, no comment.

It’s frustrating that ordinary citizens are in the dark. No matter one’s view of the bill, its status ought to be public knowledge. A statement posted on the Governor’s web site would be a start.

Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.