Tracking N.H. General Court’s 2018 Votes and Preparing for Next Election

As April draws to a close, most of 2018’s life-issue bills in Concord have been settled one way or another. Below, you’ll find links to the votes so you can see how each of your state representatives voted.

vote checkmarkAccountability isn’t the only reason to keep an eye on voting records. The filing period for next fall’s state elections runs from June 6 to June 15. That’s only a few weeks away. Have you ever thought of running for office, or encouraging a friend to do so? Has one of your state representatives decided not to run again? Does someone need a challenge who didn’t get one in 2016? Continue reading “Tracking N.H. General Court’s 2018 Votes and Preparing for Next Election”

Down for the Count: Life-Issue Bills in N.H. House

The twice-delayed vote on a bill to prevent abortion of viable pre-born children finally came on March 21. HB 1680 was tabled in the New Hampshire House on a 170-163 vote. A committee’s recommendation of “ought to pass” on HB 1680 was never debated. The roll call for the tabling motion is thus what we have to go by, to figure out where state representatives stood on the bill.

A vote in favor of the tabling motion was effectively a vote to kill HB 1680. Tabling meant no debate, aside from the speeches masquerading as “parliamentary inquiries.” An attempt to remove the bill from the table and open it up for debate failed later in the day.

You can look up your reps and how they voted on HB 1680. Keep in mind that a “Yea” vote was a vote in favor of the tabling motion, not a vote in favor of the bill.

On the same day, the Abortion Information Act (HB 1707) was voted to Interim Study.  Translation: it’s dead. Voice vote, no roll call. The bill on coerced abortion (HB 1721) was killed on an Inexpedient to Legislate motion, 237-100.

Three bills, three different motions, same results. Put these on the spike along with conscience protection (Inexpedient to Legislate, 218-109 on March 15) and abortion statistics (ITL, 200-154 on January 3).

This is all spreadsheet material, and I’ll compile it before the filing period in June. That’s when people who want to run for state representative later this year will pay their two bucks to the town clerk to make it official.

Notes on the HB 1680 vote

Opposing the tabling motion were 158 Republicans, joined by two Libertarians (Caleb Dyer and Brandon Phinney) and three Democrats (Roger Berube, Jesse Martineau, and Barbara Shaw).

Joining 148 Democrats in voting to table the bill were one Libertarian (Joseph Stallcop) and 21 Republicans: Francis Chase, Chris Christensen, Karel Crawford, Stephen Darrow, Carolyn Gargasz, John Graham, James Grenier, Bonnie Ham, Peter Hansen, Erin Hennessey, Phyllis Katsakiores, John Lewicke, Betsy McKinney, Russell Ober, Mark Proulx, Andrew Prout, Skip Rollins, Frank Sapareto, Franklin Sterling, Robert Theberge, and Brenda Willis.

Speaker Gene Chandler was present during the day but was absent for the HB 1680 vote, turning the gavel over to Deputy Speaker Sherman Packard.

Absences: there were 38 “excused” absences, according to the House roll call, and 20 “Not Voting.”  The latter indicates an unexcused absence. It could mean a rep simply took a walk rather than go on record. Those 58 missing reps loom large in the context of a 170-163 vote.

Abortion Statistics: “Inexpedient to Legislate,” Says N.H. House

The New Hampshire House today rejected HB 471, on abortion statistics. The bill would have put New Hampshire in line with the Centers for Disease Control, which has collected statistics for abortion surveillance for many years.

The vote on an “inexpedient to legislate” motion was 200-154.

Two hundred legislators voted like people who are afraid of evidence-based public health policy and afraid of political retribution from abortion providers.

How many children are terminated annually? It doesn’t matter, was the unspoken message in Representatives Hall. How many adolescents are aborting their pregnancies? We don’t care. How many late-term abortions? How many repeat abortions? Where are most abortions being done? We don’t want to know. 

The bill had stringent provisions to protect the anonymity of patients. Data would have been provided to the CDC in aggregated form. That wasn’t enough for the fearful reps.

Already, in the name of compromise and cooperation, the bill had protected provider anonymity. It thus would have prevented the state from identifying abortion providers with a pattern of leaving patients injured or worse.  Even that was not enough to win over abortion apologists.

Somewhere, Kermit Gosnell is nodding his approval.

Time to update the graphic I made a few years ago. I’m running out of room.

List of N.H. abortion statistics bills since 2002.
New Hampshire abortion statistics bills: a short history.

The roll call is available at this link from the N.H. General Court web site.

Of the 154 representatives who voted against killing the bill, two are Democrats: Barbara Shaw of Manchester and James MacKay of Concord.

Of the 200 who voted kill the bill, 41 are Republicans. One of them, James McConnell of Swanzey, gave a speech before the vote encouraging his colleagues to kill the bill.

Still think the New Hampshire GOP is a pro-life party?

Credit where it’s due: Reps. Jess Edwards (R-Auburn) and Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester) spoke in support of the bill before the vote, stressing its importance to public health and women’s health. Rep. Larry Gagne (R-Manchester) made sure the ITL motion got a roll call vote.

The ITL motion was preceded by a motion of “ought to pass as amended,” which failed 165-189. Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) gets the credit for asking for a roll call on that one.

Contact information for state representatives

Watch for an email newsletter with a breakdown of the vote by representatives’ names and counties.

 

Subcommittee Named to Review Abortion Statistics Bill

Five representatives from the New Hampshire House Health and Human Services committee have been named to a subcommittee studying HB 471, the abortion statistics bill that was retained in committee earlier this year.

New Hampshire is one of only three states that do not collect public health information regarding abortion.

HHS committee chairman Rep. Frank Kotowski named Rep. Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) to chair the subcommittee. Other members are Reps. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom), John Fothergill (R-Colebrook), and Jess Edwards (R-Auburn). The subcommittee must report back to the full committee by November 1. The full House will take up the committee recommendation in January 2018.

Subcommittee work sessions have not yet been scheduled. The sessions will be open to the public.

Rep. Nelson chaired the study group whose work resulted in the last abortion statistics bill, HB 629, which passed the House in 2016 but was tabled in the Senate after an “ought to pass” motion failed on a 12-12 vote. (Story about 2016 bill here.)

Update: abortion stats bill retained

New Hampshire House Bill 471, abortion statistics, has been retained in committee and will not get a vote in the full House until 2018.  This is a step sideways, but it keeps the bill alive.


A subcommittee is likely to work on the bill between now and January. I’ll watch for those work session dates.

This is 2015 all over again, when the last statistics bill (HB 629) was retained. A subcommittee assigned to work on the bill had six work sessions between May and October 2015. They produced what I thought was an improved bill that enjoyed bipartisan support. The full House passed the resulting version of HB 629 on a voice vote in January 2016.

Then the state Department of Health and Human Services got a new commissioner, who yanked the Department’s participation in crafting the bill. Planned Parenthood, whose representative had attended the work sessions (I know because I attended them as well), refused to support the amended bill. That was enough to prompt a pair of Republican senators to join ten Democrats in voting against HB 629. That tied the vote at 12-12 in the Senate in May 2016, and the bill then died after being tabled. 

That was then; this is now. Under House rules for retained bills, HB 471 must come back for a House vote next year. Last time around, the House did its job: careful study with involvement from a variety of stakeholders, yielding a bipartisan bill so strong it passed without debate. I expect no less from them this time with HB 471. The Senate will then have a chance to redeem itself from 2016’s fiasco.