New Hampshire Democracy Report: April 15, 2019

We know that voters are thinking about other things – namely taxes – on April 15. But then, taxation is one of the functions of government that the voters should control through their representatives. Voters of every persuasion demand that they pay only their fair share – only to see legislators get pressured by Big Money special interests pressure legislators to give tax breaks. The key to fixing this inequality lies in making legislators accountable to the voters, not donors.

House Hears SB 106, Setting Expenditure Thresholds for Political Advocacy Groups

SB106 revises 2018's SB 33, closing the loophole that allows groups to not to disclose their electioneering expenditures by restricting their advocacy to communications that do not expressly say vote “for” or “against” a candidate. The amendment to the bill threw out some of the original language and instead sets $2500 of political communications or advertising as the threshold when the group becomes a political advocacy group. SB 106 passed unanimously in the Senate. Open Democracy Action policy board members will be testifying in the hearing on Tuesday at 10 AM in room 308 of the LOB. Supported by ODA

Closing the LLC Loophole Takes Another Step as SB 156 Reaches House Election Law

While it does not stop the flow of campaign donations, the Senate's ought to pass recommendation of SB 156 would force donors using a limited liability corporation to make campaign donations to disclose who is making the donation and how much. Open Democracy Action will be testifying for the bill. SB 156 passed the Senate by a 13-11 margin. The hearing is at 1 p.m. Tuesday, LOB 308. Supported by ODA 

Senate Election Law Should Endorse HB 429

As you may remember, Open Democracy published the Open Democracy Index in 2016 which measured civic engagement in NH to a mixed result. While New Hampshire has high marks in some areas of our democracy, other areas, including civics education, have weakened in recent decades. HB 429 creates a committee to study how civic engagement can be expanded in the state. We support the creation of this committee, as did House Election Law in a 19-0 vote. Supported by ODA




Red = Open Democracy Action Priority Bill



10:00 a.m. SB106, relative to the definition of political advocacy organization. Supported by ODA

10:30 a.m. SB 67, relative to the definitions of resident and residency.

1:00 p.m. SB 156, relative to political contributions made by limited liability companies. Supported by ODA

1:30 p.m. SB 68, relative to the centralized voter registration database.



Sen. Levesque (C), Sen. Sherman (VC), Sen. Morgan, Sen. Birdsell, Sen. Gray

9:15 a.m. HB 429 ishing a committee to study ways to improve civic engagement in New Hampshire. Supported by ODA

9:30 a.m. HB 539-FN, establishing a committee to study the implementation of the One4All ballot in municipal elections.

9:45 a.m. HB 105-FN, relative to domicile residency, voter registration, and investigation of voter verification letters.

10:15 a.m. HB 106, relative to the terms “resident,” “inhabitant,” “residence,” and “residency.”





10:00 a.m. SB 71, relative to the election of delegates to party conventions.

10:30 a.m. SB 105-FN, relative to contributions to inaugural committees.


This Week's Session Meetings

The House will not be meeting this week, and will be “at the Speaker's discretion” for the next couple of weeks, now that the budget is settled. The Senate will meet in session this week, Thursday, April 18, but no democracy legislation is before the assembly.


Nancy_MacLean_Author_Photo.jpgLast chance to register to hear National Book Award Finalist Nancy MacLean, Author of Democracy in Chains, April 26

Time is running out to Register to hear author and professor Nancy MacLean on Friday, April 26, 6 p.m. at the Puritan Back Room in Manchester. Tickets are $60.00, and proceeds benefit Open Democracy's mission.

Prof. MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and author, most recently, of Democracy in Chains.

Published this past June, Democracy in Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the winner of the Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Current Affairs, and the Lillian Smith Book Award. The Nation magazine named it the “Most Valuable Book”of the year.  

Keep the LTEs Coming: Support HB 706 and SB 8 Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission Bills

Letters have been appearing around the state, but if you haven't written a letter yet, now is the time! We expect HB 706 to be heard in the Senate shortly.

Thanks to Claudia Damon of Concord, who wrote in the Concord Monitor, and Devin Chaloux, who wrote a letter a couple of weeks ago in The Forum, covering Northwood, Deerfield and Nottingham.

One thing we do ask you include is a request for readers to call & write their Senator and state representatives. Once you've sent your letter to the papers, make sure to send a copy of it to Governor Sununu, who has sisignaled that he doesn't think a nonpartisan redistricting commission is necessary. Help him change his mind.



For updates and descriptions of the other important democracy legislation this session, click on the links below.

Click here arrowPublic funding

Redistricting and ending gerrymandering

Campaign reform

Money in politics


Questions? Want to Help?

Olivia Zink: [email protected]; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Rick Bourdon: [email protected]; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)

Brian Beihl: [email protected] (603) 620-8300 (cell)

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  • Brian Beihl
    published this page in State House 2019-04-13 12:15:54 -0400